School of Social Transformation now under one roof

August 16, 2012

Wilson Hall keeps a bit of a low profile on ASU’s Tempe campus – no pillars or porticos, no gleaming glass, and a footprint so slim Wilson hides behind tiny Danforth Chapel when you approach from the east.

Some recognize it as the building with the perpetual three-story spray of fuchsia bougainvillea blossoms near its main doors. Some enjoy it as a lunch spot, with restaurants e2 and Dave’s Doghouse tucked into its west end and outdoor café seating on the north. Some appreciate it as the building where ASU’s feline residents bask on the south-facing picture window ledges. ASU's Wilson Hall, a three-story brick building with fuchsia bougainvillea. Download Full Image

But for all School of Social Transformation students, faculty, and staff, Wilson Hall now means home. For the first time since its formal launch in October 2009, the School of Social Transformation has all of its academic programs under one roof, with the move this summer of Women and Gender Studies faculty and School of Social Transformation administrative staff from West Hall to join the rest of their school colleagues in Wilson.

When classes begin on Aug. 23, the School of Social Transformation is excited to be welcoming more than 100 new undergraduate and transfer majors, 19 new master’s and doctoral students, and some 600 continuing undergraduate and graduate students.

The school’s Student Engagement team and undergraduate advising offices continue to be centered around Wilson 125, with the school’s administrative team also on the west wing of the first floor. African and African American studies faculty offices are on the east wing of the first floor. On the second floor are the offices of faculty and graduate students in Justice and Social Inquiry. Women and Gender Studies faculty and graduate students and Asian Pacific American Studies faculty offices are on the third floor. ASU’s North American Center for Transborder Studies will maintain their offices on the third floor of the building until later this fall.

Wilson Hall, named for George Washington Wilson, who owned the five acres used as the original site of the Tempe Normal School in 1883, was built in 1956 as a residence hall. Eventually remodeled to house office spaces, Wilson today also includes open areas on the second and third floors where students can meet and study.

“We’ve had the atmosphere of ‘residence hall move-in week’ all summer in Wilson Hall,” notes School of Social Transformation director Mary Margaret Fonow. “And that sense of excitement is continuing to build as faculty and students arrive for fall. Being together under one roof in Wilson is going to be great for our students, for our maturing identity as a school, and for the continued cross-pollination of ideas that SST is becoming recognized for.”

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


SRP, ASU launch research grant to support renewable energy

August 16, 2012

Salt River Project (SRP) and the Conservation and Renewable Energy Collaboratory (CREC) at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) have partnered to award grant funding for research and professional development initiatives in the areas of renewable energy and conservation.

This year the SRP-CREC grant selected three research projects for funding. The projects cover areas of emphasis that were outlined as priorities in sustainability and renewable energy. Download Full Image

“The research environment at CTI is defined by the real-world challenges our industry partners face,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “The SRP-CREC grant program provides a platform for applied research through our faculty and facilities.”

In addition to its partnership with CREC, SRP has engaged with CTI on the college’s iProjects program. iProjects pair senior-level students with industry mentors to find solutions to real-world problems. Last year a student team worked with SRP employees to develop a microgrid system that will make solar and other alternative energy sources more reliable. This year a group of undergraduate students are investigating the potential use of algae to remove carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions.

“We are excited about this new research agreement with CTI. It builds on our longstanding research partnership with ASU, and will allow us to address important issues affecting SRP and our customers in areas where CTI’s faculty have significant expertise,” said John Sullivan, SRP’s associate general manager and chief resources executive. “This year’s projects involve innovative research in the long-term performance of solar photovoltaic systems, the efficiency of solar hot water heating systems, and the performance of batteries in arid climates.”

Solar hot water system testing and evaluation program at ASU Polytechnic
Researcher: Brad Rogers

The use of solar-assisted hot water systems has the potential to significantly reduce residential use of electricity. However, accurate data on the performance of installed units is elusive, as are data on the reliability and failure rates of the systems. A solar hot water testing facility has been developed by ASU through SRP’s support to address this issue. Two commercial systems installed at ASU’s Polytechnic campus are automatically controlled to simulate water usage of a family of four and measure process variables. The endurance test will characterize and compare the energy of the solar-assisted system to a control system.

Performance degradation and reliability evaluation of SRP’s Solar Photovaltaic Systems
Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Photovoltaic (PV) system installations continue to rise, making measuring and predicting their performance, reliability and availability more important to installers, integrators, investors and owners. Monitoring and analyzing the performance degradation and reliability of existing PV systems is essential to predicting the same for future systems. The ASU Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory at the Polytechnic campus will evaluate the performance, reliability and availability of several solar PV power systems that SRP owns or maintains.

Reliability and performance evaluation of batteries in hot/dry climate
Arunachala Mada Kannan, Xihong Peng, Scott Pollat

State-of-charge (SoC) and state-of-health (SoH) determination is an increasingly important issue in battery technology in terms of both extending battery life and displaying the usable charge to the user before recharging and replacing. An accurate determination of SoC enables the user to manage the battery to its optimal potential. At elevated temperatures states of extremely high or low SoC can lead to irreversible damage in the battery. The main focus of this research is to develop and optimize methods to determine SoC and SoH for various types of batteries at high temperatures.