ASU ranks among top universities in Teach For America recruits

September 10, 2012

Arizona State University is among the top 20 large universities in the country contributing the greatest numbers of new graduates to Teach For America’s 2012 teaching corps.

ASU first appeared on the top contributors list in 2008 and this year nabs the 17th spot with 41 incoming corps members. Additionally, 4 percent of ASU’s senior class applied to the program last year. ASU provided more corps members to Teach for America this year than more than half of the Ivy League schools. Throughout Teach For America’s 22-year history, 194 ASU alumni have taught as corps members. Jacob Goulding, ASU grad now with TFA Download Full Image

Since 2007, ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has maintained a strong working relationship with Teach For America. Hundreds of TFA corps members in the Phoenix region have earned their master’s degrees through a Teachers College program tailored to their specific needs. The master’s program integrates corps members’ teaching experiences and provides high-quality, supportive academic experiences.

Additionally, the Sanford Inspire Program, a collaborative initiative involving Teach For America and Teachers College, inspires people to see teaching as a high-impact profession, prepares teacher candidates to be instructional leaders who inspire students to achieve at high levels, and provides resources and innovative learning experiences to support educators in continuously increasing their effectiveness.

The Sanford Inspire Program has created a new two-semester student teaching course based on Teach For America’s best practices in training and supporting new teachers. Teacher candidates in the iTeachAZ curriculum learn how to set a vision and goals for student learning, help students feel invested in their learning goals, and work relentlessly to achieve those goals. The Sanford Inspire Program originated in 2010 with an investment of more than $18 million in Teachers College from entrepreneur and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

“We want to provide multiple avenues for talented, motivated people to enter the teaching profession,” said Mari Koerner, dean of Teachers College. “Just as importantly, we want them to stay in the profession – whether through work in schools, in policy or in politics. Teach For America has offered many opportunities for people to take on these leadership roles in education – a way to enter the profession and continue to work to reform schools.”

Teach For America corps members are top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and pursue educational opportunity for all students. Teach For America recruits on more than 600 college campuses, seeking seniors and graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated achievement, perseverance and leadership.

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines. This fall, more than 10,000 corps members will be teaching in 46 urban and rural regions across the country, while nearly 28,000 alumni are working across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education.

“We are grateful to the outstanding colleges and universities that cultivate graduates with the leadership skills and determination to address one of our nation’s greatest injustices, the disparity in educational opportunity between children in low-income communities and their wealthier peers,” said Wendy Kopp, chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America. “These corps members bring a diversity of experiences and accomplishments to the classroom, and they all share a powerful commitment to work toward solving this problem.”

Student-driven initiative promotes healthy minds, bodies

September 10, 2012

Well Devils Freshman Challenge encourages students to 'weigh in'

Aiming to be the healthiest university in the nation, Arizona State University has launched a large-scale, student-driven effort called the ASU Well Devil Initiative to enhance the health and well-being of its students. Download Full Image

Well Devils, for short, promotes a well mind, body and community to help students achieve their academic, personal and professional potential.  

As part of the Well Devil Initiative this semester, ASU has launched the Well Devils Freshman Challenge to encourage first-year students to adopt a healthy lifestyle and help them to perform at their best – inside and outside the classroom.

Students are being encouraged to start their Freshman Challenge by visiting a Well Devil Zone in select residence halls on all campuses or at the Sun Devil Fitness Center or ASU Health Services on the Tempe campus. More information is available by visiting

The Freshman Challenge is an ASU-Mayo Clinic sponsored research study that will help build a healthy campus. Participation is easy. Students will be asked to swipe their ASU Sun Card, step on a scale and write down their height to help the research team develop a general picture of where freshmen are when they arrive on campus. The weigh stations initially do not show weight to the students stepping on the scales during the initial couple of weeks in which the research study is running, but after that will be converted to scales so people will have access to the information about their weight directly if they wish. Later, students may be contacted again to see if they would like to participate in specific studies or projects on campus.

Students who participate in the study will receive a free T-shirt and be entered into prize drawings including gift cards to the Sun Devil Bookstore.

“The Well Devils Freshman Challenge is one part of a much wider set of activities that transects all parts of ASU," said Professor Alexandra Brewis Slade, director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and director of operations for the ASU-Mayo Clinic Obesity Solutions project. "This isn’t just or even particularly about weight, but also such factors as how we handle stress, think about food, and make exercise a fun part of our daily lives. It is a problem we collectively face.

“We will be working with the experts at Mayo Clinic to use the data to help design the solutions that will be rolled out on campus, and will be testing which ones students find to be most helpful and effective. No one health solution fits all, so it is a matter of using the data to understand which solutions work best for different sets of students.”

According to Karen Moses, director of ASU Wellness, health is an important part of student success.

“The ultimate goal is that students will leave ASU and remain healthy throughout their lives,” Moses said. “We are building a community and culture of wellness. This is a pivotal time in the lives of our students. If they are able to adopt a healthy lifestyle while they are here in our care, then we are contributing to their lives far beyond when they graduate."

Sharon Keeler

associate director, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering