CHICAGO — DePaul University is one of the country’s “most innovative schools,” according to the 2016 college rankings published by U.S. News & World Report.
In this new category, higher education leaders — college presidents, provosts and admissions deans — were asked by U.S. News “to nominate up to 10 colleges or universities … that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”
DePaul made the list, tied for the 21st spot among other national universities. Arizona State University was at the top of this peer assessment ranking, followed by Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland and Georgia State University. DePaul is the only university in Illinois to be listed.
“DePaul’s faculty has a culture of developing cutting-edge programs quickly — sometimes with strategic alliances, including Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and Rosalind Franklin University — or designing amazing facilities, like The Theatre School building and the new Scholar’s Lab and media:scape collaboration stations in Richardson Library,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul.
“This recognition in U.S. News is the collective accomplishment of all of our faculty and staff. I am grateful for the care each places on being innovative to achieve student success,” Holtschneider said.
U.S. News & World Report noted that this new ranking was added “so that college officials could pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes being made on their campuses.”
What makes DePaul University innovative? Some of its initiatives include:
- A strategic alliance with Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, where students in theSchool of Cinematic Arts in the College of Computing and Digital Media learn their craft on a DePaul dedicated soundproof soundstage. Their classroom is on an active studio lot and students cross paths daily with professional directors, lighting technicians, filmmakers, set designers and actors.
- The Theatre School building, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with Cannon Design, earned a LEED Gold designation, making it Chicago’s first theatre performing arts building to receive that level of designation. The custom-designed five-story building includes two theatre spaces, acting labs, scene shop, costume shop, lighting laboratories and classrooms.
- The College of Communication created an ilab (innovation lab) equipped with hardware and software to track social media in all its forms.
- A designated faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences coordinates and provides support for students applying to Fulbright and Boren grant programs. The results so far include six grant recipients in 2015 and four in 2014.
- Music education students gain real-world teaching experience while providing a service to Chicago in offering pre-concert lectures for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra children’s concerts.
- The adult bridge program offered by the School for New Learning provides adult students a distinct learning opportunity to transition to a university environment with the support of dedicated advising and courses team-taught by faculty from DePaul and City Colleges of Chicago.
- Students in urban geography work with innovative mapping techniques to examine how Chicago’s cultural and urban landscapes have developed historically and are continuing to change.
- The Golden Apple Scholars program in the College of Education trains teachers to work in classrooms with students who have the greatest needs.
- Distinctive in the Chicago market is a business doctorate designed for workplace application. Rather than preparing graduate students for careers in academia, it provides business leaders with training to master sophisticated research methods that can be applied in their industries.
- A “third year in practice” program in the College of Law gives students the opportunity to spend their final year of law school immersed in the practice of law, combining clinical, simulation and experiential courses with intensive externship activity.
- The Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics is an applied research center — a joint venture involving faculty from the School of Computing in the College of Computing and Digital Media and the Department of Marketing in the College of Business. It brings together faculty expertise and research in Web mining, Web analytics, marketing and business intelligence, recommender systems, medical imaging and medical informatics.
- The Alliance for Health Sciences, a partnership with the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, provides undergraduate students a comprehensive health sciences curriculum that prepares them for admission to highly competitive health care professional programs.
- DePaul introduced test-optional admission in 2012, thereby the best criteria for evaluating student potential: high school performance in a rigorous, college-preparatory program.
- A writing fellows program embeds peer tutors in courses, working with all students in the class on drafts of two papers.
- Student Affairs created a bystander intervention training curriculum and piloted it with members of the Student Government Association, Greek life, Athletics and others. After adjustments were made to the curriculum, it was launched to a broader student audience in winter 2015.
- DePaul’s outreach to undocumented and “DACAmented” students includes a comprehensive DREAM Resource Guide publicly available on its website and a statement in the university catalog that is support of undocumented students. There is a DREAM working group led by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity in partnership with the Office of General Counsel.
More about the U.S. News & World Report college rankings for 2016 is online at http://bit.ly/USNews_innovative.