ASU PhD candidate selected as Emerging Scholar by Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration

October 16, 2019

For the second time in three years, a doctoral candidate from Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs has been named an Emerging Scholar of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

PhD student Fengxiu Zhang was chosen in 2019 because she shows “excellent promise in achieving a faculty position upon graduation,” according to the letter announcing the award. Fengxiu Zhang, a female with long dark hair and black-rimmed glasses faces the camera, smiling in a dark top Fengxiu Zhang. Download Full Image

“Fengxiu Zhang is a highly promising early career scholar with an impressive record,” said Professor Eric Welch, director of the school’s Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies and Zhang’s academic adviser. “Her research, examining adaptation of public agencies in response to extreme events, will contribute significantly to the field of public management.”

The honor includes a $350 stipend and travel expenses paid for Zhang to attend the NASPAA Annual Conference on Oct. 16-19 in Los Angeles.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Zhang said. “I study public organization adaptation to extreme events, which is an important, but rarely examined, topic in public administration. I see this award as an important recognition of the significance of my work.”

At a panel discussion held after receiving the award at an Oct. 18 luncheon, she will give a 10-minute presentation to educators, many of whom have hiring authority.

“The NASPAA presentation will be a great opportunity to showcase my work and myself as a researcher to leaders from many other schools in public administration,” Zhang said. “I particularly look forward to interactions with prospective employers to learn about opportunities where I can continue my research after completing my doctoral degree.”

Zhang is one of three students from 282 schools honored with the NASPAA Emerging Scholars Award this year. Others are Andrew Osorio, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas, and David Schwegman, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

In 2017, School of Public Affairs then-doctoral candidate Federica Fusi, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, won the Emerging Scholar Award from NASPAA. School of Public Affairs is an academic unit of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Navrotsky comes full circle with opening of new ASU center

ASU has cut the ribbon on the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe

October 15, 2019

Alexandra Navrotsky is back at Arizona State University and the ribbon has been cut to open the center where she will do her next great work.

Navrotsky will rejoin ASU as a professor, in both the School of Molecular Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.  Front row, from left: Meenakshi Wadhwa, Neal Woodbury, Nancy Gonzales, Alexandra Navrotsky, Kyle Squires, Lenore Dai and William Petuskey. Back row, from left: Dan Shim, Steven Desch, James Tyburczy and Thomas Sharp, Ian Gould, Hilairy Hartnett, Everett Shock and Scott Sayres. Download Full Image

After leaving ASU in 1985 for Princeton University, Navrotsky officially returned on Oct. 1, 2019, as a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many other honors. With many adventures behind her, she is now extremely excited to return home and continue leaving her mark on an institution very close to her heart.

“Alex will lead the development of the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe (MotU), that will involve the School of Molecular Sciences, the School of Earth and Space Exploration, the Department of Physics and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy and other engineering faculty," said Professor Neal Woodbury, director of the School of Molecular Sciences. "Materials of the Universe will bring together scientists and engineers to form cross-disciplinary research teams to expedite humanity’s next steps in understanding and exploring the universe.” 

“Building an interdisciplinary community of dedicated researchers who collaborate to make new discoveries and advance current understandings is one of our core strengths,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “We’re excited to welcome Professor Navrotsky to our faculty. Her demonstrated leadership and expertise in the areas of solid state chemistry, thermodynamics and deep earth geophysics will be integral as we work with our counterparts to discover new materials and technologies.”

Materials define our very civilization: the stone age, the bronze and iron ages, the silicon age, and now, the age of complex materials integration. We made our first tools from rocks, and now we create complex materials that we doubt exist elsewhere in the universe — or do they?

Evolution over billions of years in diverse planetary environments may generate materials we know nothing about. The planets beyond our solar system reveal an ever-expanding diversity, from super-Earths and water-worlds to carbon-rich planets. Can a carbon-rich planet be a source of diamond, silicon carbide or some as yet undiscovered refractory material?

Can such materials self-assemble into natural analogues of composite ceramics and functional materials? Can processes in extreme environments concentrate elements that are difficult to find and mine on Earth? How do materials and their surfaces influence life, its origin and evolution? The universe is vast in time and space, and the permutations of planetary constituents seem endless.

“The study of materials and their applications from theoretical, computational, observational and experimental approaches is fundamental to so many areas of science and engineering,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. “The Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe is a bold, forward-looking initiative that will leverage ASU’s leadership in a broad spectrum of these areas. At the School of Earth and Space Exploration, we are excited to participate in this initiative that could have broad ranging implications for understanding the workings of our planet, solar system and universe.

“By crossing disciplinary boundaries, (the center) will naturally enable problem-based teaching in science education at many levels, preparing the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to sustain our nation’s prosperity,” said Professor William Petuskey of the School of Molecular Sciences who also directs the Advanced Materials Initiative at ASU. “Discoveries from the center will, in turn, inform materials science, where, more often than not, the finding of a new material with the right properties is the problem that impedes an innovation.”

The center's namesakes

LeRoy Eyring was an ASU Regents Professor of chemistry and a department chair whose instructional and research accomplishments and professional leadership at ASU helped to bring the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry into international prominence. Navrotsky is exceedingly grateful to Eyring for hiring her in her first faculty position and for his constant encouragement and support.

“I am returning to an ASU which is much more dynamic than the one I left in 1985, and I am coming home to the Southwest I love,” Navrotsky said. “The opportunity to help build the Center for Materials of the Universe and involve old and new friends and colleagues in it, as well as broader efforts in materials, is an immensely exciting new adventure.”

Navrotsky's research interests lie at the intersection of solid state chemistry, geochemistry and materials science. Navrotsky has published nearly 1,000 papers on topics ranging from oxide superconductors to silicates deep in the Earth's mantle. Her research is mainly focused on the structure and the stability of both natural and synthetic materials along with their dependence on temperature and pressure. She also investigates the role of nanomaterials in geochemical processes and in pollutant transport.

Navrotsky earned her PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago, where she also earned her MS and BS. After two years of postdoctoral experience, she joined the chemistry faculty at ASU in 1969. Navrotsky joined the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton in 1985 and served as the chair from 1988 to 1991. In 1997, she moved to the University of California, Davis and became an interdisciplinary professor of ceramic, earth and environmental materials chemistry. In 2001, she was appointed the Edward Roessler Chair in Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Among her many awards, she has received the prestigious V.M. Goldschmidt Award from the Geochemical Society, the Roebling Medal from the Mineralogical Society of America and the Harry H. Hess Medal from the American Geophysical Union. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, the American Ceramic Society, the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Returning home to ASU

After returning to ASU, Navrotsky created, through the ASU Foundation, a gift and a bequest to support the advancement of materials science at ASU. She currently directs the newly formed Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe. Faculty and students with affiliations to the center will pursue and promote new ideas, discoveries and technologies in the broad field of materials, with an emphasis on planetary materials and processes; advocate for and seek new research and development funding opportunities; and provide outreach to expand these leading-edge fields. Funds may be used to support activities of the center with further cutting-edge research and education including, but not limited to, interdisciplinary postdoctoral support, graduate students and a program of seminars and workshops.

“The Materials of the Universe initiative will extend the range of conditions for new materials discovery to include conditions that exist elsewhere in the solar system or on exoplanets,” said Hilairy Hartnett, professor in both the School of Molecualr Sciences and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “This initiative will also enhance materials science research that will develop new detectors and spacecraft materials to enable new discoveries beyond our planet.”

“In science as in life, every day is a new adventure!” Navrotsky said.

Karin Valentine of the School of Earth and Space Exploration contributed to this story.

Jenny Green

Clinical associate professor, School of Molecular Sciences


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Arizona State University, Desert Financial Credit Union announce new partnership

October 14, 2019

Agreement includes arena naming rights, educational support for employees and marketing services

Arizona State University today announced a multifaceted partnership with Desert Financial Credit Union, the Valley institution founded in 1939 by 15 teachers. The agreement will result in the renaming of the University Activities Center — the arena that is currently home to men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball — and includes the development of continuing education opportunities for credit union members and employees.

The terms of the five-year agreement include an investment of $1.5 million per year from Desert Financial to ASU. Details of the continuing education certificate and degree programs are still in design, but an announcement on how employees and credit union members will access it are forthcoming. The agreement also includes a marketing and market analysis services partnership with Desert Financial and internships at the Phoenix-based credit union for ASU students. 

“Desert Financial is committed to communities throughout Arizona, as we are, and especially focused on education,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “These shared values form the foundation of a very strong relationship and represent a partnership based on much more than naming an arena.”

For Desert Financial, the largest credit union based in Arizona, the agreement represents a chance to build a stronger relationship with the state’s largest higher education provider while creating new opportunities for personal and professional growth for its members and employees.

“Desert Financial Credit Union’s connection to education comes from our founders; a group of Valley teachers who started with just $78.75 between them. They created an institution that would be of service to educators and students alike,” said Jeff Meshey, Desert Financial President and CEO. “We carry that legacy with us today because we believe strong communities are built by citizens who have received a good education. Our relationship with ASU will strengthen that commitment and be an asset to our employees and our members.”

Arizona State University, in following the eight design aspirations of the ASU Charter, continues to look for ways to improve access and impact for people who want to continue their education and for employers who are seeking talent for their organizations.  

“We are entrepreneurial in much of what we do, so we appreciate the financial benefits that come from naming rights,” Crow said. “However, our call is to be socially embedded and to connect with the community through mutually beneficial partnerships. The agreement with Desert Financial represents the kind of relationship we are seeking at all levels: partnerships fueled by a common interest.”

That relationship begins today. The new arena signs will go up in time for basketball season, which begins on Nov. 5 when the ASU women’s team tips off against Air Force. 

Top photo: The Class of 2023 fills the ASU basketball arena for the Sun Devil Welcome festivities on Aug. 22, 2019. The arena will be renamed as part of a new partnership with Desert Financial Credit Union. Photo by Jarod Opperman

Assistant vice president , Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU Professor Kelly Cue Davis receives prestigious MERIT Award

October 11, 2019

Joining rare company, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation Associate Professor Kelly Cue Davis has received a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award.

Davis is one of just three Arizona State University researchers to earn this prestigious award since 1985.  Associate Professor Kelly Cue Davis Associate Professor Kelly Cue Davis. Download Full Image

The award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is for her research grant “Men’s Sexual Risk Behaviors: Alcohol, Sexual Aggression, and Emotional Factors.” 

“I am honored and delighted to have been selected by NIH to receive a MERIT award in support of my research program,” Davis said. “My aim is to advance our understanding of the role of alcohol in sexual risk behaviors by investigating the mechanisms underlying alcohol-involved sexual risk in both consensual and nonconsensual sexual situations. The receipt of this award will enable me to extend this line of research, which I hope will ultimately benefit young men and women’s sexual health and well-being.” 

The MERIT award provides investigators more time to focus on their research by eliminating the associated burdens with competitive grant applications. The competition for NIH-funded R01 equivalent research projects remains high with an ever-increasing number of applications received by NIH each year. 

Researchers cannot apply for a MERIT award. Instead, they are identified during the regular review process of competitive research grant applications.  

David Coon, Edson College associate dean of research, says the aim of the award is to support investigators whose research skills and productivity are "distinctly superior" and who are highly likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner.

“Dr. Davis’s body of work speaks for itself. She is a phenomenal investigator and we could not be more thrilled that her research is being recognized and supported at such a high level. It’s a fantastic achievement,” Coon said.

According to the NIAAA, in fiscal year 2018, less than 6% of NIAA-funded investigators were selected to receive MERIT Awards, highlighting the rareness of this opportunity. 

Amanda Goodman

Media relations officer, College of Nursing and Health Innovation


ASU Law announces new faculty honors

October 10, 2019

A law school is only as strong as its faculty. At the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, students learn from some of the nation’s foremost scholars and innovative legal instructors. They have played an integral role in ASU Law establishing itself as one of the highest ranked public law schools in the nation, a leading center of scholarly exchange with a tradition of exceptional bar passage and quality job-placement rates.

Among the notable faculty members are a distinguished group of honorees, newly listed as named chairs, professors, scholars or fellows, who bring a wealth of experience, diverse backgrounds and groundbreaking research to ASU Law. law professors ASU Law announces new faculty honors with professorship appointments to (from left): Zack Gubler, Linda DeMaine, Robert Miller, Karen Bradshaw and James G. Hodge Jr. Download Full Image

“We are indebted to our generous donors for affording us the opportunity to recruit, retain and recognize the most talented legal minds in the world,” ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester said. “Our faculty are as hardworking as they are talented, producing groundbreaking legal research while making incredible contributions to our law school and the surrounding community.”

Among the most recent additions to the list are the Roslyn O. Silver Professor of Law, the Marie Selig Professor of Law and the Mary Sigler Distinguished Research Scholar.

The newest honorific appointments among the ASU Law faculty are:

Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar: Karen Bradshaw

photo of Karen Bradshaw

Karen Bradshaw, Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar

The Pedrick Scholarship is named for Willard H. Pedrick, the founding dean of ASU Law.

Professor Karen Bradshaw teaches environmental law and researches governance of natural resources, with an emphasis on emerging regulatory approaches including certification regimes, public-private partnerships and collaborative settlements. Bradshaw is also a faculty affiliate scholar with the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University School of Law and Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. She is an expert on wildfire law and has also written about land development and forest management.

“I am deeply honored by this distinction,” Bradshaw said. “The Pedrick Scholarship affords me additional latitude to pursue interesting research.”

Bradshaw received her JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a Tony Patino Fellow, Olin Fellow and comment editor for the University of Chicago Law Review. She clerked for Judge E. Grady Jolly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before joining the ASU Law faculty, Bradshaw was the inaugural Koch-Searle Fellow in Legal Studies at New York University School of Law.

Bradshaw has published more than a dozen articles in law and peer-reviewed journals. She is the author of the forthcoming book “The New Animal Rights: How Uncovering the Biological Origins of Property Can Save America's Wildlife” (University of Chicago Press) and editor of the book “Wildfire: Law & Economics Policy Perspectives” (with Dean Lueck) (Routledge, 2012). She has presented at workshops and conferences at Columbia University, New York University, University of Chicago, Oxford University and Yale University.

Roslyn O. Silver Professor of Law: Linda DeMaine

photo of Linda DeMaine

Linda Demaine, Roslyn O. Silver Professor of Law

This new professorship honors the Honorable Roslyn O. Silver, a senior judge with the United States District Court for the District of Arizona who graduated from ASU Law in 1971 and teaches at the school. She is the first alumna to have an ASU Law professorship in her name.

The inaugural Roslyn O. Silver Professorship was awarded to Professor Linda Demaine. Demaine’s research and teaching at the law school focuses on issues at the intersection of law and psychology.

After receiving her JD and PhD in psychology, Demaine was a behavioral scientist and policy analyst at RAND, where she worked on projects including the prevalence and content of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, the law and psychology of deception in defense of national computer systems, the use of the military for domestic civil law enforcement, and government issuance of patents on genes and other modified products of nature. Demaine has held an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship, through which she worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI and Department of Justice oversight, judicial nominations, and legislation. She also has held an American Psychological Association Science Policy Fellowship, working with the CIA’s Behavioral Sciences Unit.

“I’m honored to be the inaugural Roslyn O. Silver Professor of Law,” Demaine said. “With this title, I will strive to embody several of the admirable qualities for which Judge Silver is widely known — her deep-seated compassion, her dedication to fairness, her commitment to mentoring and her ability to bring her dog to work. The law school community and I greatly appreciate Judge Silver’s generous support.”

Marie Selig Professor of Law: Zack Gubler

photo of Zack Gubler

Zack Gubler, Marie Selig Professor of Law

The Marie Selig professorship was established to honor the mother of former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who serves as a Distinguished Professor of Sports in America at ASU Law. The inaugural Marie Selig Professorship was awarded to Professor Zachary Gubler, whose research interests lie in the areas of corporate law and financial and securities regulation.

“It is a great privilege to be named the Marie Selig Professor of Law," Gubler said. "This professorship is a moving tribute to Commissioner Selig’s mother, who was an educator, and I commit to do my best to always be deserving of such an honor. The influence that the Selig family’s generosity will have on ASU Law is shaping up to be as great as the influence that Commissioner Selig had on baseball, which of course landed him in the Hall of Fame.”

Gubler joined the ASU law faculty in 2011 after having spent two years at Harvard Law School as a Climenko Fellow. Prior to joining the academy, Gubler served as a law clerk to Judge Richard C. Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Peter Kiewit Foundation Professor of Law: James G. Hodge Jr.

photo of James Hodge

James G. Hodge Jr., Peter Kiewit Foundation Professor of Law

The Nebraska-based Peter Kiewit Foundation, established in 1979, honors philanthropist Peter Kiewit of the Kiewit Corporation, one of the largest construction and engineering companies in North America.

Professor James G. Hodge Jr., who joined ASU Law in 2009, is the director of ASU’s Center for Public Health Law and Policy. Through scholarship, teaching and applied projects, Hodge delves into multiple areas of health law, public health law, global health law, ethics and human rights. Since 2010, he has also served as director of the Western Region Office of the Network for Public Health Law, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Since its inception, the office has assisted lawyers, health officials, practitioners, students and others nationally on over 3,300 claims. 

“I am deeply honored to be named the Peter Kiewit Foundation Professor of Law,” Hodge said. “The foundation has a rich history of funding and overseeing projects and interests for the benefit of communities across the United States. Its interests are at the heart of my own work to improve health across populations through effective laws and policies. When Dean Sylvester notified me of my selection for this professorship, I reflected on the wonderful commitment that ASU Law has made to our collective work in public health law and policy. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Center for Public Health Law and Policy, I am grateful to collaborate with elite faculty and students at ASU Law and nationally, committed, like the foundation, to the role of communities in society.”

Hodge is a prolific scholar, having published more than 200 articles in journals of law, medicine, public health and bioethics; two books in public health law; 25 book chapters; and guest edited four symposium issues in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Jurimetrics and the Annals of Health Law. He is regularly ranked among the top 3% of cited authors in the Social Science Research Network.

Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar: Robert Miller

photo of Robert Miller

Robert Miller, Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar

The Pedrick Scholarship is named for Willard H. Pedrick, the founding dean of ASU Law.

Professor Robert J. Miller joined ASU Law in 2013. His areas of expertise are federal Indian law, American Indians and international law, American Indian economic development, Native American natural resources and civil procedure. He is an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe.

"I was surprised and very delighted to hear that I was appointed a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar by my dean and faculty,” Miller said. “It is especially satisfying to be honored in this fashion by the colleagues that I work with on a daily basis."

Before joining ASU Law, Miller was on the faculty of Lewis & Clark Law School from 1999 to 2013. Prior to his career in academia, he practiced Indian law with Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, and practiced litigation for the Stoel Rives law firm. Following graduation from law school, he clerked for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Miller’s scholarly works include articles, books and book chapters on a wide array of federal Indian law issues and civil procedure, and he speaks regularly on Indian law issues across the U.S. and in other countries.

He has written "Reservation 'Capitalism:' Economic Development in Indian Country" (Praeger 2012) and "Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and Manifest Destiny" (Praeger 2006); and has co-authored "Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development Through Entrepreneurship" (Cambridge University Press 2019) and "Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies" (Oxford University Press 2010).

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


ASU professor heads north as Fulbright Canada Research Chair

October 9, 2019

An expert in remote sensing and GIScience, Soe Myint has been selected as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies to investigate concerns such as climate, environment and land-use and land-cover change. Myint, a professor in Arizona State University's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, has already headed to the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, to start his position that will last through the end of 2019.

While under the umbrella of environmental studies, Myint was selected for the Fulbright Canada Research Chair Award in Water, Environment, and Clean Energy. Soe Myint, professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, was selected as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies. Download Full Image

“I will be examining ground and surface water changes in central and western Canada between 2002 and 2017,” Myint said.

“I aim to try to understand if and how environmental degradation, social and economic changes and land-use dynamics influence these changes.”

Myint will focus his research on the central and western regions of Canada, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. This extensive region includes major agriculture areas (larger than 6,000,000 acres per province) that will be used to examine land-use and land-cover change, environmental degradation and socioeconomic status in connection to ground and surface water change over time. These provinces are considered to be the most intensive agriculture water-use regions in Canada and have significantly large agricultural areas in comparison to other provinces in Canada.

To complete these efforts, Myint will utilize a variety of data and tools, including satellite images and geospatial information technologies. Among these are the gravimetry data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment twin satellites launched in 2002, which allow estimation of terrestrial water storage changes across the globe to determine ground and surface water changes in central and western Canada.

“I hope I will not only be able to contribute something useful for Canada’s future food security and economy in response to drought, climate change, variation and extremes that are linked to water use and availability, but also demonstrate the tremendous potential of spatiotemporal modeling research on key environmental issues," Myint said.

Myint will be in good hands as he engages in this work at the University of Regina, which is home to several relevant research centers, including the Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities; the Institute for Environmental Change and Society; the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative; and the Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning


New Emeritus Suite opens in School of Life Sciences

Remodeled space encourages collaboration and continued scholarship

October 7, 2019

Academics spend decades doing research, teaching and public outreach. When they finally reach retirement, many choose to stay involved in their fields and continue serving as mentors, even if they don’t maintain an active lab.

However, their offices are often spread throughout several buildings or on different floors, and opportunities to engage with their colleagues become more difficult once faculty members retire. Ron Rutowski, Professor Emeritus Ron Rutowski, an emeritus professor with the ASU School of Life Sciences, remains an active mentor and teaches regularly in graduate courses and in adult learning classes. He recently moved into the newly remodeled Emeritus Suite in the School. Photo by Jacob Sahertian/ASU VisLab Download Full Image

But the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences has opened a new, innovative Emeritus Suite with the goal of creating opportunities for collaboration and building upon decades of expertise and knowledge.

Kevin McGraw, a professor with the school and associate director of facilities, spearheaded the effort, along with facilities staff members. They converted several offices into a suite with communal space, desks and some larger, individual offices. To date, 10 emeritus professors have joined the suite.

“We thought it would be a neat initiative to bring everyone together and inspire many collaborations, cooperation and lifelong learning by activating a single space that has a bit of a mixed model to the housing arrangements,” McGraw said. “We have the ability to place individuals in their own offices if they are still very active with grants and mentoring, or maybe in some intermediate space where they have their own desk in a shared location and they visit weekly or monthly. In addition, we have a larger social area with desks and computers where people might come in a few times a year to interact with their peers and get some work done.”

Life Sciences Emeritus Suite

The new 1,000-square-foot suite is currently set up to house 12 emeritus professors. The recently opened suite is located near three active research centers that the school hopes will provide inspiration and interaction.

Ron Rutowski, a recently retired School of Life Sciences professor who remains actively involved studying coloration in animals — in particular, butterflies — said the space is vibrant and he’s pleased to have space as part of the suite.

“It’s outfitted nicely and laid out nicely. I’m using my office regularly,” Rutowski said. “If nothing else, I hope this draws attention to the fact that there are emeritus faculty who are around and active and available for whatever people think we might do. I still serve on graduate student committees and give occasional guest lectures in colleague’s classes. I still use my expertise in graduate-level classes as well.” 

Joseph Carter, dean of the Emeritus College at ASU and professor emeritus with W. P. Carey School of Business, said 40% of tenured faculty are age 60 or older. By intentionally setting aside space for emeritus faculty, Carter said the investment will pay off.

“I’m very impressed by this space. It’s a deliberate commitment to utilize emeritus faculty who by definition are well-renowned and dedicated to the school. And use them as an asset not only for themselves but also for the school and the university’s goals,” Carter said. “People are living longer, people are staying active, and people want to continue to contribute. Maybe they won’t want to hold down a tenure track position and all the administrative work that goes with that, but want to continue their academic pursuits. And there are some that just want to go spend time with their grandkids, and that’s OK, too.”

Sandra Leander

Manager, Media Relations and Marketing, School of Life Sciences


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ASU's Biodesign C receives top sustainability honor

October 4, 2019

U.S. Green Building Council awards facility the prestigious LEED platinum certification

The Biodesign Institute C building on the Arizona State University Tempe campus recently earned LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The $120 million Biodesign C project is the fifth ASU building to receive a platinum certification, and second this year, along with the net zero energy Student Pavilion. A platinum ranking is the highest green building ranking under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — program, which recognizes buildings that are designed and constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and sustainability. 

ASU has the largest number of LEED-certified buildings in Arizona and achieved the state’s first-ever LEED platinum certification with Biodesign B.

“Biodesign C is a great example of effective collaboration between users, designers and builders at the highest level,” said Bruce Nevel, ASU Facilities Development and Management associate vice president. “The building epitomizes the balance between energy efficiency, functionality, flexibility and architectural innovation. ASU is extremely proud of not only the design and construction of this world-class research building but equally proud of the invaluable research and benefits to society which will be discovered and generated from this remarkable building.”

The 191,035-square-foot facility houses critical lab and research support space designed to accelerate ASU scientific research and enable the creation of cutting-edge, collaborative research clusters. The building will house the Compact X-ray Free Electron Laser, anticipated to be the first of its kind in the world. The inspiring space represents one more reason U.S. News and World Report ranked ASU the nation’s most innovative university for the fifth consecutive year

“Since our researchers rely on cues from nature to find new means of confronting cancer, visualizing plaques and viruses, untangling neurodegenerative diseases and remediating environmental pollution, it is fitting that our research takes place in buildings that are eco-friendly and sustainable,” said Joshua LaBaer, Biodesign Institute executive director.

Biodesign C achieved LEED platinum by earning 85 out of a possible 110 points for implementing strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. 

An innovative HVAC system that limits its energy and the environmental footprint was just one factor in helping the project score highest in the Energy and Atmosphere category within the LEED certification process.  

“This is an impressive feat considering that laboratory buildings are more energy-intensive than the average office building and can require as much as 10 times more energy per square foot,” said Rafael de Luna III, ASU Capital Programs Management Group director. “Biodesign C achieves this efficiency through sophisticated HVAC systems and controls, energy-efficient lighting systems and a high-performance building envelope.”

Some of the sustainable design and construction features in the building include:

  • An exterior copper screen provides shade and saves energy. As a shading device, the dual-facade screen reduces the surface temperature of the inner facade by roughly 65 degrees on hot summer days. The screen reduces the interior surface temperature of the wall by three degrees, significantly reducing the cooling load on perimeter spaces.
  • All nonlaboratory air cascades inside the building from perimeter offices through the laboratories, providing “free” air conditioning for office spaces and reusing the air to meet laboratory exhaust requirements. 
  • Water stewardship also was a project prerequisite, with an array of water-efficient fixtures leading to a projected 42% water savings beyond the LEED baseline. 

ASU worked with BWS ArchitectsMcCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and ZGF Architects to complete the project. 

Launched in 2003, the ASU Biodesign Institute today consists of three buildings totaling 550,000 square feet, housing nearly 1,200 researchers, staff and students.   

Since opening in September 2018, Biodesign C has garnered several awards for design and construction. Engineering News-Record designated the building as a Best of the Best Project nationwide. Biodesign C also has been recognized by AZRE magazine with a RED – Real Estate and Development – Award for Best Higher Education Project, and by the Arizona Masonry Guild with an Excellence Award. 

Learn more about ASU’s construction projects and follow ASU Facilities Development and Management on Twitter

Aiming to elevate construction education at ASU

The PENTA Building Group Professorship will boost students’ career opportunities through stronger alumni and industry connections

October 3, 2019

Associate Professor Jim Ernzen found his professional passion more than 23 years ago when he began teaching construction management at Arizona State University.

What he realized even then is how much learning students need beyond classroom instruction to get a complete education and a solid jump-start on their careers. Jim Earnzen PENTA Building Group Professor at Arizona State University Associate Professor Jim Ernzen’s responsibility in a new endowed professorship role in the Del E. Webb School of Construction is to enrich undergraduates’ educational experience by strengthening their connections to the school’s alumni and other industry leaders, and to get them involved in student construction competitions and conferences on a national level. Photo by Tim Trumble Download Full Image

Especially vital to students’ success, Ernzen says, are mentorships, internships to get firsthand job experience, research training and connections to leaders in the industry.

Personal commitment and financial backing by benefactors outside the university are critical to providing students those opportunities. But attracting such support requires focused relationship-building and fostering a strong sense of institutional purpose to sustain the allegiance of those supporters.  

“You need to deeply engage your professional community. You need to strengthen generational connections with alumni,” Ernzen said. “That’s how to open a wider path for our students to get the kind of education we want for them.”

So now, in addition to his teaching, Ernzen will lead the charge to achieve these goals as the first PENTA Building Group Professor for Construction in the Del E. Webb School of Construction.

Ernzen’s overall directive in the position is to enhance the experience of undergraduate students in the school, which is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.

Strengthening students’ connection with alumni and industry

Ernzen will work with faculty advisers of student organizations to increase student interaction with alumni and industry and support students’ participation in industry events, including national conferences.

Additionally, Ernzen will help form student teams to enter national and international collegiate competitions sponsored by prominent construction industry associations and institutes — and provide mentorship for those teams.

His to-do list also includes helping students develop closer relationships with alumni and industry professionals to raise their awareness of Del E. Webb School’s continuing growth and broadening academic and research excellence. 

“We want to make sure our graduates walk out of here with a thorough knowledge of what they will do in their jobs and what they need to do to advance in their careers,” Ernzen said. “Strong connections with our alumni in the industry are going to enable them to do that.”

These relationships will enhance students’ learning experiences, giving them invaluable insight into the field.

“We need many people in the industry to share their knowledge and skills with our students,” said Associate Professor Anthony Lamanna, chair of the construction management program. “Many are alumni and program supporters who are pioneers in new construction methods, procedures and businesses. We need to ensure our students can effectively learn from them, and Jim is excellent at creating and maintaining that link between them and our current students.”

Ehrets’ contributions are raising construction school’s stature

Support for Ernzen’s new endeavor comes through ASU construction management alumnus Jeff Ehret, CEO of the PENTA Building Group, and his wife, Mary.

portrait of Jeff and Mary Ehret

In addition to funding the PENTA Building Group Professorship, Jeff and Mary Ehrets' support of Arizona State University’s construction education programs includes helping to fund construction of the building that houses those programs, provides a student recruiter and enables students to participate in industry-sponsored events. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

The Ehrets’ contributions have been helping to fuel the advance of ASU’s construction education programs for most of the past two decades.

Most notably, the PENTA Building Group has funded a program since 2005 that annually awards a scholarship to a student, providing up to four years of financial assistance to pursue an undergraduate degree in construction management or construction engineering at ASU.

The Ehrets also established an endowment that provides funds annually for students to participate in regional and national competitions. The PENTA Building Group was also a significant donor to the capital campaign to fund construction of the College Avenue Commons building where the Del E. Webb School is housed.

Professorship position key to attracting new faculty and students

Ehret says the PENTA Building Group’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where his time earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA from the business school three years later was “a fantastic, life-changing experience.”

His service is “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” Ehret said.

Funding a new professorship, Ehret says, “just makes sense at this point” to ensure an improvement in the quality of education needed to maintain the growth trend. Such prestigious positions can enable the school to recruit and keep the top-notch faculty members who, in turn, will attract and retain more top students, he says.

Hardy goals with credentials to match

As the first to fill that the role, Ernzen brings a broad range of expertise and leadership experience to the job.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin equipped him for the job he held as a project engineer and construction manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for almost a decade, and later as deputy director of the Corps’ Concrete Laboratory for three years before spending another three years on the civil and mechanical engineering faculty at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He joined the Del E. Webb School’s faculty in 1996, serving for two years as director of undergraduate studies, then as the school's director for four years.

Ernzen’s work has earned special recognition from the Design Build Institute of America, the American Institute of Steel Constructors and the Arizona Chapter of the American Concrete Institute, which gave him its Lifetime Membership Award.

He is a director of the American Concrete Institute’s Arizona Chapter and currently advises the organization’s student chapter at ASU. He also co-advises the Fulton Schools student military veterans organization.

To accomplish the goals laid out for the PENTA Building Group Professorship, Ernzen says he will need every skill learned from the many responsibilities he has undertaken over the past 40-plus years as an engineer, construction professional and teacher.

“We need more well-educated people, across the entire spectrum of our industry, from the PhDs who will become professors and researchers to the construction equipment operators on the ground,” he said.

Fulfilling that aspiration presents him with a multidimensional set of tasks, including fundraising; cultivating more connections between students and faculty, alumni and industry partners; and recruiting more faculty with the knowledge and expertise to raise the level of students’ academic experiences.

Ready to take educational endeavors to the next level

Professor Ram Pendyala, interim director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, is confident Ernzen is up to the task.

“Our students have greatly benefited from the learning opportunities, educational experiences and mentoring that Jim has tirelessly provided over the past few decades,” Pendyala said. “So, we are looking forward to benefiting further from his dedication to developing the next generation of construction professionals in his new role as the the PENTA Building Group Professor.”

Former and current students echo those expectations of Ernzen.

“He provided great guidance and input during my undergrad years, as well as support for establishing a new student organization,” said Jeremy Meek, a 2009 construction management graduate. He is now a principal of Desert Star Construction, a Scottsdale-based luxury homebuilding company that funds two scholarship programs for Del E. Webb School students.

Ernzen “invested countless hours, energy and passion” into ensuring students’ success in schoolwork and into preparing them for careers, Meek says. “The construction program would not be what it is today without him and others like him.”

Macy Canete, a construction management senior on course to graduate in the spring of 2020, says Ernzen “goes above and beyond” to make sure students “are not just memorizing their lessons to pass tests” but fully comprehending what he is teaching.

“He is a great role model who is having an impact on our profession because he’s igniting our desire to strive to be better at whatever we do,” Canete said.

Ernzen says his new title comes with the most daunting array of job duties he’s ever had, but also the most exhilarating prospects for making a significant difference.

“We want to elevate everything we are doing,” he said of the Del E. Webb School leadership and faculty, “and it’s really energizing to be a part of building an enduring legacy for the future.”

With the PENTA Building Group endowed professorship, Ernzen joins a distinguished group of Del E. Webb School faculty members. Anthony Lamanna is the Sundt Professor of Alternative Delivery Methods & Sustainable Development and G. Edward Gibson Jr. is the Sunstate Chair of Construction and Engineering.

The school also has an endowed AGC Lecturer position held by Barry Kutz and funded by the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, as well as an endowed Beavers Heavy Construction Chair position named in honor of longtime school supporters Bill Ames and Wink Ames. The chair is held by Professor of Practice Wylie Bearup. Kutz and Bearup have each had decades-long leadership roles in their construction industry careers.

These endowed positions are building the foundations on which the school can achieve increasingly robust educational excellence and further establish a legacy of impact on the construction industry.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Law launches nation’s first Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs

Lawrence S. Roberts and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes join as founding faculty

October 1, 2019

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has announced that it will be the first law school in the United States to offer programs focused in both Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance as part of its Indian Legal Program (ILP).

Tribal initiatives have successfully addressed challenges that echo from repudiated federal policies. ASU Law is supporting those tribal initiatives by developing advanced degree programs focused on Indian gaming and tribal self-governance for professionals who desire an advanced, concentrated curriculum in these areas. photo of Lawrence Roberts and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes and Lawrence S. Roberts join as founding faculty of ASU Law's new Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs. Download Full Image

The Indian Gaming Program is anticipated to provide an in-depth curriculum focused on the legal developments that led to Indian gaming, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the role of tribal and federal regulatory agencies, tribal-state compacts, intergovernmental agreements and evolving trends in Indian gaming.

The Tribal Self-Governance Program is anticipated to include courses focused on federal Indian policy, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, planning for assumption of federal programs, strategic planning and administration, negotiation of contracts and compacts with the federal government, the HEARTH Act and evolving trends in tribal self-governance.

“ASU Law is committed to serving the educational needs of our tribal nations,” said ASU Law Dean and Professor of Law Douglas Sylvester. “With the addition of our Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs, we are building upon our world-class Indian Legal Program to ensure that our students receive the best possible education and real-world experience while they are here.”

The Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs will equip professionals with a background in federal Indian law and comprehensive courses designed to help graduates seamlessly integrate into the job of their choice.

Graduates may serve as in-house counsel, senior or mid-level executives for tribes or tribal entities, tribal elected officials responsible for overseeing these aspects of their tribal operations and other professionals with careers that intersect with these areas, such as congressional staff and federal, state and local employees.

The programs will be offered as a degree emphasis in the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program and Master of Laws (LLM) degree program, as well as a certificate.

“History has also shown that tribes can better meet the needs of their citizens when the federal trustee works to promote tribal sovereignty and self-determination. We believe that both our programs will provide critical education for those working for the tribes or in Indian gaming,” said Sylvester.

Founding faculty include Professors of Practice Lawrence S. Roberts and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes.

Roberts was appointed to a position within the Indian Affairs office in the Department of the Interior by President Barack Obama in 2012 and served in a variety of leadership positions while there. As the deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development, Roberts supervised the Office of Self-Governance, the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the Office of Indian Gaming. Roberts later served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, managing all Indian Affairs programs and offices, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.

Roberts served as the acting assistant secretary for Indian Affairs and led Indian Affairs for the final year of the Obama administration. Over the course of the Obama administration, Indian Affairs restored over 500,000 acres of homelands to tribal nations; implemented the HEARTH Act to promote tribal sovereign authority over the leasing of tribal lands; revised regulations to advance tribal self-governance and self-determination in the areas of the Indian Child Welfare Act, land into trust, the granting of rights-of-way across Indian lands; the leasing of Indian lands; and reorganized the Bureau of Indian Education.

photo of Lawrence S. Roberts

Professor Lawrence S. Roberts speaks at the Indian Legal Program's Welcome Dinner earlier this year.

“Professor Roberts’ depth of experience in leading Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior during the Obama administration, serving as general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission, and work as a trial attorney at the United States Department of Justice will provide students with the insights and skills needed to excel in an increasingly competitive job market,” said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, professor and faculty director for ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program and director of the Indian Legal Clinic.

Roberts, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, grew up in an urban environment, and it wasn’t until law school that he fully appreciated how federal Indian policies directly affected his family.

“College was not a certainty, but it was a goal. It was a goal instilled by my grandmother, Maxine Elm, who earned her college degree after raising 10 children. She went on to work for a university, helping Native students earn their degrees,” said Roberts. “My journey to ASU Law was not a straight line, but a series of learnings from setbacks and preparing for opportunities. My personal journey would not have been possible without the foresight, support and assistance of Oneida leadership, encouragement from my family, and the countless professionals and mentors that have guided me every step of the way.”  

“I look forward to educating the next generation of Native professionals that stand upon the shoulders of those that have come before us,” Roberts said.

Roberts is joined by Bledsoe Downes, the executive vice president of community impact and engagement at Ho-Chunk, Inc. Bledsoe Downes previously served as the executive director of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program and, prior to that role, served as the director of graduate programs for the ILP. She subsequently served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development for Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She also served as acting director of the Bureau of Indian Education.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Professor Bledsoe Downes on our faculty. Her passion to teach and her vast experience bring so much to our new Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs,” said Ferguson-Bohnee. “We look forward to seeing the programs’ impact on our Tribal communities.”

Bledsoe Downes also worked as policy advisor for tribal affairs for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and also served as president of Little Priest Tribal College. She is from Winnebago, Nebraska, and is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. She also received her Juris Doctorate from ASU Law, a place she calls her second home.

“I'm from a small tribal community and a first-generation college student. Law school seemed completely out of reach,” said Bledsoe Downes. “However, as I saw my tribal leadership continually fighting for our rights, it was clear to me that law school was exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to advocate for my tribe. Tempe was the first place I lived other than the reservation where I grew up. I have been a part of ASU Law for over 25 years and to now join as faculty is an extreme honor.”

Bledsoe Downes is looking forward to working at the nation’s No. 1 school for innovation, an honor that Arizona State University has been named for the past five consecutive years.

“Academia has a hierarchy and that hierarchy is embedded in a very bureaucratic system. This can sometimes mean it is very rigid. President (Michael) Crow and Dean Sylvester are both leaders who encourage innovation and emphasize service to students and service to community. I think those commitments are the catalyst to change in the overall system. I'm excited to be a part of that,” said Bledsoe Downes.

photo of Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes

Professor Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes speaks at the Indian Legal Program's Welcome Dinner earlier this year.

When reflecting upon her own experience, she knows that her role in educating the next generation of legal professionals is critical.

“So much of what helped me in my career came as a result of an experienced leader who was willing to spend time with me and help me grow,” said Bledsoe Downes. “It is such an exciting time to be pursuing a legal education. There are large numbers of alumni and professionals with similar backgrounds who are willing to mentor and support you. There are still numerous challenges that tribal communities face, and law school requires a lot of sacrifice, but you will emerge as a stronger version of you and you will be ready to help tribes face those challenges.”

The Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs build upon ASU Law’s nearly four decades of commitment to tribal nations through its Indian Legal Program.

“ILP’s success in educating Native students in a JD program is unmatched. Adding master's-level programs in gaming and self-governance will open the doors for a whole new range of professionals who do not intend to be practicing attorneys, save employers years of on-the-job training, and maximize tribal resources. Graduates will bring a higher level of expertise to tackle the challenges of today and the future,” said Roberts. “Teaching advanced courses in these areas complements and strengthens what I believe is already the best Indian law program in the country.”

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law