Enrollment at ASU breaks several records

September 13, 2012

Overall enrollment hits record 73,373

Preliminary 21st-day Fall 2012 semester enrollment figures indicate Arizona State University has reached a record 73,373 total of undergraduate and graduate students. Download Full Image

This figure tops last year's 72,254 21st-day fall enrollment figure by 1,119 students, and represents an increase of more than 5,300 students over the Fall 2009 semester.

Enrollment highlights include:

• New freshman and transfer student enrollment climbs to 16,450.

• Transfer partnerships expand with onsite offerings at Eastern Arizona College.

• Freshman class is academically stronger than ever.

• Graduate enrollment nears 14,000.

• International enrollment reaches new high.

• Lake Havasu City location enrolls inaugural class.

ASU’s new undergraduate student enrollment – nearly 9,300 first-time freshman and 7,150 transfer students from an all-time record of more than 51,000 applications for admission – topped 16,450 students for the first time in university history.

The academic preparation of the 2012 full-time freshman class is at an all-time high, with a mean high school grade point average of 3.47, ACT composite of 24.5 and SAT composite (for math and critical reading) of 1129.

Sun Devils also are more multicultural with 39 percent of the freshman class coming from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds – up from 24 percent eight years ago. While the majority of ASU’s students are resident Arizonans, 37 percent of the freshman class has been attracted to ASU from another state or country – up 2 percent from last year.

“We welcome our freshman class, new and returning students, and take pride that they have chosen our fine university as the place in which to further their education and build a foundation for their future,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “The academic strength of our freshman class is stronger than ever, exemplifying a talented and motivated group of students ready to take on the rigor of their academic programs, and discover new and exciting things about themselves, their communities and the world.”

Transfer enrollment at ASU also continues to increase, in part, due to the strong partnerships the university has formed with the community college systems throughout Arizona, and increases from students from other states and countries. The university’s innovative programs are helping academically qualified students at the community colleges transition more easily to ASU.

The university, for example, created an enrollment partnership with Eastern Arizona College (EAC) where 25 transfer and returning ASU degree-seeking students are completing degrees in nursing and organizational studies on the EAC Thatcher campus this fall semester.

International student enrollment at ASU also hit record levels – more than 5,160 total – up from 3,856 just two years ago, a 34 percent increase.

“Students from more than 120 countries are enrolling on ASU’s four campuses,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, executive vice president and provost. “ASU is a world-class and world-recognized university, and students from abroad see us as a place that offers excellent academics, top-notch research opportunities, a supportive learning environment and a wonderful place to live.”

ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City became the university’s newest location this fall and 70 new Sun Devils now call it their educational home. ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City is part of an innovative effort to give students more affordable alternatives to getting a college degree.

“After more than a decade of planning on the part of the Havasu Foundation for Higher Education and the Lake Havasu community, it is exciting to see our site open and the arrival of students, faculty and staff bring it to life,” said David Young, director of the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City. “It is such an important achievement for Lake Havasu City leaders, the community and the university, all of which worked tirelessly to make this a reality for the betterment of the city and the state of Arizona.”

Approximately 14,000 graduate students are part of the ASU academic community for this fall semester. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the W. P. Carey School of Business, the College of Public Programs, the Herberger Institute for the Design and the Arts, the School of Letters and Sciences, and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College all experienced new graduate student enrollment increases.

Sharon Keeler

World's hottest temperature cools a bit

September 13, 2012

If you think this summer was hot, it’s nothing compared to the summer of 1913, when the hottest temperature ever recorded was a searing 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, Calif. But while that reading was made 99 years ago, it is only being recognized today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as the most extreme temperature ever recorded.

That’s because an international team of meteorologists recently finished an in-depth investigation of what had been the world-record temperature extreme of 58 degrees Celsius (136.4 F), recorded on Sept. 13, 1922, in El Azizia, Libya. The group found that there were enough questions surrounding the measurement and how it was made that it was probably inaccurate, overturning the record 90 years to the day it was recorded.   Download Full Image

“We found systematic errors in the 1922 reading,” said Randy Cerveny, an ASU President’s Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “This change to the record books required significant sleuthing and a lot of forensic records work,” added Cerveny, who also is the Rapporteur of Climate and Weather Extremes for the WMO, the person responsible for keeping worldwide weather records.

Officially, the “new” world record temperature extreme is 56.7 C (134 F), recorded on July 10, 1913, at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, Calif.

“In the heart of every meteorologist and climatologist beats the soul of a detective,” said Cerveny. In this case the weather detectives had to work around an unfolding revolution in Libya.

Cerveny said the El Azizia temperature had long been thought as dubious. It was recorded in 1922 at what then was an Italian army base.

The international meteorological team – which included experts from Libya, Italy, Spain, Egypt, France, Morocco, Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom – identified five major concerns with the El Azizia temperature record. They included the use of antiquated instrumentation, a likely inexperienced observer, an observation site which was not representative of the desert surroundings, poor matching of the extreme to other nearby locations and poor matching to subsequent temperatures recorded at the site.

The WMO evaluation committee concluded the most compelling scenario for the 1922 event was that a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread, improperly recorded the observation. The reading was consequently in error by about 7 degrees Celsius (12.6 F).

The detective work Cerveny describes included finding and examining the original log sheet, which he said was very useful. In reconstructing the events, Cerveny describes a person new to making temperature measurements being asked to make the measurements with a “Six-Bellini thermometer,” which even by 1922 standards was an obsolete piece of technology. By reviewing the logs, it became apparent that the person who recorded the temperature was transposing what he read from the thermometer, consistently scoring the readings in the wrong column of the log.

“One of the problems with a Six-Bellini thermometer is that the indicator – the pointer – to the temperature scale could conceivably be read at the top of the pointer or the bottom of the pointer,” Cerveny explained. “If an inexperienced observer used the top of the pointer rather than the bottom, he would have been as much as 7 C in error. ”

Other telling forensic information included the general location of where the measurement was made – El Azizia is roughly 35 miles southwest of Tripoli, which is on the Mediterranean coast – and the fact that the record temperature pretty much stood out among all of the other recorded values near the El Azizia location.  

“When we compared his observations to surrounding areas and to other measurements made before and after the 1922 reading, they simply didn’t match up,” Cerveny said.

Investigation during a revolution

The investigation was launched in 2010 and soon after the revolution in Libya started to form. The Libyan official on the team (Khalid El Fadli, director of the climate section of the Libyan National Meteorological Center) fell out of contact with the rest of the team for about eight months and the investigation went into a suspended state. Then El Fadli sent word that he was safe (although he and his family left Tripoli for a while to avoid being accidently shot in the turmoil) and he could resume his role in the investigation. But another three weeks passed before El Fadli was heard from again.

“Khalid El Fadli did this at great risk to himself,” Cerveny said. “He was an official of the previous regime, so when the revolution began to turn, his safety was a key concern.”

Fortunately, after the revolution, El Fadli could resume his duties as a lead meteorologist with the new government and the investigation started up again.

Beyond establishing bragging rights, Cerveny said the world record highest temperature does have some important uses.

“This is the highest recorded temperature of where people live, so this type of data can help cities that exist in such environments to design buildings that are best suited for these extremes,” he said. “Knowing the maximum temperatures certain materials must endure leads to better products and designs. That’s why many auto manufactures have test tracks in the hot Mohave desert.

Cerveny added that there also are important basic science implications in this finding.

“This investigation demonstrates that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology, researchers can now reanalyze past weather records in much more detail and with greater precision than ever before,” Cerveny explained. “The end result is an even better set of data for analysis of important global and regional questions involving climate change.”

A full list of weather and climate extremes is available at the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes. This includes the world’s highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, as well as hemispheric weather and climate extremes.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications