ASU awarded $2.4M USAID grant to help strengthen higher ed in Vietnam

August 30, 2012

An ambitious higher engineering education initiative driven by Arizona State University to advance economic development efforts in Vietnam is continuing to attract support and build momentum.

A $2.4 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant to ASU will expand the Higher Education Engineering Alliance Program (HEEAP) that leverages public and private sector funding to improve the quality of higher education in the country. Download Full Image

Through a partnership with Intel Corp., the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and ASU, HEEAP seeks to help modernize higher education and prepare a more highly trained workforce to meet the increasing needs of global high-tech industries.

This USAID grant will support a new component of the HEEAP initiative. The Vocational and University Leadership and Innovation Institute (VULII) will provide capacity-building and training programs for Vietnamese university presidents and engineering school deans.

“Using an integrated approach, VULII will encourage leadership and innovation at the highest levels in conjunction with quality assurance at the delivery level,” said ASU professor Kathryn Mohrman, and principal investigator for VULII. “This is the best way to influence systemic change across institutions and across the tertiary education sector in Vietnam,” she added.

HEEAP was established in 2010 with funding support from USAID and Intel. Jeffery Goss, an assistant dean and executive director with ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is director of the program. To date, HEEAP has trained more than 100 faculty members from Vietnam's universities and colleges in advanced methods for teaching engineering.

“The framework of HEEAP will now evolve into five pillars: Faculty Development, Leadership Development, Technology in Education (Distance), Technical English, and Women in Technology and Engineering,” Goss said.  

Mohrman, director of ASU’s University Design Consortium and a faculty member in the School of Public Affairs, will oversee the six major leadership development components for VULII:

• Quality Assurance Institute. Vietnamese universities cannot succeed at transformational change without a robust system of quality indicators integrated into institutional and departmental strategic plans.

• Rectors Leadership Institute. The success of VULII depends on the ownership of the reform process by the institutions themselves; transformational change cannot be imposed from the outside.

• Deans Leadership Institute. Annually, deans will be trained on developing strategic plans for their colleges and departments that are aligned to their rectors’ institutional plans and national education goals.

• Financial Management Institute. VULII will also hold annual one-week seminars in Vietnam for directors of budgeting and finance from each of the eight target campuses; the focus will be on modern methods of budget and finance, as well as implementation of the institution’s strategic plan.

• Faculty and Curriculum Development Institute. VULII resources will further support this core HEEAP focus by emphasizing institutional change strategies and providing the critical infrastructure necessary for continued enhancement of faculty and curriculum development efforts.

• Centers of Excellence will provide scalability through outreach, and will be accessible to anyone in Vietnam (or the world).

Mohrman said the participating rectors and deans will concentrate on strategic planning and “they will be supported by quality assurance experts and institutional researchers as necessary as they implement their plans.” Engineering professor Dan Shunk will teach leadership components and strategic planning to Vietnamese university rectors and deans and Chell Roberts, executive dean of the College of Technology and Innovation, will lead the Deans Leadership Institute.   

The implications of the grant are expected to be wide-reaching, enhancing ASU’s globalization efforts, strengthening ties with the Vietnamese government, and providing ASU, as well as universities in Vietnam, a chance to develop a more international perspective of education.

"This program will help further strengthen the collaboration between academia and industry, and ultimately will accelerate economic development in Vietnam," said Francis Donovan, USAID mission director.

HEEAP works with Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA). HEEAP's participating institutions are Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technical Education, Can Tho University, Danang University of Technology, Cao Thang Technical College, Hanoi Vocational College of High Technology, and Ho Chi Minh Vocational College of Technology.

The HEEAP expansion announced by partners in Hanoi last week will also have other funding partners, including MOLISA and Intel Corp., and other industry partners. The estimated target investment from current and future partners for the HEEAP expansion is $40 million.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit, and

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Barrett Honors College presents 2012 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture

August 30, 2012

Sylvia Nasar, a former economics correspondent for The New York Times and a prolific author best known for her mega-bestseller "A Beautiful Mind," will give the 2012 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett the Honors College at Arizona State University.

The event will take place at 7 p.m., Oct. 4, at the Galvin Playhouse inside the Nelson Fine Arts Center, on the Tempe campus. Admission is free, however, tickets are required. For tickets and information, go to Sylvia Nasar Download Full Image

Nasar’s international best-seller, "A Beautiful Mind," won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and has been translated into more than 30 languages. While working as an economics reporter for The New York Times, Nasar discovered the story of John Nash, the Princeton mathematical genius who suffered from schizophrenia for three decades before recovering and ultimately winning a Nobel Prize in economics.

Nasar’s biography of Nash inspired Ron Howard’s Academy Award winning film starring Russell Crowe. The book also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Helen Bernstein Journalism Award, and the Rhone Poulenc Prize for Science Writing.

Nasar’s latest book "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius in Modern Times" will be the focus of her Centennial Lecture presentation. The book is an epic account of the making of modern economics – from Victorian England to modern-day India – and how the insights of various thinkers transformed the world. "Grand Pursuit" was named the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book of the Year.

“'Grand Pursuit' deserves a place not only in every economist’s study but also on every serious reader’s bedside table,” The Economist said of the book, which received rave reviews when it was released in 2011.   

Nasar is the first James S. and John L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University and co-directs the M.A. program in business journalism. Nasar completed her master’s degree in economics at New York University, conducting research with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief at the Institute for Economic analysis for four years. She has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, the Russell Sage Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Nasar was a writer at Fortune magazine and columnist at U.S. News & World Report before she joined The New York Times. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, FastCompany, The London Telegraph, and Vanity Fair. 

An interview with Sylvia Nasar is at A review of "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius" is at

About the Centennial Lecture: In 1985, The Flinn Foundation established an endowment to commemorate Arizona State University’s 100th year. The gift created the ASU Centennial Lecture, and in 1989 it provided the Barrett Honors College resources to bring some of the world’s most influential intellects to campus. The Centennial Lecture has become one of ASU’s premiere events, featuring noted diplomats, scientists, playwrights and authors.

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College