The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been recognized this year by the Times Higher Education’s (THE) as first in the United States in the University Impact Rankings and 24th out of 462 participating universities globally.

THE uses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to rank universities. Of these SDGs, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked highest in Climate Action, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Sustainable Cities and Communities. Carolina ranked second place in Climate Action, which measures research done on climate change, use of energy and preparations for dealing with the consequences of climate change, with a raw score of 94.9 out of 100.

“We’re very proud of how well we rank as first-time applicants to the University Impact Rankings,” said Brad Ives, chief sustainability officer and associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises. “This ranking sets a baseline for us to see where we can improve and how we can better learn from partner institutions in order to accomplish our goals.”

The application process for the ranking system began in early November and required data collected from more than 50 areas of campus, and encompassed data points relating to health, education, gender equity, energy and governance.

“It has been very rewarding to work with so many subject matter experts from across campus to tell Carolina’s story of excellence in sustainability,” said Gayle Hart, a research specialist with the office of institutional research and assessment. “It truly was a collaborative effort to respond to this survey, and no narrative would be complete without acknowledging UNC Global’s Katie Bowler-Young and Vice Provost of Academic Initiative’s Carol Tresolini’s instrumental support.”

Cindy Shea, director of the sustainability office, compiled data from on-campus partners in order to submit the application.

“The office of institutional research and assessment and the sustainability office reached out to teaching, research, and engagement units across campus that are addressing sustainability challenges and partnering with communities at home and abroad to solve them,” said Shea. “The depth and breadth of work underway at Carolina to develop and deliver solutions to sustainability challenges is truly impressive.”

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