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ASU sets stage to expand collaborations with Vietnam’s higher education leaders

New agreement will further academic, research and economic aspirations of ASU, VNUHCM

December 18, 2017

Arizona State University and Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM) are forging a long-term agreement to pursue an array of collaborative ventures aimed at mutual goals in academics, research, global educational leadership and economic development.

On Monday, ASU President Michael M. Crow and VNUHCM President Huynh Thanh Dat signed a memorandum of understanding that paves a path toward establishing joint research projects, undergraduate and graduate studies programs, and faculty, student and academic support staff exchanges between the universities. people signing papers at desk Professor Huynh Thanh Dat (foreground, left), president of Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City, and Arizona State University President Michael Crow (right) sign a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 18 on an agreement for the universities to pursue a range of joint academic, research and global education leadership ventures. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU. Download Full Image

The VNUHCM agreement also provides a general framework for exchange activities that will include visits by faculty and students, yearlong study-abroad opportunities and faculty sabbaticals, as well as joint seminars, courses and workshops, and sharing of technical support and services.

The new alliance builds on other ongoing related endeavors between ASU, VNUHCM and several other Vietnamese universities over the past several years.

Those multifaceted efforts focus on elevating higher education in Vietnam, particularly in engineering, science and technology. Projects involve developing advanced curriculum and improving institutional quality assurance assessment to aid Vietnamese universities in attaining higher-level educational credentials and accreditations.

Major objectives set forth in the VNUHCM agreement include creating a “tool kit” for that university’s post-secondary education quality assessment and building an education data center to support assessment projects.

Aiding Vietnam’s efforts to upgrade its university education system so that it can supply a better-trained workforce and boost the country’s economic outlook helps to strengthen key U.S. governmental and marketplace relationships in Southeast Asia, said Crow.

“ASU’s goals in the collaboration agreement with VNUHCM align with the international investment interests of U.S. industries,” Crow said, “and just as importantly with our goals in preparing ASU students to thrive in a global marketplace.”

The first major undertaking will be planning and development of a National Assessment Project to evaluate the quality of higher education in Vietnam.

Inspired by ASU’s New American University strategy, the Vietnam National Assembly Chairman for Education asked ASU leaders to support Vietnam in its efforts to improve access to its universities in addition to ramping up educational quality.

The outcome of the assessment, along with specific recommendations for initiating improvements, will be presented at a national conference in October.

The delegation of 10 Vietnamese education leaders that attended the memorandum signing at ASU included a member of Vietnam’s National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children. The committee is responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of Vietnam’s education system.

Vietnam’s government wants to see its education system advance to a level where it can help to meet the requirements for the industrialization and modernization necessary for the country to succeed in an international market economy.

VNUHCM President Dat views the collaboration with ASU as particularly pivotal in Vietnam fulfilling the quest to modernize its higher education system.

Dat and a contingent of Vietnamese education officials have been on an extensive trip across the United States, visiting San Francisco, the Boston area — including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and Washington, D.C., before coming to ASU.

“We came here to learn about the American higher education system so that we can adapt it to our university and to the Vietnamese system. We are trying to do everything we can” to achieve that transformation as completely as possible, Dat said.

He emphasized that the joint ventures with ASU will help Vietnam education leaders institute a more advanced university governing system, including improvements in administrative practices, financial management and fund-raising strategies, as well as cultivating entrepreneurship and the generation of business startup ideas from within research and academic programs.

The memorandum signing ceremony was hosted by the office of Global Outreach and Extended Education in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, which has been at the forefront of ASU’s collaborations with Vietnamese universities in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and major industry partners.

USAID also sponsors the BUILD-IT Alliance at ASU, which is leveraging government, industry and academic partners to match science, technology, engineering and math instruction at Vietnam’s higher education institutions to the needs and capabilities of the country’s key industries.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


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What will it take to convince climate skeptics?

December 12, 2017

Early sentinel of global warming Tickell discusses how thinking changed in Europe, what needs to happen to alter US opinion

This week the “One Planet” summit meeting in Paris focused on meeting climate goals without the help of the U.S. government.

The summit comes two years after the landmark climate-change conference in Paris when 196 countries vowed to keep this century’s global temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a deal known as the Paris Agreement.

The United States is now the only nation on Earth to have rejected the global pact.

We talked to Sir Crispin Tickell (pictured above), a British diplomat, environmentalist and academic, and Distinguished Sustainability Fellow in Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

In Britain, Tickell is influential on environmental issues. He argued in a 1977 book — “Climatic Change and World Affairs” — that mandatory international pollution control would eventually be necessary. He was credited by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for persuading her to make a speech on global climate change to the Royal Society in September 1988.

Question: What do you think could have been done differently in this country?

Answer: I think if U.S. presidents had been ready to recognize what is happening, and to say so, it would have been very helpful. Obama was quite good on it. He acknowledged it. The science is fairly unequivocal. It’s very clear that’s what’s going on. What is not so clear is what happens in different parts of the world. The Chinese are suffering from a good deal of unexpected change. Indians likewise. The British too and the Americans likewise. But I think it’s a question of how you present it. There are people in the United States who resent the whole thing and reject it all. There are very few people like that in Britain at the moment.

Q: What is your advice on how to turn this situation around?

A: I think you need to have some political strength. Obama is probably going to go on saying what he’s saying, but if other politicians could articulate what they think is going on, it would be helpful. We need a bit of political leadership. We had it originally in Britain from Margaret Thatcher, with whom I used to work quite closely. The current government sits it all out quite clearly. At the moment it’s not contentious. It’s just accepted as part of the natural changes taking place. Of course people are thinking about what we ought to do about it. That’s different; whether we should introduce new taxes on motor vehicles, how we could cope with excessive carbon, that kind of thing is just very tricky.

Q: Do you think the world can be saved from this?

A: Oh yes, I think so. If we are not able to stick to the targets of reducing carbon content in the atmosphere according to those set by the Paris meeting, I think we should all suffer. ... It’d just be very uncomfortable and very inconvenient. The hotter it warms and the more eccentric the behavior, the more people want to do something about it, but that hasn’t happened so much yet. It’s happened a bit — but not yet on any real scale. You need a bit of help from the environment before you can persuade everyone they’ve got to do something about it, especially if it’s something inconvenient, like cutting this or cutting that.

Q: An article this week reported that the Government Accountability Office, which is kind of like a watchdog for Congress, came out and said that the cost of cleaning up after disasters has been more than $350 billion over the past 10 years. We’re a capitalist country — nothing speaks so strongly as the almighty dollar. Do you think people will sit up and pay attention when it continues to cost us billions of dollars because of natural disasters?

A: I think politicians should take a grip and explain clearly to people in language they can understand what is happening and what has to be done about it, and what it will be necessary to do if nothing is done sooner rather than later. It’s a long-term process and very difficult to say at what point it becomes indispensable, but it certainly is becoming indispensable. Different parts of the United States are suffering increasingly from change, whatever it may be.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU supports Vietnamese student entrepreneurship competition

December 11, 2017

Vietnam is looking to become a country of innovators, and the country’s student entrepreneurs are answering the call.

To celebrate the grand-opening semester of the Maker Innovation Space at the University of Da Nang in Vietnam, the Maker to Entrepreneur Program put on a one-week competition for students to show their ability to innovate. Vietnamese students present their prototype in an entrepreneurship competition in Danang, Vietnam. Vietnamese student teams presented product prototypes at the Maker to Entrepreneur Program’s competition at the University of Da Nang’s Maker Innovation Space in September. Photo courtesy of Thao Nguyen Download Full Image

The Maker to Entrepreneurship Program supports prototypical startups and promotes their innovative ideas and scalable products. MEP came out of a series of Maker Innovation Forums sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and organized by Arizona State University in the cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi and Can Tho. At these forums, entrepreneurs, small-business owners, startups, makers and inventors connected with government representatives responsible for developing and administering innovation and entrepreneurship policy.

Together, these stakeholders identified challenges and solutions to support Vietnam’s burgeoning ecosystem, create economic value and drive development in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM.

Over the week of Sept. 25, student teams from the University of Da Nang worked to create a viable idea to help real-world communities and businesses, and then build a tangible product.

For the final round, seven student teams brought their best ideas to prototype final products, pitch them and provide demonstrations of their prototypes at the University of Da Nang Maker Innovation Lab.

Team PRIME’s A ROGO-Robot, a modular robot to help teach kids engineering and technology skills, won first place at the Maker and Entrepreneur Program’s competition. Photo courtesy of Thao Nguyen

Products were scored on their originality, innovation, feasibility, social impact or business potential, and their prototype or proof of concept.

The competition was judged in part by Jeffrey Goss, ASU associate vice provost of Southeast Asia, executive director of Global Outreach and Extended Education in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and principal investigator of BUILD-IT, a project implemented by ASU to help Vietnam modernize its science, technology engineering and mathematics higher education system. ASU's Kellie Kreiser, executive director of Thunderbird for Good, was among the additional competition judges. 

First place and $700 went to team PRIME, who created A ROGO-Robot, a simple, modular robot designed to teach community children the basics of programming, integrated circuits, mechanics and other technology skills.

Team PANT9X created a wireless sensor network to monitor soil and weather conditions for a landslide early-warning system, taking second place and $400.

The Guardians team took home third place and $300 for its work creating a smart hydroponic system for growing vegetables that is easy and affordable enough for home use. The autonomous system allows households to grow their own vegetables free of harmful chemicals in an energy- and water-efficient manner.

Additional competing teams created an environmentally friendly tank for burning votive paper, along with a robotic arm and two versions of an Internet of Things platform for smart home technology and devices.

ASU Engineering Projects in Community Service Director Joshua Loughman and Associate Director Hope Parker contributed to the competition. 

 Seven teams competed in the final round of the Maker to Entrepreneur Program’s competition in September 2017. The top three teams took home $1,400 in prizes. Photo courtesy of Thao Nguyen
Seven teams competed in the final round of the Maker to Entrepreneur Program’s competition in September. The top three teams took home $1,400 in prizes. Photo courtesy of Thao Nguyen
Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


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ASU professors say military is off when reporting civilian deaths

December 8, 2017

The American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State has killed tens of thousands of ISIS fighters since August 2014, but the military is off when it comes to reporting civilian deaths, say two ASU professors who spent 18 months investigating the issue for an in-depth report for The New York Times Magazine.

In their report, “The Uncounted,” Azmat KhanAzmat Khan is an ASU Future of War Fellow at New America in Washington, D.C. and Anand GopalAnand Gopal is an assistant research professor with ASU's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center on the Future of War. , both professors with ASU’s Center on the Future of War, write that the military consistently fails to investigate claims properly, keeps poor records, relies on flawed or outdated intelligence and conflates civilian and combatant deaths. Among their claims: “This may be the least transparent war in recent American history.”

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Azmat Khan

Question: In “The Uncounted,” you write of Basim Razzo, a Mosul, Iraq resident whose home was bombed in a drone strike by the U.S. military on Sept. 20, 2015. Why did you highlight his story

Azmat Khan: Though we met so many compelling survivors, Basim was the main character in our story for several reasons. The first is that the particular circumstances of his case met some of the highest coalition standards for an airstrike. By that, I mean that his was a so-called deliberate airstrike, which can be planned over weeks or months, and there is more time for the coalition to consider and vet the target before it is carried out. The overwhelming majority of coalition strikes — 85 percent — are not deliberately planned strikes, meaning they are planned sometimes over minutes or hours based on some urgent need. Additionally, the coalition had classified this target as an “ISIS headquarters” — which we learned often had to meet the highest thresholds of intelligence and civilian casualty mitigation efforts compared to other targets. So essentially, we chose a case that represented the “best case” scenario — some of the best vetting, planning and intelligence.

The second is Basim as a character. He’s so compelling, so resilient. Having lived in both the U.S. and Iraq, he can provide insight into both worlds, and American readers will understand that. He also spoke fluent English, and compared with many of the other civilian survivors we met, he had networks and contacts that made it possible for him to reach out to the coalition himself. Few Iraqis can do that. Not to mention he had compiled such a degree of evidence, and the video of the strike had been put online. So if even he was unable to clear his name on his own, it gives the reader insight into how difficult it would be for an Iraqi who doesn’t have those connections or language skills.

Q: You state in the article that this is the “least transparent war in recent history.” Why is that?

Anand Gopal: Wars always suffer from a lack of transparency. Every government and every military is opposed to transparency; the extent that their activities are transparent is a function of the activity of third parties — watchdogs, journalists and, most important, social movements. Unlike the previous Iraq war (2003–2011), there has been little media interest in this conflict, and almost no anti-war movement. Partly this may be due to the fact that the enemy is ISIS, which many feel is a group so beyond the pale as to not justify the usual humanitarian concerns in war. And partly this may be due to the fact that there are few boots on the ground, and fewer Americans feel connected to this conflict than any other in recent times. 

Q: You wrote that the military is purposely reporting low numbers on civilian casualties, and that the total is likely 31 times as high as reported. What’s the likely motivation?

Anand Gopal: Since the anti-war movement associated with Vietnam, there has been a norm in this country against killing civilians unnecessarily. The United States portrays its military actions abroad as just and humanitarian; to bolster this perception, there is a strong tendency [for the military] to undercount civilian casualties. More generally, militaries are not normally in the job of tracking how many civilians they kill — this is usually done by journalists, watchdogs and social movements.

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Anand Gopal

Q: Your investigation revealed that in many of the airstrikes resulting in civilian death, there were no discernible ISIS targets nearby. What do you think is the cause for that?

Azmat Khan: These were likely the misidentification of a civilian target due to either poor or outdated intelligence, which is what happened in Basim’s case. So for example, in one case we knew that an ISIS fighter had left an area about half an hour before the airstrike hit. Half of the civilian death incidents we found were likely the result of such poor or outdated intelligence. 



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Net neutrality: ASU expert on how the FCC vote could affect you

December 7, 2017

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality. To better understand the consequences of this vote, ASU Now spoke with Heather Ross, clinical assistant professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. Ross detailed the potential negative consequences for consumers, students, political campaigns and healthcare.

Question: Practically speaking, how will eliminating net neutrality affect the average American? Will people notice a change in their internet speed or cost?

Heather Ross

Answer: From a practical perspective, eliminating net neutrality will transform the current internet from an information superhighway where all the lanes travel at the same speed to a road with many different lanes, including high-speed lanes that are limited to certain users, and low-speed lanes that everyone else can use. Eliminating net neutrality will put internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Charter in charge of which websites can use which lanes. Keep in mind that the rules governing the internet and net neutrality are written in the Communications Act of 1934, long before the internet existed (or superhighways, for that matter).

Most people will notice some changes in their internet speed for some sites, depending on their ISP. For example, in a hypothetical case, Comcast could choose to put its own proprietary video streaming service in a high-speed lane but place Netflix in a lower-speed lane that results in interrupted video quality. In a real-life case, in 2012 (prior to the net-neutrality regulations of 2015) Verizon limited the use of the iPhone's FaceTime video calling service on certain cellular plans. In this hypothetical case, Comcast could charge its customers an additional fee to stream Netflix at a higher speed. In the real-life AT&T case from 2012, cellular FaceTime video calling was only available on higher-cost cellular plans.

Q: How could college students who are completing their education online be affected by a loss of net neutrality?

A: ASU joins many other universities around the world in offering online educational opportunities so that students can start, continue and complete their education at all levels, wherever they happen to live or whatever their life circumstances. Personally, I have had the privilege of teaching students who are actively deployed in the military, who have kept up with their education by using online resources. For online students, a slow-down in internet speeds or even blockage of certain sites can impede their ability to access videos, audio recordings, live-streamed lectures and interactive discussions that make online learning feasible and effective. In effect, losing net neutrality has the potential to limit or restrict the content that online students can access, which can slow down their ability to learn and complete their coursework. 

Q: Over the last decade, political campaigns have increasingly relied on the internet to connect with voters. Would candidates and campaigns need to adjust their strategy if net neutrality is eliminated?

A: Many political candidates worry that if net neutrality is eliminated, ISPs may target political communications and websites for internet speed slowdowns or restrictions. Some candidates fear that slowdowns could be targeted along political party lines, and therefore disadvantage one party's ability to communicate with voters effectively. If net neutrality is eliminated, candidates, campaigns, political activists and organizations may need to find other grassroots ways to connect with voters. For example, so-called old-fashioned methods of direct mail and telephones may return to prominence in political messaging. In addition, never count out the power of innovating new types of communication systems to replace the role that the internet currently plays. (Disclosure: I am a candidate for U.S. Congress in 2018.)

Q: Recently, healthcare organizations have expressed concern over the potential loss of net neutrality. How might the elimination of net neutrality impact healthcare providers, patients, research and innovation?

A: Healthcare today revolves around the internet for the use of electronic medical records (EMRs) that were mandated by the federal government in the HITECH ActThe Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. and the ACA. Today, nearly 90 percent of medical practices use an electronic medical record. Internet speed slowdowns could impact healthcare providers' efficiency in the hospital and the clinic, or force healthcare providers to pay more to their ISP to ensure that their EMRs function at a higher speed.

Beyond medical records, many people use internet-connected medical devices for a range of medical conditions including diabetes and heart rhythm disorders. For some people, internet-connected medical devices provide critical information and treatment to keep them alive. If net neutrality is eliminated, patients like these may run the risk of a slowdown in communication speed for their critical health information. For some people, like someone with dangerously low blood sugar or someone who is having an abnormal heart rhythm that puts them at risk for a stroke, slower internet speeds could raise their risk of a worsened or dangerous health outcome that could have been prevented with faster internet-based communication, whether directly to the patient or to their healthcare provider.

Finally, many health researchers work in teams located all over the world that rely on sharing vast sums of complex data over the internet. Restrictions or slowdowns in data may hamper research and innovation progress for universities, nonprofits and corporations by increasing the costs of data communication in both time and money.

Katherine Reedy

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


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2 powerful universities share ways to propel innovation at scale

University of Guadalajara to open office at ASU for cross-border collaboration.
December 7, 2017

University of Guadalajara will be the first international institution to establish a field office on ASU's campus

The University of Guadalajara and Arizona State University, both innovators, partnered this week to discuss how the institutions can make big changes quickly.

Thirty top-level administrators from the University of Guadalajara spent three days at ASU in an “Innovation Leadership Program” this week, hearing how ASU President Michael Crow has created the New American University.

Crow said that both institutions have accepted the responsibility to improve life not only in their respective communities but also in North America and around the world.

“We share the same mission. We share the same vision,” Crow told the visitors on Thursday, Dec. 7. “At the root of it all is educational attainment — more people graduating, more people in technical education, more people in undergraduate education, more people in graduate education."

Both universities are large. The University of Guadalajara, which was founded in 1791, has 15 campuses and an enrollment of more than 280,000 vocational, high school, undergraduate and graduate students. It also operates an online program and more than 40 research centers including the Manantlan Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity Preservation and the Center of Western Seismology and Volcanology Studies.

Crow described the changes he propelled at ASU when he arrived 15 years ago, including eliminating 80 academic units and expanding access.

“We did away with the geology and political science and philosophy and astronomy departments and we created transdisciplinary schools that have tremendously outperformed all previous structures,” he said. “Every student that is qualified to attend a research university will have access to this university — there are no artificial admission standards.”

ASU also has worked to better reflect the socioeconomic diversity of Arizona.

“Twenty percent of our students come from at or below the poverty level, and a few years ago it was at 2 percent,” Crow said. “We’ve improved our graduation rate by 85 percent.”

Maria Felicitas Parga Jimenez and Alberto Castellanos Guterriez were among 30 top administrators from the University of Guadalajara who attended the "Innovation Leadership Program" at ASU this week. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Crow said the faculty not only accepted profound change but were empowered to design it.

“Everything was on the table. We changed the culture from a bureaucratic, military-like structure of a university where no one was willing to change anything,” he said. “The faculty took that seriously and they came back with a brilliant design — a new School of Life Sciences that has 120 faculty and no departments.”

Carlos Ivan Moreno, the vice provost for international affairs at the University of Guadalajara, said that ASU’s culture is impressive.

“In every process, at different levels of the institution, this motivation to innovate permeates the whole university,” he said. “It’s very difficult for institutions as complex as universities to do that at a massive scale.”

Moreno said that Guadalajara also seeks to innovate, having transformed itself several years ago when it decentralized and built a network of 15 small universities within the state of Jalisco.

“This decentralization allowed us to grow without compromising academic quality and to take the university to underserved communities instead of bringing students to the metropolitan area of Guadalajara,” Moreno said.

Over the past four years, more than 300 students from the University of Guadalajara have studied at ASU and a handful of Sun Devils have traveled to Jalisco for a summer immersion program.

Next year, the University of Guadalajara will become the first international university to open a field office on ASU’s campus to further develop cross-border collaboration, such as joint research projects, student and faculty exchanges and other initiatives.

Itzcóatl Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla, president of the University of Guadalajara, met with ASU President Michael Crow during the three-day "Innovation Leadership Program." Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

At the workshop, the Mexican educators heard about several ASU projects that remove obstacles to student success. These include:

Creating a high school pipeline: ASU Prep Digital is a new online high school that allows students to take ASU courses for credit at the same time they are working on their high school diploma.

“We create a college-going culture with kids so they start to think of themselves as a college-going student at an early age,” said Julie Young, CEO of ASU Digital Prep.

Simplifying the application process: ASU’s admission and enrollment services wanted to eliminate a common barrier — submitting a formal high school grade transcript. So applicants to this year’s freshmen class were allowed to “self-report” their grades, according to Matt Lopez, executive director of admission services.

Half the applicants sent a transcript and half self-reported. Of the total number of students who were accepted into the class of 2021, 62 percent were from the self-reported group.

“Human nature might say, ‘They didn’t give the right grades,’ but we do require a transcript after they’ve been admitted and we verify what they report,” Lopez said. “We concluded that this change has opened the door to many wonderful students.”

Boosting success in the first semesters: ASU offers 370 degree options and that can be overwhelming to students, according to Fred Corey, vice provost for undergraduate education.

Freshmen who are undecided must choose one of four “exploratory” tracks, which they can do for no more than three semesters. Students take a one-credit class each semester to help them make a choice.

“Some students are decision-phobic,” Corey told the visitors. “They’re afraid the rest of their life will be pre-determined, but we tell them they’re building a portfolio.”

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

ASU also has changed the way some students take their “gateway” courses, such as college algebra, which had high failure rates, said Arthur Blakemore, vice president for student success.

“When students struggle in these courses they will drop out of the university, so we want to improve retention and graduation by improving success in these courses,” he said.

So now several gateway courses, including introductory biology and physics, are done online through an “adaptive learning” model, in which students learn small chunks of content at a time, being tested for mastery before moving onto the next level. More students are passing than with the previous lecture model, he said.

Last spring, Crow visited Guadalajara to meet with Itzcóatl Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla, president of the University of Guadalajara, and the faculty, describing academic strategy, student support, growth of online learning and the future of higher education. 

“Arizona State University and the University of Guadalajara, as public institutions, reaffirm their commitment to work to strengthen their academic communities,” Bravo Padilla said.

“To learn from each other’s experiences that will contribute to the development of society through education, innovation, science and technology.”

Top photo: ASU President Michael Crow addresses a group of 30 leaders from the University of Guadalajara on the Tempe campus Dec. 7. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


ASU senior wins prestigious Marshall Scholarship

December 6, 2017

Frank Smith III, an Arizona State University senior majoring in political science and public policy, is one of 43 students nationwide who have been awarded the Marshall Scholarship to pursue graduate degrees in the United Kingdom.

With support from the Marshall Scholarship, Smith will begin attending Oxford University next fall to study for a Master of Philosophy in comparative social policy. Frank Smith Frank Smith has won a prestigious Marshall Scholarship that will allow him to pursue a master's degree at Oxford University in the U.K. Download Full Image

“If you would have told me years ago that I would be in this position today, I would never have believed it,” Smith said.

Smith, who will graduate Arizona State University in May with bachelor’s degrees in political science and public policy with a concentration in business, was offered both the prestigious 2018 Marshall and Schwarzman Scholarships. Smith chose to accept the Marshall Scholarship. (He also interviewed for the Rhodes Scholarship.)

“Both are phenomenal opportunities and it was an honor to be offered (both), but Marshall is more in line with what I want to do,” he said.

The Marshall Scholarship, funded mainly by the British government, aims to enable intellectually distinguished young Americans to study in the United Kingdom. The scholarship funds study for up to three years at any British institution.

Created in 1953, the scholarship began as a gesture of gratitude to the U.S. for the assistance the U.K. received after World War II under the Marshall Plan, the program that aided in Europe's economic recovery between 1948 and 1951.

Alumni include Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch, and Reid Hoffman, creator of the social networking platform LinkedIn.

Smith was assisted with his application and interview preparation by staff in the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, housed in the Tempe complex of Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. ONSA assists ASU students from any college and with any major in applying for national and international scholarships.

When Smith begins his studies at Oxford it will be quite a distance geographically, physically and emotionally from where he started out.

Born to a mother with substance abuse issues and never knowing his father, Smith — a Mesa, Arizona native — had the cards stacked against him from the beginning. His situation worsened when his mother could no longer care for him and his stepfather became abusive. He ended up in foster care where the neglect and abuse continued. Smith said that throughout his youth, he lived in 27 different foster homes.

“Stability was definitely not part of my childhood,” he said.

When Smith was 17, a distant relative took him in and provided the home and stability he so desperately craved.

“At that point I was able to heal from the experience of being in the foster system. I had been in a foster home where I was not able to interact with my peers normally, take healthy risks, and be a normal teen,” he said.

He took advantage of that stability by enrolling in honors and AP classes, applying for scholarships and becoming involved in extracurricular activities. Overall, his goals at that point were simple.

“I wanted to do well in high school, get at least a 3.2 GPA, graduate, and go to college,” he said.

He was able to accomplish those goals and enter into ASU as an Armstrong Scholar, an Obama Scholar, a Spirit of Service Scholar and a Nina Mason Pulliam Scholar. ASU is where he really thrived, and came into his own.

He was elected the youngest student body president ever at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

He found a passion for working on behalf of foster children and played a role in the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1208, the Foster Care Tuition Waiver, and other pieces of legislation that are now improving outcomes for former foster youth.

Smith served as a field organizer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2016. He now is a policy advisor for David Garcia, who is running for governor of Arizona on a strong education platform.

He is a fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation working on policy affecting foster youth. He went to Ghana during the summer of 2017 to work with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development and wrote a policy memorandum to brief Ghanaian diplomats in support of a $6 billion infrastructure investment plan for Africa.

“That experience in Ghana made me realize I needed to look at policy not just from a local point of view, but from a more global perspective,” he said.

He plans to make that perspective a part of his studies at Oxford, where he will focus in-depth on social policies that have global impact. His future goal is to work in the area of public policy, particularly foster care reform, and ultimately as a chief of staff in the White House or on Capitol Hill.

No matter where or how far he goes, Smith said he will keep in mind where he started.

Only 10 percent of foster youth will go to college and only about three percent graduate, Smith said.

“I always knew the numbers were against me, but I also knew it could be different. I definitely don’t think I would be here without the teachers and mentors who believed in me, and I’m grateful,” he said. “I want to be a role model for foster children and show them they can hope for something better and achieve it.”

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


ASU welcomes clinical psychology doctoral students from Puerto Rico

December 5, 2017

Last year, for the first time ever, the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University hosted three clinical psychology doctoral students from Albizu University in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This year, the school welcomed two more doctoral students — Ariadna Aldarondo Hernandez and Yaddira Molano.

Aldarondo Hernandez and Molano collaborated in faculty-led research projects and contributed to ongoing research, while working closely with the school's faculty members on data analysis, data collection and assessing research questions. Picture of 7 faculty and grad students from ASU From left: Rick Fabes, Carol Martin, Ariadna Aldarondo Hernandez, Yaddira Molano, Laura Hanish, Dawn DeLay and Kent Woods. Download Full Image

This externship program was made possible due to the collaboration of Cynthia Garcia-Coll and Richard Fabes. Garcia-Coll is the associate director of the Institutional Center of Scientific Research of the Albizu University Puerto Rico campus. Fabes is the school director and professor of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU. The goal of this collaboration is for students to gain more diverse experience as researchers.

Aldarondo Hernandez is a fifth year clinical psychology doctoral student at Albizu University. There she received both her Master of Science degree in clinical psychology and her Bachelor of Science in biology from University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. Aldarondo currently works as a research assistant on different research projects with Joy Lynn Suárez from Albizu University.

Aldarondo Hernandez's clinical practice has focused on working with children and adolescents with cognitive disabilities, metabolic disorders and developmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder.

Molano has been working as a music teacher and handbell choir director for the last 27 years. She is currently working at Colegio La Piedad in Isla Verde, Puerto Rio as a preschool music teacher. As a music teacher, Molano noticed that schools were falling short, and new forms of interventions and support are urgently needed to create healthy communities. This inspired her to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology, where she is developing the knowledge and skills that will help her in working with communities in Puerto Rico.

Through her experiences in the classroom and school community, Molano realized the urgent need to help children develop socio-emotional skills. Molano strongly believes that education is one of the most important and effective tools to help develop healthy and happy communities.

“My 'wow' moment was witnessing an extremely active group of people with such strong commitment to connect the knowledge developed in academia with the community,” Molano said. “Research findings are translated into action. It was life changing for me to experience such a great group of professionals that are willing to share their knowledge in such a generous way and in doing so, making profound impact in the lives of others.”

These experiences reflect the school's focus on the well-being of children, youth and families.

“I was truly surprised by how involved the [School of Social and Family Dynamics] is with the community and how individuals and community are always in the forefront of ideas and designs of projects and interventions to make a difference in people’s lives,” Aldarondo Hernandez said.

Both summer cohort students will return to ASU in February 2018 to attend and present at the first Diversity and Inclusion Science Initiative Graduate Research Conference

Article contribution by Arlyn Moreno Luna

John Keeney

Communications Manager, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics


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ASU professor says Prince Harry's marriage unlikely to rile royal family dynamics

December 1, 2017

Prince Harry’s recent engagement to American actress Meghan Markle is a contemporary Grace Kelly/Prince Rainier love story. As expected, media and other palace watchers in Britain and Hollywood have been set abuzz by the couple’s glamorous pairing, which includes such compelling storylines as race, divorce, family lineage and power.

ASU Now asked Retha Warnicke, a professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and author of seven booksWarnicke’s latest book is "Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law: Fashioning Tudor Queenship, 1485-1547", Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. on Tudor women, to unravel the mystery of how the monarchy will handle the arrival of Markle on the scene. 

Woman in glasses smiling
Retha Warnicke

Question: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement has made headlines around the world. What has been the reaction of the royal family and British citizens that an American will be a member of nobility?

Answer: That she is American seems to be no more publicly noticed than that she is bi-racial. After all, Queen Elizabeth's husband is of Greek descent. It has been a common practice for the royal family to marry foreigners, including Victoria and her son Edward VII. All the excitement about Edward VIII was that his chosen wife, an American, was a divorcee. Recently, this has not been so much the trend, partly because there are fewer royal families in positions of importance. And arranged marriages have gone out of style, at least since Charles married Princess Diana. 

Q: The fact that Prince Harry has selected a multi-racial, divorced American actress, what does it say about the monarchy today? 

A: Harry has always been a kind of maverick. But the royal family has survived other mavericks intact, from Edward VIII, for example, to Princess Margaret, to the Prince of Wales, who also married a divorced spouse. Every generation seems to produce at least one maverick, but I don't see much difference in the basic traditions of the royal family. The duke and duchess of Cambridge seem to be somewhat traditional, although she comes from a middle-class family not the aristocracy. Even if Harry sires children with a bi-racial woman, none of them is likely to come close to the queenship or kingship. Finally, if Queen Elizabeth could put up with her sister's antics, I think putting up with Harry will be easier.

I must also point out that I think they have been living together for several months in the Nottingham Cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds. I read that he proposed to her when they were roasting a chicken at the cottage where they were living. So the royal family must have known this might be in the works for some time.

Q: How big an impact can Meghan Markle play in the royal hierarchy? 

A: It depends on the members of the royal family, but Harry has shown no great desire personally to fit in and make an impact, except to catch the notice of gossip columnists. I assume she will be invited to family parties and can reciprocate if Harry wants to do so. Even though she is older than he, I doubt that she will want to take over communications with his family. She has to learn traditions first, although she probably is at least vaguely aware of many of them, as they seem to have been a couple for some months.

Q: Can Prince Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne (but soon to be sixth), have much of an impact given the power structure?

A: I should not think he would have any impact at all, but perhaps now he will behave himself. I think he will be sixth in line soon after the birth of William and Kate’s third child. How much influence has Charles's sister Anne had on the power structure? None, I think.   

Q: Why would Queen Elizabeth not approve the marriage? 

A: There have not been arranged marriages in the royal family since Philip insisted that Charles marry Princess Diana. Can you imagine the reaction of maverick Harry if she turned down his choice? It is the tradition and perhaps even the law to ask her approval, but I think he would have to want to marry a vagabond to get a no response. The power of the queen is illusory. She agrees to statutes, but then she has to; she approves of marriages but then she mostly has to. She can no longer even choose her prime minister, as George VI chose Winston. The party now chooses its leader.

Top photos: The gates of Buckingham Palace. Courtesy of Pixabay.

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ASU forging partnerships with China to speed global innovation

Entrepreneurial 'boot camp,' tourism college among new ASU-China initiatives.
November 28, 2017

University's ties span academic, entrepreneurship and cultural enterprises

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

At this week’s Global Education Summit in Beijing, the mother of an Arizona State University international student excitedly approached Michael M. Crow, eager to talk about her daughter’s studies and telling the ASU president that she was so thrilled to make the ASU connection on her home soil that she drove six hours on the off chance she’d get to meet him.

As ASU continues to pursue a deeper relationship with China and its universities, running into Sun Devil families across the Pacific might become commonplace.

The mom of a Chinese ASU student meets President Crow in Beijing
Julia (Fan Liyun), the mother of ASU computer information systems student Chenguang Li, meets President Michael M. Crow in Beijing on Monday.

Joining the Sun Devil family this semester were more than 250 young Chinese people who started classes at the first ASU location to offer undergraduate degrees in China. The students at the new Hainan University – Arizona State University Joint International Tourism College are learning in English and will graduate with ASU degrees in a venture that’s being funded by the Chinese government as a way to boost its travel industry.

“They picked ASU because we’re large and have the capacity to handle this kind of program, and also because we have a large tourism faculty that’s highly ranked in research,” said Kathleen Andereck, director of the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU, who is leading the program.

Over the past decade, the ASU-China ties have strengthened. More than 10,000 international graduate and undergraduate students attend ASU, with the largest group — about 3,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students — from China. Last year, ASU hosted more than 250 visiting Chinese scholars.

ASU’s relationships with Chinese institutions range from simple student and faculty exchanges to high-level research deals, such as a partnership with Shandong University on “bio-inspired” cancer and vaccine research, water- and air-purification systems and advanced explorations of nanotechnology.

China is a huge economy, Crow said, and this week’s summit is a way to gather global technology companies, investors and education leaders.

“We can’t build universities quickly enough or scale them at a fast enough pace to be able to meet all of our educational needs,” said Crow, who noted that one of ASU’s design aspirations is global engagement.

“So this is an exciting meeting that allow us to figure out how to speed things up in terms of innovation.”

ASU’s initiatives in China span academic, cultural and entrepreneurial enterprises. 

Globally minded academics

The university’s academic partnerships extend across disciplines and schools. For example, the W. P. Carey School of Business offers two master’s programs in Shanghai, with classes in Chinese. Last year, those programs graduated 82 students.

New next fall will be an international graduate program in which the W. P. Carey School of Business is partnering with both Sichuan University in China and Woosong University in South Korea. Students will study one year at each institution and graduate with three degrees: a master’s of finance from ASU, a master’s of science in corporate finance from Sichuan and an MBA from Woosong.

“At W. P. Carey, our mission talks about the fact that our students have the understanding that they are part of this global environment,” said Kay Faris, senior associate dean for academic programs at W. P. Carey. “This is very important to us, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than to have students study in a different country.”

Since 2013, more than 250 Chinese students have graduated with ASU master’s degrees through the International Accelerated Degree Programs. This partnership with 28 top Chinese universities permits students to earn their undergraduate and master’s degrees in less time. More than 30 degrees are offered, including landscape architecture in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, geographic information systems in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and communication studies in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

The Chinese government has identified tourism as a growing enterprise, which led to the launch of the Hainan tourism college this year. That campus is teaching higher education the American way, which means fewer lectures and more interaction and writing, said Andereck. That’s an adjustment for the Chinese students, who are taking the one-credit ASU 101 this semester.

“Typically, students there don’t have as many opportunities to share what they’re thinking, and they noted that they appreciate being able to do that in this class,” said Andereck, who taught the first week of the course in September and will return in the spring to teach a one-credit freshman seminar.

“The students were so receptive to having us there, and they would say, ‘We will burst into tears when we finish this class.’ ”

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is another American-style concept that the Chinese are eager to study.

Next week, ASU will co-host the U.S.-China Youth Forum on Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Opportunities in Shenzhen — considered the Silicon Valley of China. The event will pair 50 American with 50 Chinese entrepreneurs, and they will learn about what’s required to enter both the Chinese and U.S. markets. Speakers will include Nate Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb.

William Brashears, director of global initiatives at ASU, said the participants will get mentoring, attend panel discussions and network with each other.

“We feel the most important part of this will be to make connections with top Chinese entrepreneurs and build long-term relationships,” he said, “and see what the Chinese are doing with accelerators and incubators — the entire innovation movement in China.”

One young entrepreneur who was selected to attend the forum is Sam Hendren, an ASU junior who is majoring in global logistics management in the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Hendren already knows a lot about doing business with China. As a high school student, he founded Tech Gone Wild, an electronics accessories company.

“We sold cases for phones, tablets and other electronics, which we manufactured in China and worked with them to import into the U.S.,” said Hendren, who paused his company when he started at ASU.

“I was doing everything over the internet without being there, so that’s one reason I’m excited to see what it’s like firsthand. We have assumptions and hear things, but I’m really hoping to see the entrepreneurship culture in China.”

ASU is also offering entrepreneurship “boot camps” through the new Global Innovators Alliance. The first group, 20 students from Sichuan University, attended an intensive two-week session at ASU’s Tempe campus last summer, learning how to take a business idea from concept to reality, as well as how to navigate American business culture.

China, long a manufacturing powerhouse, is looking for ways to nurture home-grown innovation. One of the students at the camp, Shan He, an English language and literature major at Sichuan, wants to be a part of that.

“I know Americans have done this for a longer time and have already built a culture of doing this,” she said. “I would like to do consulting to promote this culture and creativity in China to help startups.” 

A window into culture

Cultural exchange is another vital aspect of ASU’s partnerships, and the university was an innovator in this area. The Sichuan University-Arizona State University Center for American Culture was the first of its kind when it was created in 2011. Its success led to the American Centers for Cultural Exchange, or ACCEX, a bilateral network of 11 American cultural centers on university campuses in China, funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Each center runs outreach activities, lectures and performances to create a more accurate understanding of American culture and everyday life, according to Brashears, who is director of the Sichuan-ASU center.

For example, the Sichuan-ASU center created a program on race in America that it took to four universities in China. This past summer, scholars from ASU visited to discuss Latino culture, and the center ran a hugely popular video contest for the Chinese students.

“This was about showing the diversity of American culture that had not been touched on before in China,” he said.

A longer established cultural partnership is the Confucius Institute at ASU, with Sichuan University and the Ministry of Education in China, which promotes language and culture programs. The institute, which just marked its 10th anniversary, offers Chinese language courses, summer camps for kids, faculty exchanges, study abroad for ASU students and artistic performances.

And the Confucius Institute reaches into the metro Phoenix community, supporting 14 “Confucius classrooms” at schools around the Valley that teach Mandarin to K-12 students, with several using an “immersion” model in which entire subjects are taught in Mandarin.

College sports is another uniquely American concept that is intriguing to the Chinese, who don’t have a system of encouraging students to pursue athletics at an elite level while they earn a degree. Coaches from China have visited ASU for the past two years to see how it’s done. The visits are part of an initiative by the Pac-12 Conference to strengthen ties with China.

The coaches spent three months on the Tempe campus, observing how a Division I athletics program works. They attended practices of the men’s and women’s basketball, swimming and track and field teams, learning about sports medicine, nutrition, sports psychology and academic support.

Under its “One Belt, One Road” global trade initiative, China is reaching out to the world, and ASU is ready with expertise in higher education, research and entrepreneurship, Brashears said.

“All of their universities are beefing up their language studies, intercultural communication and global communication,” he said.

“It’s an impressive movement."

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Top photo: Shan He, an English language and literature student at Sichuan University, was one of 20 Chinese students to attend an entrepreneurial "boot camp" at ASU this past summer in a partnership between the two universities. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now