National, global rankings highlight Virginia Tech research, sustainability, inclusive culture
Virginia Tech received high marks in two recent rankings of universities across the country and the world, highlighting strengths in research, inclusivity, academic quality, and more.
The QS World University ranking of colleges in the United States listed Virginia Tech at No. 73, up from No. 100 in 2020. Virginia Tech was ranked among the top 20 of public land grant institutions, with high research activity, in the country.
Universities were evaluated based on 17 metrics across four categories — employability, diversity and internationalization, learning experience, and research.
In addition to the QS ranking, Virginia Tech was one of more than a thousand universities across the world to be recognized in the annual Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. It assesses institutions next to 17 goals for sustainable development established by the United Nations. Approximately 1,117 universities spanning 94 countries participated in these rankings, comparing institutions across three categories — research, stewardship, and outreach.
“The upward movement of Virginia Tech in these highly competitive global rankings is exciting and reflects our status as a leading global land-grant university,” said Dan Sui, vice president for research and innovation at Virginia Tech. “These ambitious goals inspire Virginia Tech researchers to solve problems that impact the community, the nation, and the globe and will enhance our quest to propel the research enterprise from national excellence to global eminence.”
In its first year as part of the Impact rankings, Virginia Tech scored above median in eight goals. They are good health and well being; quality education; gender equity; clean water and sanitation; decent work and economic growth; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; and responsible consumption and production.
Notably, Virginia Tech was 23rd out of 503 institutions globally for responsible consumption and production. It was 56th out of 669 institutions globally for reduced inequalities.
As part of its efforts to increase diversity across campus, Virginia Tech has launched numerous initiatives, including the SOAR (Student Opportunities and Achievement Resources) program. It was created in 2019 to welcome and retain underrepresented minority students and promote their success.
The university also is working to increase accessibility. This includes developing a fund to support live, synchronous captioning for eligible events and centralized funding to support reasonable accommodations for employees and students. There also are ongoing efforts to improve physical accessibility and increase the number of all gender restrooms on campus. A university Campus Accessibility Working Group, established in 2018, identifies opportunities and solutions that advance accessibility across multiple areas.
For its 2020 work in sustainability, Virginia Tech earned a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Also, the third iteration of Virginia Tech’s Climate Action Commitment was approved by the university’s Board of Visitors in March and includes 15 recommendations for advancing sustainability over the next five to 10 years.
“High Impact marks across sustainability and inclusion and diversity are all optimistic indicators of our ability to achieve long-term Beyond Boundaries vision as a comprehensive research land-grant university on a global scale,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president and chief business officer at Virginia Tech. “This recognition is not only a reason to celebrate, but a call to rise up to continue our efforts in this ambitious pursuit.”
Story by Jenny Kincaid Boone