By Joe Garvey

Old Dominion University improved its status as a world leader for addressing inequality, ranking 58thinternationally and fourth among U.S. institutions for reducing inequalities in The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for 2023, which were released June 1.

Virginia Tech (tie for 63rd) and ODU are the only institutions from the commonwealth listed among the top 100 in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) category that focuses on universities’ research on social inequalities, their policies on discrimination and their commitment to recruiting staff and students from underrepresented groups.

A total of 901 schools from 98 countries or regions were assessed in the category. In 2022, ODU tied for 65thin the world and for fifth in the U.S. when 796 institutions from 93 countries were assessed.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that ODU has been ranked No. 1 in Virginia and the fourth straight year that the University has ranked among the top 100 in the inequality category. It also marks the third year in a row that the University has been ranked among the top 10% in the world.

The U.S. schools ranked ahead of ODU in the latest rankings are Arizona State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“This latest ranking demonstrates that the hard work of our forward-thinking leaders is continuing to result in meaningful dividends for our students, faculty and staff,” said ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “The profound impact of these efforts will be felt not just on our campus but throughout Hampton Roads as we strive to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society.”

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which were launched in 2019, are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations' 17 SDGs. They provide comparisons across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching.

“This latest ranking demonstrates that the hard work of our forward-thinking leaders is continuing to result in meaningful dividends for our students, faculty and staff.” - ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

The publication noted the breadth of ODU’s academic offerings.

“The amount of choice to be had at Old Dominion is truly staggering; between certificates, minors, bachelors, masters and Ph.D.s, there are no less than 427 academic paths for a student to take,” the publication noted. “Whether it be accounting or world culture that interests you, at Old Dominion students can take advantage of the 95% of classrooms that are fully fitted with the latest technology, ensuring courses remain at the forefront of education and research.”

ODU has long been recognized as a national leader regarding social mobility. In 2018, the University established its Center for Social Mobility, which has conducted symposiums and serves as a resource for other higher education institutions. Last July, ODU was awarded the No. 1 ranking in Virginia in a new Economic Mobility Index created by the public policy think tank Third Way. ODU was also listed in the top tier of universities across the country.

The University, which holds the Research 1 Classification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, also was awarded a $1.3 million grant in 2022 from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which aims to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. Similarly, the Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) program at the University’s Center for Bioelectronics is designed to increase the diversity of biomedical researchers by attracting underrepresented students from minority, military, socioeconomically disadvantaged and disability groups to the field.

Additionally, ODU’s proposed integration with Eastern Virginia Medical School and partnerships to establish the ONE School of Public Health and the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium aspire to enhance healthcare, strengthen educational programs, bolster the workforce pipeline and address regional health and economic disparities.

The Times Higher Education is a weekly, London-based magazine dedicated to news and issues related to higher education. Originally published in The Times newspaper as The Times Higher Education Supplement, it was relaunched as a magazine in 2008 and soon became known for publishing annual world university rankings.

The 2023 rankings are available at this link.