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Strengthening global partnerships

ASU, Sichuan University explore ways to broaden partnership.
ASU renews its partnership with Sichuan University in China.
January 5, 2016

ASU, Sichuan University renew ties

Arizona State University has had a deep partnership with Sichuan University for several years, including student and faculty exchanges, and the two institutions strengthened those ties on Tuesday.

A delegation from Sichuan UniversitySichuan University Sichuan University, in Chengdu, China, has 40,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 master's and PhD candidates. visited ASU to sign a renewal agreement and to discuss new programs that would benefit the two world-class universities. Sustainability, language studies and fine arts were mentioned as potential areas of collaboration.

“I think global studies is an important area for the two universities to work together,” said Shijing Yan, vice president of Sichuan University for international affairs and humanities and social science.

He cited the Confucius Institute at ASU as a particular benefit to both universities.

“It is highly appreciated,” Yan said.

The institute offers Chinese language lessons, a camp for Valley youths and community cultural events as well as an eight-week summer language program for ASU students at Sichuan University.

Provost Mark Searle said the Sichuan partnership is an important part of ASU’s mission.

“ASU has been on a continuous track for a number of years to globalize the institution by encouraging more international students to study here,” said Searle (shown above presenting a gift bag to Yan).

Nearly 10,000 international students attend ASU, with more than a third of them from China.

Sichuan students

Administrators from Sichuan University met with Sichuan students who are studying at ASU. Photos by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Searle mentioned ASU’s recent acquisition of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the potential for a partnership at the Glendale campus intrigued the Sichuan administrators.

“There might be another point of action there to build on,” Searle said. “Your students would come with a huge advantage. Thunderbird’s undergraduate and master’s program require second-language competency, and your students come with two languages.”

After the signing, the Sichuan delegation met with their own students who are studying at ASU, as well as with staff from the study-abroad office and several academic colleges.

Yan said the partnership has been beneficial to Sichuan’s students.

“The students say the summers are hot,” Yan said. “But this you cannot avoid.”

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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Uncovering the history of Perry Mesa one sherd at a time

January 6, 2016


That’s the sound 16 volunteers had their ears out for as they surveyed an area in Perry Mesa, 77 miles north of Phoenix, looking for prehistoric artifacts one cold December morning.

The volunteers, four of which are Arizona State University students, were to yell “sherd” whenever they found an artifact. The sherdsIn archaeology, a sherd, or more precisely, potsherd, is commonly a historic or prehistoric fragment of pottery. Occasionally, a piece of broken pottery may be referred to as a shard. While the spelling shard is generally reserved for referring to fragments of glass vessels the term does not exclude pottery fragments. Source: Wikipedia. will help piece together where a mysterious population, who once made this area their home, came from. It’s part of a five-year research project conducted by ASU and the Friends of Tonto National Forest.

ASU anthropology senior Sarah Garner said she found two pottery sherds that were bigger than her hand and at least a half-an-inch thick.

According to David Abbott, associate professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, between 1,000 to 2,000 people lived in the area in the late 13th to early 14th centuries. Abbott, along with retired forest archaeologist Scott Wood, led the group of volunteersThose who want to volunteer, ASU student or not, can contact the Friends of the Tonto National Forest at

Wood said this population seems to have come out of nowhere, and the project will help uncover why this population settled here and if there were others before them.

The group trained for the search at the Seven Springs area outside of Cave Creek. They moved up and down in lines while in pairs to cover the area and properly survey the land, while marking their path. Wood simply described the technique as “walking across the landscape and trying to find stuff.”

The volunteers were also briefed on the various artifacts they might find while transecting the area, such as Wingfield Red Pottery and Jeddito Yellow Ware. Both are significant because they are not native to the area, hence signifying trade. Also the age of found artifacts could contain clues to a civilization that may have settled the area prior to the 13th-century residents. 

Over the next few years, ASU and the Friends of Tonto National Forest will work together to uncover more of Perry Mesa’s history.

Wood says one of the most satisfying parts of this project is that it brings a diverse group of people together: “It’s going to involve different kinds of people, different expertise and provide opportunities for people to come do something they’ve never done before.”

Learn more about some of the artifacts they found via the videos below.

Videos by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now