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Check out video, photos from Night of the Open Door at Polytechnic, Thunderbird.
Visitors explored the globe, soared high at Night of the Open Door this weekend.
Missed the fun? Next Night of the Open Door is Feb. 25 at ASU's Tempe campus.
February 19, 2017

Visitors explore aviation, robotics and more at ASU's Polytechnic campus and get a taste of the world under rainy skies at Thunderbird

Visitors got a double dose of Arizona State University's Night of the Open Door fun this weekend as the free open-house event took place on the aviation- and robotic-heavy Polytechnic campus in Mesa and the globally minded Thunderbird campus in Glendale. 

 

High-flying fun at Polytechnic campus

At ASU's Polytechnic campus on Friday, trolleys carried families around the grounds, where they got to experience a range of flight simulators, learned about cars being built or modified in the labs, climbed walls with robotics, explored physics and chemistry lessons and put themselves inside giant bubbles.

 

Explore the world at Thunderbird

On Saturday, the rain didn't stop the fun as activities moved under cover at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Visitors got to try on clothes from different cultures, watched dances from around the world, learned about different countries, explored map activities and more.

Check out the Downtown Phoenix campus' Night of the Open Door event on Feb. 3 here and the West campus' event on Feb. 11 here.

If you missed the fun, don't worry: There is one more free Night of the Open Door event this month, 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Tempe campus.

Read more about what's in store at each campus here, including information on the free app that can help visitors map out the activities they want to visit.

Get free tickets in advance online and enter to win a gift package. Tickets also function as an express pass to collect the free glow wand and event programs at the registration booths once on campus.

Check ASU Now after each event for photo galleries and video, and follow along as our crew shows all the fun on Snapchat (search for username: ASUNow). 

 

Top photo: Kate LeCheminant, 10, completes a pull-up with the help of an ASU Army ROTC member in front of the Memorial Union at the Polytechnic campus' Night of the Open Door on Friday. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

 
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ASU's West campus opens its doors for visitors to explore learning and fun.
Missed the fun? Next Night of the Open Door is Feb. 17 at Polytechnic campus.
February 12, 2017

Night of the Open Door continues in Glendale with CSI, chocolate, creepy-crawlies and more

Arizona State University's Night of the Open Door — five free open houses over the month of February — continued at the West campus in Glendale on Saturday, where the rain held off as visitors learned about forensics, the neuroscience of chocolate, black widow spiders and other subjects.

Scroll down to see video and photos from the event.

 

Young visitors tried their hand at an Army ROTC pull-up challenge, real-life Angry Birds games, personality tests for future careers, crime-scene investigations and Minecraft fun as the West campus' schools and departments opened their doors to the public to show off ASU's learning spaces.

Check out the Downtown Phoenix campus' Night of the Open Door event on Feb. 3 here — including healthy cooking demos, coral reef exploration, journalism technology of the future and more.  

If you missed the fun, don't worry: There are three more free Night of the Open Door events this month:

  • Polytechnic campus: 4-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
  • Thunderbird campus: 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
  • Tempe campus: 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Read more about what's in store at each campus here, including information on the free app that can help visitors map out the activities they want to visit.

Get free tickets in advance online and enter to win a gift package. Tickets also function as an express pass to collect the free glow wand and event programs at the registration booths once on campus.

Check ASU Now after each event for photo galleries and video, and follow along as our crew shows all the fun on Snapchat (search for username: ASUNow). See photos from the Downtown Phoenix campus event here.

 

Top photo: Sebastian Flores listens for "Sammy's" breath at the nursing booth during Night of the Open Door on West Campus on Saturday evening.  Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 
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February 4, 2017

The Downtown Phoenix campus started off this year's Night of the Open Door — five free open houses over the month of February — on Friday, welcoming crowds of visitors enjoying the mild weather and the chance to peek into Arizona State University's learning spaces.

 

Families watched health-cooking demos, explored a coral reef, learned about law and sustainability and the physics of roller coasters, and even got a chance to interview a K-9 officer about his work with his four-legged partner.

This year, downtown visitors got a double treat, as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication held its annual Innovation Day in conjunction with Night of the Open Door. There, the storytelling technology of the future was available for participants to try out, from telepresence robots to drones to 360 virtual reality video.

If you missed the fun, don't worry: There are four more free Night of the Open Door events this month:

  • West campus: 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
  • Polytechnic campus: 4-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
  • Thunderbird campus: 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
  • Tempe campus: 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Read more about what's in store at each campus here, including information on the free app that can help visitors map out the activities they want to visit.

Get free tickets in advance online and enter to win a gift package. Tickets also function as an express pass to collect the free glow wand and event programs at the registration booths once on campus.

Check ASU Now after each event for photo galleries and video, and follow along as our crew shows all the fun on Snapchat (search for username: ASUNow).

 

Top photo: Seven-year-old Christian Tso, of Ahwatukee, looks at live organisms under the microscope at the Downtown Phoenix campus, Friday, Feb. 3. He brought his family to Microbes: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly demonstration because of his interest in science. The exhibit was part of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts program. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 
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February 2, 2017

Ceremony recognizes outstanding achievements by Robert Nemanich, Anne Stone and Paul Westerhoff

Three Arizona State University faculty were honored by ASU President Michael Crow in a ceremony Wednesday as the university's 2016-2017 Regents' Professors. This highest faculty honor was conferred on professors Robert Nemanich, Anne Stone and Paul Westerhoff. It is bestowed on full professors who have made outstanding achievements that have brought them national and international distinction.

See photos from Wednesday's ceremony and scroll down for individual videos on these remarkable faculty:

Robert Nemanich, Department of Physics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Anne Stone, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Paul Westerhoff, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

 
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ASU announces $1.5 billion comprehensive campaign

Campaign ASU 2020 aims to educate community about value of private support.
Wide-ranging comprehensive campaign is about gifts both large and small.
55,600 students have already benefited from scholarships during the campaign.
January 26, 2017

Funds raised in Campaign ASU 2020 to fuel discovery, champion student success and enrich community, among other initiatives

Developing an Ebola treatment. Caring for a city’s homeless population. Opening pathways to higher education through scholarships.

Such accomplishments take intelligence, compassion — and generosity. To make possible more such life-changing actions, Arizona State University is embarking on a comprehensive campaign to raise at least $1.5 billion to accelerate its mission.

Campaign ASU 2020 is a strategic effort that will focus the entire university’s development energies on one goal — to permanently raise the long-term fundraising capacity of the university. The donations will fund scholarships, faculty research, labs, projects to ensure that students succeed to graduation, arts initiatives and ventures in the community.

ASU President Michael M. Crow said the campaign comes at a pivotal time when the university is reflecting on its successes and building on that momentum.

“Campaign ASU 2020 is our moment in time to say, ‘Yes, we’ve been able to do that. Look at who we are.’ It’s not just the faculty and it’s not just the students and it’s not just the staff. It’s the hundreds of thousands of people and the thousands of organizations that are behind us to move this university forward,” he said.

The campaign has been in a “quiet” phase since 2010 — with $1 billion already raised through donations by corporations, organizations and, especially, individuals — 260,000 individuals have contributed so far, and 55,600 students have benefited from scholarships during the campaign.

 

Campaign ASU 2020 officially kicked off Thursday night at a gathering of university leaders and supporters. The focus of the night — and the message of the philanthropic effort — is how the work of ASU touches individuals, both on campus and in the community.

Megan Phillips, a global health major at ASU, has walked the streets of Phoenix with her fellow students to care for homeless people. She said her work at a downtown shelter and at the Student Health Outreach for Wellness clinic provides hope and dignity to homeless people.

“But it also provides students like me the chance to broaden their perspectives and serve the community in a very real way,” said Phillips, who is now the director of programs for the student-run clinic. The clinic is in the midst of raising $5,000 to help further its programs. Read more here.

Professor Charles Arntzen, who has saved lives with the Ebola treatment he developed at ASU, said the private funding he received allowed him to try something new and develop it into the leading therapeutic for Ebola.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to be a scientist who started with a crazy idea and ended up seeing that our product saved lives in Africa,” said Arntzen, who is a Regent’s Professor and holds the Florence Ely NelsonThe Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair in Plant Biology was created by created by an endowment from Florence Nelson, who, Arntzen said, "gave me the freedom to explore blue-sky ideas that would typically be considered too risky for conventional grant programs. Florence’s visionary investment ultimately led the way to our discovery of ZMapp, today’s most promising drug treatment for people infected with Ebola." Presidential Chair in Plant Biology.

Crow said that ASU produces change at a huge scale, but it starts with individuals.

“It’s these people who are going to go out and produce these new ideas, produce the changes across the entire spectrum of society,” he said.

ASU must pursue larger, more important goals, Crow said, and become the model for future of higher education.

“This campaign will allow us to build on the momentum of all that we have established thus far and solidify our position as the first institution to successfully blend this level of academic excellence and egalitarian access,” he said.

A history of philanthropy

The university’s very beginning was because of a gift. Donor Craig Weatherup explained that in 1885, local butcher shop owners George and Martha Wilson gave 15 acres of pastureland to build the Territorial Normal School. He noted that two previous fundraising campaigns, in the 1980s and the 1990s, both exceeded their targetsIn the 1980s, the Centennial Campaign set a goal of $75 million and raised $114 million, and in the 1990s, when the campaign set a goal of $300 million and raised $560 million..

“Of course, it’s important to note that we didn’t arrive at this point overnight,” said WeatherupCraig Weatherup is an honorary co-chair of ASU’s President’s Club., former founding chairman and CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. The Weatherup Family Foundation has funded several initiatives, including the Weatherup Center indoor practice facility and training center for the university’s varsity basketball teams.

He noted other significant donors who have transformed ASU, endowing colleges, launching research centers, building facilities and funding student activities such as the Sun Devil Marching Band.

In addition to fundraising, Campaign ASU 2020 is about educating the community to the value of private support while engaging alumni and friends with the university.

The campaign’s goal of at least $1.5 billion will be distributed this way:

  • $441 million to fuel discovery, creativity and innovation, paying for research, labs, equipment, entrepreneurship opportunities and art galleries.
  • $258 million to drive Sun Devil Athletics competitiveness by increasing scholarships and academic support, adding sports and an Olympic Village on the east side of Rural Road that will include tennis, softball, track and field, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball facilities, as well as an Olympic Village-style space for student-athletes.
  • $233 million to elevate the academic enterprise by funding endowed professorships, faculty fellowships and artist-in-residence programs.
  • $220 million to ensure student access and excellence, including scholarships based on need and merit, as well as helping students make progress toward graduation.
  • $184 million to champion student success, which funds students’ learning in real-life situations, study abroad and leadership development.
  • $165 million to enrich our communities, enabling ASU students to participate in local projects, performing arts and public television.

Private support is not a replacement for the university’s other sources of revenue, including investments from the state, students, their families, faculty, staff and research grants. Private support provides the margin of excellence that enables the “extras” that shape excellent, meaningful and impactful university and research experiences.

The campaign, which is being guided by the ASU Foundation for a New American University, is emphasizing the importance of small gifts, noting that in one year, more than 100,000 individual donors gave a total of $215 million that affected every college and school at ASU.

ASU President Michael Crow at Campaign ASU 2020 kickoff

President Michael Crow speaks at Thursday's official kickoff of Campaign ASU 2020 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 

Donors can choose where to giveMany donors choose to restrict their gifts to a certain use or distribution schedule, which can include estate gifts and endowments. Accordingly, many funds raised during the campaign will not be available for immediate spending and will not apply to the university’s yearly operations budget., and ASU’s colleges have set priorities. For example, the W. P. Carey School of Business hopes to raise at least $150 million to fund student scholarships, summer programs and research centers, and to endow faculty chairs and professorships, including one named for Loui Olivas, which would be the first chair named for someone of Hispanic descent at any top 30 business school in the U.S.

Some Campaign ASU 2020 projects would far exceed the boundaries of campus, including creation of “The Culture Lab of the Americas,” a $30 million, 45,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art classrooms, research labs, event spaces and ASU Art Museum gallery space that will connect artists and designers with practitioners across disciplines. The Culture Lab will be located near the Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum and will offer advanced degree programs and research centers through the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

ASU emphasizes projects that cross disciplines, and Lee Hartwell, a Nobel laureate and professor at ASU, spoke about how today’s students will enter a world that’s almost unimaginable now due to rapid technology changes.

“So, we have to do things differently — and we are. I believe that ASU is leading the way,” said Hartwell, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001 and is the Virginia G. Piper Chair Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine is funded by a donation by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.of Personalized Medicine and co-director of the Biodesign Institute's new Center for Sustainable Health.

He has appointments in the colleges of education, biomedical engineering and sustainability, and that gives him the chance to work with diverse colleagues. For example, in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, he is collaborating on a course called Sustainability for Teachers, intended to make the topic dynamic and inspiring.

“We think this is an important first step in educating the next generation on the very real challenges they face,” he said.

Campaign ASU 2020 principals

Campaign ASU 2020 principals (from left) Bill Post, Craig Weatherup, John Graham, Barbara McConnell Barrett and Leo Beus applaud the donations of all individuals and corporations so far; $1 billion has been raised since the campaign's "quiet launch" in 2010. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 

Donor Leo Beus described how moving it was to see the effects of his gift. He and his wife, Annette, established the Beus Family New American University Scholarship to support incoming freshmen or community college transfer students who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The couple then were able to interview the students who received the scholarships.

“We had the experience of looking them in the eyes and telling them not to worry because their college tuition was covered — and we knew our investments changed lives,” said Beus, co-founder of Beus Gilbert PLLC. They also supported the Beus Center for Law and Society, the new downtown Phoenix home of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. The center was designed to also house the nation’s first teaching law firm, a law library open to the public and a legal triage service to help the public find legal support.

Jackson Dangremond, president of the Undergraduate Student Government on the Downtown campus and a junior majoring in health care innovation, noted the donations that have already been made.

“Every step moves us one step closer to achieving our aspirations and making a difference in countless lives.”

For more about Campaign ASU 2020, visit giveto.asu.edu. Want to learn more about what a comprensive campaign is and why a public university needs private support, read the campaign primer from the experts at the ASU Foundation.

 

Top photo: Fireworks, singers and band members from the ASU School of Music celebrate at the conclusion of the official launch of Campaign ASU 2020 on Thursday at Chase Field in Phoenix. The goal is to raise at least $1.5 billion by the year 2020, with $1 billion already raised since the campaign's "quiet launch" in 2010. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU recognized by WorldatWork as an employer of choice


January 23, 2017

Arizona State University has earned the WorldatWork 2017 Seal of Distinction. This year, the university was among 160 companies from 35 states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces to be recognized with the 2017 Seal of Distinction.

The award recognizes ASU’s commitment to creating innovative programs that promote a positive work environment. World at Work Seal of Distinction logo Download Full Image

“We are committed to investing in the health and well-being of faculty, staff and students at ASU,” said Jillian McManus, director of organizational health and development. “We strive to create a healthy environment for everyone through a combination of our formal benefits and our partnerships with ASU departments.”

The 2017 Seal of Distinction is awarded every year to companies across North America that set the standard for employee engagement that leads to business success. The overall strength of a company’s total rewards portfolio is evaluated along with the programs, policies and practices reflected in:

• base pay
• bonus programs
• caring for dependents
• culture initiatives and community involvement
• development opportunities
• financial wellness
• health and wellness
• long-term incentives
• pay for time not worked
• performance management
• perquisites
• recognition
• retirement
• short-term incentives
• unpaid time off
• workforce experience
• workplace flexibility

“We congratulate all of the recipients of the 2017 Seal of Distinction. This year, we saw the highest number of applicants since the Seal of Distinction was created,” said Anne C. Ruddy, president and CEO of WorldatWork in a press release. "I’m confident that this means an increasing number of companies are recognizing the importance of a workplace environment that benefits both the employer and employee.”

All 2017 Seal of Distinction companies will be celebrated at the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition on May 7-10 in Washington, D.C. Find out more at WorldatWork Seal of Distinction.

Christine Rizzi Tobin

Communications specialist, Office of Business and Finance

480-727-5310

 
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ASU online takes top-five spot in US News ranking

ASU's online bachelor degree program jumps seven spots in U.S. News ranking.
January 10, 2017

Program moves up 7 spots; MBA, business master's also rated highly

Arizona State University’s online bachelor’s degree program has been ranked fourth in the nation out of more than 1,300 reviewed by U.S. News & World Report.

The program moved up seven spots, having tied for 11th place in the magazine’s 2016 rankings.

“The work being done here at ASU Online through EdPlus at ASU continues expanding access to higher education for students around the world, and through our technology-enhanced, digitally enabled platform, we are able to deliver many of the same high-quality degree programs as those offered on-ground,” said Phil Regier, University Dean for Educational Initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at ASU.

“We strive to allow all individuals who are interested in pursuing their education the opportunity to achieve this goal."

ASU Online had 17,589 undergraduate students and 6,261 graduate students in the fall term.

The magazine releases several higher-education rankings throughout the year, most recently rating ASU as the most innovative university for the second year in a row.

ASU's online program earned a score of 92 out of 100. The magazine’s top three online bachelor’s programs were Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, which ranked first with a score of 100; Temple University; and the University of Oklahoma.

Other ASU Online programs that ranked highly were two from the W. P. Carey School of Business — the master’s in business, which ranked third in the nation with a score of 96, and the MBA, which was fifth. Both programs’ rankings were the same in 2016.

“We continue to improve our online business degrees through strong partnerships with industry and executives helping us tailor our programming towards skills and needs of the future,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business.

“With strong competition in the online business school space, we are thrilled to be recognized again as one of the leading online business programs in the country.” 

ASU’s online criminal justice program also ranked fifth this year.

U.S. News scored its “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” based on four categories: student engagement, 40 percent; faculty credentials and training, 20 percent; student services and technology, 20 percent; and peer reputation, 20 percent (partially based on a survey of high-ranking academic officials).

One of ASU’s most celebrated innovations was the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, launched two years ago, which offers full tuition reimbursement to Starbucks employees who pursue an online degree through ASU.

Jessica Ohrt is an ASU Online student pursuing a degree in sustainability.

Jessica Ohrt began pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in sustainability last year when she was a Starbucks barista, and tuition for her first semester was reimbursed. She then left her job at Starbucks, but she decided to continue working on her ASU Online degree.

“I looked for a local college that had a sustainability program that would be comparable, and there wasn’t one. It was such a distinctive program and set of classes that I decided to stick with it,” said Ohrt, who lives in Marietta, Georgia.

Ohrt became interested in sustainability while serving as a Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop years ago.

“We did a lot of work on environmental responsibility and citizenship, and then it was like, ‘Oh, I can get a degree in that!’ ”

She likes that the courses keep students on track and are self-directed, so she could work in between caring for her granddaughter.

“I could watch a lecture in the evening or on the weekends, and if I woke up at 4 in the morning and wanted to get something done, I could,” she said. “The flexible approach was appealing to me.”

Ohrt expects to graduate in December and is considering working for a government agency or a nonprofit focusing on environmental justice.

“I’ve learned that sustainability is not just global warming and recycling. It’s also social stability and people having access to food and transportation and shelter,” she said.

Sustainability is one of more than 60 undergraduate online degrees offered at ASU.

U.S. News & World Report assessed 1,328 online degree programs to compile the 2017 list. Rounding out the top 10 online bachelor’s degree programs after ASU were Western Kentucky University; California University of Pennsylvania and West Texas A&M University (tied for sixth); and California Baptist University, New England Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Pennsylvania State University World Campus and the University of Illinois Chicago (all tied for eighth). 

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now

480-727-4503

 
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ASU fall commencement marks start of next chapter

ASU to award more than 7,000 degrees in fall 2016 commencement.
December 9, 2016

University will award more than 7,000 degrees; law school to mark first convocation in new Beus Center for Law and Society

Arizona State University’s fall commencement will be a mix of new and old this week.

ASU is awarding about 5,200 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate degrees in several ceremonies. The main undergraduate commencement is Monday at Wells Fargo Arena.

Among the new ceremonies is the first commencement of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to be held in the new Beus Center for Law and Society on the Downtown Phoenix campus. The six-floor building opened in August.

The Beus Center for Law and Society opened in August.

 

“We can’t think of a better way to demonstrate, very tangibly, the impact of connecting law and society as we usher the next generation of lawyers as well as students who have mastered legal principles to employers in our downtown community and across the country,” said Douglas J. Sylvester, dean of the law school, whose students donate more than 100,000 hours of pro bono work collectively.

The convocation for the law school’s 74 graduates will be held Wednesday, and will recognize Devin Jacob Garza for more than 170 hours of pro bono work with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Among the oldest traditions will be the Parade of International Flags at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, which became part of ASU in 2015 after nearly 50 years as a private graduate school. In that ceremony, which dates to 1977, graduates carry the flags of their home countries during the convocation, which will be held Wednesday at the Glendale campus.

ASU welcomes a diverse student population, and several events are scheduled to recognize them, including American Indians, Asian and Asian Pacific Americans, black and African, Hispanic, veterans and international students. Click here for the complete schedule. Visit here for the list of events at individual colleges and schools.

 

While commencement wraps up years of hard work at ASU, for some students, it’ll be their first time on campus. ASU Online is awarding about 550 undergraduate degrees, including more than 200 enrolled in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, and about 740 graduate degrees.

One of the graduates is Devon Probol, who completed her bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in religious studies, in two and half years while posted in Australia for the U.S. Department of State. She worked as a security assistant for the U.S. embassy in Canberra.

Probol, who is attending commencement events, got her first look at the Tempe campus last week.

“I was shocked at how beautiful it is,” she said. “I called my mom and said ‘It’s is so weird that this is my alma mater, but the first time I’m seeing it is my graduation.”

Probol said the ASU Online program was clear and logical and allowed her to take a full load of classes while working full time.

“It made a lot more sense to me, personally. I really enjoyed that everything was laid out. There was no room to misunderstand what is expected of you,” she said.

Thousands of graduates will go into the workforce well prepared by their education at ASU, which was ranked ninth in the nation for graduate employability by the Global University Employability Survey 2016. Many students are able to study across disciplines at ASU.

Electrical engineering major Ngoni Mugwisi, who is from Zimbabwe and won a Rhodes Scholarship, was one of them.

“This opportunity to cross between disciplines, whether in engineering, entrepeneurship, and all the collaboration efforts I’ve found here at ASU, they’ve been really inspiring. It’s an enabling environment to be the best anyone can do.”

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now

480-727-4503

Alternate career paths for humanities students

Connected Academics offers ASU humanities students practical and professional skills to prepare them for a variety of careers


November 15, 2016

With a shrinking job market in tenure-track faculty positions, doctoral students in the humanities often must compete for alternative academic — known as “alt-ac” — careers, or even search for jobs outside of academia.

What professional skills and experience will best expand career options and earning potential for doctoral students? José Gómez, a Ph.D. student in Spanish and the 2016/17 CA Research Fellow / Photo by Bruce Racine “Connected Academics envisions a versatile PhD, and in this mentality we want to provide events that tap into our full potential of being 21st-century scholars," said José Gómez, a doctoral student in Spanish. Photo by Bruce Racine Download Full Image

Arizona State University is one of three institutions (the others are Georgetown and the University of California system) awarded funding from the Modern Language Association and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the innovative project “Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers.” Participating in the program are the Department of English, the School of International Letters and Cultures and Graduate Education.

Now in its second year and with 84 fellows (52 English, 32 SILC), the Connected Academics program provides alternative options to traditional graduate training in languages and literature, including enhanced curricula and mentoring. Students complete internships, enroll in certificate programs, and engage in digital humanities and professional development workshops.

Internships are an especially valuable part of the program, said Ruby Macksoud, director of internships in the Department of English.

“It helps to give an ‘insider’ edge over other applicants when on the job market,” Macksoud said. “Many job postings ask for two to three years of work experience, and so internships are a useful way to gain that work experience as a graduate student.”

Macksoud has had great success placing students in internships with publishers, government and federal agencies, non-profit organizations like Refugee Focus, and private organizations like the Phoenix Suns.

“At the moment, the focus is on helping Connected Academics fellows reimagine what they as humanists can do to shape the world around them,” Macksoud said. “So, we are working with tech companies, startup companies, government agencies and multinational companies to create internship opportunities that reach beyond academia. How might someone with a PhD in English literature impact how a company designs its products for human communication? Or how might someone with a doctorate in East Asian languages and civilization impact how a government delivers a fair-trade proposal?”

“Academia sometimes moves at a slower pace than the rest of the world, but that is not the case with Connected Academics,” said Kalissa Hendrickson, a member of the Connected Academics administrative team.

After receiving her PhD in English literature from ASU last year, Hendrickson began working as a research advancement administrator for ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research. While not involved in the program as a student, Hendrickson’s career path is an example of alt-ac success; she has been able to use her research training and professional skills in this role as she helps faculty apply for external funding, creates grant budgets and manages the submission process.

Once admitted to their PhD programs, students are paired with mentors — their “go-to faculty champions” — not only for advice on classes, research and academic life, but also help with career development and entrepreneurial mentoring, such as is available through the Edson Project.

“It’s rewarding to be a faculty mentor in the Connected Academics program because you get to know your own advisees better and differently, as well as to meet talented students from across our humanities units,” said Devoney Looser, a professor of English and Connected Academics mentor. “The benefit of Connected Academics, for students and faculty alike, is its facilitating conversations about a variety of academic and professional future paths beyond the degree.”  

The MLA-Mellon grant also funds a research fellow who takes leadership over a range of activities related to the grant and is part of the Connected Academics team. The team works to improve options for Connected Academics fellows and to achieve and even go beyond the grant’s goal to enrich doctoral education. Ultimately, the group’s work aims to reimagine a wide array of possible skills that can be incorporated into humanities graduate training and into careers where students can become scholar-citizens, making an impact in their communities.

PhD student Shannon Lujan (English literature) served as a Connected Academics research fellow last year. One of her major projects was a digital portfolio to help organize and showcase students’ accomplishments and time to degree.

“My experience as the 2015/16 fellow helped me feel confident about voicing my decision to pursue an alt-ac career, and ultimately lead me to securing a program manager position in Graduate Education at ASU,” Lujan said. “One of the things that we, as students, often overlook is the multiplicity of skills we acquire as graduate students. Connected Academics helps us recognize our skills, learn to talk to others about our skills, and feel more positive as we enter diverse job markets.”

Highlights during Connected Academics’ first year were Friday Conversations, a k a  “Professional Fridays,” which are monthly meetings to discuss topics related to academic, innovative, entrepreneurial and professional success.

José Gómez, a PhD student in Spanish and the 2016/17 Connected Academics Research Fellow, is working to bring to campus three outstanding faculty in the humanities to offer a variety of workshops.

“Connected Academics envisions a versatile PhD, and in this mentality we want to provide events that tap into our full potential of being 21st-century scholars," said Gómez. “Connected Academics allows a space for this kind of expansive thinking.”

The Modern Language Association/Mellon Foundation grant was authored at ASU by co-principal investigators Eric Wertheimer, associate vice provost of Graduate Education; George Justice, professor and dean of Humanities; and Pamela Garrett, senior manager of Graduate Programs. Other co-PIs are Mark Lussier, professor in the Department of English, and Joe Cutter, professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC). Both English and SILC are academic units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Written by Sheila Luna

Kristen LaRue

communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

 
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ASU takes top spot for international students

ASU holds position as No. 1 public research institution for global students.
November 14, 2016

University maintains position as No. 1 public research institution for international scholars, according to newly released survey

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.

Arizona State University has maintained its position as the No. 1 public university in the U.S. for hosting international students, and moved up a spot to No. 3 overall for colleges or universities, according to a newly released survey.

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released Monday also ranked ASU in the top 25 for domestic students studying abroad.

The report, issued by the independent non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE), indicated the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed 1 million for the first time during the 2015-2016 academic year. 

ASU's international student enrollment topped 12,750 such students, trailing only New York University and the University of Southern California.

The international Sun Devils represent more than half of the global scholars attending a college or university in the state of Arizona.

Degree-seeking international student enrollment at ASU has more than doubled in the past five years. In that time, students from more than 150 countries have enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in every discipline.

In last year's Open Doors Report, ASU took the top spot among public research instutions and was No. 4 for overall colleges and univerisites. 

Karan Syal, a student from India, is a doctoral student in the biological design program, a branch of Biomedical Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Syal is passionate about solving problems in health care. What attracted him to study abroad was the flexibility in research that American universities allow; he said he chose ASU for the cross-disciplinary environment it provides.

“I strongly believe that the most interesting health-care challenges of our times are at the intersection of science, engineering, business and regulatory fields,” he said. “At the Biodesign Institute at ASU, I solve for the complex real-world problems in health care. I have great mentors in helping me bridge multiple diverse fields while attempting to solve global health-care challenges in my research.”

Students including Syal find success through the guidance of world-renowned faculty and the support services provided by the university that makes it a priority to help students achieve their academic aspirations.

The ASU International Scholars and Student Center provides international student support and facilitates the success of international students and scholars during their stay in the U.S., including advisement on a variety of concerns such as visas and job placement. Additionally, the center facilitates the integration of students from other countries into life at an American university and helps with cultural adjustment.

“The university is a place where value is placed on inclusivity and success of all of our students,” Holly Singh, senior director of the International Scholars and Student Center, said. “Our center provides holistic student support to ensure international students and scholars feel welcome and have the tools necessary to succeed in their endeavors.”

In addition to the International Scholars and Student Success Center, ASU is committed to offering programs that provide academic and student support. ASU’s Global Launch provides English language training and academic preparation services designed to help students succeed in their new academic environment, and the Coalition of International Students unites university cultural groups and promotes increased understanding among cultures within and outside the university.

While international students benefit from attending U.S. universities and colleges, the continued growth of international students coming to the U.S. also benefits American students, according to the IIE. Students from around the world bring international perspectives into U.S. classrooms and provide a global viewpoint to scientific and technical research, helping prepare American students for a globally connected society.

Likewise, American students are finding studying abroad beneficial to their academic and professional careers. ASU students are studying abroad in increasing numbers — more than 2,100 last academic year. ASU offers 250 study-abroad programs in more than 65 different countries.

The growth is attributed to the university’s focus on seeing more students engage globally. This includes first-generation students and graduate students who are studying abroad. Growth is expected as ASU continues to strive for accessible study-abroad opportunities for all ASU students. This is part of an effort to bolster the personal, academic and professional benefits that come with interacting with people from different cultures and experiencing different views from around the globe.

In addition to being in the top public institution for international students, ASU was ranked as the most innovative school in the United States for the second year in a row by U.S. News & World Report and rated in the top one-half of 1 percent of institutions of higher education worldwide by the Center for World University Rankings.

 

Top photo: International students work on their English composition skills in lecturer Amy Shinabarger's Intro to Academic Writing class on the Polytechnic campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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