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A lesson in forensics

March 7, 2016

High school students follow the trail to ASU for Forensics Day

It's a job that's been glamourized through many television crime shows, but that doesn't make "real" forensics work any less interesting. Last week, students from different Arizona and California high schools traveled to Arizona State University's West campus to learn about the university's forensics program, taught out of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. 

ASU's bachelor's in forensics prepares students in a variety of disciplines — such as biology, chemistry, mathematics and computing. And the application of forensic science isn’t limited to the courtroom. Hospitals often use forensic science to determine cause of death in autopsies, and insurance companies have used forensic science to analyze data for claims. Students of forensic science are also qualified to work in private labs that do biological analyses, and they are well-prepared to continue on to law or medical school.

Here's a look at those students checking out ASU's forensics work.

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ASU starts nation's first Rule of Law program.
New ASU program: Think of it as a Peace Corps for lawyers.
March 4, 2016

ASU's law school and McCain Institute have started the nation's first Rule of Law and Governance program

ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has just launched the nation’s first Rule of Law and Governance program.

So, what exactly does that mean?

Think of it as a Peace Corps for lawyers — a way for attorneys to show the benefits of our legal system to others, assist countries in transition to adopt policies that will improve basic human rights and foster sustainable economic development, and getting them to establish their own rule of law.

And, rule of law?

Well, in general terms, the rule of law is the legal concept that a nation should be governed by law, rather than by the arbitrary decisions of government officials.

“By global standards, the United States has an excellent legal system,” said Julia FromholzJulia Fromholz is also a Professor of Practice in the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law., who is the director of the program and worked most recently for two years at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, as the Senior Advisor, Rule of Law.

“That said, we all know there are flaws to our system. It’s not perfect and in some ways it’s far from perfect. However, a good legal system and rule of law cannot be complacent. Perfection will never happen because it’s a system run by human beings.”

The Rule of Law and Governance, a joint program with The McCain Institute for International Leadership, hosts classes at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus and its Washington D.C. location. It is led by Ambassador Clint Williamson, who has served as a state and federal prosecutor, a White House policy maker and as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crime Issues.

“At any given time, there are thousands of lawyers working around the globe doing international development projects in the rule of law,” Williamson said. “But there has not been a comprehensive training program at any law school to teach lawyers how to do this type of work.”

The program focuses on current issues, justice and human rights, U.S. and foreign policy, criminal law and commercial law — the latter is especially important concerning countries that are developing a Rule of Law, according to Fromholz.

“There are links between security and economic development,” Fromholz said. “If a country doesn’t protect, for example contract rights, there will be very little investment there. Businesses can’t thrive under uncertainty.”

Countries also can’t thrive when basic human rights are being violated. Places like Cambodia, where someone can stay in jail as long as they’re waiting for a trial. Or where a judge is told by the government to rule a specific way or face banishment to a lower court. Or a nation where an attorney in the prosecutor’s office is subject to bribes. 

“One tries to affect change from many different angles, including international treaties, working with locals who know the system, training for judges and prosecutors and even in some cases, using publicity to shine a light on a problem,” Fromholz said. “We can say, ‘We know this is a problem and we’re going to support those people who are trying to affect change.’ ”

The first cohort, composed of eight juris doctor and one Master of Law student, started taking classes this winter in Washington D.C. Williamson and Fromholz hope that number will swell to 15-20 students next semester.

Fromholz said in addition to academic studies, the goal of the program is for students to travel to other countries to help develop the rule of law in those nations and work alongside policymakers, attorneys and locals familiar with the culture, institutions and legal system — essentially creating a Peace Corp for lawyers.

“This program will help students who want to serve causes greater than themselves, which appeals to this generation,” Fromholz said. “It’s inspiring and important that this generation who are particularly interested in international law is taken by that notion.”

Top photo: Julia Fromholz, photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now


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ASU education dean joins call for more transparency

ASU dean joins call for more transparency in teacher-prep programs.
March 1, 2016

Proposal asks for more data, accountability on teacher-preparation programs

Arizona State University is part of a nationwide push to improve the way data is collected about teachers and to use it to improve learning — especially for poor children.

Deans for Impact is a new advocacy group of leaders from 20 teacher-preparation programs across the country, including Mari KoernerMari KoernerKoerner, dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College since 2010, started her career as a second-grade teacher on Chicago's West Side., dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU.

The group is calling for states to expand the data they collect on student achievement, according to a policy statement called “From Chaos to Coherence” released earlier this week. The deans want that information to be linked to teachers and then to the colleges that prepared them.

The goal is not to punish teachers but to improve the way they are prepared, Koerner said.

“It also isn’t to brag about what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s about finding out how we can do better.”

Deans for Impact surveyed 23 teacher-prep programs and found that currently, there is no uniformity in the way data is collected, no way to access it and no way to compare it across states.

The proposal is common sense, said Koerner, who noted that the group includes deans from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California.

“These are universities that are well known for their research, and they know that data matters,” she said.

The plan is controversial for several reasons, including colleges’ resistance to change, fear of “standardization” and opposition to evaluating teachers based on scores.  

“It isn’t standardization,” Koerner said. “How you get to these outcomes will depend on your faculty and the context of your program.

“No one is saying the courses have to be the same or the content has to be the same,” she said.

“I wouldn’t want someone dictating to me how we do our programs, but I can understand wanting to know how prepared our teachers are.”
— Mari Koerner, dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU

Koerner said that measuring student achievement is much more than test scores and could include whether a teacher’s students had to repeat third grade and whether they went on to graduate from high school.

The proposal also would cost money. States would have to upgrade their data collections to meet a standard. The deans are calling for new policies to make that happen.

“The Arizona Department of Education has been very gracious to work with us as much as their system allows them to,” Koerner said.

She noted that ASU is able to access an important statistic from the state: After three years, Mary Lou Fulton graduates have a 20 percent higher retention rate in high-poverty schools compared with graduates from other colleges.

“So we’re not afraid to get data,” Koerner said.

Steve Wojcikiewicz, vice president of policy for Deans for Impact, wrote on the group’s blog that the data would hold teachers’ colleges accountable: “Specifically, that means information on where graduates find jobs, how many stay in teaching, how well their students perform, what kind of professional evaluations they get from their superiors and feedback from the graduates themselves.”

Deans for Impact is proposing that teachers’ colleges could earn a special certification if they voluntarily set goals, such as graduating a specific number of teachers who work in high-poverty schools. The group also believes colleges should commit to increasing the number of teachers of color.

Koerner said that ASU already requires teacher candidates to pass a test to graduate, and is not afraid of setting the bar high.

She compared the Deans for Impact proposal to the Flexner Report, which was released in 1910 and set a model for doctor training that’s still used today.

“I wouldn’t want someone dictating to me how we do our programs, but I can understand wanting to know how prepared our teachers are,” she said.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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NPR journalist sees Obama as a shaper of 2016 election

NPR journalist to share guide to the 2016 Elections in ASU lecture.
February 24, 2016

Mara Liasson to discuss presidential politics at ASU event

The 2016 presidential election is one of the most contentious campaigns in recent memory. 

Mara LiassonMara Liasson, pictured left, and National Public Radio’s national political correspondent, will shed light on the contest as a part of Barrett, the Honors College’s John J. Rhodes Lecture in Public Policy. Liasson, who has been named the 2016 Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions, will deliver her lecture, “A Citizen’s Guide to the 2016 Elections,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Katzin Concert Hall on the ASU Tempe campus. The event is free and open to the public. For tickets, visit barretthonors.asu.edu/rhodes2016.

To preview her appearance Liasson took some time to discuss the election with ASU Now.

Question: How have President Obama’s policies helped shape both the Democratic and Republican primaries? 

Answer: In the Republican primaries, the candidates are running to reverse President Obama’s policies and making it a referendum on how to stop him.

On the Democratic side, the debate is how either to best preserve Obama’s policies or build upon them.

Q: What is helping fuel the rise of anti-establishment candidates in both parties?

A: Several things are fueling the rise of anti-establishment candidates. One is a stagnant middle class income. Another is terrorism abroad and at home. There also are changing demographics of the electorate, and political gridlock in Washington.

Q: As we approach the general election, are candidates going to campaign with a focus on encouraging their base to turnout or appealing to moderate and independent voters?

A: I believe it will be a campaign focusing mostly on each candidate’s base.

Q: How does covering the candidates this year compare to previous cycles?

A: In this cycle there are more candidates, which makes it more difficult to cover them.

However, new technology, such as social media and apps, makes it easier to track their activities and stay informed about them.

Students raise funds for former foster youth studying at ASU

February 22, 2016

Only 3 percent of former foster youth who attend college ultimately graduate.

Many times unexpected expenses are what stand between them and completing their degrees. ProMod class PitchFunder campaign A group of students hopes to help their peers with a PitchFunder campaign to raise emergency funds that help cover expenses and keep students in school. Download Full Image

While some students can turn to their parents or guardians for help with buying books, financing medical bills and paying for unexpected expenses, college students who aged out of the foster-care system usually do not have that same type of financial support.

A group of Arizona State University students aims to solve that problem for fellow students.

As part of a new learning pilot class called ProMod, students in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions decided to create a PitchFunder campaign to raise funds. Their goal is $10,000 to create the Bridging Success Emergency Fund.

The money will go to the Bridging Success program, which was launched last year to help former foster youth — both current and prospective students — pursue and finish their college education. The Arizona foster-care tuition waiver, a bill signed into law by former Gov. Jan Brewer in 2013, helps Arizona’s foster youth earn a college degree by offering free tuition. 

“We started this emergency fund because, although these students do receive financial aid and tuition, there’s still expenses that aren’t fully covered,” said Ernesto Hernandez, one of the students running the campaign.

These expenses include online course fees, book fees, hospital bills, rent increases, transportation and other unexpected payments that students’ tuition and scholarships might not cover.  

Cynthia Alaffa, a student in the Bridging Success program, said that although her scholarship covered most of her finances, she knew other students who were in different situations.

“They’ve had excess fees, and some of those excess fees caused them to not re-enroll for the next semester,” she said.

The campaign has already raised almost half of the funds for its $10,000 goal, but the campaign has just over a week left.

The money will expand the financial aid currently offered by the ASU Bridging Success program, which has continued to grow since its initial grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust. ASU’s Women & Philanthropy funded Bridging Success Early-Start to help support specialized programming for incoming freshmen. The overall goal is to connect students to resources and each other to help them persist in their education.

“The biggest thing is helping them feel connected,” said Bridging Success coordinator Justine Cheung. “And that’s what makes them stay and finish.”

The ProMod class is a project-based, modular learning class that applies what students learn in their degree programs to public service efforts benefitting the community.

ProMod student Anna Piper said, “It feels good to know that we are able to help former foster youth out and able to raise this money and actually make a difference for them.”

Learn more about the Bridging Success Emergency Fund PitchFunder campaign.

Written by Andres Guerra Luz

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


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McCain says these are strange days, indeed

John McCain: "I've never seen anything like" current presidential election.
Sen. McCain says we're living in rare times.
February 19, 2016

Arizona senator discussed politics, the election and global security in talk at ASU

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a man people come to for answers, but when it comes to the 2016 presidential election he’s as baffled as the next guy.

“We’re in the most unusual period in American political history in modern times,” said the Arizona Republican, who was the GOP’s nominee for president in 2008 and one of the most high-profile veterans of the Vietnam War.

“I’ve never seen anything like it and know of no political pundit who could have predicted it, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

McCain visited the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus Friday to take part in “Iconic Voices,” a public interview series.

Moderated by Professor of Practice Jeff Cunningham, the discussion was attended by approximately 200 students, faculty and members of the public. It explored McCain’s views on the 2016 election, global security, refugees in Europe, the state of the Arizona economy and his political career.

The 79-year-old McCain was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and four years later to the U.S. Senate, where he has remained for three decades. He currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee and sits on the Senate’s committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Indian Affairs. 

John McCain

Sen. John McCain talks with Jeff Cunningham as part of his "Iconic Voices" series at the ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Feb. 19 in Phoenix. McCain touched on a variety of topics ranging from the presidential candidates to the Supreme Court to North Korea. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

McCain said the 2016 presidential election is being driven by anger, dissatisfaction and mistrust in elected officials, which is why Republican candidate Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat from Vermont, are emerging as front-runners for their respective parties.

“There are lots of Americans who are angry. Millions of Americans looking for work. Millions of Americans who have not seen any improvement in their lives since the economic crash of 2008,” McCain said. “There’s a lot of middle-aged Americans that yearn for a previous era in our history where we had a steadily improving economy, when we were the strongest nation in the world. There’s a great deal of unhappiness, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty.”

McCain said Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and the perception that he is not a part of the establishment are resonating with voters who are looking for something different.

“He (Trump) defies all historic precedence,” McCain said.

Sanders’ popularity among younger voters, McCain said, is his belief that that all education should be free in the United States and that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton doesn’t engender public trust.

“So many young Americans carry this burden, particularly if you go into a profession like medicine and others, where they’re carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans, which will take them years to pay off,” McCain said. “Bernie Sanders says all education should be free and, yes, it’s a simplistic statement, but I also think that he’s popular because Hillary Clinton has an issue of trust. … If people don’t trust a candidate, then they’re not willing to examine their other values. Right now, Secretary Clinton’s trust numbers are in the 30s.”

A possible independent third party could emerge in the race, McCain said, in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose net worth is estimated at around $44 billion.

“He could spend a couple of billion and it wouldn’t bother him in the slightest,” McCain said. “I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, but I think two things could happen that have never happened in modern times — one is a third-party candidate who is very viable and the other scenario on the Republic side is a brokered conventionIn U.S. politics, a brokered convention is a situation in which no single candidate has secured a pre-existing majority of delegates (whether those selected by primary elections and caucuses, or superdelegates) prior to the first official vote for a political party's presidential candidate at its nominating convention. — Wikipedia, which happened with Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan and was a disaster. It could lead to a Democratic or Independent victory.”

McCain said whatever happens in the 2016 election will not only be memorable but historic.

“These are the most telling times, my friends,” McCain said. “You’ll be telling your grandchildren about it.”

Reporter , ASU Now


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Exploring dignity in death with a Jewish perspective

How do we die with dignity? An ASU conference will take a Jewish perspective.
Rabbis, chaplains, physicians to explore dying with dignity at ASU conference.
February 19, 2016

Conference to gather academics, physicians, rabbis to explore complicated issue

How do we die with dignity?

An Arizona State University professor is bringing together voices from science and religion to explore this complicated issue at a conference this weekend.

The discussion will have a Jewish viewpoint. Rabbis, chaplains, physicians, academics and people of faith will gather for “Health, Mortality and Morality: Jewish Perspectives” on Sunday and Monday. This will be the eighth annual conference held by the Judaism, Science and Medicine Group, which is part of the Center for Jewish Studies at ASU.

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, director of the center, said a goal of the conference is not to be contentious.

“It’s not about being enemies. It’s not about being friends,” she said. “It’s how we understand the past, present and future, taking into consideration both science and religion.”

The relationship should not be understood as “either/or” but rather as “both/and,” she said.

“You need both approaches to figure out how humanity has thought about itself,” said Tirosh-Samuelson, who launched the Judaism, Science and Medicine Group in 2008.

The conferenceBesides the Center for Jewish Studies, the other sponsors are the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies and the Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism. Co-sponsors include Valley Beit Midrash and the Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Sciences and Medicine Endowment. will bring together people representing different strands of Judaism — including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

“These people are right next to each other and have to talk to each other. It’s not common,” she said. “It’s hard to do.”

Tirosh-Samuelson said she’s succeeding in drawing together these different voices because a university is a good place to tackle difficult and emotional subjects like dying.

“It’s not advocacy. We can look at it in an analytical way,” she said.

“It’s all about creating bridges.”

The conference lecturesThe conference will be at the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale, 4415 East Paradise Village Parkway South, Phoenix. will include “Can the Bible Be Our Guide?” and “Dying in the Age of Advanced Medicine.”

Previous conferences have addressed topics including obesity, addiction, healing and evolution.

She said the conferences are not large, but the discussions are deep. And the work is at a high level. The Journal of Jewish Ethics has agreed to produce a special issue based on next week’s conference after the presenters’ papers have been reviewed.

The focus on science and religion is a distinctive focus of the Center for Jewish Studies. Another aspect of Tirosh-Samuelson’s research focuses on religion and ecology and this semester she is teaching a course on “Religion and Environment.”

The newly launched Spirituality and Sustainability Initiative at ASU indicates that people are beginning to pay more attention to the relevance of religion and culture to our contemporary ecological crisis. 

“We should all be grateful to Pope Francis, whose encyclical 'Laudato SiLaudato si is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. The encyclical has the subtitle On Care For Our Common Home. — Wikipedia'  has made the ecological crisis into a moral issue of the first order,” Tirosh-Samuelson said.

Top photo: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson is director of ASU's Center for Jewish Studies and launched the Judaism, Science and Medicine Group in 2008. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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How the West campus was won

ASU West was created in mid-1980s in response to decade-long grassroots effort.
The architecture at ASU West was modeled after Oxford and Cambridge.
ASU West has been designated a Phoenix "Point of Pride."
February 18, 2016

ASU's West campus — which began as one student's project and grew into a formidable grassroots campaign — is thriving as it turns 30

Wind spatters Fletcher Library’s three-story picture window with rain, but inside hardly anyone notices.

The crowd grows inside the library — the first building to be completed on Arizona State University’s West campus — kicking off a monthlong 30th-anniversary celebration of the groundbreaking of the campus that would firmly establish the university’s presence in the West Valley. Among the throng on a rainy day in early February are West campus Vice Provost Marlene TrompMarlene Tromp also serves as a professor of English and women and gender studies, and dean of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences., campus architects Gerald McSheffrey and Jack DeBartolo, and the library’s namesake, Robert L. Fletcher.

The West campus began rather humbly, as a class project of Glendale Community College student Barbara Ridge, who called for the establishment of a West Valley ASU campus. Ridge was not alone in her vision, and soon, members of the community rallied behind her in support.

State Sen. Debbie McCune Davis was among them. She remembers the three-and-a-half years she spent driving back and forth between 54th Avenue and Camelback Road in Glendale and ASU’s Tempe campus to attend classes during the 1970s.

“Every single day, I said, ‘We need a campus in the West Valley.’ I mean, it was as clear as can be,” she recalled.

Also in agreement was state Rep. Lela Alston, who was familiar with the same long drive.

“We knew that this community on the west side, which was growing and thriving, deserved an opportunity to go to college and expand and give back to our community,” Alston said. “It was just such an obvious need, and all of us representatives from the west side were resolute about that being our number one priority.”

In 1972, Ridge and her supporters formed the Westside Citizens Committee for Higher Education to push the cause forward. Four years later, in 1976, after a furious letter-writing campaign that inundated House and Senate members with 2,000 handwritten pleas for support, a feasibility study was undertaken. After a year of deliberation, the study committee decided it was time to establish education facilities on the west side.

Both McCune Davis and Alston were present on April 18, 1984, when Gov. Bruce Babbitt signed Senate Bill 1245 officially establishing Arizona State University West. Architects Gerald McSheffrey and Jack DeBartolo were called upon to design the new campus, and two years later, in 1986, the groundbreaking took place at 47th Avenue and Thunderbird Road.

McSheffrey recalled the scene: “[It] was 300 acres of just desert.”

But he and DeBartolo had a vision of a campus that conveyed a sense of place; a feeling that, “when you’re here, you can’t be anywhere else.”

So they set to work, modeling the campus and its buildings after the cloisters and courtyards of Oxford and Cambridge. The move was a calculated one, allowing for larger walkways and breezeways that provide ample shade and protection from the harsh Arizona climate.

During construction, DeBartolo says he often daydreamed of the end result.

“I was visualizing students running across [Fletcher] lawn to get to the shade, and having fellowship and interaction in the courtyards,” he said.

Today, it’s safe to say those daydreams are a reality. At the 30th-anniversary celebration, Tromp welcomed the crowd to what she called “the most beautiful campus at ASU.”

“ASU West has made a lasting mark on the state of Arizona, and a lasting mark on the world,” Tromp told the crowd. “We have alumsASU West campus alumni include Arizona’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Jeff Kunowski, state Sen. Martin Quezada and cybersecurity firm co-founder Edward Vasko. who have done extraordinary things. ... And it’s because of the beautiful foundation they had in this community that, just like the external West Valley community, gathered together to create this campus.”

Today, ASU West serves thousands of students in more than 50 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Each year, academic program offerings expand to meet increased workforce and marketplace demands in subjects such as applied computing, natural sciences, teacher education, criminal justice, nursing, global business and accountancy — the dedicated faculty who teach those subjects are top-caliber experts in their fields. The physical campus has also expanded, most recently to include a state-of-the-art fitness complex, as well as new dining and residence halls.

“We could talk about the number of programs we’ve produced, the kinds of academic impacts we’ve made, but we’d be falling short if we didn’t talk about the way it has changed people’s lives,” said Tromp. “Having this campus here has changed people’s lives, and it changed the West Valley.”

The 30th-anniversary celebration continues all month. Join in the fun at noon Saturday, Feb. 20, at the lacrosse tailgate birthday bash. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a picture with Sparky, enjoy cupcakes and test their knowledge in an ASU West trivia game for fun prizes.

To delve even deeper into the history of ASU’s West campus, check out the ASU West History Project in ASU Libraries Digital Repository.

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Affirming inclusion as the ASU way

ASU President Crow, university leaders preach inclusion mind-set at ASU.
February 18, 2016

President Crow and other ASU leaders discuss inclusive mind-set during a Diversity Dialogue

Arizona State University is working to defeat the deep-rooted idea that higher education is an exclusive enterprise, a privilege set for only a segment of the population.

And the university is working to empower the current generation of students to carry out that mission, according to ASU President Michael Crow.

“Our entire education system is built around the notion of exclusivity, scarcity, hierarchy and social status,” Crow said during a panel discussion titled “Creating Success by Whom We Include,” sponsored by the Faculty Women of Color Caucus at the Marston Exploration Theater on Thursday, Feb. 18.

“If you want inclusion to work, you must defeat that.”

Crow cited ASU’s Starbucks Initiative and the Global Freshmen Academy as two programs that have greatly expanded access to university credit. 

He also said that for current students — whom he described as “late Millennials” — easy access to technology has made their world more egalitarian.

“Our students have unbelievably high expectations for the environment when they come to the university,” he said. “They assume it will be inclusive. They believe our society should be inclusive.”

People sitting at a table.

ASU President Michael Crow (left) joins
panelists Colleen Jennings-Roggensack,
Edmundo Hidalgo, Bryan Brayboy and
Ray Anderson at a Diversity Dialogue
on Feb. 18.
Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The panelists said that ASU’s work toward becoming more inclusive of all types of people is ongoing.

Crow noted that in 1991, only 3 percent of ASU’s students came from families eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant financial aid. In 2002, it was about 10 percent, and now it’s about 40 percent.

He said that ASU’s approach has been to alter its culture, which is not easy.

“Would you be rejected by this institution as a leader or faculty member if you didn’t believe in this inclusion? The answer now is yes,” he said.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and associate vice president of cultural affairs, said she prefers the term “inclusion” to “diversity.”

“Diversity means ‘not me,’ while ‘inclusion’ means everyone,” she said.

At Gammage, the staff has collaborated with communities in Arizona to express their cultures.

“We worked with the Latino community, and they wanted a chance to share their culture defined from the beginning of time to today, and reflective of class structure,” she said. “There are 14 Asian communities, and we’ve worked with 29 First Nation communities.”

“We need to recognize that students come to us with millennia worth of knowledge. What we do is help them to envision and enact their own futures.”
— Bryan Brayboy, special adviser to President Crow on Indian initiatives

Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics, said that his background in the private sector — including the National Football League — proved that inclusion is simply good business.

And that concept translates from the business world to ASU.

“We are trying to recruit and sell young men and women and their parents on what we are here,” Anderson said. “There is a higher comfort level when they know there are folks who look like them. We have women and we have brown-skinned folks.”

Edmundo Hildago, vice president for outreach partnerships for ASU, said the university must be willing to have difficult conversations about inclusion.

"We have to bring those conversations forward and not pass the buck when the opportunities present themselves," he said.

Bryan Brayboy, special adviser to Crow on Indian initiatives, noted that ASU is built on the ancestral lands of Native Americans.

“We need to recognize that students come to us with millennia worth of knowledge. What we do is help them to envision and enact their own futures,” he said.

He echoed Crow’s frequent theme of ASU preparing people to be lifelong “master learners.”

“It’s important that we take it a step further. We’re preparing master learners to become master doers.” 

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU Now


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A taste of Native culture

UNITY conference helps to build a better Native America.
February 15, 2016

UNITY conference celebrates Native America culture, helps to build a better Native America

The United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) hosted its' midyear conference in Mesa this past weekend, bringing scores of students from across the United States to participate in Native youth leadership exercises and to build community amongst Native youth.

The three day conference was supported in part by the Arizona State University American Indian Initiatives, the Yavapai Apache Nation, the San Carlos Apache Tribe and 12News. UNITY, in its 40th year, seeks to foster the spiritual, mental, physical and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement. Sessions featured subjects from environmental advocacy to budgeting for young adults and the importance of voting. The local Mesa Strength Youth Council also invited students attending to a "Taste of the Southwest," encouraging visitors to learn about different Arizona tribe's food and drinks from prickly pear preserves of the Hualapai to the Pascua Yaqui's atole.

Deanna Dent

Photographer , ASU Now