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White House appoints ASU VP to key administration post

Beatriz Rendón named member of President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

May 10, 2016

President Obama announced his intent to appoint four individuals to key Administration posts and Beatriz Rendón, vice president of Educational Outreach and CEO of ASU Preparatory Academy, was among the list of well-respected professionals.

Rendón was sworn in as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in April. Beatriz Rendon, Vice President of Educational Outreach and CEO of ASU Preparatory Academy Download Full Image

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was originally established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic communities across the country.

The initative, in partnership with the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, will advance a strategic policy to tackle critical educational challenges such as, increasing the number of Hispanic high school graduates and ensuring more Hispanic students enroll and complete a post-secondary education.

“There is no greater equalizer than a college degree,” Rendón said. “I am honored to be a member of the Commission and welcome the opportunity to share the great work ASU is doing toward this end and contribute to policy discussions that assist with advancing this goal.”

Hispanics have the lowest education attainment levels of any group in the country despite being both the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. The primary goal of the Commission is to provide a platform in which to think through ways to improve academic achievement of Latino students.

Rendón has first-hand experience and with helping students achieve academic success. As CEO of ASU Prep, she leads a team that continues to raise the bar in terms of high school graduation rates and increasing the number of students who pursue a college education across student populations from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

ASU Prep is an innovative K-12 charter school, offering students an optimum environment for learning, helping them achieve their potential and ensure the appropriate level of college readiness. ASU Prep serves over 2,000 students across its sites and nearly half identify as Hispanic. In 2015, the first graduating class at ASU Prep realized a 98 percent four-year graduation rate and 100 percent of the students were admitted to a post-secondary study. ASU Prep’s class of 2016 is on track to graduate 100 percent of its seniors.

Through her leadership and commitment to closing the attainment gap, Rendón, in her current roles at ASU, is part of a team that will expand the reach and impact of outreach efforts and launch ASU Prep’s new online school in fall 2017.

Rendón noted that ASU Prep’s talented teaching faculty, staff, students and families have made tremendous progress, but there remains much to be done.

“We look forward to the future ahead, which will continue to build on the great work to date,” she said.

Much like the goals of the university, Rendón’s forward-thinking endeavors and commitment to increase Arizona’s college enrollment make her an invaluable asset to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“I am grateful to be part of a team of talented professionals committed to student success and college attainment, and am privileged to work for a leading university like ASU, to advance access and excellence for all,” she said.

More about the president’s announcement can be found here.

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Two-thirds of prestigious Flinn scholars chose #ASU in 2016.
The #ASU Flinn scholars will make you feel inadequate. In a good way.
April 21, 2016

Two-thirds of this year's elite Flinn Scholars will call ASU home

Maggie Zheng performed her first surgical procedure when she was just a preschooler.

Granted, it was on one of her stuffed animals.

But in hindsight it was a relevant precursor to where she finds herself today: one of an elite group of winners of this year’s Flinn Scholarship, who will be attending Arizona State University in the fall.

Zheng, who will study biomedical sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has loved the idea of being a doctor since she was child watching medical shows on public television.

Flinn Scholar and future Sun Devil Maggie Zheng“I just always found it really fascinating, so I want to become a surgeon,” said Zheng (left).

She is a member the 31st class of Flinn Scholars. The award, which started in 1985, is offered to outstanding Arizona high school students on the condition that they attend one of the state’s three public universities: ASU, which will have 13 Flinn scholar enrollees this fall; the University of Arizona, which will have six Flinn scholars; or Northern Arizona University, which will have one.

Flinn scholars are chosen based on merit and receive more than $115,000 to use towards tuition, room and board, and study abroad expenses. They also get support for off-campus internships and are paired with faculty mentors. 

The Flinn scholars coming to ASU will attend Barrett, the Honors College.

“The Flinn Scholarship is an important investment in keeping Arizona’s finest and most highly qualified students in-state,” said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, the Honors College. “We are pleased to welcome them to ASU.”

Zheng’s passion for (and early foray into) medicine is not the only thing that caught the attention of the Flinn Foundation — or, for that matter, the attention of Yale, NYU, the University of Chicago and Rice, some of the other schools to which she was accepted.

The high school senior has composed three full orchestral pieces working with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (“I play the piano, but I can compose for basically the whole orchestra.”) and is active in the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and has been involved with the Metropolitan Education Commission since the seventh grade.

She’s not alone in her exceptionalism.

One of her future classmates is Yisha Ng, who has been hooked on space as a result, at least in part, of growing up near the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

She wants to work in space exploration — whether it’s NASA or one of the other new space-based companies that have appeared in recent years.

“But NASA is my dream job,” she said. 

Future Sun Devil Yisha Ng with a rocket she built in high school.She has chosen ASU to help her get there. She’ll enroll this fall as an aerospace engineering student. She may have a little bit of a head start, having built a rocket (picture left) as part of a capstone project in high school.

She also plays violin, earned a black belt in a Hawaiian mixed martial art called kajukenbo, and switched to diving after an injury sidelined her from gymnastics — getting her high school to reinstate its diving program in the process. She also helped resurrect her school's speech and debate team and travels next week to a national tournament.

This year’s Flinn class at ASU also includes future astrophysicists, high-level accountants and musical theater majors like Vaibu Mohan.

She’s finishing up her senior year at the BASIS Scottsdale high school, a charter school focused on the STEM disciplines. And although her school has had an intense focus on science, technology, engineering and math, Mohan has continued to grow her love of the arts, founding the school’s first a cappella club, becoming an accomplished violinist, and performing and teaching Indian classical dance.

Flinn Scholar and future Sun Devil Vaibu MohanMohan (left) chose ASU because she’ll be able to be “completely immersed in this wonderful performing arts program while also being a business major,” something that other schools to which she was accepted would not have made so easy.

“The other schools are fantastic, but none of the other programs had the ‘anything you want, anything you need, and it’s here for you to use’ mentality here at ASU,” she said.

Mohan hopes to someday open and run her own theater company that tailors to performers of color, like her.

Many of the incoming Flinn scholars share a desire to make the world better for those around them.

Martín Blair spent a portion of his high school career getting his classmates and teachers excited about sustainable transportation — like carpooling and riding bikes to school or work.

But he took it a step further.

Flinn Scholar and future Sun Devil Martin Blair“I built a hybrid electric vehicle that they could use as inspiration,” said Blair (left). “... The students are having a lot of fun with it, and it’s being used as a teaching implement.”

Blair, a rock climber, snowboarder, surfer, archer and Eagle Scout, will study to be a mechanical engineer in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, which he hopes will lead to further work as a systems engineer.

“I’d like to get a PhD in systems engineering at ASU,” he said, “and consult with different businesses and spread my efforts to help design the best products we can so we can have a better world.”

A lofty goal, but he and his Flinn cohort see ASU as a good place to start.


The Flinn Scholars headed to ASU:

Aidan McGirr is going to study astrophysics in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. He attends Anthem Preparatory Academy.

Martín Blair is coming to ASU from the Phoenix Union Bioscience High School. He’ll study mechanical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Rohini Nott, currently at BASIS Chandler, will major in biology and society in the School of Life Sciences.

Maeve Kennedy, from Westwood High School in Mesa, plans to study chemical engineering in the Fulton Schools.

Ivette Montes Parra, also from Westwood High School, will also go to the Fulton Schools, to study mechanical engineering. 

Cameron Carver at Sabino High School in Tucson will be a mechanical engineering student in the Fulton Schools.

Anagha Deshpande, currently at Hamilton High School in Chandler, will study genetics, cell and developmental biology as a biological sciences major in the School of Life Sciences.

Andrew Roberts will study electrical engineering in the Fulton Schools. He’s finishing up at Westwood High School.

Margaret “Maggie” Zheng will study biomedical sciences in the School of Life Sciences. She attends University High School in Tucson.

Yisha Ng wants to be an aerospace engineer. She’ll study in the Fulton Schools. She’s currently at Flagstaff High School.

Enrique Favaro, in high school at the Tempe Preparatory Academy, is going into accountancy at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Vaibu Mohan, focusing on the STEM subjects at BASIS Scottsdale, will immerse herself in performance and musical theater in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. 

Tina Peng, from Chandler Preparatory Academy, will study computer science in the Fulton Schools.


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ASU ranks lowest in violent crime categories compared with peer institutions.
April 17, 2016

Arizona State University recorded the lowest rates in violent crimes over the past two years among its peer institutions, according to data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

Among the cities that surround those universities, the city of Tempe, home to the largest of ASU’s five campuses, ranked near the middle in the five most serious offenses tracked by the FBI. The host cities range from large metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, to small-town settings, such as State College, Pennsylvannia.

The statistics factor into a national debate about how crime is reported on college campuses. The federal Clery Act requires schools to report only offenses that occur within campus boundaries, and some lawmakers and advocates want a broader picture for assessing safety.

The overriding conclusion that criminologists and analysts draw from campus and city crime data is that campuses tend to be the safest place in town, said Chris Blake, executive director for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“There is longitudinal data from the Department of Justice,” Blake said, “that demonstrates campuses are far safer places than the general society.”

Looking at Clery data, ASU had the lowest rate in the categories of rape and aggravated assault among the 15 institutions the Arizona Board of Regents has designated as its peers for national comparison. No homicides occurred inside any of the campuses, so that category was omitted from analysis.

“When students enroll at ASU, they and their parents rightfully expect us to do everything we can to keep our students safe,” said ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson. “We are constantly working on new strategies and techniques to improve safety.”

The Clery Act requires annual disclosure of campus crime statistics and security information by postsecondary institutions. All schools must report stats in 22 crime categories, ranging from murder to liquor law violations. Crimes are also grouped by location — whether they occurred on campus, in nearby public property or off campus.

ASU’s report is available here.

In addition to the more violent crime categories, ASU ranked eighth in robbery among the 15 schools the Arizona Board of Regents identifies as peer institutionsThe ABOR-designated peer universities are: University of California-Los Angeles, University of Connecticut, Florida State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University-Bloomington, University of Iowa, University of Maryland-College Park, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Ohio State University-Main Campus, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington-Seattle Campus and University of Wisconsin-Madison., ninth in motor vehicle theft and 12th in burglary. 

The data showed that reports of aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft at ASU in 2014 decreased by more than half in each category. The university reported an increase in robberies from six in 2013 to 10 for all metro Phoenix-area campuses (then numbering four) in 2014.

Even among institutions that may not qualify as peers, ASU ranked low in violent crime. ASU ranked seventh and eighth out of 10 respectively in the rate for rape and aggravated assault among the nation’s 10 largest schools listed in U.S. News and World Report.

Scott Decker, a criminology professor at ASU and expert on crime statistics, said the concerns over looking only at data within campus boundaries are understandable but that there is a danger in trying to create broader boundaries for assessing crime rates. Extending the geographic area analyzed for crime to try to include off-campus student activity most likely is an arbitrary judgment.

“Crime data, like voters in legislative redistricting, can be grouped in a variety of ways. The key question is where the boundaries are drawn and why they make sense,” Decker said. “Boundaries can be drawn to support a variety of conclusions. Where do you stop on the map? Where do you draw the line?”

Many students on ASU’s Tempe campus live in off-campus housing that would be included in Tempe’s reports but not in ASU’s reports to the Department of Education. But looking at crimes off campus also encompasses areas and events where few students may go. Tempe Town Lake, near campus, is the location of dozens of special events each year, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and a corresponding increase in reports of crime, yet many of those events draw few students, Decker said.

ASU also operates other campuses in the Phoenix area that vary dramatically in size and surroundings, from the densely populated Downtown Phoenix campus to the expansive surroundings of the West and Polytechnic campuses. Expanding the area for recording criminal offenses beyond one campus’ boundaries fails to account for the others, Decker said.

“A shopping center near campus undoubtedly accounts for a measurable number of car thefts,” Decker said. “But does that have any relevance to ASU students, most of whom do not have cars?”  

Thompson emphasized the strong collaboration between ASU and Tempe police. He also highlighted the various tools at their disposal, such as safety videos on the university website, and methods of contacting police for immediate assistance, such as emergency call boxes throughout campus and the LiveSafe app that can be used to contact police, provide tips and even get an escort home.

ASU News

Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall shares leadership insights in new edition of 'Learn to thrive'

April 15, 2016

The latest edition of ASU’s app, “Learn to thrive,” is now available for iPad, iPhone, Web browsers and Android devices. Rich, new interactive content features the stories of members of the ASU community who are thriving in their professional and personal lives. With a focus on lessons learned and experienced advice, “Learn to thrive” content allows viewers the opportunity to watch, listen to and read about the steps other Sun Devils have taken on their path to future success.

Featured new content includes: portrait of Diamonbacks CEO Derrick Hall The latest edition of ASU’s "Learn to thrive" app includes insights from Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall, who graduated from ASU in 1991 with a journalism degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Download Full Image

• Insights from Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall, who graduated from ASU in 1991 with a journalism degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is fostering a culture of inclusion, innovation and pioneering spirit as a big-league executive.

• Tips on how to build effective leadership and a strong work culture from leaders who are transforming the modern workplace.

• Information about innovative new ASU degree programs in sports marketing and sports law.

• Briefs on recent national recognition of ASU excellence.

“Learn to thrive” is available for iPad and iPhone at the App Store, and for Android through Google Play. App content can also be viewed with any browser at

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Free online program for teachers wins ASU President's Innovation Award.
Other honorees are youth-fitness partnership, paint-reuse program and Starbucks.
April 11, 2016

Free online classes for teachers among several ASU initiatives to be honored by President's Awards

Classroom teachers are more crunched than ever, and many see time spent on professional development as inefficient and a waste of resources.

Arizona State University is working to help teachers build their skills through a series of free online modules.

The micro-courses — each an hour or less — have been created by the Sanford Inspire Program, part of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU.

The program, funded by the Denny Sanford Foundation, looks to remake professional development for teachers, who can log on any time they want and take courses in how to give clear directions on a task, integrating physical activity into a lesson, how to motivate students and dozens of other topics.

Sanford Inspire is so distinctive that it has won the President’s Award for Innovation for 2016. 

“It is a huge honor to be selected for this competitive award at an institution that is known for innovation,” said Ryen Borden, executive director of the Sanford Inspire Program.

“Earlier this year, ASU was named the nation’s most innovative university by U.S. News & World Report, adding to the depth and meaning of this university-wide recognition.”

Sanford Inspire is one of two winners of the President’s Award for Innovation this year. The other is the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a unique partnership to expand access to higher education. Under the initiative, Starbucks employees who work as little as 20 hours per week can finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement through any of ASU’s online undergraduate degree programs. There is no obligation for partners to stay at Starbucks after they graduate from ASU.

Other winners to be recognized at the President’s Recognition Reception on Tuesday, April 12, are:

President’s Award for Sustainability: The No Wasted Paint Program by Facilities Management. This initiative finds old paint throughout the campus, accommodates requests by departments and contractors to pick up leftover paint and accepts paint that has been delivered anonymously to their shop. The paint is cataloged by building, color and date and used for projects such as graffiti cover-up. The reclaimed paint is also given to students and departments for approved projects.

Since the No Wasted Paint Program began in 2008, 1,547 gallons of leftover paint have been used on campus, which has averted sending 28 55-gallon drums out of state as hazardous waste. This has saved the paint shop almost $31,000 in paint purchases and avoided $3,100 to $4,600 in hazardous-waste disposal fees.

President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness: FitPHX Energy Zones. This program offers free fitness and nutrition education to middle-school students at public libraries. It’s a collaboration among ASU’s Obesity Solutions initiative, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation, Phoenix Public Libraries, the Phoenix Mayor’s Office, Mayo Clinic, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and several ASU schools and colleges.

The program provides ASU undergraduates with a real-world internship, training the next generation of professionals and providing role models to youth.

SUN Award for Individual Excellence

  • Stacey Bales, coordinator for engineering student success, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Polytechnic campus
  • Haley Chapman, associate director for academic services, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, West campus
  • Brian McCarthy, University Registrar Services
  • Kate Opitz, academic success coordinator, College of Health Solutions, Downtown Phoenix campus


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Teach for America founder to deliver commencement address

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp to deliver May 2016 commencement address.
Wendy Kopp, Sir William Castell to receive honorary degrees from ASU in May.
April 7, 2016

ASU will also honor bio-industry leader and social entrepreneur Sir William Castell

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, who helped form a corps of college graduates and professionals to teach in urban and rural public schools, will deliver the commencement address at Arizona State University’s undergraduate ceremony May 9 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Teach for America, an idea Kopp proposed in her senior thesis at Princeton in 1989, grew from her belief that many in her generation were searching for ways to assume significant responsibility beyond personal career success and to have an impact in the world.

The program recruits top college graduates and professionals who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, and it helps develop them as lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Those goals coordinate with ASU’s charter missions of expanding access to education and assuming responsibility for the overall health of the community, as well as the university’s aim of producing not just graduates with a completed degree, but master learners equipped to adapt and succeed in a constantly changing world.

Teach for America partnered with ASU in 2006 when university President Michael Crow helped launch a shared commitment to develop and support education leaders. Last year, ASU ranked fourth in the nation among universities whose graduates make a commitment to Teach for America, with 49; since 2012, 182 ASU graduates joined Teach for America.

Today, Kopp is the co-founder and CEO of Teach for All, which adapts the Teach for America approach for other countries and was developed in response to social entrepreneurs around the world. Teach for All, now in its ninth year, counts a network of 39 partner organizations across six continents.

Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, will deliver the commencement address at ASU in May.

Kopp’s awards and recognitions highlight her work in education, entrepreneurship and leadership, including:

• The John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award
• The Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University
• The Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship
• One of the World’s 100 Most Influential People (2008) by Time magazine

Kopp will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa in recognition of her achievements as a leader in education, especially in providing quality education to students from underserved communities, and in providing opportunity to talented adults who want to make a difference.

ASU will also bestow an honorary degree on bio-industry leader and social entrepreneur Sir William Castell LVOIn 2004, he received the honor Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order for service to the royal family., who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for service to the life sciences industry.

Sir William Castell

Castell (left) recently served as chairman of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. The trust supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health.

He is the former president and CEO of GE Healthcare and former chief executive of Amersham, a world leader in medical diagnostics and life sciences research technologies. 

Among his many achievements, the BioIndustry Association presented Castell with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. H is an honorary member of Academy Europa and the Russian Academy of Science.

A strong proponent of business’ active engagement with society, Castell participated in the United Kingdom’s Business in the Community, an organization that works to revitalize areas blighted by unemployment and social exclusion in England and Wales. He also is the founding chair of the Foundation for FutureLondon, a new charity created to help realize the potential of a project called Olympicopolis, located on the site of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The conjoined endeavors will bring together organizations to showcase exceptional art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting-edge design in East London.

Castell will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa in recognition of his achievements as a leader in the life sciences industry, social entrepreneurship and sustainable futures.

Graduation highlights:

Approximately 13,000 ASU undergraduate and graduate students will have degrees conferred, with the graduate commencement ceremony scheduled for 10:30 a.m. May 9 in Wells Fargo Arena. 

The undergraduate commencement ceremony is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 9 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

• The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will graduate approximately 2,600 undergraduate students and approximately 400 graduate students.

• The W. P. Carey School of Business will graduate approximately 1,426 undergraduate students and 780 graduate students.

• The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering will graduate approximately 1,427 undergraduate and 1,042 graduate students.

• Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College will graduate 447 undergraduate students and 556 graduate students.

 • The College of Public Service and Community Solutions will graduate 590 undergraduate and 470 graduate students.

• The College of Nursing and Health Innovation will graduate approximately 207 undergraduate and 83 graduate students.

• The College of Health Solutions will graduate approximately 574 undergraduate students and 156 graduate students.

• The College of Letters and Sciences will graduate approximately 510 undergraduate and 32 graduate students.

• The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will graduate 281 undergraduate students and 53 graduate students.

Parking information for commencement and convocation ceremonies, visit

For more information regarding graduation ceremonies, visit

ASU News

ASU renews sexual-violence prevention pledge

Commitment helps honor April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month

March 31, 2016

Each April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month is observed nationally and across Arizona State University's campuses to help raise awareness of sexual violence and prevention.

Coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), the U.S. first marked Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2001 in response to activists who had called for a monthlong event after years of observing the issue throughout April. The NSVRC defines sexual violence as any physical or verbal sexual contact that is against an individual’s will and without his or her consent. Sexual violence may take many forms such as rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual assault by a spouse or partner. Photo of ASU Police officer and participant in women's self-defense course A participant in the women's self-defense course strikes a R.A.D. course instructor. During the R.A.D. self-defense courses, women learn how to use their elbows, fists, knees and feet as weapons against an attacker. The self-defense courses are a few of the options designed to improve the personal safety and security of all ASU community members. Download Full Image

ASU adheres to a zero-tolerance sexual-violence policy. In 2014, the ASU Police Department was the first university police department in Arizona to sign the Start by Believing proclamation, which aims to change how communities respond to rape and sexual assault victims. ASU Police will renew its commitment to Start by Believing on Wednesday, April 6.

The renewed proclamation also will designate the first Wednesday of April as a Start by Believing Day. Jodi Preudhomme, ASU’s Title IX coordinator, and ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson will sign the proclamation, which stresses the importance of an individual’s personal reaction to the news of sexual violence as the first step toward justice and healing.

As Sexual Assault Awareness Month gets underway, ASU highlights initiatives designed to improve the personal safety and security of students, faculty and staff and the surrounding community. The student-run Safety Escort Service, the ASU LiveSafe mobile app and women’s self-defense courses are a few of the options available to all ASU community members.

ASU Police offers women’s self-defense courses

When Daniella Simari leaves her dorm room at 5:30 a.m. to run, she does not want to worry about her safety. The ASU secondary education freshman wants peace of mind, and she wants to control the situation if her safety is at risk.

Simari decided to take the ASU Police Department’s free R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense Systems) self-defense courses. The courses are accessible to women of all ages in the ASU community. In fall 2016, the courses also become available for academic credit.

The courses are designed to reduce sexual violence on ASU campuses and within the university community. Women learn how to use their elbows, fists, knees and feet as weapons against an attacker. They also learn about situational awareness and the importance of verbalization.

“I heard and read about how common sexual assault was on college campuses, and I didn’t want to take any chances,” Simari said. “I wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to stay as safe as possible while still being independent. I knew that kind of confidence needed to come from within myself and not just the community I was surrounded by.”

ASU Police offers courses on all ASU campuses. Ten courses are available in April, and additional courses run through August.

“The course may not offer a 100 percent guarantee, but it prepares women mentally and physically if they ever find themselves under attack,” said Joseph Morel, ASU police sergeant and R.A.D. course instructor.

“I have found that students with little or no self-defense training come to class with a very passive approach to personal safety,” he added. “After completing the course, they improve their self-awareness, confidence and reaction time.”

Photo of ASU Police Officer Daniel Miller and student during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

ASU Police Officer Daniel Miller speaks to a student during an event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month held in October. ASU also observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, which raises awareness about sexual violence and prevention.

ASU LiveSafe mobile app: A blue-light phone in your pocket

The free ASU LiveSafe mobile app allows ASU student, faculty and staff users to communicate anonymously with ASU Police in real-time using chat, pictures, audio and video. App users also can:

  • make emergency calls
  • schedule ASU Safety Escort Service pick-ups
  • send a link with a GPS location to personal contacts during an emergency
  • use the GPS-tagged SafeWalk feature that monitors a user’s progress on a Web-based map.

“[The LiveSafe app] is a blue-light phone in your pocket,” said Rudy Bellavia, ASU Office of Business and Finance managing director, referring to the emergency-call locations on campuses marked by a blue light.

The university sought a safety app that would allow the ASU community to better access ASU Police and submit tips to them with ease and convenience.

“We partnered with LiveSafe after evaluating competitors for a couple of years,” Bellavia added.

Users can download the free ASU LiveSafe app via Apple iTunes or Google Play. The app does not replace 911 for emergency services or any communications with local law enforcement.

“While we always encourage people to call 911 in emergencies, the ASU LiveSafe mobile app is beneficial for students who prefer to text in a non-emergency,” said Patricia Pryce, ASU Police communications manager. “Users can send pictures and video with the app to police dispatchers who can then relay the information to responding officers.”  

Motorist Assistance also recently was added to the LiveSafe app. The campus service helps drivers who are parked in an ASU lot or structure and lock their keys in their vehicle or have a dead battery.

The ASU LiveSafe app is a two-way communication tool while ASU Alert and Advisory systems are broadcast message sent by ASU Police during campus emergencies and non-life threatening events to ASU community members via email, SMS messages, social media and RSS feeds.

Safety Escort Service offers late-night transportation

Students who study late on the ASU Tempe campus may be familiar with the white Safety Escort Service minivans that frequent local Tempe streets at night.

The service is provided by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Students may schedule a pick-up by phone or through the ASU LiveSafe mobile app Monday through Friday, from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., but not during university holidays and class breaks.

The Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and West campuses feature ASU Police-provided safety escorts. The Thunderbird campus also has safety escorts provided by campus security.

Chanelle Holmes, a sustainability sophomore who has been a driver for Safety Escort since September 2015, said the service is an easy alternative for students who would otherwise turn to rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

“Now and then, we get callers that have never used our service before but have heard about it through their friends or classmates,” Holmes said. “It’s that peer-to-peer factor that makes this such an excellent safety resource for students.”

The Safety Escort Service began as a volunteer-based effort in the 1980s to provide students quick access across the Tempe campus, said Jaime Ingrisano, coordinator for the Associated Students of Arizona State University, which oversees USG.

Student workers now operate four minivans that provide access to the area bounded by Mill Avenue, Rural Road, Apache Boulevard and University Drive. Safety Escort also provides access to destinations such as the Brickyard, Vista del Sol and ASU Karsten.

To request a pick-up from Safety Escort, call 480-965-1515 or send a message using the SafeRide feature under GoSafe in the LiveSafe app. If the Safety Escort Service is unavailable or if students need escorts outside the hours of operation, they may call ASU Police at 480-965-3456 for assistance.

For more information about campus sexual violence resources, visit the ASU Sexual Violence Awareness and Response Web page.


Editor assistant, Business and Finance


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A look at ASU's female pioneers who made major strides in their fields.
March 31, 2016

A look back at some of the women who were firsts in their fields at ASU

You’ve come a long way, ASU.

Arizona State University has long had female teachers, but some of the biggest gender-equality strides came during the 1960s and the women’s liberation movement. As Women’s History Month wraps up, it’s a good time to look back at those who were firsts in their areas at ASU.

There have been female teachers from the beginning — Augusta Hildebrant (English, history and geography) and Mary R. Spafford (math, drawing and bookkeeping) were there when the college opened its doors — and as the decades went on, more women joined the faculty, most often in the areas of education, nursing, English and home economics.

But it wasn’t until the ’60s when women began to permeate areas like engineering, history and anthropology.

One of those women came to Tempe with her husband for a position in the College of Engineering.

Engineering a change

In 1966, Arizona seems like an exciting prospect for the young married couple headed West. Mary Anderson-Rowland — who had her doctorate in mathematical statistics from the University of Iowa — recalled being shocked on their first visit to ASU after driving to the campus on Southern Avenue, a gravel road at the time.

The university had positions for both Anderson-Rowland and her husband, Bruce Anderson, in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Engineering. In 1974, Anderson-Rowland joined the Industrial Engineering Department as the first female faculty.

“I will tell you that the men did not throw a party,” she said. “They did not celebrate that they finally had a woman in engineering.”

ASU prof Mary Anderson-Rowland and a class

Associate professor Mary Anderson-Rowland, who joined the ASU faculty ranks in 1966, speaks to students in her senior design course for industrial engineers on the Tempe campus.


Anderson-Rowland — today an associate professor of Computing, Informatics, and Systems Design Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering — described a man who tried to shame her for having two jobs in her family where there were some men with no jobs. Another time while introducing herself as a member of the engineering department, she recalled, a male faculty member sing-songed, “I don’t think so” twice, regardless of the fact that his office was just a few doors down from Anderson-Rowland.

“The women coming in today don’t have to go through that,” said Anderson-Rowland, whose first husband, Bruce, died in 1992.

She saw her position in the engineering department as an opportunity to visit high schools and encourage women and underrepresented minorities to go into engineering, fighting the perception that those groups couldn’t make it in the male-dominated engineering school. She also spent 11 years as an assistant dean of student affairs and spent time advocating for the inclusion of women and minorities at an administrative level.

Today, the ASU veteran is the principal investigator of a grant program working with community colleges to produce more engineers. She feels that these students are the next disadvantaged group when it comes to inclusion in engineering. She describes a student, the first in his family to attend college of any kind, who was dissuaded by counselors to even try. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and is on a fellowship in graduate school at the University of Iowa.

“That’s what keeps me going, students like that.”

Making history

The same year Anderson-Rowland arrived in the Valley, so did Retha Warnicke with her husband, a lawyer, and their son. She joined the history department that year, later taking a short break to return to Harvard to complete her doctorate before returning to ASU in 1969.

“I was the first female hired on a tenure-track line, and I was the first woman to go through the various processes to become a professor,” said Warnicke, today a professor of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

ASU prof Retha Warnicke

History professor Retha Warnicke, who also joined ASU in 1966, will teach two courses this fall, on English history and the Tudor monarchy.


“These were the bad old days,” she said of the process to defend her tenure position. There were concerns that she might not be serious about wanting the job because she had a husband employed as a lawyer.

“Can you believe that? I have a PhD from Harvard! I was spending all those years (studying) because I didn’t have anything better to do,” Warnicke said with a laugh.

“Women weren’t being hired in those days in history departments. The English department had some women, nursing and some specialized departments, but political science, history in particular, had never employed any women.”

Many women weren’t pursuing graduate school because the general feeling was that grad school wasn’t an opportunity for them. So not only did that shrink the pool of qualified women for the tenure positions, but because the men hadn’t studied in grad school with women, “they were less prone to look for women to be hired,” Warnicke said.

Warnicke worked hard to keep her personal life independent from her work life. She and her husband tried their best to time their daughter’s birth during winter break, but instead she was born on Nov. 20, before classes were over. Warnicke took off only one week of school and was back in time for finals preparation, returning to a standing ovation from her students.

During her 50 years at ASU, Warnicke has advocated for diversity on the staff and aimed to see more historians from minority backgrounds included in the department. She continues to teach, including two courses in the upcoming fall semester on her specialized subjects — English history and the Tudor monarchy.

“Students have changed over time,” she said. “I’m still here, I’m 76 years old. I’m still here and I still enjoy my students.”

An evolution

Leanne Nash became the university’s first primatologist when she joined ASU in 1971, after receiving her doctorate in anthropology from the University of California Davis.

“I was lucky to come into a field with a lot of female role models,” she said.

Nash was the Department of Anthropology’s first female faculty member, though she was joined by three other women in the following three years.

“There were some people with attitudes that were not entirely welcoming of females, but for the most part in anthropology that was not the case,” she said.

Leanne Nash and a galago.

Leanne Nash, who retired in 2012, is shown working in her galago colony on the ASU Tempe campus (year unknown). She reversed the light cycle for the nocturnal animals in order to have a teaching colony.


Nash started her career working with Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park, focusing on baboons and mother-infant interactions; her work was cut short after three researchers were kidnapped from the park. She later shifted to a focus on galagos, small nocturnal primates commonly known as bush babies, and developed a colony in a room of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

“I started the galago colony here because we had a very small space that was indoors and I thought, ‘Well, I can reverse the light cycle and have a teaching colony where people can actually watch animals, and watching any animal develops skills for watching any other animal,’ ” she said. Nash’s work extended to the Primate Foundation of Arizona and the Phoenix Zoo and researching plant-gum ingestion in lemurs and small-bodied animals.

Nash, who retired in May 2012, sees a situation that plays out differently for women today.

“I think it’s more important that women get promoted,” she said. “There have been studies done in my specific area in biological anthropology which show that it’s still the case that women, although they’re equal or more and coming into the field with PhDs, they don’t get promoted as fast and they don’t get tenured as frequently, in general across the country.”

Comparing today

These women were part of a wave of intellectual pioneers who challenged cultural assumptions that women couldn’t teach and conduct research. Attitudes were changing in the 1960s and ’70s, throughout the university.

Harry K. Newburn, ASU’s 12th president, showed the administration’s support of the growth of female faculty when he was quoted in an Aug. 2, 1970, article in the Arizona Republic:

“A woman having the qualities of intellectual capacity, determination and a deep commitment to learning ought to be encouraged and supported in her ambitions; and the obstacles which misguided tradition and society have historically placed in her way should be removed,” he said.

That same article stated that there were approximately five male faculty for every female faculty member (825 to 159). In the fall of 2015, in contrast, women made up more than 45 percent of the faculty ranks (1,552 women, 1,857 men).

It’s part of the continued changes at an institution where inclusion and access are driving characteristics.

“It is 2016, I came in 1966, so it’s 50 years this semester that I’ve been here at ASU,” Anderson-Rowland said. “If I think back on that, I think how could I spend 50 years in one place? And I have to tell you it’s been very varied and it’s been exciting. ASU has been good for me; it’s been a good place to be for 50 years.”

Deanna Dent

Photographer , ASU Now


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Former ASU President J. Russell Nelson dies at 86

March 23, 2016

He saw the university through major physical expansions, including the opening of the West campus, and played a key role in first comprehensive fundraising campaign

J. Russell Nelson, the 14th president of Arizona State University for whom the Nelson Fine Arts Center is named, died at his home in Tempe on Wednesday. He was 86.

The cause of death was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease, according to his family.

“Russell Nelson honed Arizona State’s mission and energized the university to excel beyond what had previously been accomplished,” said Michael M. Crow, ASU’s president since 2002. “Through his expertise and passionate advocacy, Russell made significant strides forward in scholarship funding, campus facilities and student services.”

Nelson led the university from 1981 to 1989. He saw ASU through major physical expansions, including the opening of the West campus, the addition of the fine arts center that bears his name, and the construction of Karsten Golf Course.

During his tenure, ASU also acquired more than $12 million in scholarship funding and nearly $10 million in endowed faculty positions.

Former ASU President J. Russell Nelson

In the early 1980s, J. Russell Nelson played a major role in ASU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Top photo: Nelson (right) at the dedication of the West campus. Photos courtesy of (top) ASU Libraries and the Office of the President


In the early 1980s, Nelson played a major role in ASU's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. His focus and dedication helped the Centennial Campaign for ASU raise more than $114 million for the growing university.

As part of the fundraising campaign, Nelson created the ASU President’s Club, an organization of donors whose gifts are used for university advancement at the discretion of the president. Joined by a handful of passionate visionaries, he began a tradition of enthusiasm and support that has built momentum through the tenures of three ASU presidents: Nelson, Lattie F. Coor and Crow. Today, the President’s Club roster lists more than 500 members. As the club’s membership has grown, so has its impact, providing funding for hundreds of projects and initiatives.

“Russ Nelson was a more important leader in the evolution of ASU as a major research university than is widely known in Arizona,” said Coor, who succeeded Nelson as president of ASU. “His quiet demeanor, coupled with a determined and disciplined leadership style, moved the University forward in a way that has made its subsequent successes possible.”

Jack Russell Nelson was born on Dec. 18, 1929, in Portland, Oregon, the son of a hospital administrator and a nurse.

He married his wife, Bonita (Casey) Nelson, in 1951. Bonita described herself as a housewife but worked a number of jobs as her children grew up, including recordkeeping in a doctor’s office and contract administration for Ball Aerospace. She passed away in 2014.

Nelson earned his bachelor's degree in business and economics from Pacific Union College and his master’s in business administration and doctorate in finance from the University of California Los Angeles. From 1961-1970, he served as an associate professor in finance at the University of Minnesota. In 1970, Nelson became vice provost and professor in finance at the University of Colorado Boulder. During his time at the university, he was rapidly promoted — to associate provost, vice president for budgets and planning, vice president of administration, and acting chancellor. He became the chancellor in 1978.

He is survived by three sons — Richard, Robert and Ronald Nelson — as well as a foster son, two foster daughters and four grandchildren.

Nelson had many fond memories from his tenure at ASU. He liked to tell the story of the time he and his wife were entertaining Walter Cronkite at their home and their daughter returned from a dance. In a 2006 interview, Nelson talked about how Cronkite asked her if she knew how to waltz. She replied that she did not, so Cronkite proceeded to teach her in the entryway of the Nelsons’ home.

Nelson’s son Richard said his father and mother made many lifelong friends at the university.

“My father enjoyed every minute of his time at ASU,” he said. 

No memorial service is planned. Richard Nelson said those who wish to remember his father with a gift may donate to the New American University Scholarship fund on his behalf.

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

ASU News

Leadership appointment advances research, education innovation at ASU

March 23, 2016

Filling a new leadership position tailored to advance research and educational innovation, Kenro Kusumi has been named as the associate dean of research and graduate initiatives for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

Kusumi will be the dean’s representative for innovation in research within the schools, departments and centers in the college and will serve as a resource for faculty, scholars and students conducting research. Kenro Kusumi, the associate dean of research and graduate initiatives for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Kenro Kusumi focuses on the interplay between genes and environment in developmental disorders such as scoliosis. Recently, his group and ASU colleagues have used next-generation technologies to decipher the genome of the desert tortoise, a hallmark species of the Southwest threatened by habitat loss and disease. Download Full Image

Overseeing the college’s research enterprise, Kusumi will act as a liaison of the college with university offices, including the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, and with partner institutions, foundations, and governmental and international agencies.

His responsibilities will include oversight of the college’s research enterprise, and he will continue to work with academic units and Graduate Education to advance doctoral and master’s degrees strategic planning efforts.

“I’m very pleased Professor Kusumi has agreed to serve in this position,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I feel confident he will bring the college new ideas and energy for how we can best work with our allied colleges and with the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development to accomplish the president’s overarching goals of increasing scholarship and research expenditures.”

Kusumi brings broad institutional experience in support of research and graduate initiatives at ASU. He is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and adjunct faculty at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix. Kusumi also helped launch the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in 2006, where he continues as faculty in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences. He is a founding member of the International Consortium for Scoliosis Genetics and the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies and Scoliosis.

Since 2013, Kusumi has served as the college’s associate dean for graduate programs, after roles as director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program and interim director for the graduate program in the School of Life Sciences.

Prior to coming to ASU in 2006, he was the director of pediatric orthopedic basic research with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the Penn Genomics Institute and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.

“Professor Kusumi has been educated and trained at some of the most premier universities in the world,” Kenney said. “He has a strong record of competing for grants and converting the research into scholarly publications. The combination of these skills is certain to redound positively on the college’s research trajectory.”

Kusumi’s own research focuses on using genomic technologies to address biomedical and environmental challenges, receiving regular funding by the National Institutes of Health, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission and private foundations. His group, together with ASU colleagues and external partners, have established ASU as a center for studies of regeneration, focusing on understanding the ability of reptiles to regrow appendages and complex tissues including the spinal cord, cartilage, blood vessels and muscle.

Continuing earlier work, Kusumi focuses on the interplay between genes and environment in developmental disorders such as scoliosis. Recently, his group and ASU colleagues have used next-generation technologies to decipher the genome of the desert tortoise, a hallmark species of the Southwest threatened by habitat loss and disease.

“I am excited to work with the leaders, faculty and students to advance research and entrepreneurship in the college,” Kusumi said. “ASU is already a powerhouse in research, with funding success ranked sixth in the social sciences, ninth from the National Institutes of Health for institutions without medical schools, and 11th from NASA. This is a great opportunity to advance the vision of the college for innovative research in the 21st century.”

Amanda Stoneman

Copywriter, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences