AU ranked seventh “Most Innovative School” among southern regional universities

September 26, 2017

U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges ranked Anderson University as the seventh “Most Innovative School” among Regional Universities in the South this month. 

“We are honored that our peer institutions think so highly of our intentional steps to innovate our teaching, facilities, technology and other dimensions of campus life,” said University President Dr. Evans Whitaker. “May this great news serve to recognize the innovative work of AU’s faculty and staff to whom I’m deeply grateful.”

Peer institutions nominated AU to the publication’s “Most Innovative School” list.  According to U.S. News & World Report, high-ranking officials at these peer schools were asked which universities had the “most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

As a member of this Most Innovative list, AU is sharing company with five of the highest-listed overall southern regional universities from U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 ranking, including #1 Elon University and #3 Sanford University. 

Innovation: Technology
In addition to its #7 Most Innovative ranking from U.S. News & World Report, AU has also been recognized as an innovative school by Apple Inc. which named it twice as an Apple Distinguished School for its employment of mobile technology that enables students to learn myriad subjects, from analyzing and manipulating 3D molecular imagery, to reviewing art techniques online while painting. Fewer than 400 schools have been named an Apple Distinguished School since the program began, and only a small fraction of those are universities.

Innovation: Curriculum
In addition to technology, AU has recently implemented a new core curriculum based on 18 Common Learning Outcomes that go beyond a superficial introduction to disciplines; they help students understand why subjects and intellectual skills outside their major matter. Plans are also underway to develop a Doctor of Physical Therapy program through AU’s College of Health Professions.

Innovation: Facilities
Peer institutions who selected schools for the Most Innovative list may have visited the new G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center. In addition to dining, meeting, fitness, office, retail and performance space, the 86,000 square-foot hub of AU’s campus features a grand entrance boasting indoor-outdoor fireplaces and video walls that welcome students and visitors and broadcast live news from the world's leading news organizations.

A stone’s throw from the student center, AU is equipping the Thrift Library with active-learning classrooms that foster discussion and active learning. They’re highlighted by technology, plentiful writing surfaces and flexible furniture, which can be easily arranged to suit many types of learning. The library will also feature a maker space with 3-D printers, robots, and a laser cutter. In addition, the space will include a media development suite that supports the production of video and audio. 

Also this semester, AU’s South Carolina School of the Arts has begun holding classes in the heart of downtown Anderson in Chiquola Studios, where theatre and graphic design students can hone their skills using state-of-the-art equipment.