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ASU takes top spot for international students

ASU holds position as No. 1 public research institution for global students.
November 14, 2016

University maintains position as No. 1 public research institution for international scholars, according to newly released survey

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.

Arizona State University has maintained its position as the No. 1 public university in the U.S. for hosting international students, and moved up a spot to No. 3 overall for colleges or universities, according to a newly released survey.

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released Monday also ranked ASU in the top 25 for domestic students studying abroad.

The report, issued by the independent non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE), indicated the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed 1 million for the first time during the 2015-2016 academic year. 

ASU's international student enrollment topped 12,750 such students, trailing only New York University and the University of Southern California.

The international Sun Devils represent more than half of the global scholars attending a college or university in the state of Arizona.

Degree-seeking international student enrollment at ASU has more than doubled in the past five years. In that time, students from more than 150 countries have enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in every discipline.

In last year's Open Doors Report, ASU took the top spot among public research instutions and was No. 4 for overall colleges and univerisites. 

Karan Syal, a student from India, is a doctoral student in the biological design program, a branch of Biomedical Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Syal is passionate about solving problems in health care. What attracted him to study abroad was the flexibility in research that American universities allow; he said he chose ASU for the cross-disciplinary environment it provides.

“I strongly believe that the most interesting health-care challenges of our times are at the intersection of science, engineering, business and regulatory fields,” he said. “At the Biodesign Institute at ASU, I solve for the complex real-world problems in health care. I have great mentors in helping me bridge multiple diverse fields while attempting to solve global health-care challenges in my research.”

Students including Syal find success through the guidance of world-renowned faculty and the support services provided by the university that makes it a priority to help students achieve their academic aspirations.

The ASU International Scholars and Student Center provides international student support and facilitates the success of international students and scholars during their stay in the U.S., including advisement on a variety of concerns such as visas and job placement. Additionally, the center facilitates the integration of students from other countries into life at an American university and helps with cultural adjustment.

“The university is a place where value is placed on inclusivity and success of all of our students,” Holly Singh, senior director of the International Scholars and Student Center, said. “Our center provides holistic student support to ensure international students and scholars feel welcome and have the tools necessary to succeed in their endeavors.”

In addition to the International Scholars and Student Success Center, ASU is committed to offering programs that provide academic and student support. ASU’s Global Launch provides English language training and academic preparation services designed to help students succeed in their new academic environment, and the Coalition of International Students unites university cultural groups and promotes increased understanding among cultures within and outside the university.

While international students benefit from attending U.S. universities and colleges, the continued growth of international students coming to the U.S. also benefits American students, according to the IIE. Students from around the world bring international perspectives into U.S. classrooms and provide a global viewpoint to scientific and technical research, helping prepare American students for a globally connected society.

Likewise, American students are finding studying abroad beneficial to their academic and professional careers. ASU students are studying abroad in increasing numbers — more than 2,100 last academic year. ASU offers 250 study-abroad programs in more than 65 different countries.

The growth is attributed to the university’s focus on seeing more students engage globally. This includes first-generation students and graduate students who are studying abroad. Growth is expected as ASU continues to strive for accessible study-abroad opportunities for all ASU students. This is part of an effort to bolster the personal, academic and professional benefits that come with interacting with people from different cultures and experiencing different views from around the globe.

In addition to being in the top public institution for international students, ASU was ranked as the most innovative school in the United States for the second year in a row by U.S. News & World Report and rated in the top one-half of 1 percent of institutions of higher education worldwide by the Center for World University Rankings.


Top photo: International students work on their English composition skills in lecturer Amy Shinabarger's Intro to Academic Writing class on the Polytechnic campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Workshop looks at keeping food of future healthy for us, the land, our cultures.
November 14, 2016

ASU professor Joan McGregor leads Dinner 2040, where lawmakers, academics and chefs discuss production over gourmet meals

Chefs, professors and everyday foodies were busy using their taste buds to delineate the finer notes of hibiscus, passion fruit and orange blossom. Their minds, however, were focused on whether they’d have access to such ingredients in the future.

They gathered for Dinner 2040, a gourmet-meal-tasting-turned-panel-discussion led by ASU philosophy professor Joan McGregor, at an organic farm in Phoenix. The event put university experts together with chefs, activists, legislators and others to think about the future of food in Maricopa County.

“We’re here today to learn from each other, and to share ideas and expertise in order to produce a vision of what the food system should look like in 25 years,” McGregor said.

The current system is “an environmental and humanitarian disaster,” said Maya Dailey, owner and operator of Maya’s Farm, railing against pesticides, GMOs, sub-par wages and hostile working conditions.

Diners took their places Sunday morning at tables set between mature mesquite trees at Maya's Farm, where they were met with bowls of a 10-spice nut mixture, provided by the same chef who created the tangy flower punch, Danielle Leoni of Jamaican-inspired eatery The Breadfruit and Rum Bar.

From there, they were served a variety of equitably produced epicurean delights: salads — one grain-based, one cucumber-based — from chef Chris Bianco of downtown Phoenix’s renowned Pizzeria Bianco; breads from Tempe’s Essence Bakery; and desserts from local pastry chef Tracy Dempsey and Fairytale Brownies’ Eileen Spitalny.

The food led to discussions.

At one table, Sam Pillsbury of Pillsbury Wine Company lamented the degradation of society’s ability to appreciate food that’s good for them and good for the environment: “People don’t know what fresh tastes like anymore,” he said. “They have to re-learn what to expect to taste.”

A few tables over, Arizona state Rep. Ken Clark talked about the need for policy that supports sustainable food practices.

Next to his table, ASU associate professor of Italian Juliann Vitullo and her group envisioned a future education system that incorporates food production into the curriculum and features a garden in every schoolyard.

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now


Adrienne Udarbe, executive director of the Arizona-based non-profit Pinnacle Prevention, which works to grow healthy families and communities through a more conscious food system, said Dinner 2040 is “the first step in a dialogue” between ASU and community partners that has the potential to make real change, calling the unique gathering a valuable opportunity to “hear various perspectives from a diversity of players.”

And that’s the whole idea — McGregor purposely chose to employ a charrette-style gathering, in which various stakeholders join their knowledge to tackle an issue. In the case of Dinner 2040, they’re focusing on five key values:

  • Ensuring that our food system reflects historical, cultural and place-based best practices.
  • Designing a food system that considers the current strengths and challenges in the region’s availability of natural resources and protects those resources for future generations.
  • Ensuring our food system supports creating healthy, balanced meals and dishes that draw on culinary traditions, creativity and experimentation.
  • Designing a food system that ensures justice for the environment, animals, workers and consumers.
  • Making sure individuals and communities have a voice in their food system, control over where their food comes from and access to the types of food they want.

“It’s very important to understand what we can do,” Bianco said. “And what we can do is come together to discuss and try to figure things out.”

McGregor said there is much to be done, but that she has high hopes.

“Communities need to get involved in this to make a difference,” she said, “but I think some people in the local food movement are already on it, encouraging people to buy locally and using locally sourced foods. Just getting people thinking about it can lead to more positive action.”

McGregor hopes Dinner 2040 events will help to develop a template for “future of food” workshops and dinners in communities across North America. Though there is no date set for the next workshop, interested parties can keep track of the initiative’s progress here.


Top photo: Chef Danielle Leoni created a dish of nuts, dates and raisins from Bob McClendon's farm in Phoenix, spices from around the world, and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds from Maya's Farm in Phoenix on Sunday. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657