These Are America’s 10 Most Innovative Colleges

3. Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)

What Makes CC innovative? At Colorado College, all students participate in the Block Plan, a curricular innovation unique to this prestigious liberal arts colleges.

For three and a half weeks, a student focuses entirely on one subject matter in a classroom setting.

Contrast this to a traditional college program where a student simultaneously takes anywhere from 3-7 classes, and you’ll see what makes this so unique.

So why does Colorado College do this? In a word, focus: when students focus on one subject, rather than many, for an extended period of time, they are more likely to understand, retain, and apply the subject matter.

2. California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo, CA)

California Polytechnic Institute
Samxli, Calpoly agsci bldg, CC BY 2.0

Recognized as one of the country’s best institutes, Cal Poly San Lui Obispo provides one of the best returns on investment of any school in California. Their philosophy of Learn by Doing allows students to put their knowledge to the test.

One innovative feature of Cal Poly is their Innovation Sandbox, a center for collaboration in which students are encouraged to “play” with new ideas, technologies, prototypes, and more.

Very unique to Cal Poly San Obispo is their Dairy Innovation Institute. This college promotes Dairy Research, Education, and practices. Believe it or not, students here study the science behind cheese as well as general dairy manufacturing processes and technologies.

Additionally, the school has become a leader in developing student enterprise through their Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Participating members of this center are given guidance not just on fostering ideas, but also through business execution & logistics.

1. Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

Arizona State University
Schwnj, Asubiodesign, CC BY-SA 2.5

For decades, Arizona State has been a pioneer in technology. Not only has it funded hundreds of startups, but issued 2700 invention disclosures and granted thousands of innovative patents.

ASU has a number of specific projects that are notable for their unique innovations.

One is the Knowledge Enterprise Development Program. It advances research and innovation and strategic partnerships. It also helps to forward entrepreneurs through international development.

The main secret of their success is the encouragement of interdisciplinary research. Through this emphasis on interdisciplinary research, it has grown to become a leading research institute.

Not just that, the Knowledge Enterprise Development Program encourages a lot of interdisciplinary projects. It is praised for its out-of-the-box projects, including a recent study has allowed them to combine engineering and biology to analyze protein structures.

Another one of ASU’s many innovations is Project Hieroglyph. It shines a light on the concept that science fiction can serve as inspiration for innovation. While science fiction and fact have been influencing each other for the longest time, this project explores that more deeply.

This project challenges students to think more closely about inventions that can be made in the future. Hence, it puts their imagination and knowledge to the test. It allows them to take inspiration from their own lives, their reading habits, their love of sci-fi, etc.

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