Students 'walk the talk' for sustainability

February 3, 2011

Each semester, the School of Community Resources and Development, in the College of Public Programs, offers a course titled, “Sustainable Communities” (NLM/PRM/TDM 301), in which students have the opportunity to apply what they’re learning about fostering sustainability in the community.

“Focus Phoenix” is a semester-long community service component of the course, with the goal of connecting students directly to the Valley. Download Full Image

Students work in teams, with names such as “the Green Divas,” to tackle issues impacting sustainability in Phoenix. In the fall, eight teams worked on diverse projects, including how to recycle jeans into energy efficient housing insulation and how to create a community garden. “The idea is to provide opportunity for students to build community with their own teams and then reach out to help our larger community in which we live, work and recreate here in Phoenix,” says Rhonda Phillips, the professor for the course. 

The teams are given a topical area for the focus of their work ranging from environment, infrastructure, transportation, to air quality.

“Each team has to identify and pursue a community service project in one of these areas.  This helps them to learn more about our city as well as encourages them to develop connections,” says Phillips.

This semester, teams will focus on issues including encouraging more awareness of the need for a vital local foods system, by working with the nearby nonprofit Phoenix Urban Market and Community Food Connection, to exploring the possibility of starting a no engine idling campaign for helping air quality in the Valley.

“It involves a high level of interaction to run this many projects each semester.  I wouldn’t have it any other way considering how much we all learn about our city and how we can impact sustainability at the local level,” says Phillips.

Student Travis Kim says the course provided him with a great environment for learning about sustainability.

“The various range of topics helps motivate students by allowing them to partake in a project of their interest.  The best part of the course is the ability to apply our knowledge to current trends and concepts.”

Spirit of Service Scholars now accepting applications

February 3, 2011

If you are an ASU student who wants to make the world a better place through your dedication to a career in public service, the Spirit of Service Scholars initiative would like to invite you to apply for a place in the 2011-2012 cohort of Scholars.

The Spirit of Service Scholars (SOSS) initiative honors outstanding students interested in pursuing careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship, mentorship from high-profile practitioners and leaders, and education on core topics for public service through seven Saturday seminars. This initiative seeks to help create the next generation of public service leaders who will transform the nonprofit and government sectors at all levels. Download Full Image


ASU students in any undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree program are eligible to apply.  High school students who have been accepted to ASU for the fall 2011 are also eligible to apply. The selection process is competitive: SOSS will select 25 Scholars.  In 2010, SOSS received 215 applications.  Selected applicants will be notified no later than May 31, 2011.

Application Process:

The SOSS will be accepting applications from Feb. 1 to April 4, 2011.  Applicants need to complete an online application form, available at">">http://spirit..., and provide unofficial transcripts (see FAQ's on the website above) and two sealed letters of reference.

Send to:
Paola Garcia Hicks
Manager, Spirit of Service Scholars
ASU College of Public Programs
411 N. Central Ave., Suite 750
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2163
pgarciah">">, 602.496.2090

ASU's Lifelong Learning courses span metropolitan Phoenix

January 21, 2011

Portrait drawing, how the brain works, American musical history, relationships across the lifespan, recognizing great art, and persuasion techniques used by marketers are just a few of the topics addressed in dozens of Spring 2011 course offerings from ASU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

The institute provides low-cost educational and cultural courses and programs for participants age 50 and above. Most programming this spring takes place in February, March and April. Non-credit courses, offered on weekdays, vary in length from a single session up to nine weekly sessions, with classes most typically running for four to six weeks. Download Full Image

Courses are taught by ASU professors, emeritus faculty and top community instructors. Spring titles include "Pioneering Women of Arizona;" "Hopi: Ancestors of the Ancestral Puebloan People;" "Significant Living Filmmakers: Steven Spielberg;" and "Persuasion, Propaganda and Market Mentality."

Spanning the Valley, courses are offered at ASU Osher Institute locations including ASU’s West campus in northwest Phoenix, Sun City Grand in Surprise, and Tempe Connections at the Tempe Public Library. Also, through partnerships with the Phoenix Art Museum and Desert Botanical Garden, a series of workshops at each partner’s location will examine the significance of museums in society and the desert ecosystem.

“The 50-plus generation is now known as the encore generation,” said Richard Knopf, director of the ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. “Never has there been a greater thirst by seniors to explore, chart new destinies, expand horizons and serve others. The Osher program at ASU opens doors not only to learn, but to find meaningful pathways to ignite people’s talents in a way that gives back to their communities.”

Knopf’s sentiments were echoed by retired Valley physician Gene Severino, who has taken a number of Osher courses on ASU’s West campus with his wife, Carol.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with golf, but playing golf 24/7 is the old version of retirement,” Severino said. “The new retiree wants to explore topics and ideas he or she didn’t have the time to learn about before. The Osher Institute provides a perfect opportunity to exercise your mind. All of the courses and instructors I’ve experienced have been top-quality.”

Spring highlights include "Portrait Drawing: The Fundamentals," to be taught at ASU’s West campus by Allen Reamer. Glendale resident Norma Lux, who says she has taken at least a half-dozen classes with Reamer, is looking forward to challenging him.

“Portraits are the one thing I can’t paint, but if anyone can help me do it, it’s Allen,” Lux said. “He’s extremely talented and knowledgeable, and his teaching methods really help reinforce the material he’s just covered with the class.”

The class "Hybrid Poetry" is being offered at the West campus. It is taught by ASU’s James Mitsui, a member of the ASU Emeritus College and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship who has had four books of poetry published. Mitsui says it’s natural for some people to be intimidated by poetry, but those fears are unfounded.

“Poetry isn’t that complicated,” Mitsui said. “I believe that trying to write poems while also reading and talking about them is a great way to understand contemporary poetry. I’ll provide non-threatening writing ideas and exercises, and students decide whether they want to write or submit their work. Along with reading works by poets they may not have heard of previously, participants will have fun, discover that their writing is improving, explore today’s world of poetry, and exercise the right side of their brains.”

While most Osher Institute offerings require a registration fee, there also are free movies and “meet the faculty” lectures in Sun City Grand and a free behind-the-scenes tour of the KAET Channel 8 studios for Institute members (with tour reservations taken on a first-come, first-served basis).

Another free event is associated with the Osher Institute’s participation in this year’s ONEBOOKAZ reading of Carolyn O’Bagy Davis’ “Hopi Summer: Letters from Ethel to Maud.” ONEBOOKAZ is a statewide program in which Arizonans share the reading and discussion of a common book addressing the Arizona experience. An April 18 session at ASU’s West campus will involve a facilitated discussion of “Hopi Summer.”

ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs are funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports university-quality educational offerings for mature students interested in learning for the love of learning. ASU is one of several colleges and universities across the United States to have been awarded a permanent Osher Foundation endowment to sustain and support its programs.

Registration procedures vary by location; details are available at">"> or by calling (602) 543-6440.

Anderson welcomed as new School of Social Work director

January 20, 2011

The College of Public Programs is pleased to welcome Steven Anderson as the new director of the School of Social Work.

Anderson comes to ASU from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a faculty member for 13 years in the School of Social Work and was Doctoral Program Director for three years. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to China in 2010, where he taught social development courses at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University and studied social work and nonprofit agency development. Download Full Image

Anderson previously worked as a staff member with the Michigan House of Representatives and served as the associate director for Human Services in the House Fiscal Agency. He was responsible for developing, analyzing, negotiating and monitoring budget and fiscal issues. He also worked as a consultant for the Mayor of Lansing, Michigan and engaged in political campaign work where he wrote speeches and helped candidates prepare for debates.

“Steve Anderson is a broad thinker with a strong commitment to social work with experience in the public sector and has a global perspective. His scholarly expertise in gerontology is also most welcome. In addition to providing strategic leadership for the School of Social Work, Dr. Anderson will ensure that there is broad collaboration with other units in the College and at ASU around issues of common concern including gerontology, social justice, child welfare and health disparities,” said Debra Friedman, university vice President and dean of the College of Public Programs.  

Anderson’s research focuses on access to benefits for low-income families. He also has led research projects evaluating the impact of welfare reforms, childcare, health care, financial training and other support services designed to assist low-income working families.

Anderson said he is thrilled to be in this new role at one of the largest social work programs in the country. 

“I was attracted by the unique cultural and environmental issues of Arizona and the Southwest. The School of Social Work is strong and has a lot of potential. We have a good presence across the state, creating a lot of possibilities,” he said.

Anderson has taught social policy, program planning, leadership and social change, social entrepreneurship and research methods courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate degree in  political science from the University of Michigan.

Lodestar Center releases Nonprofit Compensation, Benefits Report

January 10, 2011

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation released its 2010 Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report for Maricopa County and Pima County nonprofit organizations today. The 73-page report contains compensation data across 58 different nonprofit job categories, as well as findings on employee retirement, insurance, and paid days off. It also details salary and demographic information on nonprofit executive directors.

This is the fourth publication in the nonprofit compensation research series conducted by the ASU Lodestar Center. The Center researches and reports on nonprofit compensation and benefits every three years; the report is designed to help nonprofit organizations make decisions regarding hiring, salaries, and benefits. The study was last published in 2007; this is the second time the study has included Pima County. Download Full Image

“Our report reveals important data that is not otherwise available when looking specifically at Arizona-based nonprofits within the urban centers of our state,” said Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the center and professor of nonprofit studies in ASU's School of Community Resources and Development. “Employees are the most valuable asset of any nonprofit organization, and having this comparative data helps leaders secure and keep their talent. Therefore, there is a high demand for this type of research,” Ashcraft added.

The report is an aggregation and analysis of data reported by 243 nonprofit organizations; data were collected on a total of 10,307 employees.  The findings are critical to nonprofit managers to remain competitive in an environment marked by a small pipeline of experienced practitioners.

“The Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report provides important reference points for nonprofit organizations,” said Deborah J. Gilpin, president and CEO of the Children's Museum of Phoenix. “I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release, knowing that this critical information can help us attract and retain the best possible staff given the resources we have.”

The report also reveals interesting trends within the sector. The median executive director salary is $92,250, although executive director compensation varies widely based on organization budget size and type. The findings on nonprofit executive directors show a gradual shift away from the predominance of female executive directors in smaller nonprofits and male executive directors in larger ones.  

A large majority of nonprofit executive directors are female (64 percent), and the only category in which nonprofits are more likely to have a male executive director was that of the $10 million or higher annual budget category, in which 63 percent of executive directors are male.    

"As a non-profit executive in Pima County, it is important that I am able to be competitive with my peers in salaries and benefits, in order to hire the most qualified employees as well as make sure I reduce turnover of current staff,” said Sue Krahe, executive director of Our Family Services. “Research in this arena helps all nonprofits better plan for the future. The ASU Lodestar Center plays an important role by obtaining the information and making it useable."

The 2010 Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report is available to nonprofit organizations for $150, and $300 for all other organizations and individuals. A brief highlight of the report is available on the center’s" target="_blank">website. Organizations that provided information for the survey will receive a complimentary copy.

Robert F. Ashcraft

Stephanie La Loggia

Media contact:
Jill Watts

Dana Berchman

Fallen Phoenix officer honored with posthumous degree

December 20, 2010

Fallen Phoenix police officer, Travis Murphy, was honored with a posthumous degree from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice during the Convocation ceremony for Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs.

Officer Murphy’s widow and mother came to the stage to accept the degree on his behalf. Scott Decker, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, presented the diploma to the family and spoke about Murphy’s dedication to finishing his degree and his wish that his children would follow in his footsteps. Download Full Image

Murphy was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. “He attended class faithfully.  He went on duty right after class ended,” says Andrew Clemency, one of Murphy’s former instructors. “Despite having 80 students in that class, I knew who he was.”

“Officer Travis Murphy was an excellent student, who enhanced the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU," says Decker.

Murphy was fatally shot when confronting a suspect May 25. He had served with the Phoenix Police Department for four and a half years. The 29-year-old student left behind his wife and two children. 

Dana Berchman
Manager, Media Communications, ASU College of Public"> />

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Community Resources and Development named a 'Program of Excellence'

December 15, 2010

Christopher Edginton, WLO, and Maria Allison, SCRD The World Leisure Organization (WLO), a non-governmental association, designated ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development (SCRD) a “Program of Excellence” in a signing ceremony on Dec. 3.  

Representing the WLO was the organization’s Secretary General, Dr. Christopher Edginton, who also serves as professor and director of the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services at University of Northern Iowa since 1991.  Also in attendance representing the WLO was Dr. Roger Coles, dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Central Michigan University.  Representing ASU’s SCRD was Dr. Maria Allison, vice provost and dean of the Graduate College.  The signing ceremony took place in conjunction with the SCRD’s Graduate Symposium, in which PhD candidates presented their graduate research. Download Full Image

The WLO, founded in 1952, is an organization dedicated to fostering research and scholarship opportunities into leisure as a force for human growth, development and well-being.  As a World Leisure Program of Excellence designate, the School of Community Resources and Development receives recognition for continuing to provide research opportunities for national and international graduate students.  By working with leisure educators, researchers and professionals, master’s and PhD candidates are prepared to study policy, planning, community development and human service delivery models related to parks and protected areas, recreation programs and services, non-profit services, and tourism development and management.

The program prepares graduates for careers in higher education, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private sector businesses. The fields subsumed within Community Resources and Development are extremely diverse and involve the private, government and nonprofit sectors of the economy.  

For more information about the WLO, please visit their website: ">">  For more information about graduate opportunities within the SCRD, please visit the school’s website:">">  

ASU students chosen as State Park Youth Ambassadors

December 8, 2010

Three Arizona State University students have been selected by Arizona State Parks as State Park Youth Ambassadors.  All three students, Victor Vizcaino, Kelly Alvidrez and Benjamin Watts, are currently enrolled in the Parks & Recreation Management program at ASU.

Victor Vizcaino recently conducted field surveys in Kaibab National Forest on a research project with the City of Phoenix Parks Program.  “It is an honor to have been selected as a Youth Ambassador for Arizona State Parks because I get to represent my state, my university and the pride we share for the beauty of Arizona,” says Vizcaino. Download Full Image

Kelly Alvidrez is interested in environmental education and wants to teach others about the outdoors and how to use it in a sustainable manner.  “Through this appointment I hope to get young people excited about the parks and outdoor recreation. Also, I would like them to understand why we need to be stewards of our natural resources and how we can use them appropriately,” says Alvidrez.

Benjamin Watts enjoys exploring Arizona and its diverse assortment of natural resources. He believes getting people, especially youth, involved in the outdoor community is a crucial step in recognizing that we are a small part of a larger picture.  “Being selected has really reaffirmed my decision to change my major and get involved with the Parks and Recreation Management Program. I took a chance and it has changed my life,” says Watts.

Kathy Andereck, Director of the School of Community Resources and Development in the College of Public Programs, says she is thrilled that these students have been chosen.  “The students are reflective of the excellent education and mentoring provided by our faculty and the abundant opportunities available to Parks and Recreation Management majors. It also highlights the School’s philosophy and commitment toward community engagement and development of partnerships,” says Andereck.

The Youth Ambassador project is a cooperative effort between America's State Parks and the Outdoor Foundation's Outdoor Nation that encourages young adults to share their experiences with outdoor recreation. Each Youth Ambassador receives an Olympus camera and a 1-year Annual Pass to Arizona State Parks. They will document and share their experiences to the public using video, photos and blog entries that will posted on


“The Outdoor Foundation is pleased to partner with America’s State Parks to launch a nationwide Youth Ambassador program,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Outdoor Nation is a growing youth-led outdoor movement where young leaders are championing change in communities and on campuses across the country. Protecting America’s State Parks is one of the most important things our ‘Outsider’ community can do.”

Lodestar Center offers look at Ariz. giving, volunteering

November 23, 2010

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation has released the 2010 Arizona Giving and Volunteering Report – a summary of data from a web-based survey of nearly 700 Arizona resident households conducted in the summer of 2009. The report offers detailed results of the charitable behavior of Arizona residents and also discloses specific charitable behaviors for Arizona’s Hispanic population.

“An analysis of community quality of life indicators is incomplete without studying philanthropy – the giving of time, money and know-how to causes people care about,” said Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and professor of nonprofit studies in ASU's School of Community Resources and Development. "This timely study of household level philanthropy can assist nonprofits to refine their development efforts, raise money more efficiently, and use volunteers more effectively, thereby enabling a vibrant social sector that improves the quality of life in communities," he added. Download Full Image

More than three out of four Arizona households made a contribution to a charitable organization in 2008. This is substantially higher than the 2006 figure stated in the previous Arizona Giving and Volunteering report, in which only 58.2 percent of Arizona households made a charitable contribution. On a national level, Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy Panel Study reports that 70.2 percent of U.S. households gave to charitable organizations in 2005. By that standard, Arizona is above average.

Another difference is an increase in the number of households that moved from no contribution to a small charitable contribution. This increase in donors who made small gifts drives down the average annual household contribution.

Whereas the previous report shows that donors contributed an average of just over $2,000 in 2006, this year’s report shows the average household contribution has been reduced to $1,609. It is important to note that the declines in average do not represent a decline in giving, but an increase in the number of households making a small contribution.

This is the third Arizona Giving and Volunteering Report the ASU Lodestar Center has produced and distributed. Previous reports were released in 2003 and 2008.

The publication is free of charge and may be downloaded in PDF form at">">http://... or by calling the center at 602-496-0500.


Dr. Robert F. Ashcraft, ashcraft">">
Dr. Carlton F. Yoshioka,

Jill Watts, jill.watts">">

Dana Berchman, dana.berchman">">
College of Public Programs
Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

Forum explores family stress in faltering economy

November 17, 2010

A panel of five social work experts met Wednesday at Manning House for a public forum that explored the impacts – often hidden – of the struggling economy on families across Arizona. Each panelist agreed that the stressors exacerbated by the current recession are negatively impacting families and social work programs and services, and that the effects could extend to future generations.

“The toll is serious,” said Craig LeCroy, professor of social work in Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs. Download Full Image

“We have some good evidence that with economic difficulties there are increases in all the major social problems such as domestic violence, child maltreatment, substance abuse and mental health.”

The panel was moderated by Arizona PBS affiliate KAET 8 producer Mike Sauceda and featured LeCroy, Cynthia Lietz, an assistant professor of social work at ASU; Arizona State Representative (Dist. 15) Krysten Sinema; Pete Hershberger, executive director of the Arizona Center for the Study of Children and Families; and Neal Young, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

The forum, “Life on the Edge: The Hidden Social Impact of the Recession,” was hosted by the Tucson">">Tucson Component of ASU’s School of Social Work and organized by ASU Public Affairs. It featured a free-flowing discussion of topics from family stressors to social service limitations, and from those people most at risk during the economic recession to how high-risk groups will be impacted in the future.

“A lot of the hidden impact of this recession is the result it may have on our children and future generations,” said LeCroy, who has been a professor at ASU’s Tucson Component of the School of Social Work since 1994. “If parents are not able to do as much for their children – for example, providing reading material, buying equipment for sports, provide adequate meals – this can impact achievement. If parents can’t do as good as a job in their parenting, children may be more vulnerable to other influences.”

Rep. Sinema focused on the state’s governance and funding of public programs during the current economic downturn.

“This current recession is actually worse for Arizona than was the Great Depression,” she said. “Social service programs are offering less in the way of assistance than it has in the past; we are offering fewer services. The changes in governance that we are seeing are having a direct and significant impact on today’s families and also on the way we engage in governance and service to families in the future."

“We have seen many deep cuts; the situation is quite dire for people living on the edge,” she noted. “The Legislature isn’t just curtailing programs or not funding them, but eliminating them. What we have to do now is protect against the long-term impact of our ability to serve and assist in the future; not enough is being done currently to address this.”
Hershberger added that many services are funded by the state and on a local level, but that more and more the state is asking the cities and counties to foot a larger portion of the funding, which further stresses the system.

The panelists discussed a long list of social services that have been negatively impacted during the recession as more people seek relief, including childcare, health services, economic services, education, family services, shelters, transportation services, school reading and after-class programs, faith services and more.

“This crisis has led to severe stress on our social service workforce,” said Lietz. “Our ability to respond now and in the future is affected by having a workforce that is very stretched, carrying high caseloads, working extra hours, and having to do more with much less, and these are people with their own challenges. The system is stressed to capacity, which impacts our ability to help those in need.”

Young, who has announced he will be leaving DES in January, said the department is seeing more first-time applicants than ever before and noted that one in six Arizonans are receiving nutritional assistance, while more than 142,000 without jobs are receiving unemployment insurance.

Professor LeCroy noted that many people don’t appreciate the impact of job loss on a family.

“On the surface, there is a likely increase in family stress, and this stress is compounded by other difficulties,” he said.

“In some research, unemployment was the best predictor of domestic violence.

“A recent study found that unemployment and low wages can lead to increases in the crime rate. Because these may be families that did not face such difficulties in the past, they may be reluctant to seek help.”

The panelists encouraged forum attendees to reach out to elected leaders.

“Now is the time to get in touch with your local elected officials,” said Young.  “It’s important to let legislators know what’s important to you, whether it is lower taxes or childcare services; whatever it is. It’s a good way to be heard, and legislators are interested in the voices of their constituents.”

For Leitz, as services see funding and donations dwindle, altruism is a win-win opportunity.

“It is important to get involved,” said the ASU assistant professor. “There is research available, and I have done studies, that demonstrate the positive impacts of altruism on those on the receiving end of assistance and support and those who are offering a hand. Families in need become stronger and those who are reaching out become stronger and even become more involved, often becoming agents of change.”

Steve Des Georges