By Kenya Godette

Old Dominion University is ranked among the top universities pursuing sustainable development, inclusion and equity goals in the 2024 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

THE evaluated 152 universities from 125 countries and regions across 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to produce this year’s rankings. ODU is recognized for excelling in six of the SDGs for making significant contributions towards an inclusive and resilient future in education.

The University saw an increase in score in the following categories:

  • Score 68.2 in Good Health and Wellbeing, an increase from 63.2 in 2023
  • Score 68.3 in Gender Equality, an increase from 66.6 in 2023
  • Score 65.2 in Quality Education, an increase from 60.8 in 2023

According to THE, ODU’s ranking in Good Health and Wellbeing reflects a commitment to “advancing universal health coverage, reducing preventable deaths and enhancing public health through innovative research, comprehensive health services and community outreach programs.”

The University has made significant strides towards enhancing public health through initiatives within the School of Nursing. In May, the school’s Community Care team won a national award for providing accessible healthcare services to underserved and vulnerable populations in rural areas. A highlight of their work is programs for students who attend Franklin County schools. Community Care’s on-site vaccination services ensured all students were health-compliant at the start of the academic year for the first time in decades. 

The Gender Equality ranking demonstrates “excellence in eliminating forms of discrimination and violence against women, enhancing women’s access to reproductive rights and ensuring their effective participation in leadership and public life.”

The Women’s and Gender Equity Center intentionally works to support this goal. Its Womanhood Initiatives division hosts programs and events that focus on addressing issues such as reproductive health and justice, gender equity, wage inequity and poverty. One of their annual, signature events is the Reproductive Justice Program. The division also works to help students and faculty examine girlhood and womanhood in media and literature, understand how womanhood is defined across communities and learn how to advocate on behalf of women of trans experience.

ODU’s score in Quality Education recognizes a commitment to “advancing the right to education and ensuring access to education at all levels, from childhood development through secondary education and beyond.”

An initiative currently underway is the adoption and funding of lab schools. In May, the university received state approval to establish lab schools with Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) and Chesapeake Public Schools (CPS) — with more on the way. The NNPS Maritime Engineering and Environmental Studies Academy and CPS Computer Science Lab School aim to create pathways that better prepare K-12 students for innovative careers and higher education.

ODU was also ranked in three additional SDG categories—Reduced Inequalities (score of 75.3), Sustainable Cities and Communities (score 61.5) and Partnership for the Goals (score 40.7).

For the University’s full ranking profile and more information about the Impact Rankings, visit the THE ranking site.