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U.S. News Ranks Elmhurst No. 3 Most Innovative in the Midwest

September 14, 2020 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

2020 U.S. News and World Report Rankings Release

Elmhurst University has been named the third-most innovative college or university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings.

According to the 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, released on Monday, Sept. 14, Elmhurst rose to No. 3 in the Midwest—up 10 places over last year—in the category of Most Innovative Schools. Rankings for this category are based on a peer assessment survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans who are asked to nominate the institutions that they believe are making “the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

In recent years, Elmhurst has launched a number of new programs, projects and partnerships, including:

  • New academic programs in environmental studies, digital media, cybersecurity and public health
  • The Elmhurst University Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • The Innovation Committee, which supports employee-generated ideas
  • Numerous articulation agreements between Elmhurst and area community colleges
  • Makerspaces in the departments of physics and art
  • Two projects, funded with National Science Foundation grants, to support students majoring in STEM fields who are from groups at higher risk of leaving their major
  • Partnerships with regional business and startup incubators
  • Scholarship competitions for first-generation college students, transfer students and students committed to public service

In one of U.S. News’ newest categories, Top Performers for Social Mobility, Elmhurst shot up 36 places in the rankings—from No. 54 last year to No. 18 this year. That category lists the colleges and universities that have been the most successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of economically disadvantaged students who received federal Pell Grants.

The University also ranks No. 7 in the Midwest for its commitment to undergraduate teaching, something that current and prospective students, high school counselors and peer institutions have long cited as one of Elmhurst’s most distinctive hallmarks.

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings evaluate schools based on measures of academic quality, including outcomes, expert opinions, student experience and more. In addition to its high rankings in the teaching, innovation and social mobility categories, Elmhurst University continues to rank among the top institutions in the Midwest in the categories of Best Regional Universities, Best Value Schools and Best Colleges for Veterans.

Earlier this year, three of Elmhurst University’s graduate programs in health care ranked among the best in Illinois and the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious Best Graduate Schools list. It marked the first time Elmhurst’s graduate programs have made the U.S. News national rankings. The University’s programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and communication sciences and disorders were recognized, and all three graduate programs also ranked in the top eight in Illinois.

In addition to U.S. News, recent reports by organizations such as Money and Princeton Review continue to name Elmhurst as one of the best colleges or universities in the Midwest for educational value, post-graduation success and a variety of other factors.

Money’s nationwide list of Best Colleges 2020 puts Elmhurst at No. 11 in Illinois among schools that most successfully combine quality and affordability. Money created its list by identifying the nation’s 739 best-performing colleges and universities, then weighing more than 20,000 data points, including tuition fees, family borrowing and career earnings.

The rankings are the first to be garnered by Elmhurst since the nearly 150-year-old institution, formerly known as Elmhurst College, became Elmhurst University on July 1. They represent an exciting way to begin the University era while reinforcing the school’s historic commitment to academic excellence and student-focused learning, said Elmhurst University President Troy D. VanAken.

“I’m very pleased that we are being recognized for the way we embrace innovation, the great work being done by our faculty, and our unshakeable belief in the transformative power of a college education,” President VanAken said.

Portrait photo of Elmhurst President Troy D. VanAken.

This kind of recognition, in so many different areas, is a testament to the distinctive, invaluable academic experience we offer across the board to our students.

President Troy D. VanAken

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