AMES, Iowa – President Wendy Wintersteen made it a goal to position Iowa State University as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. The latest rankings from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine reflect those growing efforts.
Iowa State is ranked 11th in The Princeton Review’s 15th annual survey of undergraduate schools for entrepreneurship studies. That’s up from 26th in the 2020 rankings.
“This one-year jump in the national ranking to 11th shows that entrepreneurship and innovation are a key differentiator for Iowa State University,” said President Wendy Wintersteen. “No other university is doing student entrepreneurship and innovation on the scale occurring at Iowa State.
“Our students are not only learning about entrepreneurship and innovation in our brand new Student Innovation Center and in every college, they’re seeing our faculty and staff model it every day through our teaching, research, and extension programs that address complex challenges, create economic opportunities and benefit all Iowans.”
In the three years since Wintersteen became president, Iowa State has established a campus-wide ecosystem that infuses innovation and entrepreneurship into the curriculum. Detecting early risk of disease with retinal imaging, using virtual reality to experience new spaces and developing nanovaccines to protect against infections are just a few of examples.
President Wintersteen’s initiative, Innovate at Iowa State, seeks to expand the campus culture centered on providing students with the skills, mindset and opportunities to change the world. The initiative builds off a longstanding culture of innovation and integrates existing programs such as those offered through ISU’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.
Students in all majors also have the opportunity to collaborate, design, build and test their ideas in the new Student Innovation Center. The state-of-the-art facility is a hands-on hub for everything from lunar mining and solar-powered vehicles to a student-run café and a media production suite. The center has developed a broad, diverse set of programs aimed at students who wish to gain insights and lessons learned from national entrepreneurial leaders.
Iowa State’s colleges offer a variety of courses and academic opportunities focused on entrepreneurship. In addition to a major and Ph.D. program, the university offers a 15-credit minor for students in any major. The program helps students develop an entrepreneurial mindset that can be applied to everything from startup strategy to employment within an existing organization.
The Princeton Review rankings are based on data collected from 300 schools including: the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships, and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.