ASU signs pledge to boost degree completion by 2025

October 5, 2012

Arizona State University has joined several hundred other four-year institutions in a signed pledge to help the nation attain a goal of 60 percent of adults possessing a college degree by 2025.

Through Project Degree Completion: A Public University Initiative, ASU along with 490 public colleges and universities, have committed to increasing the number of undergraduate baccalaureate degrees by 3.8 million in the next 14 years. The institutions plan on increasing the number of college degrees they award from an estimated 14.6 million to 18.4 million by 2025. Collectively, public institutions award just over 1 million degrees annually. Download Full Image

The participating institutions are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Their membership represents nearly all the four-year public colleges and universities in the country.

The initiative calls for a commitment to accessibility, affordability and quality public higher education for all students as well as a renewed partnership among public colleges and universities, the states and federal government as they work to achieve the following goals

• To strive for the “best in the world” degree status for America by achieving a 60 percent degree attainment for all adults by 2025. This achievement will be publicly tracked.

• To make a concerted effort to reach out to former students who have attended public institutions but have not earned a baccalaureate degree.

• To assure that educational quality is enhanced, not compromised, in the effort to increase degree attainment.

• To constrain per-student educational expenditures while pursuing enhanced quality.

• To work closely with P-12 systems and community colleges, especially in the STEM fields and other areas of critical need.

• To support economic growth in all regions, states and countries including research and innovation, commercialization of technologies, and economic development.

This new initiative has already garnered key support from outside the higher education community including U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation and John Engler, president of Business Roundtable.

For more information on the Project Degree Completion: A Public University Initiative, visit

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU selected to lead China-U.S social work education collaborative

October 5, 2012

Arizona State University is one of seven universities selected to lead a national initiative to assist China in meeting an urgent goal to prepare two million new social workers by 2020.

The China Collaborative was established by the U.S. Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) to assist Chinese universities with efforts to rapidly expand the social work education and research capacity in China and build on the nation’s efforts to develop a more robust social services infrastructure. Download Full Image

“China has recently begun a wide-ranging campaign to develop its social services and workforce of professional social workers as a means for addressing quality of life issues for its citizens and helping marginalized populations,” said Steven Anderson, director of the School of Social Work within ASU’s College of Public Programs.

“Chinese universities have responded by rapidly developing Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs,” Anderson said. “With a limited history in social work education in the country, Chinese social work educators have turned to their international colleagues for ideas and technical assistance.”

The China Collaborative is designed to foster a mutual social work academic exchange between the two countries as Chinese universities advance their efforts to develop and open new MSW programs. Anderson will co-direct the ASU initiative with Fei Sun, an assistant professor with the School of Social Work. In addition, Flavio Marsiglia, Distinguished Foundation Professor and director of ASU’s Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center; Barbara Klimek, MSW program coordinator with ASU’s School of Social Work; and Meirong Liu of the Howard University School of Social Work in Washington, D.C., will lend their considerable expertise to the project.

Anderson, who was a Fulbright Scholar to China in 2010, said “the scope and speed of social work development under way in China is unprecedented in world history.”

“The manner in which this educational work proceeds is extremely important to the disadvantaged populations that the field of social work seeks to serve, so having the opportunity to work with our Chinese colleagues on these issues is very exciting,” Anderson said.

“We also recognize we have much to learn in this endeavor, and are confident that our experiences will help us in enriching our own program,” he added.

The CSWE will serve in a coordination and leadership role with the seven U.S. partner universities including: the University of Chicago, University of Southern California, Case Western University, Fordham University, University of Alabama, University of Houston and ASU. Each U.S. university will partner with a Chinese institution with whom to collaborate and provide developmental social work leadership broadly to the surrounding regions.  

ASU is partnered with the Huazhong University of Science & Technology (HUST), which is home to more than 55,000 students, and is consistently ranked among the leading universities in China.

The project also will provide opportunities for ASU students and faculty to visit HUST and for HUST faculty and students to visit ASU to advance their mutual research agendas. ASU’s School of Social Work also will be involved with other universities located throughout central China.

HUST is located in Wuhan, a historically famous city of more than 10 million people situated near the Yangtze River. The capital of Hubei Province, Sun said Wuhan has a long history dating back to 223 A.D.

“The partnership with Huazhong University offers a great opportunity to exchange ideas regarding urban welfare problems that are common to both Phoenix and Wuhan,” said Sun, who is from China and graduated from Nanjing University.

“Both cities are seeking solutions to address the needs of large migrant worker populations and ensuring that their most vulnerable citizens have access to vital social services, such as health care and elder care.”

“This collaborative project has the potential to extend its impact to more than 80 universities in Wuhan and the surrounding area,” Sun added.

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