Kent State's Makerspaces Named Best in Ohio, No. 6 Nationally In New Rankings

The makerspaces that compose Kent State University’s Design Innovation (DI) Initiative rank No. 6 among universities and colleges across the country, according to Great Value Colleges, which recently came out with the list 50 Best Makerspaces: These Cutting Edge College Collaborative Spaces Truly Rock! 


Kent State’s makerspaces, which number more than 25 across the eight-campus system, was named the top program in Ohio and entered the top 10 by surpassing programs at schools such as the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Harvard University.


Researchers at Great Value Colleges define a college makerspace as “being something between a traditional classroom and a space where people meet up to use technology to create new solutions,” Great Value Colleges Editor Julie McCaulley said in a statement. “They encourage creativity and novel approaches to global problems. A college needs to be able to do this with technologies, the arts, and its personal philosophy to be included in this list.”

J.R. Campbell, executive director of Kent State’s DI Initiative, said the high ranking is the byproduct of a dedicated approach to problem-solving.

“We are incredibly pleased to be recognized for our collaborative makerspace approach, through our Design Innovation Initiative, as both a university-wide ecosystem of ‘Design Innovation Nodes’ in conjunction with our soon-to-be-completed ‘Design Innovation Hub’ at Kent State University,” Campbell said. “What began as a student- and faculty-led grassroots initiative has evolved to allow us to place the communities of making (from every perspective) at the center of how we foster cross-disciplinary teams to engage in challenge-based innovation beyond the classroom.”

In a synopsis of the 50 Best Makerspaces, Great Value Colleges explained that in the fall of 2020, Kent State’s makerspaces will be given a huge boost when its 68,000-square-foot DI Hub opens, providing students with a “space that sparks open access collaborations across disciplines.” Great Value Colleges also cited Venturewell as being impressed with how Kent State has mapped out all of the makerspaces for students’ accessibility. Venturewell is an organization that fosters collaborations among researchers, students, inventors and the like to advance innovations and entrepreneurship education.

Kent State’s Spark Innovation Studio, located at 104 S. Lincoln St., Unit C, between Starbucks and Campus Book & Supply in Kent, is a multipurpose makerspace where students can learn, collaborate, design and create. The Academic Learning Commons Makerspace at Tuscawaras Campus provides innovative equipment, instruction and entrepreneurial support to students, faculty and the community.

“As the nature of how and what we learn continues to evolve, university makerspaces will become more crucial, not only for students but also for the entire community,” McCaulley said. “Makerspaces can provide the tools and support necessary for creativity to flourish and dreams to be realized.”

Check out the list at

To learn more about Kent State’s DI Initiative, visit

POSTED: Thursday, August 15, 2019 - 12:24pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 9:56am
April McClellan-Copeland