White House appoints ASU VP to key administration post

Beatriz Rendón named member of President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

May 10, 2016

President Obama announced his intent to appoint four individuals to key Administration posts and Beatriz Rendón, vice president of Educational Outreach and CEO of ASU Preparatory Academy, was among the list of well-respected professionals.

Rendón was sworn in as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in April.

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was originally established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic communities across the country.

The initative, in partnership with the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, will advance a strategic policy to tackle critical educational challenges such as, increasing the number of Hispanic high school graduates and ensuring more Hispanic students enroll and complete a post-secondary education.

“There is no greater equalizer than a college degree,” Rendón said. “I am honored to be a member of the Commission and welcome the opportunity to share the great work ASU is doing toward this end and contribute to policy discussions that assist with advancing this goal.”

Hispanics have the lowest education attainment levels of any group in the country despite being both the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. The primary goal of the Commission is to provide a platform in which to think through ways to improve academic achievement of Latino students.

Rendón has first-hand experience and with helping students achieve academic success. As CEO of ASU Prep, she leads a team that continues to raise the bar in terms of high school graduation rates and increasing the number of students who pursue a college education across student populations from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

ASU Prep is an innovative K-12 charter school, offering students an optimum environment for learning, helping them achieve their potential and ensure the appropriate level of college readiness. ASU Prep serves over 2,000 students across its sites and nearly half identify as Hispanic. In 2015, the first graduating class at ASU Prep realized a 98 percent four-year graduation rate and 100 percent of the students were admitted to a post-secondary study. ASU Prep’s class of 2016 is on track to graduate 100 percent of its seniors.

Through her leadership and commitment to closing the attainment gap, Rendón, in her current roles at ASU, is part of a team that will expand the reach and impact of outreach efforts and launch ASU Prep’s new online school in fall 2017.

Rendón noted that ASU Prep’s talented teaching faculty, staff, students and families have made tremendous progress, but there remains much to be done.

“We look forward to the future ahead, which will continue to build on the great work to date,” she said.

Much like the goals of the university, Rendón’s forward-thinking endeavors and commitment to increase Arizona’s college enrollment make her an invaluable asset to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“I am grateful to be part of a team of talented professionals committed to student success and college attainment, and am privileged to work for a leading university like ASU, to advance access and excellence for all,” she said.

More about the president’s announcement can be found here.

Thunderbird team wins international business ethics case competition

May 10, 2016

While cynics may say that business ethics is an oxymoron, it’s alive and well at ASU's Thunderbird School. Case in point: A team of five T-birds bested such b-school heavyweights as the University of St. Thomas, the University of Oxford-Saïd School of Business and the University of Miami to win top spot in two out of three categories in the 20th International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) held April 20-22, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In true Thunderbird fashion, the winning quintet included two Indian students (Vyoma Mehra and Gaurav Shetty), one Hungarian (Zoltan Nagy), one Australian (Christopher White) and one American (Kimberly Hergenrader). All five are Master of Global Management candidates who began their programs in spring of this year. This was their first case competition — and the first time Thunderbird took part in the IBECC. The Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University, which is headed by T-bird David C. Lincoln and family, funded the team’s participation. The winning Thunderbird team. Download Full Image

The IBECC, which is jointly sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University, the Opus College of Business of the University of St. Thomas, the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University and the Ethics & Compliance Initiative, asked teams of graduate and undergraduate business students to prepare three presentations on a business-ethics case of their choosing: a 25-minute presentation, a 10-minute presentation and a 90-second presentation.

Thunderbird’s team won both the 10-minute and 90-second rounds for their presentations on the 2015 privacy vs. protection dilemma Apple faced when asked by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide back-door access to the iPhones used by San Bernardino shooting assailants Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook.

“The ethical issue Apple faced was that to open access like this to the U.S. government would set a legal precedent that would have to be followed when any country’s government made a similar demand,” explained Mehra, the team’s lead. “Our stance was that Apple had a responsibility to both itself and the worldwide internet community to refuse this request because it could not risk being forced to comply with future governmental requests that might not be ethically motivated.”

The team had three months to prepare its position and presentations. Melissa Samuelson, clinical professor at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and former clinical professor of ethics at Thunderbird, acted as faculty coach and mentor.

“The Thunderbird team picked a case that was not only relevant for a major multinational company based in the US, but they were able to show and draw connections to global privacy and security issues in the technology industry,” said Samuelson. “This kind of analysis and understanding of global issues set this team above their peers. They approached the dilemma as if they were truly consulting with Apple on the most ethical response — not just preparing for a competition.”

That consultant mentality, however, got the team into a bit of a quandary when they chose to approach their 25-minute presentation (which was delivered first) as if the judges knew the ins and outs of the Apple situation and needed little background to follow the team’s position. They learned afterward that wasn’t the case.

“After the 25-minute round, we basically changed our presentation approach overnight and delivered the 10-minute and 90-second speeches from a more layman perspective,” Mehra said. The team also adjusted their speaker roles for the following two presentations after learning that the judges were challenged by all of their varying accents.

“At Thunderbird we hear different accents all the time so it isn’t unusual for us. We adjusted our approach so we would not have that problem again,” Mehra said.

Accent issues aside, the global nature of the Thunderbird team had extraordinary benefits.

“Our diversity allowed us to bring a global perspective that other teams could not,” said Mehra. “The cultures represented in our group — and the international dimension that added — brought so much to our discussions and our solution.”

How did the team propose Apple handle issues of this nature moving forward? Create a detailed, hacker-proof process by which the Apple organization can access iPhone data stored on iCloud (which, for legal purposes, belongs to Apple) — rather than a process for accessing data stored on the phone itself (which belongs to the individual). By doing so, Apple can share its own data without overstepping its ethical bounds.

As the first business school to adopt a professional Oath of Honor pledging commitment to ethical business practices, ethics is a fundamental pillar of the Thunderbird experience. These students are a perfect example of that.

“The IBECC was an amazing experience,” said Mehra. “We look forward to participating again next year — and bringing an undergraduate Thunderbird team with us.”