Newsweek Names Kent State One of the Best Maker Schools in the World

Kent State University has been recognized in Newsweek’s 2021 list of the Best Maker Schools in Higher Education, an international list that includes some of the most prestigious universities throughout the world.

Kent State shares the honor with 200 universities worldwide, including University of Cambridge in the UK; University of Toronto in CanadaParis College of Art in France and Lunghwa University of Science and Technology in Taiwan.

“This year for the first time Newsweek has teamed up with Make:, publisher of Make: magazine and books, to find The Best Maker Schools in Higher Education,” according to Nancy Cooper, global editor in chief. “These are universities, community and junior colleges, vocational and trade schools with curricula that encourage learning by doing; are supported by educators committed to collaborative problem-solving; have well-developed makerspaces, labs, and studios; and which support diverse, interactive communities that engage in knowledge and skill sharing. Our goal was to highlight institutions with innovative programs that demonstrate the ingenuity and community engagement that are hallmarks of the maker movement.”

The non-ranked list was generated by recommendation through a survey tool in collaboration with an international community of educators, administrators, students and maker leaders. To be considered for the list, recommended schools had to demonstrate excellence or competency in the following areas:

  • Integrated learning-through-doing orientation
  • Mentoring / guidance / coaching for making
  • Physical makerspaces / fablabs / workshops / studios
  • Accessible spaces and tools that support independent, collaborative projects
  • A diverse, active community of makers

J.R. Campbell, executive director of Kent State’s Design Innovation (DI) Initiative, said this is the first time that Kent State “has shown up in this way on the international stage.”

“The Top 50 maker school (in 2019) was a great ranking but focused on the U.S. only,” Campbell said. "It is nice to see us entering a global stage in terms of how we’re being seen in our role incorporating makerspace environment into higher education. In addition to our really cool building, we are trying to build a whole network of maker spaces and resource labs across the university and make them more accessible. We are trying to help students think of ‘making’ as not just access to tools, but a way to build community and capacity.”

Five universities closer to home share the Newsweek honor: Case Western Reserve UniversityOhio University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Akron, Wayne College and Otterbein University.

In 2019, the makerspaces that compose Kent State’s DI Initiative ranked No. 6 among universities and colleges across the country, according to Great Value Colleges, which released 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.

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

POSTED: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 12:17 PM
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 23, 2024 04:39 PM
April McClellan-Copeland