ASU names new VP of research

August 13, 2018

Cynthia Sagers will join Arizona State University’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development in September as vice president of research.

Sagers will be responsible for research development activities; growing the university’s proposals, awards and expenditures; and overseeing specialized research development projects. Sagers previously was vice president for research at Oregon State University, where she led the university’s research enterprise and worked to expand the university’s entrepreneurial and economic development activities. Under her leadership, the university’s research revenue increased by 55 percent. candy sagers Cindy Sagers. Download Full Image

“My work is focused on creating equity, accessibility and excellence in academic research,” Sagers said. “At Arizona State University these qualities blend with outstanding leadership to create the nation’s most innovative university campus. I am thrilled to be joining ASU as its next VPR.”

Prior to OSU, Sagers was associate vice provost for research at the University of Arkansas. She also served as a senior research associate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Research Council, and as a program officer for the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering and Division of Environmental Biology. She earned two bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences from the University of Iowa and a PhD from the University of Utah in ecology and evolutionary biology.

“Cynthia Sagers is a proven leader who has advanced cutting-edge research and scholarship during her roles at Oregon State University, the National Science Foundation and the University of Arkansas,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. “We look forward to the energy, leadership and initiative she is sure to contribute as ASU’s knowledge enterprise continues to scale rapidly and expand our impact globally.”

In addition to her work in KED, Sagers also will be a professor in ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

Pamela DeLargy joins ASU as adviser on international development initiatives

August 13, 2018

Arizona State University has announced that Pamela DeLargy has been recruited as Professor of Practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies and will also serve as senior adviser on International Development Initiatives in the Office of the President.

In her advisory role to the president, DeLargy will support the development of a variety of international projects focused on strengthening ASU’s work in humanitarian action and response to global health and development issues. For the past year, she has been supporting the design and implementation of Education for Humanity — an international online learning and digital education program for refugees and conflict-affected populations — and will continue her work in this area as Ed4Hum expands its outreach.  Download Full Image

As Professor of Practice in Politics and Global Studies, DeLargy will teach and support course development and student laboratories on forced migration, humanitarian action, gender and development, and global public health. She plans to establish a research program on migration and health. She previously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was visiting fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. She is a specialist on the Horn of Africa, having lived and worked in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan for many years. 

Prior to joining ASU, DeLargy worked for two decades in international development and humanitarian response, initially for USAID and then with the United Nations. She led the humanitarian work of the United Nations Population Fund and was a leader in bringing global attention to the specific needs of women, adolescents and the elderly in humanitarian situations. She was instrumental in the international community’s efforts to provide support to those affected by sexual violence in war and she also led U.N. work on HIV prevention in conflict. From 2014–2017, DeLargy served as senior adviser to the United Nations Special Representative for Migration where she focused on cross-Mediterranean migration and European policy responses. She serves on the advisory board of a number of international initiatives including the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development (Geneva) and the Institute for Strategic Security Studies (Malta). 

“DeLargy will be a valuable asset to the ASU community,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost at ASU. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with ASU students and she will also help further our international higher education efforts around the globe."

“Getting to know ASU has been a true pleasure for me,” DeLargy said. “It is exciting to be at an institution where all good ideas — even unconventional ones — are encouraged. The combination of expertise and innovation at ASU can make a big contribution to solving serious global problems and to improving the lives of people who are often forgotten. “

DeLargy has a BA and an MA in international relations and African studies from the University of Georgia. She did her graduate studies in political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she also received a Master of Public Health degree.

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ASU CFO honored with distinguished business officer award

July 24, 2018

Morgan R. Olsen's career has been filled with successes in the fields of finance and higher education. And now, he has one more honor to his name. 

Olsen, Arizona State University's executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, recently was honored with the 2018 National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Distinguished Business Officer Award. NACUBO’s most prestigious honor, the award is given to recognize outstanding professional achievement and exemplary contributions to NACUBO, and business and financial management in higher education. 

Olsen's award was presented to him at NACUBO's annual meeting held July 21­­–24 in Long Beach, California.

“While this prestigious award is truly an honor to receive, I am most proud of being a member of an organization that focuses on how financial and business officers in higher education can elevate ideas into action,” Olsen said. “As leaders in our institutions, which play such an important role in allowing people to reach their full potential, we have a great responsibility to help ensure that American colleges and universities improve both our society and the quality of life for as many people as possible.” 

Olsen came to Tempe in 2008 after serving as executive vice president and treasurer at Purdue University. He currently manages both the finances and administration of the country's largest public research university, holding responsibility for administering ASU’s $3.2 billion annual operating budget and a capital projects program exceeding $1 billion. 

"Dr. Olsen is not only an accomplished executive but also a good boss who cares about his people," said Nichol Luoma, ASU associate vice president for university business services and sustainability operations officer. "He is a dynamic leader who expects his units to model ASU's charter in everything we do. We are allowed and expected to challenge the status quo, commit to continual process improvement, demonstrate exemplary customer service and ensure we are keeping the university safe while supporting innovation and informed risk-taking."

Olsen's NACUBO honor is his second major award in as many years, as he was honored by the Financial Executives International Arizona chapter with its 2017 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Award.

"This recognition from NACUBO confirms the belief of his colleagues in Business and Finance that Arizona State University has a visionary CFO providing leadership to our organization," Luoma added.

NACUBO represents the chief business and financial officers of more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country through advocacy efforts, community service, and professional development activities. The association's mission is to advance the economic viability, business practices and support for higher education institutions in fulfillment of their missions.

Olsen served as chair of NACUBO's board of directors before joining ASU.  

Connor Pelton

Communications Writer , ASU Now

ASU's Interactive Plan of Study is getting more than just a face-lift

University's graduate program tracking tool, iPOS, is releasing a substantial update

July 23, 2018

Tracking your graduate program progress is about to become a breeze not just for Arizona State University students, but also for faculty and support staff. The Interactive Plan of Study is going mobile and will be a whole lot more automated.

The iPOS (pronounced “eye-paws”) has helped guide graduate students through their studies at ASU since 2007, a core resource to the functions of ASU’s graduate community. Like an app to track fitness goals, the purpose of iPOS is to track student progress toward completing their program by making sure students’ academic plan will fulfill their department’s degree requirements. It also provides connectivity between students, departments, advisers, coordinators and all those who provide support for graduate student success. Interactive Plan of Study iPOS update coming in Fall 2018 Download Full Image

“iPOS is a very important tool for students to be successful and is a required task for graduation," said Brian Mattson, director of graduate program services at the Graduate College and the lead for the iPOS redesign project. "It helps students create a plan that gets them from Point A to Point B. It’s also invaluable to graduate advisers who may be advising hundreds of students, each with different program requirements. It saves them time and cuts back on confusion, allowing them to focus on what’s important — the student’s goals and interests.” 

Lynn Pratte, an academic success coordinator at the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, agrees.

“I use the iPOS all day, every day. Every interaction I have with a student begins with me looking at their iPOS to see where they are in their program and what degree requirements are left for them to complete," she said. "Some of our programs have restrictions on the types of classes that students can take, so while I am looking to see what the basic degree requirements are, I am also looking to see what classes are available for the student to take in the future. This allows the student and I to have a conversation about their immediate needs and provide options for future semesters."

Although iPOS has received numerous updates and improvements over the years, graduate students’ needs and expectations — as well as technology — have drastically evolved, making it evident the iPOS needed to push out a major redesign. 

“We had a student focus group talk about their experiences with the existing iPOS, and they shared that it was outdated to look at. This wasn’t a huge surprise; since it was originally launched in 2007, the user interface was rather old-fashioned compared to today’s standards,” Mattson said.

There is no out-of-the-box solution that can serve the diverse needs of ASU’s 450-plus graduate programs and community; therefore, iPOS is a unique, custom-built application running within PeopleSoft. To upgrade it, a dynamic team including the Graduate College’s technical team, the University Technology Office and expert consultants has been assembled and is working on rebuilding the iPOS system from the ground up. The goals are to improve performance, reduce barriers and make the student experience more enjoyable.

The two most desired features being added are a completely redesigned interface that’s mobile-friendly and preloaded core requirements. Other enhancements include fully electronic pass/fail, real-time GPA updates, milestone tracking, student and faculty pictures, live My ASU alerts, format tracking and FAQ tips strategically scattered throughout the software.

Last month the Graduate College offered a first look at the new iPOS at a preview event for graduate support staff. With representation from every college and school, more than 150 staff came to see a sneak peek of the new features.

“I am excited about how user-friendly it will be and the fact that students can complete their iPOS on their mobile devices. I think this is a huge improvement to the system that will greatly benefit students,” Pratte said. 

The event wasn’t all show-and-tell, however; the Graduate College also hosted a listening session to gather comments and feedback on the new enhancements. The feedback from that event will be incorporated to make further improvements.

The revamped iPOS is set to launch during fall 2018. Some system testing for iPOS will begin next month to ensure a smooth transition upon release. Current functionality will not be affected by the testing.

Julie Ann Wrigley creates new sustainability scholarship

July 5, 2018

Julie Ann Wrigley isn’t one just to talk about what needs to happen in society. She takes action. At Arizona State University alone, Wrigley has invested more than $50 million dollars in something she believes deeply in: sustainability.

Without Wrigley’s investments in ASU, the university wouldn’t be the leader in sustainability that it is today. Her philanthropy at the university started in 2004, when she joined ASU President Michael M. Crow at a pivotal retreat where many of the world’s sustainability leaders discussed challenges facing our planet and what a university could do to address them. At this retreat, the vision for an interdisciplinary sustainability institute was born. School of Sustainability graduate Farren Hinton walks at convocation Farren Hinton, graduating with a master's degree in sustainability leadership, walks across the stage at the School of Sustainability convocation on May 10, 2018. Photo by Summer Sorg/ASU Now Download Full Image

Wrigley helped make this vision a reality with an initial gift of $15 million dollars. In doing so, she became the co-founder of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, a dynamic hub of research, education and solutions. After Wrigley invested another $25 million in the institute, it was renamed after her in 2014.

With the institute grew the nation’s first and best School of Sustainability, established on ASU’s Tempe campus. Wrigley gifted $10 million dollars so that ASU could recruit the world’s top sustainability scholar-researchers to teach at the school, providing students with an exceptional education in a budding and urgently needed field. Since the school's 2007 launch, 1,234 students have graduated with sustainability degrees at ASU. That’s 1,234 more leaders who are helping the world navigate an uncertain future in ways that are healthy for the planet and its people.

Even after investing so generously — not just financially but also by giving her time and her talents — Wrigley isn’t done investing in students and in the planet’s future. With a matching investment from President Crow, Wrigley just created a new scholarship for students enrolled in the School of Sustainability: the Rob Melnick Scholarship in Sustainability Solutions, named in honor of Professor Melnick’s 10 years of leadership and service to the ASU Wrigley Institute and the university.

“One of the great privileges of my job is that I get to work with leaders who give of their time and resources to help solve society’s biggest problems, and few match the commitment of Julie Ann Wrigley,” said Crow. “Few match her energy, her passion, her dedication to the issues we address in the Global Institute of Sustainability. Perhaps most importantly, few engage as generously with our students as Julie does. She’s an outstanding partner in important work.”

Wrigley’s new scholarship in Melnick’s name will be awarded to an ASU School of Sustainability student each year to support an education, research or service activity that prepares them to address a specific sustainability challenge.

Kayla Frost

Associate Editor, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


ASU Gammage tests new accessibility and translation app for theatergoers

June 19, 2018

ASU Gammage is partnering with GalaPro to provide a new accessibility and translation app to theater patrons. The service will be tested beginning June 19 for the run of Broadway show "The School of Rock."

GalaPro is an app that provides accessibility and translation, resulting in a better overall experience for users. Individuals using the app are able to enjoy the show in their own language with subtitles, dubbing, audio description, closed captioning and amplification.    Download Full Image

Through the process of voice recognitionGalaPro provides real-time services. 

The technology is the first of its kind. It gives attendees the opportunity to not only hear and see the performance but to fully grasp the entire context of the show. 

We are so excited to bring GalaPro’s innovative technology to our patrons to enhance the accessibility options we have available and continue to fulfill our mission of connecting communities, said Erica Lin, ASU Gammage digital marketing specialist. 

The application is compatible with any smartphone or tablet and is tailored to perform its services in any theater venue in the world. It’s free and only requires a one-time installation from either the Google Play store or Apple's app store 

Once downloaded, the next step is to simply choose the venue, the show and the preferred language. The application will then provide the content of the show with a complete itinerary and program. The users will have the option of choosing real-time services like subtitles, closed captioning, dubbing and an audio description program for the visually impaired.  

What makes this GalaPro distinct is the technology designed to specifically adhere and respect the strict rules of theater. As soon as the application is being used, the airplane mode on the phone is activated, prohibiting any phone calls during the play. In addition, the content on the screen is displayed through a low-light black screen eliminating any distractions for any other attendee.  

Marketing and Communications Assistant Worker, ASU Gammage

ASU Enterprise Partners makes Top Companies to Work For list

CEO R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. discusses the importance of corporate culture

June 8, 2018

ASU Enterprise Partners has been named a Top Company to Work for in Arizona by the Arizona Republic for the fifth year in a row.

ASU Enterprise Partners’ mission is to advance the success of Arizona State University. It raises resources to benefit students, researchers and programs contributing to ASU’s impact in the world.   sparky with a fan Download Full Image

To learn more about what makes ASU Enterprise Partners a top company, ASU Now turned to ASU Enterprise Partners’ President and CEO R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. to discuss the importance of corporate culture.

Question: How do you define corporate culture?

Answer: Corporate culture is an interesting term. People throw it around a lot and sometimes it is hard to define. It’s the intangible part of an organization. It’s about mindset. It’s about how people interact with each other. It’s about values. It’s about principles. It’s about all the things that you really can’t get your arms around but are still important to a successful, functioning organization. To define our culture, I look at some of our values. We innovate. We certainly have this concept to be innovative and entrepreneurial in what we do. We engage. We communicate effectively with people. We serve. We are a service organization. And, finally, we care. All of our other core values roll up into us caring about our colleagues, caring about donors and caring about the folks that we surround ourselves with. I do think we live those values here at ASU Enterprise Partners. They’ve become embedded in our culture.

Q: What are a few things you have done to help create a culture that employees love?

A: Creating culture, too, is hard because it’s not something that you can just dictate saying, "Here’s a culture." But, there are some fun things we do here. We give people their birthday off, which, I think, sends a signal to the organization that it’s important to enjoy yourself and have fun. We have "You Rock" cards, which allow employees to recognize their colleagues for their hard work. Every time I get a "You Rock" card, it puts a smile on my face; I know that it must put a smile on somebody else’s face when they get one. We do a lot of fun events around the holidays, such as parties or contests. We’ve had chili-tasting contests, pumpkin-carving contests and salsa-making contests, to name a few. I think these contests bring the team together and put a little competitive spirit in our teams by doing something fun. These fun things we do send a signal that work is supposed to be productive but it's also supposed to be fun.

Q: How do you promote diversity and inclusion?

A: Diversity and inclusion really starts with myself, making it clear that I think it’s important to have diverse points of view and that we need to be inclusive of others no matter what their backgrounds are. We always work hard to make sure we bring diversity into the workplace. As we promote and then hire, we need to have that as an explicit part of our consideration in the way that we think through those decisions. We also need to make sure that we have a workplace where, in the workplace itself, people are accepting of diversity and inclusion. When they’re not inclusive, we immediately stop and say, "Timeout, that’s not acceptable in our organization." So, while we can always improve on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, I think we have the right mindset and mentality around it and now it’s a matter of continuing to execute on it.

Director of Media and Public Relations, ASU Enterprise Partners


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ASU Now launches Sun Devil Shelf Life

May 31, 2018

A new searchable database of books by ASU faculty, staff and alumni is your gateway to exploring the perfect summer reading list

Arizona State University abounds with academics who are also authors — often prolific ones — and their publications range from research-backed guides to literary works to theoretical explorations. So wouldn’t it be great if there was a one-stop shop where you could go to see who’s writing about what?

Now there is.

Sun Devil Shelf Life, a new resource for readers and writers, is an online platform that serves as a database for the myriad publications written by members of the ASU community, including faculty, staff and alumni.

Publications are searchable by author name, subject and genre. Listings provide a synopsis, author bio, publication information and details on where to find or purchase a copy (including links to the ASU Library when available). Those who wish to submit their publications to be included in Sun Devil Shelf Life should contact the communications officer of their college or unit.

Given the size of ASU and the breadth of academic fields, such a tool is extremely useful.

“[ASU] is so big that it can be really hard to know what everybody’s doing, to always have your finger on the pulse,” said Julia Himberg, assistant professor of film and media studies.

Her first book, “The New Gay for Pay: The Sexual Politics of American Television Production” — an examination of how television production influences societal notions of sexuality — became available in January. She’s looking forward to using Sun Devil Shelf Life to learn more about the work of others around her.

“I think this is an incredibly valuable resource for faculty and students to learn about each other because it’s such an important aspect of community building,” she said. “And I think ASU really believes in that.”

ASU alumni Fernando Pérez, an assistant professor at Bellevue College, and Tayari Jones, a professor at Rutgers, also have books released this year: “A Song of Dismantling: Poems,” and “An American Marriage: A Novel,” respectively.

All three authors shared with ASU Now the inspiration behind their books and the value of writing in addition to their other academic duties.

Julia Himberg

The New Gay for Pay: The Sexual Politics of American Television Production
University of Texas Press, 2018

Question: What was the inspiration behind this book?

Answer: I felt like what I did in my dissertation was a great lesson for me in how to undertake a big project, but I wanted to take that further and say something different in a book. And I didn’t want to just write it for the sake of writing a book. I wanted to fill a gap in the scholarship and speak to some issues that I didn’t think were being talked about by other scholars around sexual identity and gender identity, especially LGBT identities and how television has a major role in how people understand social change.

Q: Why do you feel it’s important to write in addition to teaching and other scholarly work?

A: It challenges your mind in different ways. So for me, the challenge of teaching is that you’re essentially breaking down existing knowledge, trying to make it relevant, digestible and interesting to students. That’s an incredible challenge. Writing and doing research is the opposite; it’s about building knowledge. You’re going from the ground up versus going from the top down.

The other thing is that the two of them go hand in hand much more than people realize. I think many professors would agree that their interactions with students in the classroom often greatly influence their research and writing. Students raise important questions and criticisms. I don’t know that students are often thanked enough for their impact on professors’ work. 

Q: Do you have any advice for academics on balancing their other duties with the huge undertaking of writing a book?

A: It is so hard. I had papers and books spread out everywhere. I was in chaos. There were tears involved. I had to separate teaching and writing completely. The days I taught were completely dedicated to teaching. It’s very rewarding when you have a great class session, but it’s really hard to feel satisfaction day in and day out writing a book that takes years. So it’s really tempting to spend all your time doing a fabulous job just preparing for class. I had to be really disciplined about separating those two things. On days when I wasn’t teaching, I was writing. And I had a plan of what to write that day. When you don’t have an agenda, it becomes too overwhelming; you have to break it into pieces. 

Tayari Jones

An American Marriage: A Novel
Algonquin/Workman, 2018

Q: What was the inspiration behind this book?

A: I overheard a couple arguing in a mall. The woman said, “Roy, you wouldn’t have waited on me for seven years.” I always feel like I have a novel when both characters have a legitimate point. At the time, I was at Harvard researching incarceration, but I was getting nowhere with my novel because I had a problem but no people. Once I had people, the novel snapped into focus.

Q: Why is writing important to you?

A: Particularly with fiction writers, I feel like we make the record of the intimate lives of our society. That’s where the real truth is. 

Q: While at ASU, you had the chance to work with Ron Carlson and Jewell Parker Rhodes. What was that like?

A: It was a really informative moment for me. [Carlson’s] advice was: Write about people and their problems; don’t write about problems and their people.

Q: Do you have any advice for writers?

A: My advice to people trying to write is this: You can do it. It may take you a long time. A lot of people feel like they need to write every day. That’s not true. My advice is try to write three hours a week. When other people are at the gym, you can write.

It took me six years to write this book. There were times I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish. What I learned is that patience is an important part of writing. You can’t force it. You have to be patient and have faith (in) the story. It’s almost like waiting for the story to meet you. The bus may not come today, but you need to sit at the bench until it does. You’ll get rained on. There will be some not-so-nice people there. But the bus will come. 

Fernando Pérez

A Song of Dismantling: Poems
University of New Mexico Press, 2018

Q: What was the creative process for this book like? 

A: “A Song of Dismantling” has been a work in progress since the MFA program [at ASU]. It looks nothing like my thesis, but at the same time so much stems from those same roots. I kept adding and revising and taking away poems. I enjoyed printing the manuscript draft out from time to time to hold it and look at it and edit it on paper instead of just on my laptop. I kept shuffling the order, and what I loved to do was something that [ASU Regents' Professor] Norman Dubie and TitoASU Regents' Professor Alberto Rios, who in 2013 was named the inaugural Arizona poet laureate. had suggested, which was to spread the manuscript out on the floor and tape it to a wall, just like a storyboard. 

Q: Why do you write? 

A: I first write for myself, to explore ideas/problems/obsessions. But I also write to play with language. Recently I have come to understand the writing and sharing of poetry as a kind of generosity. I am starting to embrace the idea that what is simultaneously happening is that I am writing for others too. I am giving voice and validation to an experience. In some ways we help people who cannot put what they experience in words; we help them feel as though we have put them right there in that moment of empathy. Poetry is empathy.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to practice what you teach?

A: I think it's about staying relevant. I would be writing and publishing anyway. The fact that I "do" and teach is a bonus for the school and my students, I guess. They seem to like [my class]. Maintaining a boundary for writing poetry is very important as a teacher. I have to say "no" to certain people or requests sometimes. 

Q: What tips would you give to emerging writers/poets?

A: Be vulnerable. First with yourself, in the privacy of your own writing; get out of your own way. Don't compare yourself to others. You are on your own journey. Look to learn from others, but do not compare. Read a lot. 

I make my students submit their poems at the end of the quarter. I want them to get used to rejection. Publishing is certainly about the quality of one's work, but it’s also just a numbers game. Eventually someone is going to publish your work. Even bad writers have places to publish, too. There’s room for everyone. I'd just say to be persistent. The world of publishing is a reflection of your peers in the field. Their rejection or acceptance of your work can be a gentle guide.

Sun Devil Shelf Life is a growing resource; check in over time as more entries are added. All members of the ASU community, past and present, are welcome; those who wish to submit their publications to be included in Sun Devil Shelf Life should contact the communications officer of their college or unit.

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

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Hayden Library reinvention breaks new ground

May 25, 2018

ASU President Michael Crow and Librarian Jim O'Donnell take a sledgehammer — literally — to old ideas about what a university library should be

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2018 here.

The Arizona State University community celebrated the progressing transformation of its largest library at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning.

Speaking at the ceremony, ASU President Michael Crow said the redesign of Hayden Library is one step in many to ensure that the library remains at the center of the ASU knowledge enterprise.

“There will always be at the heart of every great learning organization a library,” said Crow. “In the core of the core of the core of this enterprise is the library — the place of mediated, articulated, verifiable and quantifiable knowledge, not random dither. You cannot have a core of a learning enterprise without that.”

Currently under comprehensive renovation with completion scheduled for January 2020, Hayden Library’s five-story tower will feature new classrooms, state-of-the-art learning labs, engaging print collections, and study space to accommodate more than 2,000 students.  

The remodel advances a new vision for academic libraries at a time when demand for student space on campus continues to grow and knowledge is being created, accessed and shared with an ever-expanding set of tools.

“The library will take many forms: physical, digital and philosophical,” Crow said. “Who knows how libraries will end up in the next hundreds of years, but they’re not going away.”

Michael crow

President Michael Crow, along with University Librarian Jim O’Donnell (left) spoke about the vital importance of libraries to the university's mission at the "groundbreaking" of the renovation of Hayden Library. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Rethinking libraries

ASU joins other universities across the country that are rethinking their libraries.

“Libraries are books, and much, much more beside,” University Librarian Jim O’Donnell said. “Libraries are central to the educational enterprise — the critical link connecting students to the university and to the world of knowledge.” 

Features of the Hayden Library "reinvention" include:

  • an above-ground entrance with multiple points of access
  • six classrooms and more than 1,000 additional seats for students to study, collaborate and learn
  • actively curated and community-led print collections on every floor
  • rotating exhibits that showcase the university’s innovations and scholarly work
  • main-floor access to ASU Library’s distinctive and special collections, especially rich in documenting and illustrating the history and cultures of Arizona and all its peoples
  • a suite of learning and research spaces specializing in data analysis, creativity and maker culture, technology learning, research support and geographic information systems
  • student support services integrated on every floor

O’Donnell said ASU Library is well positioned to serve as a showcase for the university and as a central hub for its commitment to inclusion, transdisciplinary exploration and student success. Traditional services retain great value in serving those goals, but new kinds of services will be particularly supported by the reinvented Hayden.

“Everybody knows what a library is — or thinks they do,” O’Donnell said. “At ASU our library transforms old collections and services with new kinds of information, new ways of finding information, and new ways to use what we have.”

Hayden redesign exterior

The Hayden Library reinvention will include an above-ground entrance with multiple points of access.

The new spaces that are coming to Hayden will be accented by new services and initiatives, some of which have already launched through grant funding awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Last fall, ASU Library was awarded a Mellon grant to reinvent open-stack print collections by making them more strategic, inclusive and engaging with the aim of energizing readers, scholars and learners through a more accurate and broader reflection of their experiences.

About 325,000 print volumes will return to Hayden in 2020, as a highly curated collection. 

“The print volumes that will live at Hayden will be powerful and necessary tools that give visibility and definition to the past and present artifacts of culture,” said O’Donnell, the principal investigator on the grant. 

Another Mellon grant is helping drive the library’s commitment to social embeddedness.

Library archivist Nancy Godoy was awarded a $450,000 grant last year to lead the development of community-driven archival collections in an effort to more accurately represent Arizona’s population and the contributions of minority communities to state and local history.

“Our archival work really demonstrates the inclusive values of ASU, and is helping to empower historically marginalized communities in Arizona,” O’Donnell said. 

Hayden Library redesign exterior

In addition to rotating exhibits and community-led print collections on every floor, Hayden Library will offer main-floor access to ASU Library’s distinctive and special collections.

‘We’re still open’

With Hayden tower closed and the renovation in full swing, O’Donnell has an important message for ASU students and faculty: “We’re still open for business — the business of learning.”

The Hayden Library lower concourse and lower level will remain open throughout the entire renovation, and will maintain its 24-hour service during the fall and spring semesters. 

To make up for the temporary shortage of space in Hayden Library, 150 seats have been added to Noble Library, which began operating 24 hours a day, five days a week, during the spring 2018 semester. Additional study space for students in Armstrong Hall also opened this month. 

“We anticipate few disruptions to service and are doing everything we can to ensure that students and faculty get what they need,” O’Donnell said. “It’s an exciting time, and 2020 will be here before we know it.”

Learn more about the Hayden Library renovation.

Top photo: University Librarian Jim O'Donnell punches through the old drywall at the "groundbreaking" of the renovation of Hayden Library on Friday, May 25, 2018. Though it will remain open during the great reinvention, the library is set to have a grand reopening in 2020 and will include above-ground entrances, classrooms, student collaboration spaces, student support services, collections, exhibits and much more. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Emerge conference brings discussion of big technology ideas to ASU IT professionals

May 25, 2018

Arizona State University recently hosted Emerge, an energy-filled internal collaboration event for all ASU IT professionals. Emerge brought over 700 participants together to engage in idea-generating peer discussions and passionately discuss technology trends.

“This event is the first of its kind at ASU," said Tina Thorstenson, ASU’s chief information security officer and one of the executive sponsors for the event. "And given the amazing energy in the room it certainly served as a catalyst for creatively exploring and ultimately delivering a new level of service to students and faculty.” emerge conference Over 700 attendees discussed big ideas in the future of IT and learning at UTO's Emerge conference. Download Full Image

Attendees were encouraged to reflect on how ASU can leverage current technology advancements to embody the direction of the New American University.

From the welcome address from Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost, to the panel of ASU leadership and student leaders, to a series of lightning talks meant to spark ideas, the tone of thinking about big ideas was set for the day.

“The Charter of ASU and its ambition for making access and quality the key elements in the New American University is made possible by technology and the contribution of the ASU IT professionals in this room,” Searle said.

Deputy Provost Stefanie Lindquist, the event’s emcee, moderated a discussion between Tempe campus Dean of Students Nicole Taylor; Executive Vice President, Treasurer and CFO Morgan Olsen; Associate Vice President Research Tamara Deuser; and two incoming undergraduate student government presidents, Tempe's Allison Sorgeloos and West's Alexander Haw.

Innovative initiatives were presented by the conference’s lightning talk presenters:

  • "LROC: Nine Years Exploring the Moon" by School of Earth and Space Exploration Professor Mark Robinson

  • "Dream, Do, Drive — Finding the Next Gear" by Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick

  • "Education through eXploration" by President’s Professor Ariel Anbar

  • "EdPlus — Inclusive Design for International Populations" by Senior Director, Lifelong Learning Initiatives at EdPlus, Bethany Weigele

  • "Ask a Biologist: Teaching and Learning K to Grey" by Chief Technology Innovation Officer Charles Kazilek

Over lunch, attendees selected one of 50 big ideas to discuss with their lunch partners. These innovative Birds of a Feather discussions ranged from artificial intelligence academic pathway, to blockchain infrastructure for lifelong learning, to enterprise-wide VR adoption, and beyond. 

In the afternoon, participants also hosted breakouts based on their own ideas, gathering the like-minded and the curious to discuss enhancements to processes around career progression in IT and making the digital experience effective for students.

At the end of the conference, participants enjoyed a gamified experience to highlight the most intriguing ideas of the day. Capping off the event, Gonick said, “There is enormous talent across the IT professionals at ASU. If we are intentional about emerging as a loosely coupled community of practice, we can, and we will be a catalyst for advancing the mission of the New American University.”

All in all, the conference was a joyous, productive day full of important conversations looking to the future of technology and education at ASU, a constant relevant facet in all fields.

Learn more about the event, and make sure to follow UTO on Twitter.

Written by Tristan Ettleman