New ASU international travel registration system provides safety net for students

February 1, 2019

Imagine these scenarios: An earthquake disrupts the power for days in Chile, a teachers’ strike in Mexico interrupts class for an unknown amount of time, protests in France reroute your commute. If you haven’t told ASU where you are and what you’ll be doing, how can ASU help and support you?

The answer is the new ASU international travel registration system. An airplane lifting off on the tarmac of an airport in Costa Rica Photo courtesy of Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash Download Full Image

Arizona State University now provides a secure system for students traveling outside the United States and its territories to record ASU-related international travel plans. This service, provided by the Study Abroad Office, supports emergency communications and gives registered travelers access to valuable international health, safety and security resources.

“ASU recognizes that more and more of our students are traveling outside of the United States to engage in various kinds of activities related to the university,” said Dan Hart, the associate director of international health, safety and security with the Study Abroad Office. Along with a number of institutions nationwide, ASU is now amping up resources to support these students. Hart developed the international travel registration system and oversees many of its day-to-day operations.

“These students may otherwise lack access to important information regarding safe and healthy travel to their international destination, and if the university doesn’t know where the students are, we can’t help them. This new International Travel Registration System is our first step toward filling that information gap.”

The safety and security of all ASU students, faculty and staff traveling internationally is a top priority.

“To travel safely, one must have at least a basic understanding of the risks inherent in a particular location or activity, and know how to seek help in case of emergency. Students who register their travel will be provided with destination intelligence that is not freely available to the public and will have access to 24/7 emergency support resources,” Hart said.

Registering travel is now required for all students traveling outside of the U.S. and its territories on ASU business, including:

• Research, experiential learning (e.g., international internships, co-ops, volunteering, service-learning), independent study done abroad or any other international travel that is part of an ASU class or for which the student receives ASU resident credit.

• International travel sponsored by or affiliated with ASU or an ASU student organization (this applies to both affiliated and independent student organizations registered with EOSS).

• Any other international travel by students for the purposes of officially representing ASU, such as participation in an academic or professional conference.

Why should you let ASU know of your international travel plans?

There are a number of benefits, including:

AlertTraveler Mobile App. Through an app accessible on both Apple and Android devices, students, faculty and staff preparing to travel internationally have access to travel intelligence (including topics such as culture, politics, religion, safety, security and current events) both before and during international travel. Students can also contact local emergency services through the app, or request help from ASU.

GeoBlue International Medical Insurance. Receive coverage through ASU’s international health insurance provider, including emergency evacuation in the event of political instability or natural disaster.

Emergency Communication Support. Through this registration system, ASU will provide 24/7 emergency response services and can assist you in the event of an emergency. With access to your itinerary, travel dates and locations, ASU is better able to reach you in the event of an emergency

Who registers?

Students traveling abroad on an ASU-related activity outside the United States, along with any ASU faculty and staff accompanying them. Although this system is not equipped to support students traveling abroad for personal reasons (like a family vacation or a church mission trip), there are many types of ASU-related travel that should be reported. Whether a student is traveling as part of a class, an ASU student organization or traveling alone for an internship or to conduct research, we want to support them.

Is there a difference between group and solo travel?

If you’re traveling on ASU-related business by yourself, register your travel using the Individual Student Travel page. If you’re traveling as part of an ASU group, you’ll still need to register your travel individually, but do so on the Group Travel page.

Who does NOT need to register in this system?

Those on ASU-approved study abroad programs (including student participants and faculty/staff program leaders) do not need to register their travel in this system. These travelers already have access to the same benefits noted above and are automatically registered by the Study Abroad Office as part of the study abroad program application process.

ASU students traveling internationally for personal matters should not register their travel.

ASU faculty or staff traveling abroad for ASU-business without students (such as an international conference presentation, for example) do not need to register their travel in this system; these travelers should continue to use the My ASU Trip system for business travel.

Additionally, students, faculty and staff traveling domestically (within the continental United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico) are excluded from this travel registration requirement.

How much does it cost?

The daily rate for registering your international travel is $3/day. This fee includes:

• Pre-departure advice and resources to prepare for a safe, healthy experience abroad.

• Trained and response-ready experts from ASU on-call 24/7/365 to assist in case of an emergency.

• Comprehensive international insurance coverage and resources (including evacuation services).

• 24/7/365 access to international security intelligence on desktop and mobile platforms.

The ASU international travel registration system was developed in conjunction with a new Student International Travel Registration policy issued by the Office of the University Provost. The services are provided by, developed and coordinated through the ASU Study Abroad Office. Read more about it on

Carrie Herrera Niesen

Manager, Marketing & Publicity, Study Abroad Office


New America, ASU to debut public affairs show ‘Innovating the Future’ on Arizona PBS

January 31, 2019

New America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, and Arizona State University are producing a new public affairs program on Arizona PBS that will explore public policy and how ideas can be used to shape a better world.

“Innovating the Future” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, on Arizona PBS. Hosted by New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter, the program explores the intersection of new technology and public policy. Each week, Slaughter will interview experts to find out more about complex issues with the aim of improving the quality of democracy in America. Anne-Marie Slaughter New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter hosts “Innovating the Future,” a new program that explores the intersection of new technology and public policy. Download Full Image

Slaughter will cover a range of topics, including America’s promise of education, how sports can improve society and innovation in local communities.

“America is in fact renewing itself — creating new spaces out of old buildings in downtowns across the country, retrofitting and reinventing factories, farms, families, transportation, schools, and in the case of Arizona State University, higher education itself,” Slaughter said.

“It may be hard to see the outlines of a renewed America through the poisonous clouds of our national politics, but we will show them to you. We won’t sugarcoat our problems. On the contrary, we’ll confront them head on. But we will also be looking for the ideas that will allow us to solve those problems and the optimism and patriotism necessary to move us forward.”

Guests for the 19-episode season of “Innovating the Future” include New York Times columnist David Brooks, ASU Professor and former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr., journalist and author James Fallows, New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former Obama senior staff member Cecilia Muñoz and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, among others.

Slaughter has published numerous books as well as more than 100 scholarly articles. She is a contributing editor to the Financial Times and writes a bimonthly column for Project Syndicate. She provides frequent commentary for both mainstream and new media and curates foreign policy news for over 140,000 followers on Twitter. Foreign Policy magazine named her to their annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

At New America, Slaughter leads the pioneering think tank that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media hub and public forum. Since 1999, New America has nurtured a new generation of policy experts and public intellectuals.

The show’s production team includes Peter Bergen, vice president for global studies and fellows at New America, CNN national security analyst and professor of practice at ASU; Fuzz Hogan, New America managing editor; and Mark Lodato, Arizona PBS associate general manager and Cronkite School associate dean.

Between them, they have produced hundreds of hours of award-winning television across a wide range of platforms, including PBS, CNN, HBO and National Geographic. Hogan and Bergen serve as the show’s executive producers.

Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan, dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said “Innovating the Future” underscores ASU’s mission to improve critical social, technical, cultural and environmental issues facing communities.

“We’re thrilled to be providing our viewers with a new kind of public affairs show that confronts the challenges and opportunities in our society head-on,” Callahan said. “We hope ‘Innovating the Future’ adds to the public discourse in finding solutions to some of our country’s most critical issues.”

Biodesign C building designated Best of the Best Project nationwide

January 18, 2019

Arizona State University’s Biodesign C building was recently awarded as the national Best of the Best Project in the Higher Education/Research category by ENR (Engineering News Record), a publication focusing on engineering and construction news. Approximately 200 projects were considered for the honor, spanning 10 regions across America.

“Biodesign C is an impressive structure, and the work that is taking place inside is impressive as well,” said Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute. “In this new flexible space, biologists, chemists, engineers, physicists and others convene to discover answers to disease and pioneer new diagnostics. The space is home to the nation’s premier team of neuroscience researchers, already finding new ways to treat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The building also houses the ASU team designing the world’s first compact electron laser, a tool that holds promise for both drug discovery and finding new forms of clean energy.” Biodesign C, the national Best of the Best project winner in the Higher Education/Research category, will be honored by ENR in March 2019. Photo by Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

The 25 awardees selected for top honors will be celebrated in New York City on March 21–22 at Chelsea Piers. ENR’s 2019 Award of Excellence Program will feature a gala, followed by breakfast the next day dedicated to the Best of the Best winners. A panel of 13 judges rigorously reviewed each candidate before selecting one winner in each category. In-depth profiles of each winning project will be featured in the magazine’s March 2019 issue.

ENR Southwest, the associated regional publication serving Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, previously designated the Biodesign C building as the 2018 Project of the Year and Best Project in Higher Education/Research. As the regional winner, it automatically advanced to the national competition for consideration.

In the Southwest region, more than 60 projects were reviewed by a panel of expert judges who determined that the new Biodesign building was the most impressive feat of construction and design for the year. They noted the collaboration undertaken by the various entities involved, including ASU, the contractors and the design firms.

“The Biodesign C project epitomizes teamwork and effective communication from all project stakeholders,” said Bruce Nevel, ASU Facilities Development and Management associate vice president. “Biodesign C is the benchmark for which all future projects are measured.”

The criteria for determining the best project was divided into five categories spanning safety, quality of construction, teamwork and overcoming obstacles, innovation and community impact, and the functionality and appearance of the design.

The building is the latest addition to the Biodesign Institute’s complex and will house nearly 400 scientists and staff. The five-story building dimensions offer adaptable floor plans covering 188,000 square feet, including a 15,000-square-foot basement. The building is expected to receive LEED Platinum status for its environmentally friendly design, becoming only the second building in the state to receive this distinction.

As the future home to the world’s first compact X-ray free electron laser, the building was designed to attract brilliant minds and foster collaboration. This particular X-ray technology is currently available in only five locations in the world, resulting in a scientific gridlock for research that holds significant promise for the discovery of new treatments for disease and production of clean energy.

ASU scientists are working to make the technology more accessible by designing a compact version of the existing technology. Conventional free electron lasers measure some 2 miles in length and cost billions annually to operate. The ASU version will fit in a laboratory space and be far less costly to build and operate.

Situated near a light-rail station, the Biodesign C building was carefully crafted to withstand the powerful vibrations that could otherwise interfere with the integrity of the experiments conducted within. The two rooms housing the laser in the basement involved intricate concrete work with slab foundations up to 6 feet thick.

The above-ground levels are enclosed in copper sheaths that serve dual purposes, in addition to increasing the aesthetic appeal of the building. The sheets protect the building from excessive sunlight and heat, while nodding to copper’s role as a historic staple of Arizona’s economy.

This is the third building in the Biodesign Institute’s compound, which is expected to grow and include a fourth building. Currently, the three existing buildings house nearly 1,300 people. Biodesign attracted $41 million in research expenditures in 2018, pouring money into research and the local economy. Costs for the building totaled $120 million, not including the laser.

ASU partnered with firms ZGF Architects and BWS Architects to design Biodesign C, and chose McCarthy Construction to assemble its latest research property. The project began in June 2016 and reached completion two years later, ahead of its grand opening in September 2018.

Written by Sabine Galvis

Graduate College appoints Professor Enrique Vivoni as associate dean for graduate initiatives

January 15, 2019

Enrique R. Vivoni, professor with the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, has been named associate dean of graduate initiatives in the Graduate College at Arizona State University.

Vivoni replaces Brian H. Smith, who returned to his full-time faculty position at the School of Life Sciences in December. Smith was instrumental in advancing graduate international initiatives and partnerships. “We want to thank Brian for his service and dedication, and wish him the best,” said Alfredo Artiles, dean of the Graduate College. Enrique Vivoni Enrique Vivoni was named as associate dean for the Graduate College. Download Full Image

As the associate dean, Vivoni will lead international initiatives at the Graduate College to enhance ASU’s global presence, further develop the Postdoctoral Affairs Office and broaden knowledge mobilization initiatives.

“Enrique has been deeply engaged in graduate education,” said Artiles. “His impressive and expansive experiences will serve him well as associate dean and I am confident he will bring strong leadership and innovative initiatives to our college.”

Vivoni has been at ASU since 2009. Before that, he was an associate professor with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

His research is on interactions of water in the lithosphere, biosphere and atmosphere, with his scientific and engineering work conducted in urban and natural settings of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

“I hope to bring the spirit of innovation to initiatives at the Graduate College focused on student and postdoctoral scholar mentoring, international engagement and knowledge mobilization,” said Vivoni. “Through these efforts, we will make ASU a more welcoming place for students and scholars from around the world who value interdisciplinary endeavors that impact local and distant communities.”

In previous work, Vivoni spent a year in Baja California, Mexico, conducting climate change research with the support of the Fulbright Garcia-Robles Award and CONACYT sabbatical programs. Vivoni expanded his long-term collaborations with institutions in Mexico to gain cross-border knowledge on water resources and the effects of changing land cover and climate conditions.

Vivoni earned a PhD in hydrology in 2003 and a MS in environmental fluid mechanics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998.

“I consider that my upbringing in Puerto Rico and my academic and family life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border have greatly broadened my worldview,” Vivoni said. “This leads me to be comfortable and curious when interacting with other cultures and to seek working relationships built upon equality and inclusion.”

As of 2016, Vivoni has been a Fulton Faculty Exemplar for two years, was nominated for the ASU Graduate College Outstanding Mentor awards in 2017 and has been a PLuS Alliance Fellow.

Vivoni has published over 145 papers in prestigious journals including Water Resources Research, Geophysical Research Lettersand the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Vivoni assumed his new duties in January.

New concerts for spring added to Sun Devil Stadium’s Coca-Cola Sun Deck

January 14, 2019

After a busy fallthe ASU 365 Community Union is bringing more live music to the Valley with three additional concerts on the Coca-Cola Sun Deck. Music-lovers will pack the Coca-Cola Sun Deck as critically acclaimed acts Vic Mensa, Gin Blossoms and The Band Perry all make their Sun Devil Stadium debuts.  

The 365 Community Union is ASU’s growing vision for turning Sun Devil Stadium into a vibrant cultural hub that redefines the model for stadia around the world," said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs. "We want to create a place where you can imagine Sun Devils of all ages coming together throughout the year.”  Grammy-winning artists The Band Perry will play Sun Devil Stadium's Coca-Cola Sun Deck on Saturday, March 30. Download Full Image

Tickets for all events are on sale now at Ticketmaster, and you can find more information on all the upcoming events at ASU 365 Community Union. A limited number of free and discounted ASU student tickets will be available for all events exclusively on the ASU mobile app.

All concerts on the Coca-Cola Sun Deck are general admission, standing room only. ASU's clear bag policy is in effect for events at Sun Devil Stadium. Free parking is available in Lot 59 north of the stadium. Access to the Coca-Cola Sun Deck is available through the NE stadium gate as is night-of-show box office.

Vic Mensa with special guest Injury Reserve 

Friday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. (doors 7:30 p.m.) 

One of the most acclaimed and celebrated names in hip-hop as a rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer, Vic Mensa brings his incredible talent to the Coca-Cola Sun Deck with special guests — and Tempe natives — Injury Reserve. On his long-awaited debut album  "The Autobiography," Vic Mensa tapped into pivotal moments in his life, reliving each one from one track to the next. 

In December 2018, Vic released his EP, "Hooligans," which received critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Forbes, Pitchfork, FADER, XXL, Vibe and many others. The booming project features collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign, G-Eazy, Charlie Wilson, Lil Herb, G Herbo, Mr. Hudson and Jesse Rutherford of the Neighbourhood. 

Gin Blossoms with special guest Vesperteen 

Thursday, March 28 at 8 p.m. (doors 7:30 p.m.) 

In the late '80s, the Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the No. 1 local music draw in Phoenix and certainly were the hometown heroes of their favorite hangouts in Tempe. 
The Gin Blossoms' indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during a time when radio featured a diverse mix of hair bands and grunge acts. They qualified to perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in 1989. That same year, College Music Journal dubbed them “The Best Unsigned Band In America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City. Their breakout record, "New Miserable Experience," kept the band on the chart for almost three years, with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” "Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita” and “Found Out About You.” "New Miserable Experience" played on four radio formats and, to date, has sold over 5 million copies.  

The Band Perry with special guests John Splithoff and Dream Chief

Saturday, March 30 at 8 p.m. (doors 7:30 p.m.) 

Superstar sibling trio The Band Perry are an unstoppable presence in modern music. After selling two and a half million albums and 13 million singles and racking up over 1.75 billion combined streams of their songs, the story of Kimberly, Reid and Neil is evolving. Since releasing their groundbreaking crossover No. 1 single “If I Die Young” in 2010 (with its current sextuple-platinum status and 160 million video views), The Band Perry has forged a unique, genre-defying identity and built an international fan base leading to sold-out world tours, five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Chart, a No. 1 single on the Hot AC chart, six songs reaching gold or platinum status, and in 2015, bringing home their first Grammy Award. 

They’ve performed on TV’s biggest stages and their track “Live Forever" was the official theme song for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Known for their boundary-pushing live performances, the band’s combination of music, fashion and visual art has become a hallmark of their dialogue with their fans and with culture. Their creative efforts boast collaborations with artistic luminaries such as Steven Klein, Nicola Formichetti and Neil Krug. Their next era promises to see the band expanding these boundaries yet again. 

Most excitingly, The Band Perry have released a highly-anticipated new collection of 5 songs titled "Coordinates", which has received overwhelming acclaim from fans. Music industry icon Rick Rubin executive produced the collection. The band wrote and produced the songs themselves via their Artrat creative house and production collective. 

Marketing assistant, ASU Gammage

ASU, University of Rhode Island launch Innovation Campus

December 31, 2018

On Dec. 18, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and the University of Rhode Island (URI) announced the first round of Rhode Island Innovation Campus projects. Arizona State University will collaborate with URI on an innovation hub focused on cybersecurity, big data analytics and the "internet of things." The project supports ASU’s efforts to be a model for a new cohort of National Service Universities, which provide critical social and economic benefit and a dedication to societal impact through education and research.

ASU Now spoke with Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU, about the partnership with URI and about National Service Universities.  Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU, says the partnership between ASU and the University of Rhode Island will result in cutting-edge technological innovations at scale, will serve both universities' student bodies and faculty and will advance the public value of our institutions. Download Full Image

Question: What is an innovation center? 

Answer: An innovation center is a place for finding creative solutions for various challenges and opportunities by working in partnership with academia, industry and the government.

Q: Why is ASU well suited to partner with the University of Rhode Island on a project like this?

A: ASU is the most innovative university in the country. We are committed to partnering with that spirit of innovation in our collaboration with URI. Innovation is ubiquitous. Partnerships help accelerate outcomes in research, education and entrepreneurship. We are looking forward to scaling innovation at a national level through this collaboration.

Q: What is a National Service University, and how does the Rhode Island Innovation Center fit into that concept? 

A: ASU aspires to be a model for a new cohort of National Service Universities. These universities provide critical social and economic benefit to our country with dedication to societal impact through the highest-quality education and research. The University of Rhode Island is committed to this mission, and the partnership between ASU and URI will result in cutting-edge technological innovations at scale, will serve both of our student bodies and faculty in advancing their knowledge and will advance the public value of our institutions.

Q: How can other universities become National Service Universities? 

A: Any university that subscribes to the vision of being an innovative, technology-intensive public research institution dedicated to providing critical social and economic benefit at scale would be a natural partner and in the cohort of National Service Universities. 

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU’s Schmidt Futures finalists to take ideas on helping middle class to national competition

December 27, 2018

Arizona State University announced this week the three finalist teams selected to represent the institution in a national pitch competition in January focused on addressing the needs of the middle class.

The selected finalists will present their proposed solutions to increase the net income by 10 percent of 10,000 local middle-class households by 2020, to a screening panel convened by Schmidt Futures, a venture facility for public benefit founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. FAFSA Team "The Power of FAFSA: Middle Class Wealth Generator and Statewide Economic Engine." Team members include (from left) Edmundo Hidalgo, Rachel Yanof, Julie Sainz and Sylvia Symonds. Download Full Image

“The teams’ solutions respond to pressing needs of Arizona’s middle class,” said Jacqueline Smith, associate vice president of university initiatives at ASU. “Together, they represent some of the greatest burdens on families’ budgets, including housing, transportation and the costs of postsecondary education. Even modest improvements in these areas will have significant implications for the financial health and resiliency of Arizonans.” 

A competitive slate of 10 teams was initially chosen to receive $50,000 in seed funding and coaching to develop and refine their ideas. After a local pitch competition, the three final teams were selected by a board of prominent community leaders using a number of criteria, including innovation, value to diverse communities, and partner focus, among others. In the weeks leading up to the national competition, ASU will provide the finalists additional support to enhance their proposals.

ASU President Michael M. Crow praised the teams and their work to benefit Arizona’s middle class.

“This competition is a natural fit for ASU’s charter and design aspirations,” Crow said. “These innovative ideas reflect our commitment to the vibrancy of the local community and leverage the university’s position as an anchor institution.”

ASU’s teams are a result of work that began in April, when Schmidt Futures enlisted four public universities — ASU, the Ohio State University, the University of Utah and the University of Wisconsin-Madison — as the inaugural partners of the Alliance for the American Dream. Each university was awarded funding to develop ideas that promote shared prosperity in their regions over two rounds of competition.

The national competition, bringing the top three teams from each of the four universities, will take place on Jan. 29 in downtown Phoenix.

The finalists are:

The Power of the FAFSA: Middle Class Wealth Generator and Statewide Economic Engine

A coalition including Achieve60AZ, the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, College Success AZ and ASU aims to help at least 10,000 middle-class families in the Phoenix area apply for financial aid to support postsecondary studies. Modeled after digital tools used at ASU, the coalition will launch a new chatbot to address students’ questions about the financial aid process. The coalition will promote the tool and their campaign with awareness events, small group interventions and individualized coaching for parents and students. The average family should expect an annual financial aid award of nearly $10,000.

Intergenerational HomeSharing at Scale

This solution helps older homeowners rent out living space to college students in exchange for 10-20 hours per week of household maintenance tasks that become more challenging with age (e.g. lawn care, cleaning, grocery shopping, pet care) and/or a reduced rental income. By choosing to homeshare, college students can save an estimated $6,000-$10,000 per year in housing costs. Older homeowners can avoid the costs of outsourcing these tasks and also earn additional income, thereby increasing their annual net income by $3,000-6,000 per year.

Autonomous Vehicles for Mobility Access: How Self-Driving Cars Can Reduce Transportation Expenses for Middle-Class Arizonans

ASU and the city of Tempe will collaboratively develop public-private partnerships making use of autonomous shuttles to provide low-cost mobility and transit services for middle-income families in Tempe. This project will target several key population centers in the city to provide quality, cost-efficient mobility where it is currently absent. This is expected to decrease annual transportation expenditures by up to $5,000 per household.

See all 10 teams here.

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. The Schmidt Futures initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve their potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to supported efforts.

Article courtesy of ASU Office of University Initiatives.

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ASU's year in review 2018

December 14, 2018

New partnerships, breakthrough discoveries and student success made it a year to remember

Arizona State University took great strides forward in 2018, cementing partnerships to further student access and success, facilitating groundbreaking scientific research and earning prestigious awards and grant funding. The university snagged its fourth-straight "No. 1 in Innovation" title. It cut the ribbon on Biodesign C. It even renamed a college.

And above all, Sun Devil students, faculty and staff remained committed to serving their community. Here's a look back at the top stories of 2018.


ASU researchers and their teams pushed knowledge forward this year, publishing work in many fields, including microplastic pollution, nanomedicine, the gig economy and man's best friend.

Arizona Impact

From the 100th anniversary of an infamous Arizona shootout to the groundbreaking of an innovative new concept in intergenerational living, ASU is embedded in both Arizona's past and future. This year saw the expansion of ASU Prep, an initiative for resilient cities and powerful steps forward in how we educate our young people. 

ASU News

It was a year of change for the university — though that No. 1 in innovation ranking stayed the same. ASU unveiled the newly renamed Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, introduced Sanjeev Khagram as the new dean and director-general of the Thunderbird School of Global Management and inked a partnership to extend student access to Uber's top drivers.

Sun Devil Life

Campus life at ASU saw a lot of exciting changes in 2018, among them a complex of brand-new living and working spaces for Greek Life members on the Tempe campus, a unified home for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the introduction of Dutch, ASU Police's new puppy who will grow to be a comfort animal for crime victims.


How do online biology students get lab experience? Solved. How does a classic car enthusiast keep his Thunderbird from overheating? Solved. Finding answers to problems facing our community and the world remains a strong focus for ASU's scholars and students.

Global Engagement

Between a stacked lineup of Fulbright and Cambridge scholarship winners, the opening of the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU and visits from world-renowned journalists and philosophers, it's no wonder ASU was also named the top choice among public universities for international students this year.


Poetry. Art. Needlework? Sun Devils find creative expression in many forms. This year they found it in music therapy for a senior center, making customized T-shirts at Innovation Day and, for one professor and poet, in a MacArthur "genius" grant.


The entrepreneurial spirit of ASU was off the charts this year: Startups crushed it at Demo Day and the Innovation Open, the university moved up in the global patent rankings and scores of students made full use of ASU resources to launch their products and businesses.

This holiday season, the gift of wrapping paper

The ASU Library Map and Geospatial Hub has an abundance of old, free maps — perfect for creative and sustainable wrapping paper

December 12, 2018

‘Tis the season … for gift wrap.

For all those white elephants and special someones on your list this holiday season, the ASU Library Map and Geospatial Hub has you (ahem) covered.  director of Map and Geospatial Hub standing in front of old maps Matthew Toro, director of the ASU Library Map and Geospatial Hub, invites the ASU community to take home excess maps waiting to be recycled to use as gift wrap or art material. Download Full Image

The library unit, located on the third floor of Noble Library on the Tempe campus, has an abundance of old maps that have outlived their original purpose.

Both unique and sustainable, the recycled maps make for creative, high-quality wrapping paper. (Some of them have even become art.)

And the price is jolly good. The maps are free. 

“They’re primarily topographic maps whose coverage is outside the geographic and/or thematic foci of our collection development policy,” said Matthew Toro, director of the Map and Geospatial Hub. “Others are duplicated, superseded, or available online in multiple digital image formats.”

The ASU community is invited to come by the Map and Geospatial Hub during normal business hours to check out what's inside the "Take a Map" box for their gift-wrapping needs.

(Scotch tape not included.)

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU honored with digital learning innovation award

December 4, 2018

Arizona State University’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and EdPlus at ASU have been awarded the Digital Learning Innovation Award at the 2018 Online Learning Consortium Accelerate conference. The university was honored in the institutional category, an award that was “designed to recognize the changes institutions are making across multiple courses and programs to integrate digital courseware in order to reduce the barriers of academic success for all students.”

ASU received the award for its transformation of the College Algebra course, in which the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences eliminated its developmental math course and began utilizing adaptive learning courseware to ensure students reach the maximum level of success. Jason Denison (middle left), platform manager for EdPlus at ASU, and Fabio Milner (middle right), associate dean of graduate initiatives for ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of mathematics for STEM education, accept the Digital Learning Innovation Award on ASU's behalf at the 2018 Online Learning Consortium Accelerate conference. Download Full Image

Following an analysis of academic challenges students faced in developmental math and the College Algebra course, the math faculty worked with EdPlus’ educational technology experts to develop a new solution that changed the way ASU teaches the course.

First, the faculty decided to eliminate the developmental math course. This was due to the fact that while students may do well in the course, they were also more likely to fall behind in their degree program and drop out of the university at a higher rate than other students. The developmental math course was designed for students who needed College Algebra for their degree program, but did not score high enough on their math placement test to enroll directly into the course. Data also showed that how a student performed in developmental math offered no demonstrable benefit in their College Algebra course outcomes.

Second, faculty recommended the implementation of an adaptive learning math program. Adaptive learning courseware delivers instructional resources and assessment activities to help students master the learning objective of each lesson. The systems collect data on student progress and performance and provide a recommendation on the lesson or content selected to help each student learn as effectively and efficiently as possible.

According to Dale Johnson, adaptive program manager for EdPlus at ASU, “the adaptive and active learning approach is enabling student success at ASU by using adaptive courseware to deliver the right lesson to the right student at the right time, and then using active learning techniques during class to help students develop their applied problem-solving skills.”

After analyzing several adaptive courseware systems, ASU selected and configured McGraw Hill Education’s ALEKS platform for use by all students enrolled in the class. 

“The benefit of integrating ALEKS into the course is that each student now has a personalized study path through the material,” Johnson said. “The adaptive courseware enabled the math faculty to realize their dream of providing more personalized instruction at scale by delivering the right lesson to each student, helping them master the material at their own pace.”

Douglas Williams, principal lecturer in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, believes the changes made within the College Algebra course, along with the implementation of ALEKS, provided faculty with new instructional methods that require students to learn and master the material rather than just memorize.

“Using an adaptive system allows us to reach students through the use of technology, which is an area where they are comfortable. It also allows us to better track student success and how long it is taking students to move through the course,” Williams said. “Through the implementation of ALEKS, students also learn how to be more proactive in their studies, which benefits them not just in the math course but in other areas as well, such as reading.”

Finally, the faculty created the flexibility of a “stretch” semester, which gives students the ability to continue working their way through the curriculum into a second semester if they were not able to finish it within one.

Since the implementation of these changes in fall 2016, ASU has achieved a 20 percent increase in the student success rate when compared to previous years. This translated into an additional 800 students passing the course in the first year.

“Our increased student success in College Algebra is a great example of how adaptive technology can meet individual learning needs at scale,” Johnson said.

Carrie Peterson

Media Relations Manager, EdPlus at Arizona State University