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More military-affiliated members, their families turn to ASU for online degrees

March 19, 2020

Arizona State University has a long-standing commitment to the military community and its veterans, long after they have finished active duty, and once they are ready to pursue a degree and a new career path in civilian life.

Over the past decade, more military-affiliated families have taken advantage of ASU’s growing, reputable online courses, fulfilling degrees in engineering, criminology, criminal justice studies or social work — to name a few. According to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, about 9,700 military-affiliated students are currently enrolled at ASU. And of the university’s military-affiliated population, 73% of students attend online, according to Mario Matus, assistant director of Online Student Services at EdPlus.

Matus believes the university has experienced successful recruitment efforts because of its partnership with the Tillman Center, which helps military members transition into student life by assisting with essentials like benefits/funding processing and counseling. In addition, EdPlus has a team of specialized enrollment advisers and coaches who are trained to answer military-related questions, streamlining support and services for the military/veteran population.

“This includes increasing their knowledge on the availability and process of setting up military/VA benefits, sharing ASU resource information for military and better understanding the unique circumstances our military active duty students face when looking at starting school,” Matus said.

There’s also the appeal of accessibility for military members, especially active duty members, who can pursue an ASU degree online — while on deployment — without having to be on campus. Matus explains the university is always looking for different ways to assist the military community and better prepare them for success.

“In the past this has included creating an internal funded scholarship to help reduce costs for our undergrad active duty students using military tuition assistance,” Matus said. “We also developed a free ASU Online orientation course for newly admitted military and veteran students to take prior to their first full class to better prepare them for the online format and military-specific resources available to them.”

ASU is notably invested in research and is deeply committed to building a bridge between students and top leading defense or security-related companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to create job opportunities for ASU alums and veterans. In fiscal year 2019, ASU researchers submitted $186 million in proposals to the Department of Defense, received more than $50 million in award obligations and reached more than $36 million in DOD-funded research expenditures.

The mission to provide higher education resources to military members and their families doesn’t end there.

“We are increasing our connection with military bases around the country so we can inform students not only about ASU but education opportunities overall with on base seminars and sharing information with leadership,” Matus said. “We will continue with efforts like these to support students and prepare them for success.”

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Connecting (from a distance) with Jane Austen

March 19, 2020

Editor's note: To stave off the stay-at-home blues, Devoney Looser is also participating with other scholars and Janeites (including ASU alumna Amanda Prahl) in VirtualJaneCon, a free, online Jane Austen convention, this March 28–29. For more information, visit

It’s fitting in the 21st century that one can visit several time zones without leaving the comfort of one’s living room/recording studio to discuss an 18th-century author. Indeed, Devoney Looser, Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University, has been gracing the airwaves with her knowledge of all things Austen as of late.

First, Looser followed up on her piece contextualizing the PBS Masterpiece adaptation of Austen’s unfinished “Sanditon” novel with a “bonus” appearance on Nerdcast, Arizona PBS’s new educational podcast. In the episode, Looser spent time talking through previous attempts by other writers, including Austen’s own niece, to complete “Sanditon.”

“Andrew Davies was not the first to do that,” Looser said in reference to the Masterpiece series’ director. “Although he is the first, I think, to give it this level of sexiness.”

The episode was posted on Feb. 24.

Next, Looser was featured on ZOOM, a podcast from Focus Features — no relation to the online conference tool now ubiquitous in remote teaching. Hosted by Amy Nicholson, a film critic for Variety magazine, each episode explores science, technology and history through modern-day film.

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Devoney Looser

Looser and Nicholson delved into the social and cultural issues surrounding Austen’s “Emma,” which was rebooted by Focus Features in February. The discussion explored lesser-known aspects of the writer herself, including her wit and provocative views on women’s roles and social class, which Austen subtly injected into her novels. Looser had also debunked these and other common misunderstandings in her recent Washington Post column: “Five myths about Jane Austen.”

Coincidentally, this week NBC Universal announced — just in time for those of us practicing social distancing by staying home — that several of its films still in theatres, including “Emma,” will be available for purchase to stream beginning as early as March 20.

All this caps off a recent notice that Looser is the recipient of the highly prestigious Bellagio Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation. Not surprisingly, the in-person residency has been put on hold. But when travel is normalized again, Looser will be at the Bellagio Center in Italy, where she’ll work on completing the literary biography, “Sister Novelists: The Celebrated Misses Porter in the Age of Jane Austen.”

Top photo: Image of books written by Jane Austen by Leah Kelley on Pexels