The 15 most innovative universities in the U.S., according to experts

Even the longstanding US News and World Report’s latest school rankings are innovating.

For the first time, the report includes the most innovative schools, as judged by college presidents, deans, and admissions officers.

The schools earn the distinction for their emphasis on grooming self-motivated thinkers that can turn wild ideas into successful realities.

Does your alma mater make the grade?

13 (tie). University of Southern California

Harley Ellis Devereaux

USC has an entire department, the Stevens Center for Innovation, reserved strictly for new business and product ideas.

Research faculty can brainstorm, engineer, and commercialize those ideas.

USC also encourages undergrads to think creatively with its student-run Spark SC Committees, innovation-driven groups that design and build products, and host events around campus.

13 (tie). Georgia Institute of Technology

Via Wikimedia Commons

Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute consults with established business pros and local K-12 schools to foster innovative thinking based on their specific needs.

The university also houses the Invention Studio, which is open to all students who want to tinker, build, and play.

'To promote and reward creativity,' the studio's website states, 'there are few strict rules in the Invention Studio. Rather, we promote an ethic of responsibility, safety, and community ownership.'

7. Duke University

Wikimedia Commons

Duke's Co-Lab and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative are intended to make the university more than just a flash in the pan of innovation.

Instead, Duke hopes to spread the design and creativity gospel into the surrounding neighbourhood.

'We seek to make Duke an agent of transformation through an entrepreneurial spirit, generating innovations from the ideas that grow at the university,' the Initiative's website states.

6. Northeastern University

Facebook/nucoe

Last year, Northeastern launched its one-year Master of Science in Innovation program.

It's designed to help working professionals hone their skills as thought leaders -- to think more dynamically and see where opportunities lie.

The university also features a Center for Research Innovation, which 'serves as the University-wide portal between industry and leading-edge innovations' from the university's portfolio of research.

5. Georgia State University

Georgia State University

Few colleges have a Chief Innovation Officer. Georgia State is one of them.

Students at GSU receive hands-on training with Microsoft to solve problems related to coding and programming, along with an introductory composition course that teaches students digital literacy, including blogging and building out web pages.

The university also uses its Center for Instructional Innovation to help teachers hone their craft in a changing and increasingly tech-driven era.

1. Arizona State University

Wikimedia Commons

ASU's passion for innovation spans from its online-learning center
Global Freshman Academy to its partnership with Starbucks, which offers employees free online tuition at ASU.

The university also created a program called me3, which uses high schoolers' personality traits to find their ideal careers.

The emphasis on online education has led to greater retention rates than traditional classrooms -- the bedrock of any successful education.

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