New college name reflects commitment to service, solutions

January 13, 2015

The College of Public Programs at Arizona State University is now the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Jonathan Koppell, dean of the college, says the title better reflects the college’s commitment to service, research and learning that addresses social problems.

“Whether the focus is on public safety, social welfare, public administration or community development, the diverse academic programs and research initiatives of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions offer a multifaceted approach to solving society's shared challenges,” says Koppell. “We help build stronger, more resilient, more dynamic communities.” Jonathan Koppel, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions Download Full Image

Located in downtown Phoenix, the college serves 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students in four schools: Community Resources and Development; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Public Affairs; and Social Work. The college has the distinction of having the highest percentages of underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, transfer students and veterans at ASU.

College of Public Service and Community Solutions schools and centersThe college also sponsors the Spirit of Service scholarship program and other initiatives that provide learning opportunities, leadership training and mentors to students who aspire to make a difference in their community.

“The college provides a first-rate education in fields that are vital to our well-being,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. "What some may not know is the role it plays in developing a new generation of civic leaders. Through current and future initiatives, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions will continue to have an impact well beyond the classroom. That is the kind of leadership we need to address the complex issues we face today.”

The college is home to 17 research centers that work on some of the most pressing matters facing communities today, including sex trafficking, technology in policing and the scarcity of water in Arizona and the Southwest.

Many of these centers – including the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation – are well-known vital resources for the people of Arizona, providing policy analysis, training and support for dozens of community and government bodies.

Other units, such as the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, are doing cutting-edge applied research through externally-funded research grants that bring millions of dollars to the state while developing innovative interventions to address vexing social problems. Through its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Bob Ramsey Executive Education, the college offers education beyond university degrees.

“These research entities make important contributions to the solutions of complex problems," says Shultz, co-chair of the Dean's Leadership Council at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. “And there is a monetary value to them. It may not be like gold or an Intel manufacturing facility, but it can be calculated in terms of the impact on lives and society.”

The college boasts more than 20,000 graduates since it was created by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1979 and located on the Tempe campus. At the time, the College of Public Programs consisted of the School of Public Affairs, the Department of Leisure Studies, the Center for Criminal Justice, the Department of Communication and the Department of Journalism and Telecommunication. The latter two departments are now stand-alone schools. The School of Social Work joined the College in 1999. The ASU West Department of Social Work and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which was also located on the Glendale campus, joined the college after it relocated to downtown Phoenix in 2008.

The college is launching a new speakers series to commemorate the new name, which kicks off Jan. 20 at the Downtown Phoenix campus. It features three professors whose research is helping build strong communities:

• School of Social Work associate professor Dominique Roe-Sepowitz will explain how innovation and collaboration are making a difference addressing the world’s oldest profession.

• School of Social Work director Michelle Carney will talk about her research on domestic violence abusers, including female abusers and what it takes to end the cycle of violence.

• School of Social Work associate professor Joanne Cacciatore will talk about why death and grief are necessary for life and joy.

The event starts at 6 p.m. in the Cronkite Theater, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU student uses clothing startup to support veterans, women

January 14, 2015

Last summer, while working with the cadets of Arizona State University’s Army ROTC program, Michelle Bravo made a decision to give back to veterans and women throughout the country. She put her idea into action through i Rock the Boots, a startup clothing company supported by ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative.

The company’s T-shirts promote the “strength and femininity” of women in the military, as well as other careers that involve service to the community, such as law enforcement, firefighting and even farming. Portions of the company’s profits are donated to causes that support homeless women veterans around the country. Michelle Bravo Download Full Image

“I’m a T-shirt kind of gal,” says Bravo, a major in the Army who serves as the executive officer for ASU’s Army ROTC program. “Occasionally I would find a cute shirt that I felt really embraced who I was, but there’s a lot of shirts out there that are geared toward men in the military or spouses of men in the military. What we want to do is embrace women in the military.”

i Rock the Boots is one of 20 ventures selected for the ASU Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative’s 2014-2015 cohort. Managed by the ASU Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Edson program works with ASU student entrepreneurs to launch viable startups with up to $20,000 in seed funding, office space at ASU SkySong, mentorship and exclusive training opportunities.

Bravo learned about the Edson program through flyers and email advertisements. She got in touch with Tracy Lea, a venture manager in ASU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation group and a fellow veteran who would become Bravo’s adviser in the Edson program.

Bravo also recruited two other women with military connections to help get the company off the ground: Mary “Chach” Gulley, who is retired from the Army and runs the operations side of the business, and Ashley Morales, a former military spouse who serves as the company’s graphic designer. Together they founded i Rock the Boots with the objective of supporting women in public service, something that every aspect of the company is focused on, including its name: the small “i” signifies an individual who is part of a team serving a cause bigger than herself.

Bravo says the Edson program has been particularly helpful in her team’s efforts to start and grow their business. The program connects student entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and the media, and also helps provide focus and structure for students. It also helps them with self-assessment as they strive to make their visions a reality.

“I really feel that’s what they’re about,” Bravo says of the program. “It’s really genuinely trying to help you be successful, and help you help yourself.”

"The leadership team at ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation has been continually impressed by the progress made by Michelle and the i Rock the Boots team,” said Garret Westlake, associate dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “The team is active in many of events hosted by our office on campus, and have increased their brand awareness on campus through their participation in Edson.”

Participating in the Edson program and being a part of the wider academic and entrepreneurial environment at ASU has also inspired Bravo and her team outside of their business efforts. Bravo, who is currently an undeclared graduate student, hopes to start an MBA program next year once she retires from the Army. She says that being a part of the Edson program has made her more interested in pursuing a graduate degree at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

She also cited her interaction with Christine Wilkinson, ASU senior vice president and secretary of the university, as an inspiration. Shortly after arriving at ASU, Bravo and her husband (a Marine veteran) were invited into Wilkinson’s box at the Veterans Appreciation football game. At the time, they were expecting their first child, a son who was born about a month after the event. Despite the time that had passed and their brief interaction with Wilkinson, Bravo and her husband received an edible fruit arrangement from her congratulating them on their son’s birth.

“It completely floored me that someone of her stature took the time out of her schedule to send me a fruit basket,” Bravo says. “From that moment, it left such an impression on me about ASU, and it’s lasted and really carried through.”

Bravo and her team at i Rock the Boots hope that their business will continue to grow into a resource for homeless women vets and that their brand becomes known as something veterans nationwide can turn to for support. Currently their website has a resources page with links to various veterans resources, and also hosts a heroes page, where people can submit stories highlighting women in their lives who make a difference through public service.

Bravo says that she may also begin blogging about veterans’ issues on a regular basis, and that i Rock the Boots might expand beyond T-shirts into fitness apparel and accessories – and perhaps even some shirts for men, something they’ve been asked about at public events. For now, however, they are focused on growing their business from the foundation they’ve established through ASU, ideally to the point where it becomes something they can do full-time.

“It’s been a neat experience,” Bravo says of the Edson program. “We feel blessed and privileged to be a part of it.”

Written by Nate McIntyre, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

Allie Nicodemo

Communications specialist, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development