Change Takes Root in the Desert

November 19, 2012

By itself, Arizona State University's transformation over the past decade into the nation's biggest public university wouldn't be allthat significant. Yet by the measures on which it prides itself—its 9-percentage-point increase in freshman-to-sophomore retention rates, its 48-percent increase in bachelor's graduates in STEM fields, its tripling ofspending on research, its top-5 rank as a producer of Fulbright students, its above-average increase in the proportion of Pell Grant recipients enrolled, and even its increasing efficiency in spending per degree awarded—it's clear that the size of this university has been key. ASU's size helped make those achievements possible, and it makes them all the more significant.