By Keith Pierce

Old Dominion University has emerged as a world leader in addressing inequality, according to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020. The University is ranked in the top 100 globally and the top 10 nationally. ODU is also the only institution in Virginia in the ranking designed to assess universities against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality.

ODU ranks ninth among the only 22 U.S. universities on the list and 88th worldwide out of the more than 459 universities that participated in the Impact Ranking survey and SDG 10, which covers reducing inequalities. Metrics used to measure how universities excel in this area include the number of first-generation students, the number of students from developing countries, the proportion of students and staff with disabilities, the measures against discrimination and the amount of research a university undertakes on reduced inequalities.

"This ranking is further recognition of our commitment to make education accessible and upward social mobility a reality for more people," ODU President John R. Broderick said. "Old Dominion University has a long and proud legacy of commitment to the principles of equality and equal opportunity for all students, faculty and staff. In addition to the quality of education and affordability, many of our students tell us our commitment to diversity played a significant factor in their decision to attend Old Dominion."

According to the Times Higher Education website, first-generation students or students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are still poorly represented in higher education, though many universities are now working to rectify the disparities. Using carefully calibrated indicators are to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons across three broad areas -research, outreach and stewardship -the impact rankings, launched in 2019, are an indicator of which universities are achieving success.

"This recognition further affirms ODU's commitment to helping all students succeed," said Don Stansberry, interim vice president of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services (SEES) and dean of students. "At Old Dominion, we are focused on enhancing social mobility for students from all backgrounds."

Other U.S. universities in the top 10 include Stony Brook University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Arizona State University; American University; University of South Florida; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Missouri-St Louis; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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.

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