image title

Tiffany López appointed ASU's next vice provost for inclusion and community engagement

January 15, 2021

Tiffany López, professor in The New American Film School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, has been named Arizona State University’s next vice provost for inclusion and community engagement.

López assumed the new leadership role on Jan. 1, after spending the fall semester in the provost’s office as a leadership fellow, working alongside Professor Stanlie James, who vacated the role Dec. 31, 2020. James will retire in May 2021.

López was previously the director of the former School of Film, Dance and Theatre. The Herberger Institute recently reorganized its schools, with the School of Music, Dance and Theatre and The New American Film School taking the place of the former School of Film, Dance and Theatre and the School of Music.

As the School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s director since July 2016, López has helped position ASU’s film program as one of the top 25 fastest-growing programs in the nation, while increasing the number of undergraduate female filmmakers and diversifying faculty within the school’s programs. She has also been a key player in preparing the university's film program to launch into The New American Film School and for the Herberger Institute's scheduled expansion into Mesa City Center in 2022.

As a first-generation college student, López has dedicated her career to expanding opportunities in higher education, advancing the role of the arts and building pathways to support success through leadership. López believes she would not be where she is today without the support of transformative mentors.

“I’m excited to be appointed into a leadership role that serves the entire university and has a core focus on inclusion and community engagement,” López said. “These are pillars for creating an environment where everyone feels supported to bring their best and whole selves to working with a sense of purpose and connection.”

The Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement is a unit within the Office of the University Provost that helps ASU achieve its commitment to creating an inclusive environment through campus programs, initiatives and beyond.

“Dr. López has demonstrated great efforts in advancing the university’s commitment to inclusion,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “Her leadership of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre reflects that and positions her well to contribute to the university’s continued work toward a fully inclusive community. Tiffany will be building on the work of Professor James and her challenge will be to help ASU accelerate its achievement of its goals.”

Before coming to ASU, López spent more than two decades at the University of California, Riverside, where inclusion and community engagement were instrumental to her teaching, research and creative activity on how artists use their work to stage conversations about trauma and violence to generate paths for personal and social change.

It has been no different at ASU’s Herberger Institute. López has worked tirelessly to create a spirit of “radical welcome.” And as senior adviser to the dean for equity practices and engagement, she has helped advance inclusive initiatives, such as recent work with the social justice organization Race Forward and the ongoing Projecting All Voices fellows program.

“I’m looking forward to working with university leaders and members of the ASU community to identify the gap between our intentions and impact,” said López about her goals in the new leadership role. “This is necessary to fully realize the vision of our charter, which provides such a wonderful compass for this work.”

López is a founding member of the Latino Theater Alliance of Los Angeles, the National Latinx Theater Commons and the Latinx Literature Society for the American Literature Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento and her master’s degree and PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was also the first Cesar Chavez Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College.

López is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including ASU Faculty Women’s Association Outstanding Faculty Mentor award (2019), Hispanic Lifestyle Latina of Influence (2015), Fulbright Scholar (2004); and numerous grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller Foundation.

Top photo of Tiffany López provided by the Herberger Institute. 

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

image title

New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

New research director of Kyl Center sees water equity as a top issue for state.
January 12, 2021

Kathryn Sorenson sees clean water as 'the foundation of public health'

When Kathryn Sorenson was director of water services for the city of Phoenix, she was in charge of a massive infrastructure that included 7,000 miles of pipeline.

When she needed information, she often used the resources of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University, which provides research and support for decision-makers.

“They have produced some amazing papers on water security, groundwater management and adjudication reform,” Sorenson said.

“I used the Arizona Water Blueprint all the time,” she said of the online visualization tool that uses maps and data sets to show a holistic view of water in the state.

woman's portrait

Now, Sorenson is part of the Kyl Center team, where she recently was named director of research. The Kyl Center is part of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

“I’m so excited to contribute to what the center has already done,” she said.

"It's exciting to be able to bring to ASU my experience leading large municipal water systems.

“Access to clean water is a fundamental need of every person on Earth, and yet we're still so far from fulfilling that need, even in Arizona. I want the research and teaching I do at ASU to help us overcome the barriers that prevent people from having secure access to safe water.”

Sorenson was director of water services for Phoenix for seven years, and before that was director of the Water Resources Department for the city of Mesa. In addition to directing research in the Kyl Center for Water Policy, she will be a professor of practice in the School of Public Affairs and will contribute to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory.

She answered some questions from ASU Now:

Question: What did you do as director of water services for the city of Phoenix?

Answer: I was responsible for making sure that about 1.7 million people had safe, clean water in their taps 24/7, 365 days a year, in the correct quality and the correct pressure, and for making sure that those deliveries were reliable.

The job entailed five water-treatment plants, hundreds of pumping stations, wells and pressure gauges, and 7,000 miles of pipeline, as well as 430,000 customer connections, each of which has to work all of the time.

In addition, I oversaw 1,500 employees, $700 million in annual appropriations and a $2 billion capital improvement program.

Q: What are some of the water issues facing Arizona?

A:  Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. 

When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Q: What topics will you be researching?

A: When stakeholders, managers and elected officials understand where water flows, who it goes to and what the societal, economic and ecological costs are, then they have the foundation to make sensible water-management decisions. I see a lot of our research focusing on that basic premise. Water equity is a big piece of that, making sure there is a level playing field in terms of access to supplies.

Q: What changes have you seen in water policy and management over the years?

A: I’ve seen positive ones. When I started in this field, it was a very small group of folks that were making the most important, most fundamental decisions about water allocation in this state. That group over time has become larger, more inclusive and more diverse, and I think that’s hugely important. We only make good decisions when we have many different perspectives at the table.

Q: What’s important for Arizonans to know when they turn on the water tap?

A: I want people to understand that the delivery of safe, clean water in our communities really is the foundation of public health, economic opportunity and quality of life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought that into focus. When the CDC came out with the recommendation early in 2020 about frequent handwashing, one of the first things we did (in the city of Phoenix) was to make sure that the taps were on for everyone in the community, even those who had been disconnected for nonpayment.

Because the water industry has been successful, we are many generations removed from a time when babies died of waterborne diseases. That’s not in our collective memory any more. So while I think it is taken for granted, clean water really is the foundation of public health.

Top image courtesy of Pixabay.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


Amy Ostrom named interim dean of ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business

Effective Jan. 1, Ostrom succeeds Amy Hillman, who had served as the school’s dean since March 2013

January 5, 2021

Amy Ostrom, chair of the Department of Marketing and PetSmart Chair in Services Leadership, has been appointed interim dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, effective Jan. 1. Ostrom succeeds Amy Hillman, who had served as the school’s dean since March 2013.

Ostrom has served as the chair of the Department of Marketing since 2015 and as a President's Professor since 2011. An honors college graduate, she earned her BA in psychology from ASU and a PhD in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She joined the W. P. Carey faculty in 1996. Amy Ostrom, chair Department of Marketing and PetSmart Chair in Service Leadership Amy Ostrom is the new interim dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, with the process for selecting a new permanent dean to commence early this year. Download Full Image

As a researcher and teacher, Ostrom has been recognized for her achievements in academia, including the 2012 Huizingh Outstanding Undergraduate Service Award, the 2007 ASU Parents Association Professor of the Year, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's 2004 Arizona Professor of the Year. She is also on the editorial review boards for the industry-leading publications Journal of Service Research and Journal of Service Management.

In acknowledging the legacy of her predecessor, Ostrom said, “Amy Hillman has been an exceptional leader to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. She achieved many notable accomplishments during her tenure as dean, including the opening of McCord Hall, the addition of numerous new degree programs to our portfolio, and the attainment of the $150 million capital goal as part of Campaign ASU 2020.”

Ostrom also credited Hillman’s leadership for helping the W. P. Carey School respond with resilience and perseverance to the needs of its students during the difficult circumstances of the past year.

In her new role as interim dean, Ostrom indicated that she will continue to focus on several key areas, including student success, research, and efforts to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of the ASU community.

Provost Mark Searle, in an email to W. P. Carey staff and faculty, confirmed that the process for selecting a new permanent dean will commence early this year. “We expect to conduct a national search welcoming candidates from within and outside the W. P. Carey School,” he wrote. 

Outgoing Dean Amy Hillman will remain on the W. P. Carey faculty, where she has been a celebrated teacher and world-renowned researcher. Her research includes over 30 peer-reviewed articles published in leading journals such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, and Administrative Science Quarterly. She was elected a fellow of the Academy of Management in 2014. In 2019, Hillman was elected to a five-year term as an executive officer of the Academy of Management, and she was selected as a Strategic Management Society fellow in 2020.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


Champion of arts education, ASU grad student receive MLK Jr. awards

Teniqua Broughton, Simone Bayfield will be honored at ASU's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event

January 4, 2021

Two women with a passion for philanthropy have been selected as the 2021 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership awardees as a part of Arizona State University’s 36th annual MLK Jr. Celebration, for their influential work in arts education, women’s and homeless shelters, and advocacy for minority students.

Teniqua Broughton and Simone Bayfield will be honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event. This year’s theme is “Race may differ. Respect everyone.”
Teniqua Broughton and Simone Bayfield are the 2021 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership awardees. Teniqua Broughton (left) and Simone Bayfield will be honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event. Download Full Image

The awardees were selected by the ASU MLK Jr. Committee for their servant leadership: a philosophy of serving first, then leading as a way of expanding service.

Teniqua Broughton, Servant-Leadership Award

Teniqua Broughton was a student-athlete at ASU preparing to graduate when she took her first theater class.

Broughton, pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies in educational psychology with an emphasis in theater for youth, knew she wanted to work with children in some capacity, but it was during the theater class when she decided to intersect those two passions and turn it into a career.

“I found that I fell in love with just the energy behind what it took to remember your lines,” Broughton said. “I think very similar, being a former student-athlete, the dedication, so I was really kind of connected to that, and the emotion that I had to put into the scene, so you really are becoming the character that you were reading or representing. And so, that class was really when I knew at that point, that I wanted to still work with kids to a degree, but I knew arts and arts education was my interest."

Broughton had the opportunity to work as a counselor for Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage, a multi-day theater camp for children ages 10 to 17 to learn acting, scene study, improvisation, music theory, singing and dancing, while building self-esteem, teamwork skills and creative potential.

After her success with Camp Broadway, the perennial Sun Devil found her first full-time job at ASU Gammage as a cultural participation manager. It was at ASU Gammage where Broughton first realized the impact of her work in arts education through the Journey Home program, which she called “instrumental” to her professional journey.

Journey Home is an intensive four-week program for women incarcerated at the Maricopa County Estrella Jail. Through creative writing, expressive movement, storytelling and visual arts, the ASU Gammage program is designed to raise the awareness and consciousness of the women so they feel empowered to create a different life for themselves in the future.

Broughton said it was “dear to my heart” to “see how arts become the medium for them, that 'You know what, when I leave here, I have the opportunity to be a better mother, a better sister, cousin, wife.'”

“To see the transformation of women who are incarcerated for the choices that they have made ... that's what makes me feel excited about it,” Broughton said. “And so, when I think about it more, it's the fact that I can be a part of just changing maybe one person's life, whether it's a woman, whether it's a child, that's what makes me feel excited about it.”

At ASU Gammage, Broughton also worked with Desert Harbor Elementary School in Peoria, Arizona, to help teachers with arts integration strategies. She called her five years working with the school her “greatest gift.”

To Broughton, arts education is about the inclusivity for different types of learners to engage with material in a way that makes sense to them. 

“Arts education has given really a platform to make sure that ... there's inclusivity in the learning process, and the engagement process of bringing people and kids together,” Broughton said. “So, when I think about a child who may be struggling with just auditory learning, or just completely visual learning in a platform, this was an opportunity to use different tools and skills and ways to engage them.

"So, for me, it develops the whole child, it provides an opportunity for them to be well-rounded, and to enter into the world and experiences in a way in which you can appreciate people, things and experiences that maybe you haven't had, that would allow you to be a little bit more open-minded because the arts have provided that for you.”

As much passion as Broughton had for each of the roles she worked in previously, she wanted to have a bigger impact in her work, which she saw in herself as being “much more community-oriented than sector-oriented.”

“As I traveled on my journey to different jobs, I started to notice that I was not going to compromise my community leadership for staying within a box space,” Broughton said. “And I started to realize that that's how I could grow departments, that's how I could grow an organization. But I wanted to build something that I had, and I didn't really want to have to compromise what I was doing ... in the community because I knew it was benefiting my organization.”

Broughton founded her company, VerveSimone Consulting, in 2013, through which she supports nonprofits in the areas of arts, culture, social services and education.

“So now, almost six years plus of having worked among consulting, it's pivoted, I want to say with different skills that I can do, but I will say now, I feel like I really honed in on what I can do, which is my nonprofit, governance and management stuff,” Broughton said. “I can start an organization from the bottom up, you know, building it. And so, I've really gotten to that place where this is what I should be doing. And this is what I want to do.”

Even now, after years of service in the arts and nonprofit sectors, Broughton said she knows “my purpose is to serve others” and that being named a servant-leader made her realize “that's what I feel like I practice every single day.”

“To get this award, for me, means that I think about how I treat others,” Broughton said. “I think about what am I putting into the world that is a legacy piece? And if I walked away today, did I do a good job? Have I done a good job of being that leader today? And so that's how I look at servant-leadership.”

For Broughton, seeing the legacy of her work has been the most gratifying reward of all.

“I can think about every organization I've been at, I left something there,” Broughton said, “something is there, that's still going, that's associated with me. And that, to me, is what I wanted to do.”

Though she is proud her commitment to arts education and nonprofit work is being recognized, Broughton said, “I just think that you should travel down life doing right because it's the thing you should do.”

“I don’t look for an award,” Broughton said. “The things that I do with the programs that I do are the things that I love, the things that I get excited about, the things that makes me happy. So, to get an award for finding how to get to that place is unreal for me, and that somebody recognized that the goodness I might have put in 20 years ago is now all these pieces.”

When reflecting on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the namesake of the servant-leader award, Broughton said that “this is the moment to continue to platform bringing people together to truly treat all people of color as humans.”

“As a Black woman, who is proud to be who she is, with a name like Teniqua, I think the things that I see happening with the constant protesting and we're not going to stand for that, means that we have said we are taking back what we know we deserve, what we know we should be at the same line as, when we know that is important to have.”

Broughton also serves as the executive director of the State of Black Arizona, a nonprofit organization that runs leadership programs and produces data on African Americans in the state, which she said is how she embodies King’s “stance for action through our activism.”

Simone Bayfield, Student Servant-Leadership Award

When Simone Bayfield, a young graduate from Johnson C. Smith University, a historically Black university in Charlotte, North Carolina, moved back to California and started a career in retail management for L’Oreal, she never could have known how soon she would be changing her plans to pursue her passion for beauty — and changing lives along the way.

Bayfield had always been interested in the beauty industry, but coming from a family where graduate degrees were the norm, she never thought that dream could be her reality.

One day, Bayfield decided to leave her job and go back to school to pursue a cosmetology license. Soon after, she founded Simone Bayfield Beauty.

It was not just a love of doing hair and makeup that inspired her to start her own beauty business, but also the realization that there was a gap in the industry of providers who knew how to serve clients with multicultural hair and skin.

“Funny enough, one of my first professional jobs was actually Los Angeles Fashion Week,” Bayfield said. “It was very interesting to me that all of the models of deeper skin tone had to bring their own makeup with them because, so oftentimes, the makeup artists that were hired for these shows didn't know how to work with their skin type, didn't know how to match it. I really was just like, OK, there needs to be education, there needs to be more advocates in this area. We need to have more representation of artists that look like the models and look like the talent and really be able to provide everyone with a service, not just certain people.”

As Bayfield’s business grew, she found herself doing wedding makeup for a Broadway star and saw her work credited in People Magazine.

Her natural instinct to serve others never changed, though, and Bayfield would routinely volunteer at women’s shelters and homeless shelters in Los Angeles. By offering her beauty services to women — many victims of domestic violence — she gave them “a new lease on life.”

“When I was in beauty school ... the school would authorize these vouchers to the local homeless shelters, so that some of their residents could come in and get free haircuts and it was practice for us, as part of our training,” Bayfield said. "You could see these people come in with their heads held down, and they didn't want to look you in the eye and they weren't really sure what to say. And then, to see them come out and kind of straighten their back and put their shoulders back and look in the mirror and kind of reignite that spark in someone's eye, I immediately knew like, OK, this is something that I can do basically for free, and it's not costing me anything and something that I know is going to make a huge impact.”

Bayfield continued her work at the shelters, helping women who were ready to transition into the workforce get “mini makeovers.”

“Again, it was like, seeing these women that ... really felt kind of worthless, and felt broken and beaten down and didn't feel worthy of love or feeling like they deserved to feel pretty, and seeing again, that kind of light just really be reignited,” Bayfield said. “And then also, realizing that it was so much more than just a haircut or so much more than just makeup. You were really giving people a new lease on life and feeling like they deserved to be happy. They deserved to be seen as more than just a statistic.”

In 2018, Bayfield decided to go back to school once more and pursue a master of business administration. At ASU, Bayfield has continued to serve others, though in a different way than with her beauty business.

“It was pretty apparent to me when I first started the program that there weren't a lot of people that looked like me,” Bayfield said. “I was the only African American student in the entire program. And while that was an amazing experience, it was also like, OK, but what about our students here? Why aren't we attracting in more talent in our own local community? You know, where's the disconnect there?”

In addition to seeing the lack of representation in her own program, a summer of protesting against police brutality toward Black Americans was the tipping point for Bayfield to do something in the ASU community.

“I think everything just really exploded in the summer after Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” Bayfield said. “And there was kind of a little bit of outrage from me and some of my classmates that the school wasn't addressing it, and that it was taking weeks for a statement to come out. And it ... very much felt like there wasn't a support system. And I was like, OK, myself and one of my other classmates started talking, and we really felt like now is the time, people are more open to change, because of what's going on.

"This is the first time that we're really going to be able to have these open discussions. And people are kind of finally accepting and acknowledging the fact that there has been this systemic oppression in our country, and it's part of our history, and that we really need to make a change. You know, why not us? Not why us but like, why not? Anyone can do any small change and start anything and just helping one person is really going to have a trickle-down effect, right?”

Along with her peer, Daniel Valdez, Bayfield co-founded Accelerated Leadership for Underrepresented Minorities (ALUM). The student organization is “a pipeline” for students of color to move into high-power positions in the business world.

“We just really started talking about how we wanted to get this organization started,” Bayfield said. “We wanted to have a place for all of the students of color to be able to come together to support each other, to create networks, to make sure that we have the resources that we need to be successful. With diversity now being such a hot topic, we really needed to take advantage of that and make sure that we were providing opportunities that maybe we weren't getting from the school to build these pipelines with these companies that were looking specifically for hiring diversity.

"And so, we really just started working over the summer of doing some research in our own class and seeing how people felt about the issue, brought in some of the other Hispanic students and started working on creating this organization so that we could not only bring awareness to the topic, but make sure that there was a community in place for ourselves and also for any future students.”

Bayfield hopes that ALUM will move to other MBA programs across the country, saying her dream is for ASU’s organization to be a “strong model” and “that we have a strong enough community that any student feels welcome and supported when they come.”

Bayfield said being a servant leader is about being there “to serve your constituents and serve your community.”

“That's what the purpose of a leader really is, is to not be the one who's necessarily the face of an organization, or the person with the most power or the most money, but it's about who's helping make the biggest change,” Bayfield said. "So, to me that servant leadership is really a leader who stays embodied in knowing that they're there to work for the people they serve, not the other way around.”

Bayfield’s advice to those who may not see themselves as leaders is to think about “what small thing you can do to make a positive impact in the world.”

“Martin Luther King Jr. ... was bringing awareness to issues that people maybe didn't want to talk about,” Bayfield said. “And so, by continuing to bring awareness to those issues, whatever they may be ... we need to remember that most of all we're all united in the fact that we are the human race, regardless of anything else, and that we need to always be looking out for the marginalized groups and making sure that everyone's voices are heard, regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they believe in.

"So, to me, that's the best way to honor him. You don't have to be a leader to make change. Let your voice be heard. Have an open mind. Participate in conversations that are uncomfortable. Talk to someone who's different than you are and try to see their opinion. Continue to be empathetic to other people's feelings and use that to really form your own opinion.”

Marketing Assistant, ASU Gammage

ASU organizations collaborate to fight for social justice

December 29, 2020

With the year coming to an end, three of Arizona State University’s groups committed to social justice met on Dec. 17 for reflection and healing after 2020's pandemic, contentious election and violence against people of color. 

After systemic racism gained fresh attention this summer following the killings of George Floyd and others, ASU President Michael Crow proposed a series of actions to promote inclusivity on campus. Zoom meeting Representatives from three faculty and staff organizations at ASU met for the "Hindsight is 2020" event on Dec. 17. Download Full Image

The Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association (CLFSA), African and African American Faculty and Staff Association (AAAFSA) and Faculty Women of Color Caucus (FWOCC) are all planning to tackle this problem locally, and they said they hope to see enactment of Crow’s 25 items of support for the Black community over the next few years.

In September, the organizations met as one for the first time to discuss how they can better collaborate to promote inclusivity at the university and across the broader community. The presidents of each group said they believe coming together can help unite people of color at ASU.

“There is a need to be there for each other, to be able to process things together … but also look at ways where we can make an impact, where we can work together with university leadership to create progress and make sure that they know the needs of our communities,” CLFSA President Sandra Martinez said. 

That first meeting cemented a partnership that led to the “Hindsight is 2020” event, where 79 attendees learned about the importance of working together to create positive change at the university and to help students.

The presidents of each diversity organization shared the history of their group and plans for the future. Lisa Magaña, a professor at the School of Transborder Studies who heads the Faculty Women’s Association, also discussed turnout this election and the role of Arizona as a swing state. 

Vanessa Fonseca Chávez, an assistant English professor and president of FWOCC, said she hopes these efforts create a platform to help faculty “in this political moment” and to foster relationships among organizations. 

“Now is a conversation to really think about who are the critical constituents and key stakeholders to the types of national and even regional conversations that we are having on Black Lives Matter and police brutality,” Fonseca Chávez said.

Kenja Hassan, president and founder of AAAFSA and assistant vice president for government and community engagement at the Downtown Phoenix campus, said systemic inequities and the “visible and invisible hatred” against people of color make it vital for organizations fighting for inclusivity to band together.  

“In order for us to hold truth to these statements that our nation has written — that we believe in liberty and justice for all — it takes work,” Hassan said. “A conversation like this is so important, because in order for us to be successful as a nation, we all have to figure out where we can find common ground. … Us being able to do it at ASU is critical.”

Stanlie James, ASU’s outgoing vice provost of inclusion and community engagement, was a special guest at the meeting — her last appearance before the groups. She offered some words of wisdom about the importance of continuing to fight for social justice. 

“Our country has an opportunity to finally begin to figure out how to live up to the words in our founding documents,” James said. “We will not be returning to the way it used to be. Rather, we must begin to specifically clarify how we want it to be, and how we can contribute to enacting that vision here at ASU.” 

Martinez shared her excitement to see CLFSA member Nancy Gonzales as the next executive vice president and university provost and Maria Anguiano as the next executive vice president of ASU’s new Learning Enterprise.  

2020 marks the 50th anniversary for CLFSA, which has had a strong presence at ASU as an advocate and a voice for communities of color.

Martinez believes that despite the obstacles they faced this year, this new leadership is a positive way to end the year and celebrate the organization’s anniversary, as well as a step in the right direction for the university.

RELATED: Donate to social justice opportunities at ASU

Written by Diana Quintero, journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

image title

ASU’s service, experience for Sun Devil community aligns with future tech trends

December 23, 2020

Serving university students, faculty and staff means understanding and anticipating trends of the future.

In order to ensure Arizona State University remains on the forefront of enabling the disruptive potential of technology, the University Technology Office cross-referenced ASU’s diverse portfolio of technology activities, products, programs and services to top research and forecasting firm Gartner’s report on the Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Higher Education in 2020.

From next-gen security and risk management partnerships and processes to systems empowering faculty in their career journeys, to strategic use of nudge technologies across ASU's digital campus services, ASU is leveraging key technologies for the current and future success of its community. 

Gartner Infographic

Discover how a variety of ASU technology-enabled initiatives, protocols and strategic partnerships have aligned with Gartner’s 10 top trends of 2020:  

1. Artificial intelligence strategy and tactics

Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence (AI) is a process by which programs identify trends or patterns across large data sets, using this information to “make a decision,” whether that is providing accurate information or assessments. 

ASU embodied artificial intelligence strategy and tactics with its service of the university’s community. Software like Benji, the financial aid chatbot, or Sunny, the ASU information chatbot, was built to intuitively assess and anticipate the needs of the user. Furthermore, the assessment-predictive program ALEKS was able to quickly and effectively place test-takers into the most fitting mathematics courses.

2. Next-gen security and risk management

A fortress of countless apps, programs and devices mitigated security threats for all of ASU’s users in part of the university’s next-gen security and risk management. Protocols geared towards awareness and understanding of one’s data usage also promoted proactive protection of important information. 

In addition to protecting the university, ASU convened a community of cybersecurity professionals, practitioners, partners and champions at the 2020 ASU Partner to Protect Arizona Unconference, in partnership with Crowdstrike, to surface emergent trends and challenges — and strategize accordingly.

Partner to Protect Conference

ASU’s Partner to Protect Unconference tackled seven key themes. Photo by UTO

3. Smart campus

ASU advanced a variety of smart technology initiatives from campus to community. From advanced networks powering smart parking and internet-enabled buses to “blue light” smart safety poles, smart campus efforts enhance the safety and well-being of ASU's students. 

The Amazon Web Services Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) and Cox Connected Environments Collaboratory are important representatives of the partnerships ASU has built to create a smart campus that, in turn, works with community partners to foster smart city projects. In 2020, the CIC partnered with cities across Arizona to tackle a variety of challenges — from senior fall prevention to reducing poverty, graffiti removal and so much more — using Amazon’s innovation processes, cloud expertise and global solution platforms.

4. Nudge tech

“Nudge tech” brings a more personalized touch to digital interactions, which was all the more necessary in a time of remote learning, teaching and working. Technologies like the ASU Mobile App, Slack and more kept students, instructors and staff members connected and collaborating both asynchronously and in real time. 

This trend also resulted in heightened digital security through two-factor authentication.

Daily health check app 

5. Digital credentialing technologies

ASU is considered a pioneer of digital credentialing technologies, changing the way experience and accomplishments are measured in the higher education and professional worlds. The Learning Futures Collaboratory’s efforts in this field are expanding opportunities for lifelong learners, and this year’s Digital Credential Summit brought the university’s changemakers together to advance those efforts even further.

6. Cross-life-cycle CRM

ASU’s commitment to customer service is epitomized by its technical investment in cross-life-cycle CRM (customer relationship management). Standardization of tools like Salesforce allow for a cohesive experience for everyone the university touches.

7. 5G/ecosystem infrastructure 

The Cox Connected Environments Collaboratory is working with ASU to build the smart campus of the future, while also investing heavily in 5G infrastructure, expanding the capabilities of wireless devices beyond the bounds of what is currently possible. Partnerships with T-Mobile, Verizon and others are accelerating the progress to a 5G future.

ASU’s Dreamscape Learn initiative will transport biology students to the Alien Zoo to study new life forms using a new multisensory, virtual reality environment that is equipped with 5G enabled wireless haptic backpacks to provide sensory input. 

8. New display, visualization and collaboration technologies

New display, visualization and collaboration technologies became even more necessary in the world of COVID-19, pushing results forward that were the product of years of ASU innovation. Notable innovations include: ASU Sync, the university’s new learning hybrid modality, which allowed students to interact safely in-person and remotely simultaneously; the Daily Health Check supported Sync in the background by tracking the health of the community both on and off campus; and XR@ASU offered new ways to for students to consume and create learning experiences using emerging technologies like VR and AR. 

ASU Sync classroom

ASU Sync connects students on-campus and remote for live, synchronous instruction. Photo: ASU

9. Career software

At its core, ASU’s mission is to educate its learners and prepare them for their future work, and so the university has put a premium on career software. This includes the professional development program Career EDGE, the virtual career exploration experience offered by Career Arcade’s virtual reality application and a partnership with the job search site Handshake, all working together to set students up for success in the future of work.

10. Faculty information systems

Support of our faculty is support of our students, so it is important that faculty information systems are able to let them effectively do their jobs. ASU Vita; the Review, Promotion, Tenure system; and Faculty Activity Reports work in the background to enable lifelong learning.

Looking toward 2021 and beyond

Named the most innovative campus in the nation six years in a row, ASU continues to redefine the landscape of higher education. By understanding and aligning its work with the trends of the future, the university can continue to adapt to best meet the needs of its community in an ever-changing world.

The various initiatives, protocols and strategic partnerships mentioned above represent only a part of UTO’s extensive portfolio of work. For more, check out this top 10 trends infographic

Many thanks to all team members across the university for their hard work and continued commitment to supporting the entire Sun Devil community. And a special thanks to Tristan Ettleman (co-author), Sophie Jones (co-author), Klariz Gapusan (designer), Laura Geringer (designer) and Samantha Becker for their support on this article. 

image title

ASU's year in review 2020 — and oh, what a year it has been

December 18, 2020

This year showed us the power of resilience.

With a new virus changing life as we know it, social justice protests and a big election — not to mention ASU's first (and second) virtual commencement and the launch of distance-and-in-person learning via ASU Sync — there was no shortage of news in 2020. Sun Devils have stepped up, showing their compassion, their smarts and their grit in the face of a very tough year.

COVID-19 dominated many of the top ASU Now stories, but there are also compelling research findings, stories of inspiring entrepreneurship and helping others, creative performances and even a presidential pet feature. Click through the months below for a fast-forward review of 2020.

And remember: Forks up, masks up. We are all — still — in this together.


We broke new ground in more ways than one, as construction projects began and finished, and a new viral threat began to make headlines.


Sun Devils were feeling the love this month, winning innovation prizes, sharing their meet-cute stories and learning more about our state.


The month everything changed: On March 11, midway through spring break, ASU made the decision to transition in-person classes to remote instruction. Employees pivoted to working from home wherever possible, and life on campus looked very different.


We began to adjust to our new reality, looking to new ideas for food and PPE supply chains. And "A" Mountain sported a new look in salute to those frontline medical workers caring for communities facing an unprecedented crisis.


A very big month: ASU's first-ever virtual commencement took place in May, and ASU's Biodesign Institute developed the state's first saliva-based COVID-19 test — which continues to be available to the public at no charge. The university kicked off its summer concert series with multiplatinum singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo. And yes, two of our top stories that month involved the efficacyA topic that some in the wider community debated throughout the rest of the year. of face coverings in fighting COVID-19.


After George Floyd's death at the end of May, protests and discussions about social justice and equity began to dominate discourse across the country — and the university.


As summer heated up, so did preparations for the fall semester and the need for COVID-19 testing in high-need communities across the state. ASU's staff and faculty stepped up for both — including several First Peoples' COVID-19 Resource Drive events. And to further help the community, ASU Prep Digital rolled out a full-time K–8 virtual school option.


A semester unlike any other began with students in classrooms and on Zoom screens around the world. Learning continued, as did research on everything from ice to heat.


Big headlines dominated the month, including the launch of the Global Futures Laboratory and ASU's sixth straight No. 1 innovation ranking. September was also the month when — to accelerate meaningful change at ASU and to contribute to a national agenda for social justice — President Michael M. Crow announced the university's commitment to 25 actions to support Black students, faculty and staff.


ASU continued to work with its communities, whether that was expanded COVID-19 testing or building a student-centered learning approach for Arizona's K–12 schools. And at the end of the month, early voting began on or near all four campuses as the nation headed toward a momentous Election Day.


The ASU community blazed new trails, with a new residence hall, two new schools, a new head of Knowledge Enterprise and new best practices for learning in a pandemic. 


The changes continued in key positions, with leaders of Academic and Learning enterprises announced, as well as ASU's first-ever Innovation Quarter over winter break.

Top photo: Ashley Tabar snaps a selfie as she celebrates receiving her bachelor's degree in marketing. ASU and portrait agency GradImages offer fall 2020 graduates in-person photo sessions in front of the iconic Old Main in mid-November. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

image title

ASU ranked a top university for protecting free speech

December 11, 2020

Arizona State University has been ranked as one of the top universities in the country for its policies on free speech and protecting its community’s First Amendment rights.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual Spotlight on Speech Codes for 2021, awarding ASU an overall green light rating — the highest metric possible in FIRE’s rating system: green, yellow and red.

In 2011, ASU became the 13th university in the country to receive FIRE’s top “green light” rating for its written policies related to free speech, which allow students, faculty and staff to freely express their thoughts and ideas within the ASU community. A total of 56 institutions now hold this top honor. ASU also maintains “green light” ratings in several subcategories

  • Harassment policies.
  • Protest and demonstration policies.
  • Posting and distribution policies.
  • Internet usage policies.

“ASU is committed to free, robust and uninhibited sharing of ideas among all members of the university community and we strive to provide an environment that fosters the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression — in a safe environment,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “As a public university, we advance our charter within the framework of state and federal policy, including the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides the right to free speech.”

In 2018, ASU expanded its efforts to protect free speech within the university community by adopting The Chicago Statement for Free Speech — a robust policy statement created by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago and endorsed by dozens of higher education institutions. And, most recently, ASU was ranked fifth in the nation in the 2020 College Free Speech Rankings, which were determined by surveying students at 55 top colleges and universities in the U.S.

For a list of university resources and policies related to First Amendment rights, please visit ASU’s free speech page.

For its Spotlight on Speech Codes 2021, FIRE reviewed the written policies of 478 colleges and universities (372 public and 106 private) across the country, looking for blatant violations (red light) and moderate violations (yellow light). Institutions that had no violations received a green light rating.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now 

ASU humanities institute staff develop Student Stories Project

December 10, 2020

As the year 2020 comes to a close, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact student learning and life, and many students are finding it increasingly difficult to press forward in the “new normal.”

To help students feel a sense of community and support in a safe, virtual space, staff at Arizona State University's Institute for Humanities Research have developed the Student Stories Project Notebook on top of packing envelopes with doodles in the background The first batch of Student Stories Project notebooks shipped this week. Photo and graphic courtesy Lauren Whitby. Download Full Image

“The ‘new normal’ has changed the university experience for students,” said Barbara Dente, Institute for Humanities Research business operations specialist. 

“This project is meant to help students take pen to paper, in a traditional sense, and explore their thoughts on topics that are affecting them as students and individuals in today’s world. They then have a global platform to share their thoughts and ideas with their fellow ASU students.” 

Here’s how the project works:

• Starting Dec. 15, the Institute for Humanities Research will provide daily prompts on the project webpage to inspire students to write, draw or create notebook entries with any medium they choose. 

• Students who want to participate can register online to receive a free project notebook to record their responses.

• Students are not obligated to follow every prompt and can participate at any level they choose. If they post a picture of their entry with the hashtag #StudentStoriesASU on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they will be entered to win giveaways that will be distributed by the Institute for Humanities Research. 

“One thing that is really challenging for students right now is that they can’t interact with friends and classmates like they used to,” said Lauren Whitby, marketing and communications specialist senior at the Institute for Humanities Research.

“We’re hoping that the project hashtag will help students stay in touch and be inspired by fellow students’ writing and drawings.”

Prompts will run through Feb. 15. Free project notebooks are limited, but anyone can participate by following the prompts on the project webpage and posting pictures of their entries.

Though the Institute for Humanities Research traditionally has worked primarily with faculty and graduate students, the institute felt a responsibility to support all students during the trying months ahead.

“This is an opportunity for the IHR to show up for students every day over the winter break and into the new year, to listen to their stories, and to learn from their experiences,” said Celina Osuna, Institute for Humanities Research coordinator and Desert Humanities assistant director.

Lauren Whitby

Communications Specialist, ASU Institute for Humanities Research


Elkins-Tanton named vice president of Interplanetary Initiative

December 7, 2020

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative and the principal investigator on NASA’s Psyche mission to a metallic asteroid, will become vice president of the ASU Interplanetary Initiative effective Jan. 1, 2021. The new position acknowledges Elkins-Tanton’s success as a space explorer and her ability to bring people together to think outside the box when it comes to space exploration. 

Elkins-Tanton has led the Interplanetary Initiative – an effort to advance society through exploration – since its inception in 2017. As a vice president, Elkins-Tanton will further develop the operating principles of the initiative and move it into more of a mainstay in ASU’s academic portfolio.   Lindy Elkins-Tanton Download Full Image

“Lindy Elkins-Tanton is a pathbreaking scientist and truly a modern-day explorer with the Psyche mission she leads for NASA,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “We want to have Lindy focus some of those creative energies and organizational abilities to what comes next not only in space exploration, but also in the bold move that follows as we transcend from being Earth-bound to Earth-based and reach out to new worlds.”

The goal of the Interplanetary Initiative is building the future of humans in space to create a bolder and better society. It does this by tackling some of the grand challenges presented before our society, like: How can public and private support be galvanized for space exploration? What fundamental rules govern the self-sustainability of ecosystems for long-term space settlement? How can we successfully build thriving communities on other worlds? How do we train and prepare the human psyche for being interplanetary? 

“Humans are compelled to explore, and we will explore space,” Elkins-Tanton said. “The question is, will we explore it in the flawed model of the past, where only a few benefit, and many suffer, or can we imagine a way to evolve in our level of civilization and move into this new era as our better selves.” 

Elkins-Tanton said that the initiative spans all of ASU and includes participation from 50 centers and more than 20 external partners. It also has academic support coming from 15 units for Interplanetary Initiative’s Bachelor of Science degree in technology leadership. 

“It brings all of the critical disciplines to bear, including design, psychology, sociology, education, theater, engineering, science, writing, management and leadership,” she added. “Some of the initiative’s pilot projects concern space technology, but others are more in the realms of human engineering, organizational management and communications.” 

Through the initiative, ASU has set the stage for a new and exciting era of exploration of Earth, the universe and the future of humans. 

“Interplanetary will have the support and connections in the university to create a prototype of a new kind of university entity,” Elkins-Tanton said. “We'll be connecting the private sector, government and universities to make more rapid progress toward being an interplanetary society and toward truly deserving and embracing being an interplanetary species.”

To be interplanetary, Elkins-Tanton said, will require working across disciplines and conducting intersector work on targeted goals in technology, team-building and education. It will also require a society of problem-solvers with a sense of agency and a perspective that reaches beyond our own town, country or planet.

She explained that the Interplanetary Initiative is advancing the state-of-the-art for putting together interdisciplinary teams and supporting them to move more rapidly toward key goals. For example, one of the more than 20 Interplanetary Initiative pilot projects is focused on changing the nature of human-robot interactions, and another is gathering key data on how people will collaborate, or compete, on off-Earth settlements.

“We need to create new processes for building teams that work more efficiently toward targeted goals; we need teams that are diverse and high-functioning; we need better, faster teaming of organizations, and more effective education for the problem-solvers of the future,” Elkins-Tanton explained. “To be who we should be for an interplanetary future, we need new processes.”

“I am completely thrilled to have the opportunity to bring people together to invent better ways of making progress, and to inspire humanity to look beyond our dusty feet and up to our place in the universe,” she added.

It is expected that the Interplanetary Initiative will mature into the Interplanetary Laboratory at ASU, which will include the creation of several large-scale projects and support systems that aid the development of proposals for enhancing interplanetary systems development. 

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications