Times Higher Education (THE) announced Wednesday that Penn State ranked fourth in the United States and 32nd globally in its University Impact Rankings, an annual review of nearly 1,200 higher education institutions.
The ranking, first issued in 2019, assesses more than 750 schools from 85 countries in their efforts to become more sustainable through research, community outreach, and education and campus operations. THE specifically assesses schools based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were developed to track life-improving metrics like poverty and climate action.
Penn State’s No. 32 global ranking is a step up from last year when the university came in at No. 35. However, Penn State moved one spot back in the United States rankings. Only Arizona State, IUPUI, and the University of South Florida ranked higher than Penn State in this year’s domestic rankings.
Maryland, which checked in at No. 11 in the United States rankings, is the closest school Big Ten school to Penn State.
“Critical research and other endeavors by faculty, staff and students have prioritized sustainability across the University and enabled us to achieve these prestigious rankings,” Provost Nick Jones said. “We will build on this recognition by implementing Penn State’s Strategic Plan through 2025, which cites stewardship of our planet’s resources as one of five priorities and ensuring a sustainable future as a key foundation.”
In addition to its impressive overall ranking, Penn State also posted solid performances in individual SDGs. Most notably, the university was the top American university in the Partnership SDG, which focuses on inclusive global partnerships.
Penn State also ranked second in the U.S. for the Sustainable Cities SDG and Life On Land SDG. It secured a third-place U.S. finish in the Zero Hunger SDG. All of these individual rankings are also among the top 25 in the world.
According to the university, its energy usage, water management, and research strategies helped it secure the high ranking.