Kenney appointed ASU vice provost, dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

July 1, 2014

Patrick Kenney, a professor of political science, founding director of the School of Politics and Global Studies and director of The Institute for Social Science Research, has been appointed university vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

“ASU is a venue for educational discourse related to politics and society, and an incubator for discovery and development that helps students to be socially aware citizens capable of thinking critically,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Patrick Kenney’s 12 years of leadership at ASU and exceptional grounding in research and social sciences position him perfectly to offer the guidance necessary to advance ASU’s largest unit and develop the educational and research underpinnings needed to address the complex challenges facing our society.” Patrick Kenney Download Full Image

Kenney’s appointment takes effect immediately. He assumes the leadership role held previously by Robert E. Page Jr., ASU provost and Foundation Chair of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Over the last 28 years, professor Kenney empowered ASU faculty and students, opened new lines of discovery and boosted research productivity in social sciences, humanities and natural sciences,” said Page. “His ability to advance and embrace diversity and communicate across all disciplines will serve the university well.”

Kenney is a political scientist whose research focuses on campaigns, elections and voting behavior. He joined ASU’s Department of Political Science in 1986 and was named chair in 2002. He became the director of the Institute for Social Science Research in 2010. Under his leadership, ASU’s School of Political and Global Studies was founded, fusing and redefining the study of politics, philosophy, culture, law, science and global engagement.

Kenney went on to serve as associate vice provost of social sciences with the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and as dean of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2012, until he assumed the position of interim vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2013. The university is ranked in the top 10 in social sciences (National Science Foundation HERD survey) and in the top 20 in social sciences worldwide, according to the Center for World University Rankings.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as vice provost and dean of CLAS,” said Kenney. “It is a distinct privilege to work with an outstanding team of deans, associate deans and staff in the college.

“The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the academic heart of the university, as the vast majority of students pass through the college at some point during their ASU experience," said Kenney. "The directors, faculty and staff of the academic units and research centers are gifted, hard-working and determined to advance the teaching and research missions of the university.

"The college has been my home for nearly three decades. I’m looking forward to playing a new role in its evolution as we strive to meet the key goals of graduating more students, competing for research funding and producing nationally and internationally recognized scholarship.”

Kenney received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa. He has authored and co-authored articles in the journals American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior and the Journal of Politics. He has also co-authored three books with ASU colleague Kim Fridkin, including “The Spectacle of U.S. Senate Campaigns” and “No-Holds Barred: Negativity in U.S. Senate Campaigns.” Their most recent work is “The Changing Face of Representation: The Gender of U.S. Senators and Constituent Communications,” published in 2014.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 1953 and is the largest college on the ASU campus, with more than 20,000 students and 750 tenured faculty. In his role as vice provost and dean, Kenney will oversee liberal arts and sciences’ 60 schools, departments, institutes and centers.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


New ASU engineering program designed to broaden solar energy expertise

July 2, 2014

Engineers who will help lead renewable energy development in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, are getting the specialized training they’ll need through a new solar energy education program at Arizona State University.

The three-week Solar Energy Engineering & Commercialization certificate program geared for professionals in the solar energy industry focuses on the technologies involved in the field, as well as the production and applications of solar energy. ASU solar energy panels Download Full Image

The curriculum also emphasizes the social and environmental aspects of the industry, as well as project management, finance, economics and supply chain management.

“The combination of technical and nontechnical curriculum makes this a unique learning opportunity,” says Karl Theisen, the associate director of professional and executive programs for Global Outreach and Extended Education in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, which is managing the new certificate program.

The program can be customized to meet specific needs of individual companies, agencies and other organizations.

A custom version of the program was developed to educate engineers with the Dubai Energy and Water Authority (DEWA) through a partnership with Tempe-based First Solar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film solar cells.

Through the partnership, First Solar is helping to support the Green Economy for Sustainable Development Initiative launched by Dubai’s leaders. The initial group of DEWA students traveled to ASU’s Tempe campus last fall to study the three-week program. They are among those “who are responsible for the development and management of Dubai’s solar initiatives,” Theisen says. “They were required to complete an applied project in the program, and we were able to tailor these projects specifically to the kinds of energy challenges they are facing in their country.”

ASU’s new program grew out of a joint educational venture between the university, First Solar and the Phoenix Workforce Connection to help professionals in the solar energy industry broaden their skills and to prepare others to enter the industry.

“Our long-term aspiration is to support the advancement of solar energy expertise throughout the United States and in other countries,” Theisen says.

The program can be delivered anywhere in the world but, when hosted at ASU, it includes classroom sessions on the Tempe campus as well as off-site tours of several ASU energy research labs and First Solar’s Aqua Caliente solar energy generating station.

Fourteen ASU faculty members are currently on the program’s teaching staff. Their range of expertise spans engineering, agribusiness, resource management, urban planning, geographical sciences and technology development.

Participants in the program are typically required to have an undergraduate degree in a technology-related area, such as engineering, or other energy industry-related areas, such as environmental sciences and business.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering