MSU ranked highly for sustainability by Times Higher Education

June 2, 2023 - Dan Olsen - MSU Today

Michigan State University – home to the state's largest and one of the first mass-timber buildings, the nation's largest solar carport array, a growing electric vehicle fleet, and a campus of more than 20,000 trees – jumped seven spots to No. 26 globally in Times Higher Education’s 2023 Impact Rankings. MSU also maintained its prestigious No. 2 ranking in the United States.


In three years, MSU has moved from a global ranking between 101 and 200 to No. 26. MSU is the only university in Michigan and in the Big Ten to appear in the top 30.


“These top rankings embody MSU’s fundamental dedication to being Spartan green and incorporating sustainability into every facet of our work – from education, outreach and research to operational practices that create a healthier environment for our campus and the world,” said Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “In 2021, we set forward an ambitious goal of becoming a top 100 global impact university by 2030. For two consecutive years, we’ve exceeded that goal and pushed the boundaries of a more sustainable future for all.”


The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings is the only global performance index that measures how well universities are meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, combining research, curriculum and policy in relation to each of the SDG topics. This is the fifth year for the ranking and MSU’s third year participating. 


In addition to the overall rankings, MSU is ranked globally in the top 20 in three key areas and the top 50 in one additional area:


No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 34 globally for Partnership for the Goals

The Partnership for the Goals ranking reviews how universities support the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals through collaborations with other countries, promotion of best practices and publication of data.


No. 2 in the U.S. (a two-point improvement) and No. 9 globally for Life on Land (an 18-point improvement)

The Life on Land ranking analyzes universities’ research of life on land and their education on, and support for, land ecosystems.


No. 2 in the U.S. (a two-point improvement) and No. 14 globally for Sustainable Cities and Communities (an 11-point improvement)

The Sustainable Cities and Communities ranking measures institutions’ research on sustainability, their role as custodians of arts and heritage and their internal approaches to sustainability.


No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 19 globally for Zero Hunger

The Zero Hunger ranking looks at universities’ research on hunger, their teaching on food sustainability and their commitment to reducing food waste and addressing hunger on campus and in local communities.


“MSU is increasingly being recognized for its tremendous efforts in advancing sustainability and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” said Chip Amoe, director of sustainability at MSU. “We have always aimed to be a leading university at the forefront of tackling climate change and promoting a sustainable campus community and world. These rankings, though only a snapshot, affirm that we’re on the right track.”


Times Higher Education assesses data submitted by universities related to the SDGs. The organization then carefully calibrates indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons across four broad areas: research, outreach, stewardship and teaching. An explanation of the full methodology for the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023 is available on its website.

By: Dan Olsen - as posted on MSU Today.