$1M Carnegie Investment Fund to launch high-impact ASU projects in humanities

February 24, 2014

ASU President Michael M. Crow has created a $1 million Carnegie Humanities Investment Fund (CHIF) to launch high-impact, collaborative projects in the humanities. Open to any faculty member doing work in the humanities, the fund is supported by President Crow’s $500,000 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award and another $500,000 from the president’s initiative fund.

“What we hope to accomplish is to enhance the means through which human cultures understand themselves. Projects that are collaborative and built upon robust infrastructure can infuse humanities across all academic areas to change the world for the better,” said George Justice, dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and associate vice president for humanities and arts in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED). portrait of ASU President Michael M. Crow Download Full Image

According to Justice, humanities projects already under way will be considered, but he will speak to any faculty member who believes he or she has an appropriate proposal. Justice envisions such possible interdisciplinary project areas as medical humanities, sustainability humanities, computational history and creating an infrastructure for oral history projects.

He emphasized that the fund provides only seed funding, and the projects must be large-scale, with a team in place and a plan for acquiring external support.

"This important investment further solidifies ASU's commitment to advancing humanities and recognizes the immense contribution of humanities to many disciplines and every aspect of our lives,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of OKED. “Our approach to scholarly and research activities in humanities has made ASU a national model and CHIF will further strengthen the growth of innovative projects.”

Humanities research has often focused on the individual scholar pursuing projects generated by the scholar's background and an informal survey of interests of the research community. The research product is generally a publication in either journal article or book form, mostly intended for reading by fellow scholars. Impact largely remains within the scholarly community, which assesses the extent of impact through book reviews and often poorly counted citations in future publications.

Funding for traditional humanities research has largely focused on buying out teaching time of faculty members and providing access to unique archival resources. In contrast, funding provided by the CHIF will focus on the technological and human infrastructure that will enable new modes of research with a wide variety of research products, many of which will be iterative, with commercial as well as academic impact.

Some projects funded by the CHIF will be internal to ASU, but others will include collaborations with other institutions, including cultural institutions in Arizona and universities in the United States and internationally.

With ASU already home to one of the top-funded set of humanities researchers nationally, the CHIF seeks to have major influence on humanities research, and have critically important impact on a world that is hungry for knowledge about the past, present and future of humanity in a complex and rapidly changing world, said Justice.

The fund provides opportunities for scholars in the humanities to change both the content and the nature of their work.

The process for the Carnegie Humanities Investment Fund will follow the process of the already-successful President's Strategic Investment Fund at ASU. Justice, as the dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will be responsible for evaluating projects and recommending awards.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

Leaders discuss Arizona's new energy plan at Solar Summit

February 24, 2014

Policy leaders, industry partners and energy experts gathered at ASU SkySong Feb. 20 to discuss the future of solar energy in Arizona at Arizona Solar Summit IV. The event featured the first public unveiling of the state’s new master energy plan, “emPOWER Arizona: Executive Energy Assessment and Pathways.” Gov. Jan Brewer signed the executive order on Feb. 18, making it the state’s first comprehensive energy plan in more than 20 years.

The Arizona Solar Summit – hosted by Arizona State University LightWorks, ASU SkySong and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and sponsored by NRG – provided the first opportunity for the public to learn about the master plan. Leisa Brug, Brewer’s energy policy advisor and director of the Governor's Office of Energy Policy, led a panel discussion on the plan and its goals. Brug said that Arizona is already ahead of other states in terms of energy policy, and the new master plan will help the state continue to be a national leader in the field. William Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona Download Full Image

“We’ll be a national model,” Brug said. “We see this as a tremendous way to buoy up our solar industry.”

The plan seeks to make Arizona a "collaboratory" of policy leaders, energy experts and universities.

“We have tremendous opportunity in this state,” said Gary Dirks, director of the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU Lightworks. “Arizona has excellent physical and intellectual assets to advance the new plan and make Arizona an energy leader.”

Arizona’s new energy plan wasn’t the only issue covered at the event. Brug’s was among several panels that touched on topics critical to the state’s solar industry, including the future of utility sector, carbon dioxide mitigation, energy efficiency in the built environment and more.

Keynote speaker William Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona, encouraged the audience to get engaged with the issue of climate change. He illustrated the way carbon dioxide emissions have rapidly increased since the Industrial Revolution and expressed a need to optimize our current system, starting with K-12 education.

"People use this word ‘sustainability’ so often I don’t even know what it means,” Harris said. “I like how Charlie Bayless described it: ‘Treat the planet like you intend to stay.’ Get involved, stay involved and work with this issue."

The Arizona Solar Summit seeks to create meaningful change in the solar industry by bringing together solar experts in a variety of fields and creating networks of active participants in new solar technology, energy policy and forward-thinking innovations to reshape and revitalize Arizona’s energy markets. This year’s summit is part of the inaugural Walton Sustainability Solutions Festival, an ASU initiative that encourages and celebrates innovators, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers who seek to find solutions to sustainability challenges.

With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, access to high-quality public research institutions and a plethora of energy industry experts, Arizona is naturally poised to create a high-impact solar economy and be a global leader in solar energy.

For more information about the Arizona Solar Summit, visit azsolarsummit.org.