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Honoring innovation at ASU

Free online program for teachers wins ASU President's Innovation Award.
Other honorees are youth-fitness partnership, paint-reuse program and Starbucks.
April 11, 2016

Free online classes for teachers among several ASU initiatives to be honored by President's Awards

Classroom teachers are more crunched than ever, and many see time spent on professional development as inefficient and a waste of resources.

Arizona State University is working to help teachers build their skills through a series of free online modules.

The micro-courses — each an hour or less — have been created by the Sanford Inspire Program, part of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU.

The program, funded by the Denny Sanford Foundation, looks to remake professional development for teachers, who can log on any time they want and take courses in how to give clear directions on a task, integrating physical activity into a lesson, how to motivate students and dozens of other topics.

Sanford Inspire is so distinctive that it has won the President’s Award for Innovation for 2016. 

“It is a huge honor to be selected for this competitive award at an institution that is known for innovation,” said Ryen Borden, executive director of the Sanford Inspire Program.

“Earlier this year, ASU was named the nation’s most innovative university by U.S. News & World Report, adding to the depth and meaning of this university-wide recognition.”

Sanford Inspire is one of two winners of the President’s Award for Innovation this year. The other is the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a unique partnership to expand access to higher education. Under the initiative, Starbucks employees who work as little as 20 hours per week can finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement through any of ASU’s online undergraduate degree programs. There is no obligation for partners to stay at Starbucks after they graduate from ASU.

Other winners to be recognized at the President’s Recognition Reception on Tuesday, April 12, are:

President’s Award for Sustainability: The No Wasted Paint Program by Facilities Management. This initiative finds old paint throughout the campus, accommodates requests by departments and contractors to pick up leftover paint and accepts paint that has been delivered anonymously to their shop. The paint is cataloged by building, color and date and used for projects such as graffiti cover-up. The reclaimed paint is also given to students and departments for approved projects.

Since the No Wasted Paint Program began in 2008, 1,547 gallons of leftover paint have been used on campus, which has averted sending 28 55-gallon drums out of state as hazardous waste. This has saved the paint shop almost $31,000 in paint purchases and avoided $3,100 to $4,600 in hazardous-waste disposal fees.

President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness: FitPHX Energy Zones. This program offers free fitness and nutrition education to middle-school students at public libraries. It’s a collaboration among ASU’s Obesity Solutions initiative, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation, Phoenix Public Libraries, the Phoenix Mayor’s Office, Mayo Clinic, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and several ASU schools and colleges.

The program provides ASU undergraduates with a real-world internship, training the next generation of professionals and providing role models to youth.

SUN Award for Individual Excellence

  • Stacey Bales, coordinator for engineering student success, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Polytechnic campus
  • Haley Chapman, associate director for academic services, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, West campus
  • Brian McCarthy, University Registrar Services
  • Kate Opitz, academic success coordinator, College of Health Solutions, Downtown Phoenix campus


Economic development delegation visits ASU

April 11, 2016

More than 50 economic development leaders from countries ranging from Colombia to Korea are visiting Arizona State University this week to learn more about how to grow businesses and international trade.

The U.S. Commerce Department and State Department, among other federal agencies, are bringing the delegation to Arizona and Southern California to soak up ideas and examples of innovation and entrepreneurship. ASU has developed a variety of business incubator and accelerator programs and is operating partnerships throughout the world to aid economic development, from helping Mexico strengthen its electrical power grid to educating engineers in Ghana. A giant sculpture of a globe. Photo by David Ritter/ Download Full Image

The delegation includes trade, commerce and development representatives from Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, the Bahamas, Cyprus, Korea, Canada and Kazakhstan.

The delegation’s federal program, called the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is designed for regional leaders to learn firsthand from successful projects, share their knowledge and experiences, identify collaboration opportunities, and create long-term trade and research partnerships. Organizers hope to encourage the transfer of successful models to help create economic development in the Americas that is sustainable and benefits the economy broadly rather than just a segment.

At ASU, the Latin American leaders will visit the Biodesign Institute, whose creation was based around the innovative idea of multiple academic disciplines working together to solve problems by exploring the designs and genius that exist within the natural world. They will meet with Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, ASU’s chief research and innovation officer and executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and, at the Polytechnic campus, with Wellington “Duke” Reiter, special adviser to President Crow and a key figure in the creation of ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, which helped revive the heart of the city.

The ASU visit, arranged by the Arizona Commerce Authority, is part of a larger tour that includes Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Oracle, Tucson and Yuma, followed by Imperial Valley and San Diego, in California.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications