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For transplant survivor, ASU Online was a chance at a college degree.
October 8, 2017

In 7 years, 75,000+ students have taken ASU classes wherever they are in the world

The sun-soaked campuses of Arizona State University are beautiful places to take college classes, but it’s an experience that’s not available to everyone.

Some potential students are working or taking care of families, or they’re not able to be in a classroom for health reasons. Others are on active duty in the military or running companies in other countries.

But they still deserve to earn a college degree from a prestigious institution.

Now in its seventh year, ASU Online has offered that opportunity to nearly 75,000 people all over the world. Almost 27,000 students are enrolled this semester in one of 150 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

And that degree is key to improving the lives of ASU Online’s students.

Jennifer Johnson earned a two-year degree 10 years ago at age 35 and always intended to get her bachelor’s in nursing, but she put it on the back burner as she continued to work in the nursing field and raised her son in Minnesota. But she noticed that hospitals were starting to require four-year degrees when they hire nurses.

In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and a hysterectomy after genetic testing revealed that she has the gene that predisposes her to cancer. After chemotherapy, she reassessed her life.

“I thought, if I have a second chance at life, I have to go back to school,” she said.

She was visiting her parents in Arizona when she saw a billboard that ASU was named No. 1 in innovation. She thought it was cool but didn’t know about ASU Online.

“Then I was looking at my Facebook feed and saw an ad for ASU Online’s RN to BSN degree, and I thought ‘this is good timing.’ ” So she registered.

ASU Online student Jennifer Johnson visits Ethiopia to volunteer
ASU Online student Jennifer Johnson visits Ethiopia to volunteer at a hospital.

One reason Johnson put off college was that she was terrified of having to take the required class in statistics.

“I didn’t know if I was smart enough to get through a nursing program,” she said, “But I thought, ‘Nope, I made a commitment to myself that if I got a second chance I would do things that scare me.’ ”

She got a B in statistics.

“My job is really busy, I work 40 hours plus, but I’m still able to do my schoolwork,” said Johnson, who works in a hospital near Minneapolis.

She likes the flexibility, which allows her to travel with a nonprofit that improves medical care in developing countries. She has been to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia several times to volunteer in a hospital there.

“I’m so glad I made that commitment to myself,” Johnson said.

'They're stuck'

Degree attainment is a critical issue in Arizona and the nation. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that by 2020, 68 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require some form of postsecondary education, such as a certificate, two-year, bachelor’s or graduate degree. In Arizona, 37 percent of adults have a degree.

Bachelor’s degree holders can expect to earn three times more incomeLatinos who earn a bachelor’s degree will earn 3.5 times more in their lifetimes than those with only a diploma. over their lifetime than people with only a high school diploma, according to College Success Arizona.

About 60 percent of adults in Arizona have been enrolled in a postsecondary institution at some point, but half never completed the degree.

So then two things happen, according to Phil Regier, university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus, the unit that houses ASU Online.

“First, they’re stuck. They can’t move ahead in their job or even apply for another job because they don’t have a degree,” he said.

“Second, they almost certainly cannot attend a brick-and-mortar institution. They’re probably already working one or two jobs and have family commitments. They can’t go to a class that meets three times a week at 9 a.m. and another that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 in the afternoon.”

Until a few years ago, there were few choices for those people, Regier said.

When ASU Online was launched in 2011, administrators feared the program might lure students away from attending one of the ASU campuses.

“But the 18- to 23-year-olds are getting a degree and maturing and moving into society,” he said.

“The students we serve are already in society. They have significant life experience; they are mature. They just lack a degree.”

The average age of ASU Online students is 30, and overall the ages range from 22 to 60.

Not out of reach

ASU Online is available wherever the students are.

Emily Gorsky lives in New Jersey. She was born with cystic fibrosis, and in her senior year of high school, her condition started progressing.

Emily Gorsky

“I was living on the couch, stuck at home, hooked up to two oxygen concentrators,” said Gorsky, who’s 27.

Her parents were taking turns staying up at night to care for her.

“They were afraid that if they stopped watching me, I would stop breathing, because by that point I had to consciously think to breath,” she said.

At age 22, she was hospitalized and as her condition worsened, the doctors told her she had 10 minutes to consent to life support before she had permanent brain damage. She later woke up on life support, a painful and immobilizing process that she was told could sustain her for about two weeks. She needed a transplant.

Gorsky’s church held a prayer meeting on the 12th day she was in the hospital, and on the 13th day, she got a call that a pair of lungs were available. Then she was told the lungs were unsuitable.

Gorsky said she prayed for something to happen either way, “because I couldn’t stay like that.”

Then another pair of lungs became available and she had the transplant operation. She recovered so quickly that they let her go home early, and as she recovered she began to think about college. She took classes at a community college, eventually earning an associate’s degree in psychology. She wanted to get a bachelor’s degree, but as she was still immunosuppressed from the transplant, she couldn’t live on campus.

So she found ASU Online, where she is majoring in criminal justice.

Gorsky said she has gotten more out of the online program than she ever imagined.

“A few months ago, I canceled plans so I could stay in and watch an interview with a special agent from the FBI, and I was starstruck,” she said.

“I’m in an online program, but I’m actually getting more opportunities than people on campus at other schools.”

Gorsky still has challenges, and the professors at ASU Online have worked with her. In December, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which required surgery and radiation, and a few months ago, she had to have an emergency blood transfusion.

“Two days after that, I had a paper due. I had my boyfriend go home and get my books and laptop,” she said, and her professor worked with her on a revised schedule.

Working toward her degree has been a motivator.

“It’s weird to be 27 years old and not be graduated and have friends getting their master's and being in their career,” she said.

“I’ve always loved school, and there have been a few times in my life when I had to be home-schooled. When you’re not allowed to go, it brings a whole new perspective to your education and how blessed you are to be able to get one.”

Gorsky is considering pursuing a master’s degree from ASU Online after she completes her bachelor’s, hopefully next year.

“The recruiter was so encouraging. She didn’t know about my story, so it wasn’t pity encouraging,” Gorsky said.

“She was telling me I could do it — that it wasn’t out of my reach.”

'Their lives continue'

While ASU Online students can log into their classes anywhere, they are never on their own. Human engagement is crucial, both in the course and outside of it.

Students engage with faculty and with each other through discussion boards.

“When the student engages and how the student engages is much more in control by the student than in face-to-face classes, but that engagement is critical,” Regier said.

Working with ASU Online staff also is crucial for everything that happens outside class. The coaches in the Student Success Center are there to help keep students on track.

“With an on-campus student, if their financial aid doesn’t come in, they have to go stand in line and it’s a hassle,” Regier said.

“For an online student, it’s a disaster. They can’t stand in line and they don’t know who to talk to. They’ll drop the course. If their books don’t come in time, they’ll drop the course.

“If their mother-in-law has hip surgery and they have to take care of her, a lot of online students would say, ‘I have to drop this course.’ ”

The success coach will say, “Wait a minute. Let’s work through this.”

“They’re there to deal with those non-academic issues that for this population of students may appear insurmountable, but do in fact have a solution,” Regier said.

“These students aren’t putting their lives on hold while they attend school. Their lives continue with all of the things that happen to working adults.”

Applying lessons immediately

For Jimmie Munoz, school and work have been intertwined since he began taking master’s classes through ASU Online.

Munoz earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from ASU in 2005 and then started a tour company in Mexico City called PassportMX. He wanted to earn a master’s degree but couldn’t leave his business. So he started the ASU Online program in sustainable leadership.

Jimmie Munoz runs the PassportMX tour company in Mexico City.

“In the tour company, what I’m really interested in is making sure that whatever work that’s done, whether excursions or accommodations or transportation, is done in a socially responsible and eco-conscious way,” Munoz said.

He has been able to take what he studies in class and apply it immediately to the business, for example, in working with local vendors.

“In the classwork, there was a lot of discussion about the social implications of tourism and how to examine the operations of the company so that we can help improve the quality of life of local people,” he said. So he discussed the origin of coffee beans with the owner of the café where he takes his tourists.

“It’s given me a lot of confidence in what I’m doing because sustainability is a new field, but I’m finding new ways to address these issues.”

For details on ASU Online, click here.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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Grand opening of Student Pavilion celebrates ASU's greenest building

October 6, 2017

Arizona State University celebrated the grand opening of the Student Pavilion Thursday night, the newest — and greenest — building on the Tempe campus. The pavilion is the first net zero energy building at ASU, meaning it uses no more energy than it creates.

The new building now houses the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Council of Coalitions, and the Programming and Activities Board, and its sustainable practices have inspired the organizations to incorporate “green” practices in their own events.

“It’s really given us this awesome challenge of figuring out ‘How can we be sustainable at all of our events?’ and really think about the environment as we’re doing them,” said Kavitha Ramohalli, president of the Programming and Activities Board on the Tempe campus.

The grand opening included brief remarks from several speakers including USG President Brittany Benedict, ASU President Michael Crow, Black African Coalition President Navona Carter, and included a building blessing by the American Indian Coalition.

In addition, a ceremonial ribbon cutting took place, along with the announcement of the burial of a time capsule, to be opened in August 2067, 50 years after the building's opening. 

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University Innovation Alliance shows the power of collaboration

September 28, 2017

Number of low-income graduates increased by 24.7 percent at alliance's member institutions, including co-founder ASU

Three years ago, Arizona State University co-founded the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), a coalition of 11 major public research universitiesThe 11 member schools of the University Innovation Alliance are: ASU, Ohio State University, Georgia State University, University of California-Riverside, Iowa State University, University of Central Florida, Michigan State University, University of Kansas, Oregon State University, University of Texas at Austin and Purdue University. across the country, with the goal of graduating more low-income and underserved students. In that period, the number of low-income graduates increased by 24.7 percent among participating universities, and the number of undergraduate degrees awarded overall increased 9.2 percent (from 79,170 to 86,436).

These figures represent significant progress toward the alliance’s goal of graduating an additional 68,000 undergraduates — at least half of whom are low-income — by 2025. Currently, about 50 percent of ASU’s in-state undergraduate students are from low-income families.

The increased degree attainment sets the UIA firmly on the path to exceed its original goals, predicting an additional 94,000 graduates by 2025.

As it stands today, the United States is 3 million graduates short of what is needed to fill the 63 percent of jobs in 2018 that will require a postsecondary education. By 2025, that gap is predicted to grow to 16 million. The graduate deficit is particularly acute among low-income students, raising serious concerns about the nation’s future prosperity and the economic mobility of millions of Americans.

“The future economic competitiveness of the United States depends on higher education’s ability to innovate together in order to improve learning and outcomes at scale,” said Michael M. Crow, chair of the UIA and president of ASU. “Our progress in creating opportunity for a growing population of low-income and underserved students bodes well for the role of the UIA and other institutions to expand and diversify the nation’s talent pool and workforce. That’s good for everyone. ” 

In just three years, member institutions have implemented and scaled numerous successful initiatives that address student retention and success, many of which had their start at ASU. The success of ASU’s eAdvisor system, for example, inspired participating universities to implement similar solutions at their colleges. This nationally recognized innovation has helped improve freshman retention at ASU by 9.5 percent and helped increased six-year graduation by 19.3 percent.

UIA members have developed systems that use predictive analytics and academic advising to identify and intervene with students at risk of dropping out of college. Universities have also created innovation fellowships to build internal capacity at UIA universities and scale effective programming, in order to drive student success.

“We believe the progress we’re announcing is significant,” said Bridget Burns, executive director of the UIA. “We hope that more universities join us in setting and reporting on ambitious goals so that together we can help unlock the promise of a postsecondary degree for more students.”

The UIA recently announced its latest scaling project to provide students at its member universities with completion grants to ensure that potential graduates aren’t derailed by financial challenges. Preliminary data from the UIA shows that as many as 4,000 Pell-eligible seniors in good academic standing are at risk of being dropped from classes or not allowed to graduate because less than $1,000 is owed to their respective institution. Through funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, UIA members will provide completion grants to students beginning this fall.

“At its core, the UIA will bring the American dream within reach of many more deserving students,” said Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University, a founding member institution.

In 2018, the UIA will host a groundbreaking national convening, bringing together campuses from within and beyond the alliance to share strategies that advance student success and transform higher education.

By piloting new programs, sharing insights about their relative costs and effectiveness, and scaling those interventions that are successful, the alliance is catalyzing systemic changes in the higher education system. 


Top photo: Some of ASU's newest graduate make their mark on a chalkboard wall set up at the May 2017 Undergraduate Commencement. Photo by Andy DeLisle/ASU

Katherine Reedy

Media Relations Officer, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


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ASU drawing more Flinn Scholars — the elite of Arizona's high school graduates.
September 28, 2017

In early years of prestigious scholarship, few Flinn Scholars chose ASU but the flourishing Barrett, The Honors College is now a draw

More than 30 years ago, a scholarship program was set up to coax promising young Arizonans into attending one of the state’s public universities rather than going out of state.

The Flinn Scholarship, a prestigious, merit-based scholarship, offers full tuition and other incentives to end the “brain drain” by sending about 20 top high school graduates to the honors programs at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.

In the beginning, few chose ASU. But in recent years, as the prestige of the university has grown — and as Barrett, The Honors College has flourished — ASU is a top destination for these top Arizona high school graduates, drawing 58 percent of the Flinn Scholars The number of scholarships has varied over the years from 16 to 23. in the past 10 years.

“I remember I was pretty chill about the interview because the attitude we were brought up with in high school was that to get a prestigious education, you had to go out of state,” said Rebecca Bruner, who was in the first group of Flinn Scholars in 1986. She went to McClintock High School in Tempe and was accepted by Swarthmore and Amherst colleges. After she received the scholarship — which nobody had heard of in 1986 — she decided that having all her tuition and expenses paid was too good to pass up.

Two of the first Flinn Scholars to choose ASU, Rebecca Bruner (left) and Sara Zervos, celebrate graduation with Barbra Barnes, director of the Flinn Scholars Program in the 1980s. Photo contributed by Flinn Foundation

“What is most encouraging about it is knowing that somebody believes in you enough to invest in your future,” said Bruner, who is now an author.

And that’s how the Flinn donorsRobert and Irene Flinn established the Flinn Foundation in 1965 as a privately endowed grant-making organization to improve the quality of life in Arizona. The nonprofit has other programs besides the scholarship. saw it — as an investment more than an award, according to Matthew Ellsworth, vice president of communications for the Flinn Foundation.

“It was targeting young people who were mostly leaving the state but had the potential to be great leaders for Arizona,” said Ellsworth, who was himself a Flinn Scholar in 1993.

The scholarship not only includes tuition and room and board, it also offers two study-abroad opportunities, a paid internship program and mentorship and cultural activities.

In the early years of the program, not many of Arizona’s best and brightest chose ASU. Only 20 percent of Flinn Scholars in the first 10 years became Sun Devils. In 1989, none of the 18 winners chose ASU.

In the inaugural group of 18 scholars in 1986, only two chose ASU at first. Bruner started at the University of Arizona and transferred to ASU in her sophomore year.

Overall, 36 percent of the 606The breakdown by numbers is 221 ASU Flinn Scholars, 374 for the University of Arizona and 11 for NAU. Flinn Scholars have gone to ASU, 62 percent to the University of Arizona and 2 percent to NAU.

Transformation at Barrett

Although Barrett, The Honors College is a bustling community within ASU, it wasn’t always so. In the 1980s, the University of Arizona had a much more established honors program than ASU, which didn’t launch the University Honors College until 1988. At that time, McClintock Hall was converted into an honors dorm and the honors professors moved their offices nearby.

ASU’s program was transformed in 2000 by the $10 million endowment from Craig and Barbara Barrett, and the initiative was later renamed Barrett, The Honors College.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that the increased number of Flinn Scholars attending ASU correlates with the changes that have been made and the development of new programs at Barrett,” said Mark Jacobs, the current dean at Barrett, who came in 2003.

“This is due to the total ASU experience becoming much more attractive to Flinn Scholars, and that experience includes stellar faculty, entire new schools with new majors possible and new and exciting research opportunities,” said Jacobs, adding that Barrett has added more courses, support services and square footage over the years.

Even though the number of Flinn Scholars on the Barrett campus at any one time is less than 50 of out a total of about 7,200 honors students, they make a difference, Jacobs said.

“Excellent, motivated, service-oriented students make a difference in every class they are in. In a very real way, it is a microcosm of the effect all honors students have on ASU,” he said. “Flinn students are a group of great students who have already been screened by a very intelligent, thorough committee of statewide status.”

Ellsworth said the foundation would like to see more scholars choose NAU, which has drawn 11 winners since 1986. That could change now that NAU is building a new honors community with living space, classrooms, a support center and a fitness center. It will open in 2018.

About 750 students apply for the scholarships every year, and Ellsworth said the foundation is reaching out to rural areas to make sure the opportunity is as accessible as possible.

“How can we ensure that we’re doing all we can to reach students of great potential who are outside of our normal area?” he said. Some high schoolsThe high schools that have produced the most Flinn Scholars who went to ASU are University High School, Tucson, 17; Mountain View High School, Mesa, 16; Corona del Sol High School, Tempe, 12; Hamilton High School, Chandler, 10; and Desert Vista and Prescott high schools, nine each. in the Phoenix area produce 20 to 30 applicants every year, as teachers, counselors and students have become familiar with the process.

Ellsworth was thrilled that the 2017 class of Flinn Scholars, currently university freshmen, included students from five schools that had never produced a winner before: Desert View High School in Tucson, Tri-City College Prep in Prescott, Mohave High School in Bullhead City, and ASU students Daniel Nguyen, the first winner from Liberty High School in Peoria, and Brittany Duran, the first from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in Eloy.

In 2003, William Valencia was the first Flinn Scholar from Rio Rico High School. He decided to go to ASU during the interview process for the scholarship when he met Michael Crow, then in the first year of his presidency at ASU.

“His focus on access and impact and being inclusive as opposed to being exclusive — those all rang true to me,” said Valencia, who now is a program director in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at ASU.

Life-changing travel

International travel is one of the most important Flinn benefits, added a few years after the program launched. At that time, students received a pot of money with the hope that they would study abroad at least twice. In the late '90s, the program made international travel a group trip with a second, independent study-abroad experience. For several years, the scholars went together to Hungary, which was an emerging democracy and not very Westernized. For the past five years, the scholars have traveled together to China, visiting Beijing and then staying with families in a rural area.

Ellsworth said the group trip is much better than when he traveled alone in the early 1990s.

“I had never been on a plane. I was clueless and scared. I don’t think I had near the quality experience as if I had traveled as intentionally as they do now,” he said.

The travel can be life-changing.

Valencia was majoring in supply-chain management and took Mandarin 101.

“Owing to that experience, I added Mandarin Chinese as a major, and the travel allowed me to not only broaden my horizons but to understand the context of my supply-chain education,” said Valencia, who started a consulting firm in Beijing after graduation, teaching Chinese entrepreneurs best practices and business English. 

Nesima Aberra, a 2009 scholar, was a double major in journalism and global studies at ASU and traveled to Guatemala, where she did an internship learning about international development and nonprofits.

“It was really important because it made me understand that that was a viable career path and also to check my bias as a student who wanted to change the world. I learned that the world is more complicated than what you learn in the classroom,” said Aberra, who just started working as an audience engagement editor at the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity.

Taking risks

Many of the ASU Flinn Scholars have gone on to become accomplished professionals who are changing the world. The foundation doesn’t keep track of all alumni, but it does keep some statistics: Of ASU’s Flinn Scholars, 115 have gone on to earn graduate degrees, and of those, 30 have earned a second graduate degree. There are 21 ASU Flinns who have earned a medical degree and 20 who acquired a law degree.

The students are accomplished when they arrive at ASU. Nguyen, the first Flinn from Liberty High School in the Peoria Unified School District, is a freshman majoring in biological sciences who would like to be a military surgeon. He has already earned certification as an emergency medical technician from Glendale Community College.

“I got to spend some time doing what EMTs do, which influenced my outlook on my career as well. The ability to work with patients on the provider level is amazing,” he said.

Swaroon Sridhar presented the pitch for 33 Buckets at the Pakis Social Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2016. The nonprofit builds modular filters in poor communities so local people can sell clean water. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Many of the talented alumni cite their ASU education and being able to graduate debt-free as important factors in their success.

Swaroon Sridhar said that being a Flinn Scholar allowed him to take risks.

“The financial benefits of the scholarship made it easier for me to explore my interests in Indian classical music by enrolling in Phoenix Gharana, a Scottsdale-based music school, without worrying about the costs on top of my university costs,” he said.

“Making this decision was heavily influential in my life, as I'm still very passionate about studying and performing the art.”

Being in the program also allowed him to explore entrepreneurship, which led to his work with 33 Buckets, a clean-water nonprofit he co-founded with other ASU students. A 2013 Flinn Scholar, he’s the director of business development at 33 Buckets and also a graduate student at Columbia University.

“It was the security of knowing that it was OK to spend time on things outside of my academic major's focus that allowed me to venture into social impact via 33 Buckets,” he said.

Being connected is another benefit. Last spring, three students who met at networking events for Flinn Scholars launched an entrepreneurial venture and won $100,000 to fund their project, which makes wearable technology for people with visual impairments. Shantanu Bala and Ajay Karpur, both ASU grads, created Somatic Labs with Jacob Rockland of the University of Arizona.

“The honors colleges do a wonderful job of taking a big university and making it smaller. We want our program to make it an even tighter community, not to become insular but to become mutually supportive,” Ellsworth said.

“They are eager to see one another succeed. I’m sure some of them find themselves overwhelmed by each other’s accomplishments, but they’re intent on seeing one another reach their individual goals.”

Sara Zervos, after working for decades in finance, recently launched, a network of businesswomen to help educate younger people about financial literacy. She said that being a Flinn in 1987 made her part of a circle of academic colleagues who had curious minds and wide interests. 

“As such, this circle has created a benchmark for me for 'awesome people' that I want in my life going forward,” she said.

Brian Indrelunas, a journalist and 2004 scholar, said that the scholarship and connection to other Flinns broadened his world view.

“Seeing how fellow Flinns are using what they learned in Arizona to do incredible things — in-state, around the country and around the world — is a constant source of inspiration,” Indrelunas said.

Some of the scholars have taken the message of both ASU and the Flinn Scholarship to heart.

“I’m the product of a public education, and seeing ASU deliver on its promises of accessibility and impact and having the opportunity to play some small part in that is personally and professionally fulfilling,” said Valencia.

“I owe this state a great debt, and every day when I walk into the office I see myself as repaying the state and its people for everything I have.”

Applications for the Flinn Scholarship are open through mid-October. Find details here.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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September 13, 2017

New projects include Tooker House, Student Pavilion, stadium improvements

A new academic year brings a host of new buildings and significant facilities upgrades to the Arizona State University community. During summer break, ASU Facilities Development and Management completed 60 projects totaling $42 million of investment across all campuses.

“Summer is our busiest time of year from a building renovation and construction perspective, and this summer was no exception,” said Bruce Nevel, Facilities Development and Management associate vice president and chief facilities officer. “I encourage the ASU community to take notice of some of our newest buildings and renovated classrooms and lab spaces.”

New Tempe campus buildings this fall are Tooker House, the Student Pavilion and Sun Devil Stadium’s Student Athlete Facility. At ASU’s West campus, a state-of-the-art educational facility was unveiled as the new home for the Herberger Young Scholars Academy. Facilities Development and Management also made improvements to classrooms, laboratories, offices and grounds across ASU’s campuses.

Tooker House

This $120 million, 450,000 gross-square-foot, state-of-the-art residence hall for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering includes fully furnished rooms with 1,600 student beds, a 525-seat dining facility, recreation and fitness centers, student lounges and academic success space. The fully Wi-Fi-accessible facility also includes the following notable amenities:

• a new Amazon Echo Dot in each room, which represents the first voice-enabled, learning-enhanced residential community on a university campus

• Bluetooth-connected washers and dryers that notify students when cycles are complete

• collaborative maker space environments, including access to 3-D printers

• a beautiful courtyard with outdoor pavilions and covered terraces

Student Pavilion

The 74,653 gross-square-foot Student Pavilion was designed as a Net Zero Energy building, which means it uses no more energy annually than can be produced on site. The building’s sustainable elements include:

• chilled-beam and indirect evaporative cooling

• energy-efficient office, classroom and kitchen equipment

• exterior shading of windows and walls

• LED and energy-efficient lighting

• roof solar-ready for future photovoltaic installations

• Zero Waste strategies

The building hub is a new 1,200-seat event space for guest lecturers, musical shows, comedy acts and student productions. At the center of student traffic and activity near Hayden Library and the Memorial Union, the Student Pavilion houses office space for student government and organizations, university classrooms and other academic functions.

Sun Devil Stadium – Phase 2

Construction concluded this summer on the new Student Athlete Facility embedded in the stadium’s north end, club-level premium areas on the stadium’s west side and a massive video board.

• The Student Athlete Facility is equipped with offices, training facilities, locker rooms, counseling space, a players’ lounge, meeting rooms and other amenities to support Sun Devil athletes.

• The west side club level features air-conditioning, televisions, lounge areas and many other conveniences for fans, including food and beverage service.

• The new video board (seen in top photo) on the north end is 47 feet high and 113 feet wide and is among the 10 largest video boards in college football. The board will showcase replays, statistical updates, graphics and videos.

Phase 3 work on the stadium’s east side begins immediately after the 2017 football season and will lay the groundwork for a facility capable of hosting sporting, academic, and community events and programs throughout the year.

Herberger Young Scholars Academy

This 19,500 gross-square-foot building provides new, purpose-built program space for the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, designed for gifted students in grades 7–12. The ASU West campus building includes state-of-the-art classroom space and a maker space to enrich the teaching program. The building is linked to a dedicated landscaped area that provides opportunities for outdoor teaching and relaxation. The new facility was made possible through the charitable support of Gary and Jeanne Herberger.

Mall updates

Cady and Orange Mall improvements are among the first implementations of the Tempe Campus Hardscape Master Plan. These mall updates are significant to this program, as it sets the standard for future phases.

• Cady Mall now provides additional campus monuments at key points along the Tempe campus perimeter. This includes two campus identification monuments flanking Gammage Auditorium on Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue as well as a new ASU Charter monument sign at the entry to Cady Mall near University Drive. These Cady Mall additions provide photo opportunities for students and visitors and strengthen the beauty and identity of the Tempe campus.

• A revitalization and extension of Orange Mall delivers an ecologically sustainable pedestrian walkway. The mall was designed to create a sustainable environment and green infrastructure that manages wet-weather impacts. The extension also provides an event space for the Student Pavilion and serves as an ASU community social gathering spot. Seating and a shaded palm court offer visitors an enjoyable outdoor space.

Additional capital projects

• Palm Walk rehabilitation concluded its second and final phase this summer with the replacement of 68 failing fan palms with new date palms, located between University Drive and Orange Street. The date palms will grow to a maximum height of 80 feet and deliver more shade for pedestrians and fruit for the university’s annual date harvest.

• Tempe campus Memorial Union renovations provide building enhancements and improvements for greater student accessibility and experiences. Renovations consist of approximately 13,000 gross-square-feet in lower-level improvements, which include a feature staircase installation from the first level to the lower level, meditation space, student recreation space, and collaboration and meeting areas. The project also includes restroom facilities modernization, a new elevator and floor tile throughout, as well as functional improvements to the facility.

• The Sun Devil Fitness Complex field on the Tempe campus received 151,100 gross-square-feet of new sod.

• Palo Verde East and West residence halls received updating in the elevators with new cabs, machines and controls. Roofing also was replaced around the perimeter of the mechanical penthouses.  Additional work is planned on these halls following the current academic year.

• Phase IV of Access Management continued to address conflicts among pedestrians, bicycles and cart vehicles on Tempe campus malls, and included:

- installation of bike valet shade canopies, additional bike racks, bike share racks, skateboard docks and cart parking
- new landscaping, screen fencing, benches, bike signage and site lighting

Classroom and laboratory renovations

The summer provides a brief prime opportunity to upgrade and refresh heavily-used classroom facilities, and this summer was no exception:

Tempe campus

Increased the capacity of two lecture spaces in Business Administration C Wing for W.P. Carey School of Business. Classrooms include all new finishes, updated audio/visual systems and improved accessibility features.

• A mid-size auditorium in College of Design North enjoys increased occupancy, new auditorium seats, finishes, LED lighting, an audio/visual package and improved ADA accommodations.        

• A large auditorium in the Bateman Physical Science H Wing includes all-new finishes, fixed auditorium seating, updated and upgraded LED lighting and audio/visual packages, as well as improved overall occupancy and accessibility features.

• A new traditional classroom was created in Computing Commons, including a new separate collaboration area for study.

• 2,400 gross-square-feet of classroom space in Coor Hall received improvements.

Downtown Phoenix campus

• 3,477 gross-square-feet of newly-leased space became three new classrooms and one small seminar space

• Updated furniture in an existing large, flat-floor classroom in the Arizona Center created a new active-learning classroom.

• First and second floor renovations at Grant Street Studios accommodate additional studio spaces, a print work area and photo dark room.

Polytechnic campus

• Sacaton Hall received two new classrooms, a new teacher resource room and staff restrooms.

• Two old classrooms converted into one 3,120 gross-square-foot active-learning classroom with all new finishes, furniture, an LED lighting package and an audiovisual system with distance-learning capabilities. 

West campus

• A new media-enhanced lab with multiple workstations and collaboration space was added to Sands Classroom and Lecture Hall.

• Two computer classrooms also were converted to teaching laboratory spaces in the Classroom/Lab/Computer Classroom (CLCC) Building.


These completed projects are only a part of the ASU capital projects now in some phase of planning, design or construction. These ongoing projects include Biodesign Institute Building C construction, Greek Leadership Village, renovations of Armstrong and Ross-Blakley Halls, and a new building for the ASU Polytechnic Preparatory Academy High School, among others.

Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, noted that this large volume of work completed in such a narrow window is critical to the ongoing success of the university and its people. 

“Congratulations and a thank you are in order for the many ASU personnel in FDMFacilities Development and Management and beyond, as well as our contractor, vendor and design professional partners, who made it possible to achieve all these great outcomes that advance the university in so many important ways,” he said.

Learn more about ASU’s past, present and future construction projects and follow Facilities Development and Management on Twitter @ASUfacilities.

Top photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

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New ASU building serves as a central hub to student community

The doors to ASU's Student Pavilion are now open. Take a look inside.
September 12, 2017

Student Pavilion provides space for student groups, classrooms and studying — all while aiming to be a Net Zero Energy building

Sitting in the heart of Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, one of the school’s newest buildings is impossible to miss. The 74,653-square-foot structure jumps out of the ground and reaches toward the sky, catching the eye with its glass windows and copper panels.

ASU's Student Pavilion is located at the center of student activity and student traffic, and plans are for it to host a variety of shows, productions and guest lecturers, in addition to providing classroom and office space.

“With a new building comes new excitement and interest from the student body,” said Brittany Benedict, president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) on the Tempe campus. “We’re hoping that the new traction will have students checking out our space and, in turn, have an interest as to how our organizations can benefit them.”

The USG isn’t the only organization calling the new pavilion home.

ASU's Council of Coalitions and the Programming and Activities Board have moved into the second floor of the building, making good use of the pavilion’s modern office space. And according to Benedict, the design of the building is impressing everyone so far.

“We are working in a naturally lit area since the building is essentially all windows,” said Benedict, an undergraduate student in the W. P. Carey School of Business. “That’s definitely had a positive impact on work being done in our building.”

The building is powered by the PowerParasol photovoltaic array, located between the pavilion and the Memorial Union. The roof of the pavilion is also solar-ready for future photovoltaic installations as the building looks to minimize the amount of energy it uses going forward.

As part of the goal for the pavilion to be a “Net Zero EnergyThis means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.” building, ASU is incorporating plenty of energy-saving techniques. This includes process load metering, exterior shading of windows, high levels of building envelope insulation and a low window-to-wall ratio.

“All of the sustainable practices that have been implemented are what excites me the most,” Benedict said. “It’s a (Net Zero) facility, which means that it’s not using any more energy than what the building itself is producing.”


The pavilion is operated in similar fashion to the university's Memorial Union, which is just a few steps away. 

"It's staffed by students, including building managers and event assistants," said Jeffrey Rensel, who oversees the management and usage of the building. "These staff members open and secure the building and provide general daily operational support to the facility." 

Even though the pavilion has been open for only a couple of weeks, it has already become a popular study spot for many students.

A wide common area just beyond the main entrance and a third-floor tutoring and supplemental instruction service offer plenty of space and opportunities to further academic success in the new building.

“There is lots of room and outlets everywhere, which really helps,” said Zachary Verlander, a chemistry senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It’s a great place to study and do homework.”

JE Dunn Construction broke ground on the new building in March 2016 and served as the construction team for the Student Pavilion. Those wanting to view the building in its present state can do so here via live webcam.

Top photo: The new Student Pavilion on the Tempe campus. The structure provides students with two new classrooms, plenty of study and social spaces and offices for student groups. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Connor Pelton

Communications Writer , ASU Now

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ASU named most innovative university for third straight year.
Why is ASU considered to be so innovative? It's changing higher ed completely.
September 11, 2017

U.S. News and World Report ranks ASU ahead of Stanford, MIT

For the third year in a row, Arizona State University tops the list of “most innovative schools” in the nation, recognizing the university’s groundbreaking initiatives, partnerships, programs and research.

U.S. News and World Report has named ASU as the most innovative university all three years it has had the category. The widely touted set of annual rankings by the news magazine, which compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics, was released today.

ASU again topped the list based on a survey of peers. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the country nominated up to 10 colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements to curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

“Our colleagues at colleges and universities around the country are very interested in what we’re doing, and they pay close attention to all that we have been able to achieve,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “They know that all the cool stuff is going on at ASU.”

After ASU, the second and third most innovative universities were Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the same ranking as the previous two years. The next universities on the innovative list are Georgia State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, the University of Michigan and Harvard University, with Duke and Portland State universities tied for 10th place.

The innovation ranking is due at least in part to a more than 80 percent improvement in ASU’s graduation rate in the past 15 years, the fact that ASU is the fastest-growing research university in the country and the emphasis on inclusion and student success that has led to more than 50 percent of the school’s in-state freshman coming from minority backgrounds.

“We now know that because of our innovation platform and our innovation culture, we’re just getting started,” Crow said. “Our pace of innovation is not just continuing, it’s accelerating.” 

In addition, the magazine designated ASU as an “A+ School for B Students,” a list of universities that are not ranked. Schools on the list had to admit a meaningful proportion of applicants whose test scores and class standing put them in non-A territory but whose freshmen retention rate was at least 75 percent.

The “most innovative school” ranking wasn’t the result of any one specific program, but the holistic approach to inventing a new kind of university ASU has undertaken. Still, ASU has launched several recent unique initiatives. Here are a few:

ASU behind the scenes: Preparing for crises

September 8, 2017

Tucked inside the University Services Building adjacent to Arizona State University's Tempe campus is a small office with a big job: to prepare the university for major emergencies.

Built from the ground up by a former assistant police chief and military veteran, the Office of Risk and Emergency Management in its short five-year existence has transformed the university’s incident-response structure from an additional duty within the ASU Police Department to a full-time operation benchmarked by other institutions. Emergency Response Team training exercise Melissa Krewson (standing left), ASU Office of Risk and Emergency Management business continuity specialist, and Sharon Smith (standing right), Emergency Response Team director and dean of students, observe as Allen Clark gives an after-action summary to the ERT following an active-shooter exercise on ASU's West Campus in April 2016. Photo by Jerry Gonzalez/ASU Download Full Image

“Over the last several years our footprint for incident management has grown, as we have grown as a university,” said Allen Clark, ASU director of emergency preparedness and the person largely responsible for establishing the university’s current crisis-response structure. “We’ve earned an outstanding reputation because we truly have a model that works.”

Clark’s model takes the ASU organization and from it builds multilevel response teams with access to the resources needed to manage a large-scale emergency, while complying with guidelines established after 9/11. These guidelines standardize response structures and procedures across local, county, state and federal levels to ensure all agencies are able to work together.

“Each campus has an emergency-response team, which we train using the Incident Command System to manage an incident,” Clark said. “Currently, each ERT is led by a dean and staffed with functional reps needed to manage response, information sharing and recovery of any incident.” 

Assembled above each ERT (Emergency Response Team) is the executive management group that can direct the necessary resources to help resolve the crisis while providing recommendations to university leadership. The executive group includes reps from ASU’s business and finance department, police, facilities, university technology office, environmental health and safety, risk management, emergency management and others when needed.

“Then finally you have the president’s policy group, the university president’s working group with additional members that would come to bear and provide policy-level support,” Clark said.

During a crisis or large university event, ASU’s emergency operation center (EOC) may activate. The EOC becomes the hub for services while playing host to local, county, state and federal partners that can bring a myriad of resources to the incident.  

But responding to a crisis is more than structure and facilities. Everyone involved must understand and rehearse their role. That is why ASU drills its plans multiple times throughout the year on multiple campuses. In between exercises, Clark and his office’s business continuity specialist Melissa Krewson indoctrinate a variety of groups on various aspects of crisis response.

“We train with each campus throughout the year on small drills or just incident command refresher,” said Clark, who is often requested to speak at other universities about disaster preparedness. “Whatever it is, we train.”

During a large exercise in July, teams from all local ASU campuses assembled in Tempe to work through a simulated cyberattack. The drill allowed staff to test existing response plans, policies and procedures. Local partner agencies also attended as participants, controllers, evaluators and observers.

“This was a very successful exercise and the first time we’ve brought all these different teams under one roof,” Clark said. “It allowed us to work face-to-face through the multiple complexities we’ll likely face if our network was hacked. We walked away with some good lessons learned.”

A vital aspect of ASU’s crisis response is “reunification” — the uniting of students with their parents. For example, reunification could be implemented if family members became separated due to an emergency evacuation of a large public venue on campus, such as Sun Devil Stadium. Reunification also may be used if an on-campus incident results in multiple casualties. 

“We know, when faced with a serious incident where ASU community members are hospitalized, families will make their way to campus immediately,” Clark said. “So we have created an organized reunification process with pre-designated locations for families to reunify with or locate their loved ones.” 

ASU’s Help Center, which typically assists students with technical issues or administrative questions 24 hours a day, has a key role in reunification. Center staff, backed up by partner agencies, will capture information provided by callers and attempt to locate their loved ones in area hospitals if their locations are not know to first responders.   

The reunification initiative — born out of an ASU active-shooter exercise in 2011 — was originally built on three pillars, said Deborah Roepke, executive director for the Coyote Crisis Collaborative, an ASU partner and multidisciplinary network that supports robust health-care and other community emergency-management programs. First was the development of a hospital reception-site capacity for all hospitals in Arizona, agreed upon by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Then it was necessary to have community family reunification-center capacity. The final element was emergency call-center capacity. All three elements are now in place.

“I believe ASU is a leader in disaster preparedness,” Roepke said. “ASU is exemplary in terms of its planning, training, structure development, activation process and testing. The concept of locating multiple reunification sites across the Valley is remarkable and should be applauded and copied.

“The leadership involvement and ASU’s investment in its preparedness efforts has been outstanding.”     

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Many of Ross-Blakley Hall's original architectural details were kept intact.
Abundant daylight, open floor plans and communal spaces encourage collaboration.
September 5, 2017

After decades at Language and Lit building, department moves across campus to former law library, revamped and ready to go

Literature is rife with interpretations of home: There’s no place like it in the “Wizard of Oz”; the land Scarlett O’Hara lives on in “Gone with the Wind” is like her mother; Jay Gatsby’s is an opulent façade disguising an empty man.

For lit lovers at Arizona State University, home recently became Ross-Blakley Hall.

A unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the English Department’s move from the G. Homer Durham Language and Literature building on the north end of campus to the newly renovated, former law library was one of necessity and opportunity, CLAS Dean Patrick Kenney said. It will be joined in its new location on the south end of campus by the rest of the CLAS faculty — from such departments as life sciences, economics and geography — in Armstrong Hall, just north of Ross-Blakley.

“The idea behind the move was twofold,” Kenney said. “One, to create a CLAS campus, because we don’t have that kind of identity — engineering and business both have that kind of identity, where everything is located in one space but we’ve never had that. And second, to have a more updated space to showcase humanities.”

The Institute for Humanities Research will also share space with the Department of English, on the first floor of Ross-Blakley Hall.

For some, the move has been bittersweet. Graduate program manager Sheila Luna spent 20 years in her office at the Language and Literature building. At first, she was hesitant at the idea of moving after all those years. Then she saw the new space.

“It was like, ‘Oh wow, this is really nice,’ ” Luna said.

On a recent afternoon in August, she and Glendolyn Neumann, who works in business administration for the English Department, took a quick break from moving to admire the architecture and abundant daylight in the entryway of Ross-Blakley Hall while construction workers put the final touches on drywall and flooring.

“It’s definitely more modern,” Neumann said. “And before, we were all spread out over campus. Now we have the chance to be in the same building at once, which is exciting.”

The space maintains its original three stories, but gone are the rows of towering stacks crammed with legal texts (the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law moved to the Downtown Phoenix campus last summer). They’ve been replaced by open floor plans divided into “neighborhoods” made up of shared desk spaces for teaching assistants and faculty associates; more private, enclosed enclaves for small meetings and student consultations; and fixed offices for more established faculty and staff.

Because the building is going to have so many different users — including faculty, staff, alumni, visitors, students and collaborators — facility space plan coordinator Kent Jones said that he and his team tried to create areas more conducive to collaboration. Special attention was given to ensure there was more natural light in public areas and there were informal places where people could meet and strike up a conversation.

“Part of the idea behind the design of the space was to get people out of their office,” he said. “We’re hoping there will be some creative collisions.”

Aesthetically the building is stunning. Floor-to-ceiling windows drench the first floor in natural light, and exposed ductwork gives the space a modern, industrial feel. Unexpected angles, rounded corners and high, arched ceilings keep things interesting. A peculiar stairway, original to the building, juts out into nothingness at one end, overlooking the first floor. Jones and his team call it the Titanic staircase because it comes to a point at the overhanging portion, not unlike the bow of the boat where Jack and Rose shared that memorable cinematic moment.

There’s also a large conference room with an 80-inch TV screen; a windowless seminar room perfect for movie screenings; a computer lab; a reading room; gender-neutral bathrooms; and Canon print stations at each elevator bank.

Faculty and staff had been preparing for the move months in advance, clearing out decades-worth of artifacts from their offices in the Language and Literature building. Among the boxes piled in Professor Jim Blasingame’s office was an old leather wingback chair filled with “peanut crumbles.”

“It belonged to two professors before me, and one of them ate peanuts in it,” he said with a grin. Blasingame found bits of the snack food in cracks and crevices of the chair for years.

Karla Elling, former Creative Writing Program manager and an English alum herself, may have been there when those peanut crumbles first found their way into the chair. She came to ASU as a freshman in 1961, when the English Department was still located in the University Club.

“The first poetry reading I heard at ASU was in 1961 — Robert Frost,” Elling said.

Later, as part of her position as program manager, she would welcome writers including Robert Bly, John Updike and Ken Kesey to speak at department events. She watched as “every day new ideas and possibilities popped up … with the brilliant graduate students and stellar faculty — Alberto Ríos, Norman Dubie, Rita Dove, Peggy Shumaker, T.M. McNally, Ron Carlson, Jay Boyer, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Jeannine Savard, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Melissa Pritchard, Cynthia Hogue, Sally Ball, Pete Turchi.”

Then, in 1964, “The English Department spread out from the old red brick building to the six-story Language and Literature building, the Piper Center and into collaborations with other wildly disparate areas,” Elling said, “various art disciplines at Herberger, palliative care at Mayo Clinic … Alzheimer’s units in the Valley, Arizona high schools and grade schools. If we could dream it, we could do it. The English Department, wherever housed, is a whole life, a window to the world.”

Students find new leadership, degree options in growing ASU college

The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts is now ASU’s fourth-largest

September 5, 2017

Arizona State University's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts has kicked off the fall 2017 semester with almost 11 percent enrollment growth over last year, making it now the fourth-largest college at the university behind the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the W. P. Carey School of Business. 

Part of that growth has happened at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, where the college has seen a 32.6 percent increase in the number of students in its majors, and where students can now pursue innovative degrees such as integrative social science, applied physics, technical communication (user experience), and counseling and applied psychological science. ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts students show their Sun Devil pride at 2017 Fall Welcome The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts is now ASU's fourth-largest, with more than 7,000 students. Above, the college's new students showed their Sun Devil pride at the 2017 Fall Welcome event. Photo by Kelley Karnes/ASU. Download Full Image

ASU junior Amy Crawford is one of the first students to declare the new major in user experience (UX). 

“Very forward-thinking and a perfect fit for me,” is how Crawford describes the degree program, which the college developed and is offering in collaboration with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

“I’d noticed the new program fairly recently,” she explained about her decision to switch to the major, “and having already taken some required courses for it, I realized I could transition seamlessly, which was a plus. The fact that Human Systems Engineering classes may be taken as electives really sparked my interest.

"Overall, I like how versatile the program is because of its multidisciplinary approach,” said Crawford, who would love to pursue a career in technical writing but is also excited about avenues this degree may open into the UX or human-centered design fields.  

More than 7,000 students are currently enrolled in the college’s integrative bachelor’s, master’s and exploratory tracks at ASU’s Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix campuses; through ASU Online; at the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City; and through the partnerships ASU@TheGilaValley, ASU@Yuma, and ASU@Pinal

Another 15,000 students whose primary academic programs are in other ASU colleges are enrolled in CISA courses this fall, taking foundational science, math, social science and humanities courses for their majors based at the Downtown Phoenix and Polytechnic campuses, confirmed Hongxia Fu, management research analyst for the college. 

“With our college on a healthy trajectory,” said Duane Roen, dean of the college, “several of our colleagues who have been longtime leaders of faculty groups decided this fall would be a good time to take a well-deserved step away from administrative work. 

“Our students and ASU have benefitted much from the years of leadership that Ian Moulton, Bobbie Lafford, Chris Martin, and Gina Beyer have provided in growing quality academic programs and services to meet students’ needs,” Roen noted. “They will continue to contribute through their research, teaching, and service.” 

Meet the new faculty leaders in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts:

Catherine Hart

Catherine Hart
Interim head of the Faculty of Science and Mathematics on the Polytechnic campus 

A senior lecturer in mathematics in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts since 2016, Catherine Hart has taught at ASU since 2003, previously serving as a faculty associate and lecturer. She brings to the position expertise in best practices in teaching math for specific contexts and in incorporating relevant technologies and practical skills that will help students succeed in their courses and in the workforce. 

“Part of my expectations for students is formed by 11 years as an engineer in the private sector,” she noted. “Engineers solve problems and problem-solving involves both analytical and creative skills.”

More than 440 students are enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied biological sciences, Hart said. “We’re excited about the new academic offerings established by our faculty group and now have students in the bachelor’s in applied math, applied physics, applied quantitative science. We’ll continue to promote the MS and the 4+1 BS/MS in applied biological sciences as well as the certificate program in wildlife management. The faculty will also be conducting a national search for a permanent chair.“ 

Jackie Martinez

Jacqueline “Jackie” Martinez
Head of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures on the Downtown Phoenix campus

An ASU faculty member since 2000 and with the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at the Downtown Phoenix campus since 2008, Martinez studies communication as it mediates the relationships among personal experience, social practices, and cultural histories, and how people create meaning in the immediacy of their communicative experience. An associate professor, she received an inaugural ASU Provost’s Humanities Fellow for emerging leaders in 2014-2015. Martinez is a member of ASU’s graduate faculty and also serves as an affiliate faculty member with ASU’s School of Social Transformation, and Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.  

“We’re a faculty group known for innovative teaching and we’re excited to continue to grow opportunities for students that leverage the range of expertise and intellectual curiosity of our faculty, while tapping into the incredible possibilities for embedding students in applied learning in the greater Downtown Phoenix community,” Martinez said.   

This faculty group hosts the annual ASU Humanities Lecture Series, coordinates the student-edited journal Write On, Downtown!, and oversees a new club for communication majors.

Keith Miller

Keith Miller
Interim director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy

A nationally recognized scholar on the rhetoric and songs of the U.S. civil rights movement, Keith Miller, professor of English in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has written books and essays on the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as essays about Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, Frederick Douglass, C.L. Franklin, and Fannie Lou Hamer for scholarly collections and in leading journals across the fields of rhetoric and composition, English literature and American history. A former associate chair of ASU’s Department of English and former administrator of its Writing Program, he has also taught at Texas Christian University, The Ohio State University, and Chonbuk University in South Korea.

“I’m excited to be working with Deborah Cox and Sarah Herrera, two veteran and highly capable staff members at the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, as the center continues its work in increasing awareness and informed dialogue about topics related to race and democracy,” Miller said. “The center’s stimulating speakers, film discussions and other programs are appreciated by many people throughout the Valley. I hope to involve more ASU faculty in these programs, most of which take place out in the community, and also want to explore the possibility of adding a research component to the work of the center.”   

Brooks Simpson

Brooks Simpson
Head of the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication at the Polytechnic campus

Brooks Simpson, ASU Foundation Professor of History, joined ASU from Wofford College in 1990. Simpson studies American political and military history as well as the American presidency, specializing in the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. He has written or edited close to 20 books and his book “Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822-1865” was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000. A faculty member for Barrett, The Honors College, he served as interim associate dean for Barrett at the Downtown Phoenix campus in spring 2017.

“As a faculty we are going to invest in ways to make more courses available to more students across the academic year, remembering that our primary purpose is to serve the interests and needs of the students,” Simpson said of the group’s immediate goals. “We will define who we are and what we want to be while remembering where we are as we continue to provide quality opportunities that reflect our distinctive Polytechnic campus identity.”

This faculty group has recently added new bachelor’s degrees in the history of science, ideas and innovation, as well as degrees in psychology, political science, and a master’s in narrative studies.


University College, which shares a number of administrative staff and some faculty with the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, also welcomes new leadership to one of its programs.

Corinne Corte

Corinne Corte
Director of UNI Academic Success @ ASU in University College on all campuses

Corinne Corte comes to her new role having served as the course manager in charge of developing curriculum and learning outcomes for UNI Academic Success @ ASU for two years. Corte began teaching for the program in 2012, about the same time she was appointed director of learning in ASU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Office of Student-Athlete Development, where she had provided academic coaching and instructional support since 1998.

“I want to focus on professional development of our faculty, encouraging service on ASU committees as well as sharing research and pedagogy in publications and presentations,” Corte said. “As a faculty we’re excited to continue to grow the content and experience of the online version of UNI 220: Mindset Connections), expand availability of LEAD program project-based learning to all eligible freshmen, and further develop our cultural competency training for faculty.”

Maureen Roen

Editorial and communication coordinator, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts