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NC State Ranks Globally For Sustainability Impact

NC State University and its contributions to global sustainability are highlighted in the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking – including topping the charts of U.S. universities in the area of innovation.

Released April 21, The Impact Rankings evaluate the research, stewardship, outreach and teaching contributions of universities toward the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global goals encompass environmental, societal and economic components of sustainable development.

In its first year participating, NC State is No. 1 in the U.S. and tied for No. 6 in the world on the goal of “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” (SDG Goal 9). NC State also ranked:

  • No. 7 in the U.S. and No. 41 in the world for “Clean Water and Sanitation” (SDG Goal 6)
  • No. 7 in the U.S. and No. 64 in the world for “Zero Hunger” (SDG Goal 2)
  • Tied for No. 30 in the U.S. for “Partnerships for the Goals” (SDG Goal 17)

Overall, NC State ranked in the top 300 out of 1,115 universities around the globe and tied for No. 16 among U.S. universities.

“The Sustainable Development Goals highlight some of the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges facing our state, nation and world. These impact rankings showcase how NC State is contributing to real-world solutions that improve lives,” said Allen Boyette, co-chair of the NC State Sustainability Council.

This month NC State launched an online database of undergraduate classes aligned with the SDGs. This university-wide resource, which was created by a team of interdisciplinary student researchers, surveyed more than 3,000 courses for connections with specific SDGs.

“Our students care about sustainability, and the Sustainable Development Goals are a broad, well-developed framework for teaching the disciplinary depth and critical thinking skills students need to analyze complex tradeoffs and implement practical solutions,” said Steve Kelley, co-chair of the NC State Sustainability Council.

More connection with the SDGs comes to campus this fall with the launch of a new initiative within NC State Global.

“This upcoming fall semester we are preparing to launch ‘Global Learning for All’ which focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, we are very optimistic that NC State will rank even higher next year with better data collection and submission,” said Dr. Bailian Li, Senior Vice Provost of the Office of Global Engagement.

Global Learning for All expands the focus of NC State Global to a wider variety of accessible program models, primarily by providing many more online or virtual global learning options, as well as campus-based curricular and co-curricular global activities. An important framework for a number of activities will be the 17 SDGs. Through engaging students, faculty, staff and the wider community in these activities, the Global Learning for All programming will provide participants with a better understanding of the SDGs’ importance in a global context and NC State’s contribution to addressing these critical issues.

“We are committed to addressing global challenges and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals in our teaching, research and engagement as a 21st century Land-Grant University,” Li said.