Delivering Democracy Lecture features actor Forest Whitaker

April 18, 2014

The word “democracy” is one of the most recognized, venerated and misunderstood terms in the English language. Its potential, however, has yet to be fully realized, because it is routinely distorted, misjudged and exploited. In order for democracy to flourish, its origins, evolution and potency must be discussed and nurtured by visionaries from various walks of life.

The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy will treat Phoenicians to a timely and creative discussion of the promise of American Democracy featuring Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Forest Whitaker. The inaugural Delivering Democracy Lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m., April 22 at the Pilgrim Rest Chapel Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. portrait of actor Forest Whitaker Download Full Image

"Forest Whitaker is not only a decorated actor and filmmaker, he is a passionate proponent of self-determination and civic engagement. Phoenicians will not want to miss this extraordinary event," said Matthew C. Whitaker, foundation professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

Whitaker is one of the world’s most accomplished actors, directors, producers and activists, and when chosen as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, their leading American diplomat declared that Whitaker was considered “the perfect choice” because “he exemplifies compassion in every area of his life, with humility and grace. He does this because it’s the right thing to do.”

The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy serves as a leading interdisciplinary, problem-solving venture committed to engaged scholarship and informed dialogue involving the topics of race and democracy. The center serves as a hub of scholarly activity at Arizona State University, and a source of expert opinion and professional support on matters of race and democracy at the local, state, national and international levels. Researchers and practitioners affiliated with the center are tasked with expanding the study of race and democracy beyond the black/white binary, understanding that race and participatory democracy intersect with gender, class, religion, sexuality and nationality.

The center facilitates scholarly research and publications, interdisciplinary study, discourse and debate on cutting-edge issues related to race and democracy, broadly construed. It also provides experiential opportunities for faculty and students to engage in public service through, for example, local, national and international programs, internships and fellowships, and the center administers community service projects that serve underrepresented institutions in the greater metropolitan Phoenix area.

For more information about the lecture, visit

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU startups to be featured at Education Innovation Summit

April 20, 2014

Four Arizona State University startup companies will showcase their innovative education technologies at the fifth annual ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit April 21-23 at The Phoenician in Phoenix.

Widely regarded as the premier event in education innovation, the Education Innovation Summit brings together some 2,000 key stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, policymakers, business leaders, investors, philanthropists and educators, to collaborate and drive change. The event, which is co-hosted by ASU and GSV (Global Silicon Valley) advisers, also serves as a launch pad for new ideas and ventures. This year, more than 225 new and emerging companies will pitch to an audience of venture capital firms, education companies, philanthropists and educators. Download Full Image

The ASU companies are developing technologies that range from embodied learning games to a platform for individualized literacy instruction. Two of the companies are commercializing technologies based on research from ASU’s Learning Sciences Institute, while another is partnering with Technology Based Learning and Research in ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. A third is conducting a pilot study of its software in partnership with the Writing Programs in ASU’s Department of English.

In addition to partnering with ASU researchers, the companies draw on ASU’s resources and connections to advance their businesses. For example, one of the companies is based at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, and one has received funding from ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative.

“ASU is truly a leader in developing and commercializing innovative education technologies that are revolutionizing the educational experience for learners of all ages,” said Janice Kleinwort, director of economic affairs in ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “We’re delighted that these companies have the opportunity to showcase their groundbreaking work and highlight the great strides ASU is making in education innovation.”

The featured ASU companies are:

Adaptive Curriculum

Adaptive Curriculum aims to transform math and science education with its standards-based math and science software for grades 5-12, which uses interactive online learning to engage students and help them master math and science concepts. Based at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, Adaptive Curriculum partners with Technology Based Learning and Research in ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College on curriculum alignment, classroom implementation and professional development services.

Embodied Games for Learning

Embodied Games for Learning creates vibrant, collaborative, “get-out-of-your-seat” games that get students physically involved in the learning process and help them master STEM concepts. Research conducted by ASU faculty in the Learning Sciences Institute shows that these innovative gesture-based games help students retain information significantly longer.

Learning Ovations

Based on research conducted by ASU faculty in the Learning Sciences Institute, Learning Ovations is a technology platform designed to support educators’ efforts to provide individualized literacy instruction to students from kindergarten through third grade. Using evidence-based algorithms, Learning Ovations links assessment results to recommendations for instructional strategies and activities. In third-grade classrooms where Learning Ovations is used, students are reading, on average, at a fifth-grade level.

Mercury Innovative

Mercury Innovative develops innovative language-processing tools and techniques that break new ground in language visualization and interpretation. Previously based at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, Mercury Innovative is a two-time winner of funding and support from ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative. The company is conducting a pilot study of its Rhetoristics software in partnership with the Writing Programs in ASU’s Department of English.

For a complete list of presenting companies, visit

In addition to the company presentations, the Education Innovation Summit features insights from leading educators, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, politicians and other advocates of education innovation. Notable speakers at this year’s event include ASU President Michael Crow; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; former football coach Lou Holtz; and Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.