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March 2, 2017

Public colloquium part of Friday's official launch of School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Editor’s note: ASU’s new School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership officially launched Friday. Here are highlights from the morning kickoff, which was attended by new school director Paul Carrese, ASU President Michael Crow, Gov. Doug Ducey and other elected officials. The full story that published Thursday about the new school follows below.

Paul Carrese

At Friday’s launch event, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership director Paul Carrese said the aim of the school is “to develop a new class of leaders.”

“This distinctive school is a blending of tradition and innovation: great ideas with preparation for leadership service,” he said.

Gov. Doug Ducey

Free speech was a theme at the event, with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey quoting Frederick Douglass that “to suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

“No one can ever accuse ASU of suppressing free speech,” Ducey said.

He also addressed the issue of a lack of diverse media exposure, saying, “We live in an age where it’s easy for people … to receive news from a single, handpicked source,” and that today’s university students are often encouraged to further insulate themselves from counter-perspectives.

“With this new school,” Ducey said, “ASU and the state of Arizona is bucking this trend. … As Americans, in times of great challenge, our heritage of rich intellectual discourse in the midst of different values and principles has served us honorably.

“The answer has never been less speech; it has always been more. Now at ASU and through the coursework at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, this tradition can continue.”

Michael Crow

ASU President Michael Crow proudly introduced the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as the 18th transdisciplinary school the university has launched.

“Education sits at the root of the core of the advancement of democracy,” Crow said, adding later that we “cannot advance the ideals of American democracy without intellectual combat.”

George Will

George Will (pictured above), a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative political commentator, served as the keynote speaker of the event. He echoed Ducey’s statements on free speech, remarking, “Whatever else universities do, they shouldn’t attack free speech.”

He also touched on a number of hot-button issues concerning the current political climate, including cultural bias and immigration.

“Today, the temperature of politics is exceptionally high because the stakes are unusually high,” Will said. “We’re arguing about basics.”

The most crucial word in the Declaration of Independence, he said, is “secure.”

“Governments and institutions are meant to secure [basic human] rights. …That there is a fixed human nature, that we are not infinitely malleable,” Will said, because when you allow those in charge to assume we are infinitely malleable, “you license a very sinister political project. To make of human clay whatever the political class of the moment wants to happen. Our natural rights are essential to the flourishing of creatures of our nature.”

Will noted that American poet Robert Frost once said, “I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”

“Arizona State and this new school within it is a way of letting the cream rise,” he said.


(Original story below.)

The notion that strong leadership and civil discourse are necessary in public affairs is ancient, going back to the great Greek thinkers and debaters who laid the foundation for modern democracy.

Lately, though, Paul Carrese feels that notion is woefully overlooked.

“Our political culture is in very bad shape, regardless of partisanship,” he said.

It’s something he hopes to change as director of Arizona State University’s new School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. The official school launch will take place at 7:30 a.m. Friday in the First Amendment Forum of the Walter Cronkite building on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Roughly 150 guests are expected to attend, including Carrese, ASU President Michael Crow, Gov. Doug Ducey and other elected officials.

“America and other liberal democracies need to provide space in universities to think about politics, public affairs, leadership and civic society in a way that allows for the search for common good,” Carrese said.

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will combine the principles and ideals of two existing ASU centers — the Center for Political Thought and Leadership and the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty — to provide a unique curriculum that reinforces traditional learning of time-honored knowledge while encouraging students to get real-world experience.

“The mission of the school will be to introduce students to the great philosophical debates across centuries through classic texts, and to use those texts and debates to prepare them for civic-minded leadership in the future,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and SciencesThe School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences..


School faculty and staff also will help guide students toward internship opportunities, whether in government, business or non-governmental organizations, on both a local and state level. Carrese has identified four major metropolitan areas — Arizona, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. — in which he hopes to eventually place students in internships.

Courses for the school’s bachelor’s degree in “Great Ideas and Leadership” are now available in the course catalog and will begin in the upcoming fall semester. More developments are underway, including a graduate program and a visiting-scholars program.

All of that will be supplemented by an extensive regular program of lectures and public dialogues to provide a model of civil debate for students, faculty, staff and the community at large. The value of reasonably and effectively working through disagreements is something we all need to be reminded of right now, Carrese said.

The first of such public colloquiums will take place Friday at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe. “Leadership and Politics in America After Election 2016” will consist of three separate talks: “The Meaning of Election 2016”; “Public Policy and the Common Good in the Trump Era”; and “Is a Contentious but Constructive Politics Possible?”

Kenney will moderate the first talk, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

“When I look back, I still remember as an undergrad going to hear visiting scholars and public intellectuals and top-tier reporters come to my university and talk, and it just really enlivens campus discussions and supplements and enhances the learning process and the range of views that are out there,” Kenney said. “President Crow has dedicated a lot of time and effort to that kind of thing across the university. It’s about bringing the world to ASU.”


Top photo: Conservative pundit George Will delivers the keynote address at the launch of ASU's new School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, a transdisciplinary program with a goal of engaging students in building a democracy. The launch featured around 150 people at the First Amendment Forum at the Cronkite School on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Friday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Selig's class a big hit with ASU Law students

ASU Law course takes broader view of baseball.
March 3, 2017

Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig teaches students that baseball is an institution that has affected American society

Allan H. “Bud” Selig sits inside the Beus Center for Law and Society before the last session of the Arizona State University course he’s teaching, and he wants to talk.

Not about baseball or the many milestones in his nearly 50-year careerSelig has been involved in Major League Baseball since 1970 and served as acting commissioner in 1992 before being named official commissioner in 1998. He helped shepherd the game into the modern era before retiring in July 2015.; the former Major League Baseball commissioner wants to reflect on matters much bigger than sports.

“I do love teaching, and the interaction with my students is just remarkable,” Selig said Friday from ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. “I feel fortunate and am grateful that I’m able to impart the knowledge and experiences that I’ve had.”

In January, Selig began teaching “American Society and Major League Baseball Since World War II,” an eight-week class with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law that examined the ways in which baseball reflected deeper-running currents in postwar America.

Some of the topics he broached in class — race, culture and the power of baseball as a social institution — could be seen as a curveball to some.

“It’s really my favorite part of the business,” said Selig, who was named the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Distinguished ProfessorIt’s Selig's third assignment as a professor at the university level. He has taught at Marquette University Law School since 2009 and, in 2015, began teaching at the University of Wisconsin, his alma mater. There, he endowed a chair in his name. At ASU, he helped the university select two Selig Sports Law & Business Scholars — one from the incoming juris doctorate class and another from the Master of Sports Law & Business or Master of Legal Studies. of Sports in America for the Sports Law & Business Program in 2016.

“Baseball, as I’ve often said to my students and to owners, is a social institution with enormous social responsibilities. I’m very proud of the role that baseball has played in American society.”

Selig starts his course with Jackie Robinson’s breaching of the “color bar” in 1947; geographical franchise shifts from the East to the West Coast; the cultural impact of the 1960s on the sport; and the growing cadre of Latino MLB players from outside the United States.

“It’s important for people to understand what baseball does and doesn’t do,” Selig said. “But it has impacted and changed society, and oftentimes people don’t understand how MLB has played a role in all of this. You can’t believe it unless you study these issues.”

Selig’s class also sinks its teeth into the stuff sports junkies want to know: shifting media relations, questions of franchise location, finances on stadium construction, strikes and free agencies, and current trends in baseball.

Sarah Wetter, one of approximately 20 students who took the LAW 791 course, called Selig’s class the highlight of her semester.

“It has been incredible to hear the stories about his interactions with players such as Derek Jeter that I have spent my life idolizing,” Wetter said. “Even though I will not likely pursue a career in sports law, I learned so much that it will impact my future.”

Like many of his students, the Milwaukee native and part-time Valley resident was an ardent fan of the sport growing up. As an owner, Selig experienced the cultural, political and economic upheavals of the 1970s and 1980s, labor conflicts, increasing competition from the National Football League, and the reframing of the game’s business model.

As MLB commissioner, he experienced the tumult of strikes and steroids, as well as the revitalization and globalization of the sport. He said he had to develop skills to deal with the present as well as keep an eye on future trends.

“That’s a tough skill, and it’s called vision,” Selig said. “I knew when I took over in 1992, baseball was really going to need vision in order to survive. Life was changing, the sport was changing and we had to do some things that baseball would have never considered doing before … and we did them.”

Under Selig’s watch, Major League Baseball expanded the wild-card format, instituted inter-league play, implemented instant replay, brokered a labor agreement with the Players’ Association that resulted in 21 years of peace, developed revenue sharing that led to greater competitive balance and crafted one of the most comprehensive drug-testing policies in professional sports.

Glenn M. Wong, executive director of the Sports Law and Business Program, said Selig’s class has left a lasting impression on students.

“To hear him share his perspective as the commissioner has been nothing short of amazing,” Wong said. “This is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students, and they have embraced it enthusiastically.”

Selig said he plans on returning to ASU in the fall and teaching “American Society and Major League Baseball Since World War II” again.

“When I was a kid in college many years ago, I wanted to be a history professor,” Selig said. “So here I am now late in my career, and I’m a history professor.

“It’s been a more rewarding experience than I had ever believed. I love teaching, and I’m sorry it’s over.”


Top photo: Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig talks about teaching at ASU on Friday on the Downtown Phoenix campus. He is the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Distinguished Professor of Sports in America in the Sports Law & Business program, where he just concluded the course "Major League Baseball Since World War II." Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now