ASU recognized as an influential university in American Indian education

June 21, 2013

A new study, “For Our Children: A Study and Critical Discussion of the Influences on American Indian and Alaska Native Education Policy,” cites Arizona State University as one of the most influential universities in American Indian education and recognizes John Tippeconnic, American Indian Studies director and professor, as one of the most “influential people in American Indian/Alaska Native Education.”

The study by Hollie J. Mackey, University of Oklahoma assistant professor of education, and Linda Sue Warner, special assistant to the president on Indian affairs at Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Okla., determined and described influential studies, organizations, information sources and people for American Indian/Alaska Native education policy. The “Journal of American Indian Education” that is published by the ASU Center for Indian Education was also identified as one of the most influential sources of information in the study. woman during ASU American Indian convocation Download Full Image

Arizona State University was cited as an influential university with five other institutions across the United States, including Northern Arizona University. Arizona is home to 22 tribes and 28 percent of the state is comprised of tribal lands. Tippeconnic is recognized as one of the most influential professors in American Indian/Alaska Native education among a cohort of 20 professors from throughout the nation.

Tippeconnic is an accomplished scholar who was awarded the National Indian Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award last year. He is the former director of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Indian Education and past director of the Office of Indian Education Programs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior.

Tippeconnic, who is of Comanche and Cherokee heritage, was instrumental in bringing higher education to American Indian students in Oklahoma when he helped start a college there. Emphasizing the tribe’s native language and culture, the Comanche Nation College will soon achieve accreditation status.

ASU has one of the highest American Indian/Native American student populations in the nation, with approximately 2,000 Native American students currently enrolled at the university. A new American Indian Studies master’s program that Tippeconnic was instrumental in creating began last year, offering a comprehensive view of Native American life with the opportunity to work directly with tribes.

ASU also is home to the American Indian Policy Institute, a research unit in ASU's College of LIberal Arts and Sciences, that serves as a resource for research, partnerships and entrepreneurial endeavors that involve Arizona’s tribes and tribal nations throughout the United States.

American Indian Studies faculty at ASU are all American Indians and members of tribal nations, and the university's American Indian Student Support Services supports the academic achievement and personal success of American Indian students while promoting traditional culture at Arizona State University.

A new course to be taught by Distinguished Foundation Professor of History Donald Fixico at the university in the fall, “AIS 191: Preparing for Academic Success,” will mesh American Indian views and values with tools needed to succeed academically at ASU.

Work to improve water quality earns professor honored status

June 21, 2013

Significant contributions to research, technology development and education in the field of water-quality engineering and science have earned Bruce Rittmann special recognition from an international technical and educational organization.

Rittmann, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is among the 2013 class of new Water Environment Federation (WEF) Fellows. Bruce Rittman in lab Download Full Image

The WEF, with about 36,000 members worldwide, works to connect professionals in the water industry and leverage their combined expertise to help advance efforts to provide clean and safe water resources.

Rittmann’s work “is leading to new ways to clean up pollution, treat water and wastewater, capture renewable energy and improve human health," wrote Rao Surampalli in nominating Rittmann for the fellowship. Surampalli is an engineer director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He points to Rittmann’s research combining microbiology, biochemistry, geochemistry and microbial ecology to restore water purity and generate energy from waste products, and Rittmann’s expertise in developing microbial systems for use in developing renewable resources and alleviating environmental pollution.

Surampalli also notes that Rittmann’s pioneering efforts in development of a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), along with other projects in renewable bioenergy, have earned him widespread recognition. The MBfR uses naturally occurring microorganisms to remove contaminants such as perchlorate and tricloroethene from water.

Rittmann, who directs the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, holds five patents related to the MBfR technology and a license for its commercialization.

His WEF Fellow status adds to a long list of noteworthy honors. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 and holds the title of Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2009, he earned the title of Regents’ Professor, the highest recognition for a faculty member at Arizona’s state universities. The Institute for Scientific Information recognizes him as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers.

Rittmann is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Water Association. He is the winner of some of the more prestigious awards in his field, including the Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award, the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the National Water Research Institute’s Clarke Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Water Science and the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.

Rittmann will be formally inducted as a WEF Fellow at the organization’s annual Technical Exhibition and Conference in October in Chicago.

Written by Natalie Pierce

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering