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Global leaders learn how ASU embraces emerging challenges at South Korea forum

November 27, 2017

Leaders seeking to understand a world transformed by technology learned how Arizona State University — ranked number one for innovation for three consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report — is reshaping higher education when ASU Enterprise Partners Chief Executive Officer R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. shared the university's vision at South Korea’s Global Leaders Forum, the country’s premier international assembly for addressing pressing societal issues.

Drawing on his decade-long experience shaping university strategy as part of ASU’s executive team, Shangraw focused on how higher education will evolve over the next ten years and how leaders can address emerging challenges and opportunities. man speaking at forum R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. shared ASU's vision for evolving higher education in an era of rapid technological change at the Global Leaders Forum in South Korea. This year’s forum focused on “technological singularity,” the idea that rapidly developing artificial intelligence will outpace our capacity to manage it and trigger unforeseen changes to human civilization. Download Full Image

He was part of a panel that included Ju-Ho Lee, former South Korean minister of education, science, and technology; Jae Sung Lee, vice president of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology; Hye Ri Baek, cofounder of SEED CO-OP; John Schwartz, head of enterprise business development at edX; and Sohail Inayatullah, UNESCO chair for future studies.

Shangraw shared that:

• Colleges and universities are being forced to rethink what and how they teach — known as “instructional design” — because some students arrive on campus highly proficient in technology and demand digitally immersive learning environments; yet others are underprepared and need remedial courses and counseling.

• Life-long learners of all ages will seek to engage with colleges and universities to learn about a wide variety of subjects. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 73 percent of Americans view themselves as life-long learners. 

• Faculty will become increasingly interdisciplinary, often holding degrees in multiple subjects. They’ll be globally connected through sophisticated communication networks.

• The nature of research will change as faculty have ubiquitous access to datasets and methods.

• The nature of teaching will change as faculty interact with hundreds of students through digital learning platforms. More part-time, non-tenured instructors will teach these courses, creating a divide between faculty who both teach and conduct research and faculty who exclusively teach or conduct research.

• Technology is spurring advances in learning analytics, virtual reality as a learning tool, voice-activated learning technologies, and the creation of lifetime digital knowledge portfolios.

• Technology is transforming infrastructure and administration. For example, ASU’s newest residence hall is equipped with Amazon Echo devices programmed to ASU-specific information, including course content. 

• Financial models for higher education are shifting. Universities are diversifying revenue streams as government support shrinks and students struggle with tuition costs. Public-private partnerships, common for parking, residence halls, food service, will grow to include sophisticated models for student, career and enrollment services.

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R. F. “Rick” Shangraw, CEO of ASU Enterprise Partners; Ju-Ho Lee, former South Korean minister of education, science, and technology; and John Schwartz, head of enterprise business development at edX shared with members of the Global Leaders Forum how to embrace changes that will transform higher education.

ASU’s strategy to manage change has focused on strengthening its “knowledge core” — the heart of all major research universities. Comprised of basic research, applied and translational research, inventions, libraries, living-learning facilities, and research facilities, the knowledge core allows the ASU community to create, store, synthesize, analyze, and share knowledge.

It is vital to ASU’s long-term success and must never be compromised, Shangraw said.

Around that core is the evolving campus learning environment. Over the next decade, ASU will advance next-generation digital learning spaces to augment traditional physical classrooms; develop artificial intelligence-based advising and tutoring platforms, and personalize learning at scale.

“We’re not far from the time when everything you studied or learned inside and outside of the classroom will be stored in a personalized digital portfolio for easy reference,” said Shangraw, who, from his current position as CEO of the private, non-profit Enterprise Partners, oversees efforts to raise, create and invest resources for ASU.

Next, ASU will continue to develop digital support for online learning. ASU has one of the largest platforms for a public university with more than 30,000 online students.

ASU will also embrace lifelong learners eager to expand their knowledge and gain new skills. It seeks innovations in content delivery and learning pathways unimpeded by organizational constraints.

Finally, ASU is working on creating fully personalized learning platforms. Learners will be able to take knowledge and skill gained in one adaptive course and transfer it to the next. To advance this model, ASU seeks innovations in virtual reality learning, advanced group learning, and tools to integrate individual learning across life stages.

The most successful colleges and universities will embrace these four realms, Shangraw said.

Learn more at asuenterprisepartners.org.

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Building a true sharing economy

Sharing key resources a critical part of many communities around the world.
Giving what we have is part of what makes us human, ASU anthropologist says.
How can you incorporate sharing into your life? ASU professor has tips.
November 27, 2017

ASU anthropologist Amber Wutich explores how developing trusting relationships makes it possible for us to thrive together

“Can I borrow a cup of sugar?” For many Americans, the question conjures a nostalgic image of friendly neighbors relying on each other for support and assistance. For Amber Wutich, an anthropology professor and director of the the Center for Global Health at Arizona State University, such small acts of kindness form the glue that binds us together and may even ensure our survival.

Wutich is an ethnographer who studies sharing traditions in diverse communities around the world, including a small-scale farming village in Paraguay, a squatter settlement in Bolivia and the Mexican immigrant community in Arizona. In each of these communities, Witich observed residents sharing with one another — even when they had very little for themselves. These sharing networks proved to be a critical element in the life and vitality of the community and its residents.

Regardless of where we live or our economic circumstances, sharing is a fundamental part of what makes us human. In her KEDtalk, Wutich explores how developing nurturing, trusting relationships with one another makes it possible for us to co-exist, support and thrive together. 


Wutich’s talk is part of the ASU KEDtalks series. Short for Knowledge Enterprise Development talks, KEDtalks aim to spark ideas, indulge curiosity and inspire action by highlighting ASU scientists, humanists, social scientists and artists who are driven to find solutions to the universe’s grandest challenges. Tune in monthly to research.asu.edu/kedtalks to discover how the next educational revolution will come about, whether space is the next economic frontier and more.

Media projects manager , Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

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3 global meals you likely won’t see on your table this Thanksgiving

ASU anthropologists share their most memorable meals. What is yours?
November 21, 2017

ASU anthropologists recall the community feasts they’ve shared in the field — and they’re not your typical holiday fare

Thanksgiving time finds many of us thinking back to our fondest food memories. But what if the meal that sticks out most in your mind doesn’t feature a turkey and pumpkin pie?

For three anthropologists from Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, their most memorable meals are a far cry from American tradition. These spur-of-the-moment, inventive community affairs happened while they were in the field — and they made an impact that these scientists will never forget.

To feed a village

“Undoubtedly it was the most food I have ever had the possibility to eat,” sociocultural anthropologist Pauline Wiessner said about her fondest food memory.

She’s referring to a season of field work in Namibia among the Kalahari Bushmen, during which two foreign hunters took a bull elephantElephant hunting is legal in Namibia under specific circumstances and licensing. and, following the laws of the country, the meat was distributed to the local people so as not to be wasted.

While some individuals and cultures may disagree with the hunting of such animals for sport, Wiessner knew the resulting meat played a very important role in the Bushmen community and was impressed with how they processed the elephant remains with both skill and reverence for the creature that had died. When they invited her to join in their meal as a valued guest, she respectfully accepted.

“That night we had a very big meal, boiling the meat in iron pots and feasting together while telling stories,” she said. This huge surplus of meat and the community gatherings it inspired came at the perfect time for Wiessner, who was there to study food sharing, social networks and stories.

“The meat traveled far!” she said.

What goes in the chorizo

Archaeologist Christopher Morehart has been making his own special chorizo recipe at every project site for the past 10 years. Is it traditional? Yes. Is it good? Even Morehart admits, it depends on your definition of the word.

“It’s high in fat and calories, and it’s pretty much only edible within the first couple hours of cooking,” he said.

Morehart, who primarily researches how political change affected ancient people’s use of the environment in Mexico, explains that his projects often include teams of around 10 people, leaving him with a lot of mouths to feed. To solve the dilemma, he invented a dish that students and project members jokingly refer to as “choriza sorpresa,” or chorizo surprise.

“Basically, I take a couple kilos of chorizo, cook it down in whatever frying pan is available, and throw in every vegetable we have in the field house,” he said.

Besides filling up a hungry research team, the dish has the added benefits of being easy to put together and slow to cook, giving Morehart plenty of time to work while dinner is on the stove.

photo of Amber Wutich dancing with a Bolivian woman
ASU anthropologist Amber Wutich (center) dances with a Bolivian construction worker to celebrate the completion of the sports field. Photo courtesy of Wutich

Fish and friendships

After working all morning with a group of local women to help build a sports field for their community in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Amber Wutich watched them make lunch.

Each woman tossed an ingredient — lettuce, tomatoes, salt, rice, potato or eggs — onto a tarp to create a salad. Although the researcher had nothing to add, they invited her to eat with them.

Wutich, a sociocultural anthropologist and the director of the Center for Global Health, was there to study how water insecurity affects the way people share resources.

When she asked what she could bring the following day, they requested a special kind of canned sardine.

The next lunch, with the addition of her sardines, is the meal she remembers best.

“It's hard to explain how, but those sardines combined with the salad were one of the most delicious things I had ever eaten,” Wutich said. “For the rest of that winter, I relished sardine salad meals with different groups of these women, along with stories, jokes and camaraderie.”

In fact, she became such a fan of the salad that not even a community feast celebrating the finished sports field could compare.

“Although many Bolivian delicacies were served at that party, none of them were as delicious as those simple meals our work teams shared,” she said.


Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Mikala Kass

communications assistant , School of Human Evolution and Social Change


USPCAS-E scholars in it to win at Arizona Student Energy Conference

November 16, 2017

Scholars from the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Energy, better known as USPCAS-E, who attend the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar and Arizona State University will be bringing home an award that will make their friends, family and country proud.

They competed with a range of graduate and postdoctoral level candidates from Arizona’s top universities in an annual two-day symposium focusing on renewable energy, technology and policy at the Sixth Annual Student Conference on Renewable Energy Science, Technology and Policy. USPCAS-E Poster Award Winners Scholars from the US-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Energy, University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar pose in front of their poster titled, “Hybrid Energy Testbeds for Remote Communities of Pakistan.” Winners listed: Khuram Shahzad (left), Muhammad Shoaib Khalid (fourth from the left), Kiran Israr (seventh from the left), Ahmad Amin and Adnan Zahid (right). Download Full Image

Muhammad Shoaib Khalid, Khuram Shahzad, Kiran Israr, Adnan Zahid and Ahmad Amin were honored with the Distinguished Poster Award. Their poster was titled, “Hybrid Energy Testbeds for Remote Communities of Pakistan” and focused on the integration of different types of generation systems, like using solar, micro-hydro and biomass systems.

USPCAS-E is a major energy research project funded by USAID in Pakistan dealing with applied and joint research. This project poster, like USPCAS-E’s goals, is focused on improving conditions for the scholars’ home country which suffers from extreme rolling blackouts in urban as well as in rural areas.

Shahzad stated that, “According to [a] World Bank report, 44 percent of [Pakistan’s] rural population is not connected to grid and deprived of electricity.” Exploring hybrid energy solutions could relieve the strain felt in rural Pakistan.

Khalid, principal investigator of the joint project emphasized the tapping of renewable energy resources for electrification of rural communities of Pakistan and the importance of their work at ASU’s Photovoltaic Reliability Lab under the supervision of Govindasamy Tamizhmani, a faculty member who studies energy efficient technologies in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

He explained that the joint project team, “aim[ed] to provide a foundation for [a] nationwide roll-out of microgrids with multiple generation[al] options including solar PV, solar/biomass, biomass, micro-hydro and genset.”

This is the fourth cohort of scholars participating in this USAID-funded exchange program. ASU is looking forward to hosting future award-winning scholars with the intent of furthering research into renewables while fortifying Pakistan’s energy future.

Erika Gronek

Communications Specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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ASU school opens Korea Space to increase understanding of E. Asian nation

South Korea is the eleventh-largest economy in the world.
November 15, 2017

Space in Language & Literature building will be home to various historical and cultural items, as well as informational databases

Students on the lower level of the Memorial Union on Wednesday afternoon seemed unfazed by the Korean language pop song blaring from the Union Stage area. K-pop — the South Korean music genre characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements — has, after all, found a huge fan-base stateside over the past decade.

The popularity of K-pop and other cultural exports, such as film and video games, are emblematic of the country’s increasing influence in America, said Aaron Moore, associate professor of history. Much of that was on display Wednesday at the School of International Letters and Cultures’ Korea Day, a daylong celebration featuring taekwondo demonstrations, traditional music and ceremonies, Arizona State University’s own K-pop dance group KoDE and more.

But it goes beyond just culture — South Korea is the eleventh-largest economy in the world, No. 1 in Internet technology and No. 5 in automobile production, not to mention the country of origin of the multinational conglomerate Samsung. It also happens to be geographically connected to the nation behind one of today’s biggest global security concerns.

“Economically, politically, culturally, South Korea is a very interesting place,” Moore said, and students are picking up on that. “Over the past 10 years, there’s been a huge interest in Korea that has caught everybody by surprise at our university.”

Now, students will have a physical place to go to indulge that interest with the opening of the Korea Space in the Language and Literature building, room 173N. The space, funded by a $32,000 seed grant from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, will be home to various Korean historical and cultural items, as well as informational databases, and eventually multimedia tools.

“The biggest challenge for a teacher is to make Korea more than an abstract place in a book or a language drill,” Moore said. “We envision Korea Space as an open, lounge-like space that encourages collaboration, where classes can meet and students can immerse themselves in the subject.”

About two years ago, Moore was contacted by the nonprofit public diplomacy organization Korea Foundation, which had been working with Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote Korean studies and cultural understanding in foreign countries through Korea spaces at libraries and community centers.

They’d had a lot of success doing so in California and wanted to expand to Arizona — and specifically ASU — because of the state’s growing Korean population and the university’s strong Korean language and culture program within the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC).

Moore worked closely with SILC Associate Director Andrew Ross and faculty Sookja Cho and Bomi Oh over the next couple of years to secure funding, brainstorm ideas for the space and work out logistics.

“There is a need to acknowledge the growing number of Korean heritage learners at ASU,” Ross said, “and to grow to meet their needs and expectations.”

One suggestion Ross and the others have made to the Korean consulate already is to create a network of all the existing Korea spaces throughout the country and the world, in order to further engage students globally. And the space will be a priority consideration when it comes time to renovate the Language and Literature building.

“This is an opportunity for us to show the consulate that this is something that will be included in our plans going forward,” Ross said, “and to establish the Korea Space as part of SILC’s overall footprint on campus.”

At Wednesday’s Korea Day event, audience members were treated to demonstrations of martial arts, traditional clothing and dancing by ASU's K-pop dance team KoDE. Everest Xu, a digital and integrated marketing communications senior, became interested in Korean culture during her freshman year of high school when her friends introduced her to K-pop.

“I like the variety and the entertainment of K-pop,” she said. Her interest carried over into college at ASU, where she is the lead dancer for KoDE and is enrolled in a Korean language course.

In a special guest lecture Wednesday, L.A.’s Korean Consul General Key Cheol Lee talked about how happy he has been with his life in the U.S. over the past couple of years since moving here.

“The best part of the U.S. is the people, the American citizens,” Lee said. “They are kind, tolerant and open-minded. But I have one complaint about the American people: They know too little about South Korea.”

With the establishment of the Korea Space, that may no longer be the case at ASU.


Top photo: ASU's K-pop dance team KoDE (K-pop Dance Evolution) performs on the Union Stage in the basement of the Memorial Union on Wednesday in Tempe. Everest Xu (second from right) leads the team. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

ASU among leading institutions for study abroad participation

November 14, 2017

For its third consecutive year, Arizona State University has increased the number of students participating in credit-bearing, study abroad programs. This increased ranking is a direct reflection of the pointed work to make study abroad accessible to students across all disciplines.

Open Doors, an annual report published by the nonprofit Institute of International Education, released their annual national rankings this week. ASU maintained its ranking as the top public university in the US for international students for the third year in a row. “As a nursing student, I never thought I would be able to study abroad. With the College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s first-ever study abroad, From Lima to Machu Picchu: Exploring Healthcare, Culture, and Ethics, I was able to learn about Transcultural Health Care and implement basic nursing care volunteering in small public clinics in Peru," said ASU nursing alumna Natalie Moceri. "What I learned from the culture and people has impacted me tremendously. I was able to grow professionally as I collaborated with a healthcare team and learned about a different health care system.”

Rankings by leading institution for study abroad are determined by the number of students universities send on study abroad programs per year. ASU tails Florida State University (no. 12), the University of Georgia (no. 13) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (no. 14) by less than 50 students.

These rankings, based on 2015–16 student participation, are released each year during International Education Week. Throughout this academic year, 2,222 ASU students participated in a study abroad program. Jumping from not being ranking in 2012–13, ASU ranked No. 25 in 2013–14, No. 18 in 2014–2015 and now sits as the No. 15 leading institution for supporting domestic students in international program participation.

ASU study abroad director, Adam Henry attributes the growth of study abroad participation to ASU’s focus and strategy to make study abroad more accessible to more students, with a strong focus on reducing academic and financial barriers.

“We are collaborating with faculty and academic advisors from ASU colleges and schools to establish a menu of program options that fit directly to a student’s ASU major,” Henry said. “We have also increased our scholarship offerings to see more students engage globally, including students who have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad enrollments. These experiences provide students the opportunity to build new skills and knowledge that will be advantageous to them as they enter any profession.”

The top six study abroad host countries were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, China and Australia. Students from all ASU campuses are represented in this figure, including ASU Online. The top five disciplines represented in study abroad enrollments include business, health, interdisciplinary studies, journalism and social sciences. ASU students predominantly participated in short-term programs (ranging from two to eight weeks) during the summer months.

ASU is a nationwide leader in the development and promotion of study abroad opportunities for students. Earlier in 2017, ASU (in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State) developed and implemented a study abroad massive open online course (MOOC) — Study Abroad USA: Building Capacity for U.S. Institutions. Today, there are over 4,000 learners in the course from all over the world to learn about best practices in study abroad program administration. The Study Abroad Office at ASU offers more than 250 program options in more than 65 countries, with program lengths ranging from one week to one year. Financial aid and scholarships apply to semester and year-long programming. Learn more at mystudyabroad.asu.edu.

Carrie Herrera Niesen

Communications and marketing specialist, Study Abroad Office


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Teaching in the dark for Puerto Rico

November 13, 2017

ASU professor uses disaster as opportunity for learning, building community

Even before Hurricane Maria descended on his home island of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, ASU Assistant Professor Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago grew anxious. 

“It was rumored that the cellphone towers were put down before the hurricane hit, in an effort to keep them from breaking during the storm,” Avilés-Santiago said. “In any event, I lost contact with my parents the day before Maria arrived.”

As he heard national news reports of the storm’s intensity, he began to imagine the worst possible scenarios.

ASU professor of culture and communication Manú Aviles-Santiago
Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago

Wanting to channel his anxiety and concern in a positive direction, Avilés-Santiago, an assistant professor of culture and communication in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, teamed up with a longtime friend in Atlanta to quickly launch a Facebook site that might serve as a central source of information to help members of the Boricua diaspora find out what was happening to loved ones at home.

“Others started joining in,” he said, “wanting to create a network of people who could share info about their family or municipality, offer moral support and answer logistical questions, like about the best ways to send water, batteries and generators.

“A couple of people in Puerto Rico who joined the site had reliable internet connection, so we could direct them to go out to investigate and verify reports of emergencies, and to take photos and get information flowing.”

Within a few days, the Facebook page Puerto Rico Maria Updates had more than 250,000 members.

But nine days after the catastrophic hurricane swept through the island, Avilés-SantiagoAvilés-Santiago’s research interests are at the intersections of technology and culture, race/ethnicity and media, and Latino/a and Spanish Caribbean studies. He is the author of “Puerto Rican Soldiers and Second-Class Citizenship: Representations in Media.” His next book, funded by a Ford Foundation Fellowship, explores the tropicalization of the Cold War in Puerto Rican comedy TV. still had heard nothing from his own family.

“I decided to put my efforts into making the situation visible, particularly among my students,” he said, who didn’t know much about the U.S. commonwealth, “and created a class dynamic that I called 'Teaching in the Dark for Puerto Rico.' ” 

The week after the storm, without saying anything to his students beforehand, Avilés-Santiago taught the first part of his Intro to Human Communication class meeting in the dark, without lights or technology. 

“When I revealed about an hour in that my actions had been intentional, the dynamic turned into a fascinating discussion in which we talked about darkness as a metaphor for the lack of knowledge about Puerto Rico, and also as a way to experience the literal darkness and uncertain times that our university-peers are facing in Puerto Rico,” said Avilés-Santiago, who was born in Mayaguez and raised in Aguada, Puerto Rico, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras before completing a doctorate in media studies at the University of Texas-Austin.

“A number of students talked to me after class about what they might be able to do,” he said. “Some used social media to post photos of themselves with messages of solidarity.”

After that class session, coincidentally, Avilés-Santiago was finally able to speak to his parents.

Business communication major Madelyn Sugg, a student in the course, said she was moved to action by the lesson: “I’ve never been particularly outspoken and have never used social media for anything remotely serious, but the 'learning in the dark' experience reminded me that this was a problem we can impact.”

Sugg said she was bothered that the plight of Puerto Rico seemed to have gotten lost between the devastating stories about the earthquake in Mexico City and the shootings in Las Vegas.

“The most common feedback I heard was, ‘It’s impossible not to feel numb,’” she said.  “I didn’t agree with that statement then, and I especially do not agree with it now.

“The third week after the storm, we made a conscious choice as students to continue learning in the dark, in solidarity with those in Puerto Rico who weren't receiving the help they needed, whose schools were destroyed and nothing was being done about it,” said Sugg. “It was the difference between sympathy and empathy.

“Even after so many weeks have passed I'm still learning of new ways that I can help. This isn't over yet for our fellow Americans, and it shouldn't be over yet for us.” 

Puerto Rico's leading newspaper, El Nuevo Dia, invited Avilés-Santiago to write a column about the learning activity. In the weeks since that article ran, Avilés-Santiago has heard from faculty at Rutgers and Ohio State universities, who have replicated the dynamic in their teaching. 

Over the past month and a half, the Facebook site Puerto Rico Maria Updates has continued to be a space to share information and news of all kinds.

People are using the site to show photos and videos documenting the damage, for example, to let loved ones know that care packages and generators have arrived or that roofs have been repaired, to spread word about missing persons, and to advertise jobs in the continental U.S. 

At ASU, Avilés-Santiago and fellow College of Integrative Sciences and Arts colleague Cristalis Capielo, assistant professor of counseling and counseling psychology, have joined with anthropologist Maria Cruz-Torres from the School of Transborder Studies to organize the conference "De Tripas Corazones: Puerto Rico's Resilience, Creativity and Solidarity After Hurricane Maria.”  

The event, to be held Monday, Nov. 20, at Old Main (Carson Ballroom) on ASU's Tempe campus, will include a faculty panel discussion; a screening of the film “The Last Colony”; a panel with members of the local, national and transnational press discussing the role of the media during a humanitarian crisis; as well as time for cultural and community engagement.

“In addition to raising awareness about the current humanitarian crisis, the discussions will present the historical, economic, political and socio-cultural implications of recovery efforts,” said Avilés-Santiago, whose conference presentation is titled "Please, Try Your Call Again Later: The Role of Social Media Before, During and After Hurricane Maria.”  

“We believe that as an institution committed to social embeddedness and innovation, ASU can play an active role in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” he said, “by establishing academic and scholarly collaborations with Puerto Rican scholars, students and communities.”

Conference participants will be encouraged to bring school supplies to send to the island.

Seven weeks after the storm, only 20 percent of Puerto Rico has electricity.

“It will probably take a year to have full power,” said Aviles-Santiago. “They’re trying to energize hospitals, schools, and universities first, but most hotels are closed and many jobs related to tourism will be impacted; agriculture has been devastated; 100,000 Puerto Ricans are losing their jobs, so the situation is really complicated.”  

How is his family doing?

“My mother told me they are getting used to a new reality, of having no electricity, limited communications and barely any water,” said Avilés-Santiago, who worries about how the environmental challenges could impact his parents’ health.

“I would like to bring our parents, who are in their 70s, here to Arizona,” he said. “But my mother says, if everybody leaves the island, who will rebuild?”

Avilés-Santiago suggests Arizonans looking to donate to relief efforts can contact the Puerto Rican Center of Arizona @puertoricancenterofaz on Facebook. The ASU event on Nov. 20 will accept donations and will highlight several local foundations and explain how to impact Puerto Rican communities directly. Learn more about the event here


Top photo: Students in Assistant Professor Manual Avilés-Santiago’s Introduction to Human Communication course at ASU’s Polytechnic campus took to social media with messages of solidarity for university students in Puerto Rico whose education is in limbo post-Hurricane Maria.

Maureen Roen

Editorial and communication coordinator , College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


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ASU is top public university in US for international students

November 13, 2017

Institute of International Education report puts ASU as top public institution and fifth overall for global learners

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

For the third consecutive year, Arizona State University is hosting more international students than any other public university in the country, according to a new report released Monday by an international education not-for-profit.

More than 13,000 international scholars called ASU home for at least a part of the 2016–2017 school year, up about 3 percent over the prior year, when the university was also the top public institution in the category. ASU also took the No. 1 spot for public universities in 2014–2015.

“More and more each year, our student body looks like the world we live in,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “That’s deliberate. We have made a concerted commitment to be of service to people all around the world. The international students who come learn with us in the Phoenix area thrive at ASU, and we are grateful to be able to share in their educational experience.

The report, by the Institute of International Education, ranks ASU ahead of other public schools like UCLA, Penn State and the University of Michigan, and fifth overall, in the company of such private universities as NYU (ranked first), USC (ranked second), Columbia University and Northeastern University in Boston (ranked third and fourth, respectively). The report comes at the start of International Education Week, which runs Nov. 13–17.

The ranking compiles degree-seeking students, students in intensive English programs and students who are taking advantage of practical training programs to arrive at the “hosting” metric, a broader look at how U.S. universities have become hubs for international education beyond what is traditionally thought of as college or graduate school.

The IIE also compiled the leading places of origin for international students in the United States. China sends the most students to the country, followed by India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

That largely matches the makeup of ASU’s international student population, a few of whom shared some time with ASU Now talking about what they wished more people understood about their experience as an international student in the United States. 

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

This video is part of a series that began with Native 101. The project has asked African-AmericanswomenveteransAsians and Latino students to share their own stories and help dispel stereotypes.


Editor's note: A earlier version of this story incorrectly said ASU was the top U.S. public institution for hosting international students for the second consecutive year; it is the third straight year ASU has topped the list.

At Bonn climate meetings, US continues in a more limited role

November 9, 2017

The U.N. meeting on climate change in Bonn, Germany Nov. 6–17, or COP23, is expected to draw nearly 20,000 people as nations begin discussions of implementing the Paris climate accord. It is the first meeting since President Donald Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the agreement and it is an important meeting for working out some of the details, like measuring the carbon emissions of nations and figuring out how to pay for these efforts. Already, Syria has decided to join the climate change effort, leaving the U.S. as the only nation not in agreement.  

“We are still part of the Paris agreement,” said Sonja Klinsky, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie A. Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Given the U.S. situation, ASU Now asked Klinsky — who has participated in these meeting in the past — what to expect from COP23, including what role the U.S. could play. Download Full Image

Question: In general, what will happen at COP23?

Answer: This meeting is the second since the Paris Agreement was negotiated. The Paris Agreement provided a framework, but many of the implementation details were left to be negotiated. This two-week negotiation period will continue to iron out these details. For example, some activities will involve setting up rules for how emissions will be measured and possibly traded for those countries that are hoping to create a system that will allow this.

Q: Is this a critical point for the accord, and how it is shaped?

A: We are not at the very beginning, but still have a lot of the structure to fill in. This year and the next several years will continue to be very important. Right now they are trying to build the basic institutions and arrangements that will continue to shape how countries work together for a good long while, probably the next few decades at least. Like any other process, decisions you make early on can have long-term implications.

Q: When is the earliest the U.S. can conceivably pull out of the accord?

A: If the United States wants to pull out of the accord, it will have to file this in writing in November 2019. The process of withdrawing would then take one year from this date, so the earliest the U.S. would be out of the deal would be sometime in late November 2020.

Q: What role can the U.S. play in the Bonn meeting and how effective can we be in shaping the future of the agreement?

A: As a member of the agreement, the United States could play a number of roles. It could continue to work cooperatively with other countries to try to create a set of institutions that will work for everyone for the next few decades as it has done previously. Alternately, it could decide not to cooperate and impede the actions of other countries. We will have to see how this transpires. 

These are diplomatic processes, and other countries will be fully aware of the Trump administration’s position on climate change and other global issues. Global cooperation depends on goodwill, trust and mutual compromise. Other countries’ perceptions of the willingness of the U.S. to be a cooperative global actor generally may change how effective it is at promoting its own interests. It is a distinct possibility that the U.S. will have less influence in this arena than it had previously; however it is too early to say whether or not this has happened.

Q: Can local or state governments join in? What about companies?

A: Local and state action on climate change is very important, as is action by companies. While the current rules stop them from becoming full members of the Paris Agreement, there is a parallel process where they can participate by declaring what kinds of actions they are taking, connect with others and share best practices, and generally demonstrate their commitment to innovative solutions. 

Q: Is ASU present at the negotiations?

A: ASU has a delegation attending the negotiations. Several School of Sustainability graduate students will be conducting research while they are there. Another student is educating elementary school students about the international process by Skyping into their classrooms from the negotiations. And we have staff and students presenting research about climate solutions at events occurring in parallel with the negotiations.

Associate Director, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


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Center wants to expand understanding of 'moral injury' to audience beyond military

November 8, 2017

ASU's Center on Future of War to host event on condition, a debilitating injury resulting from violation of sense of right and wrong

Last year the Center on the Future of War announced Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Wood as an ASU Future of War Senior Fellow at New America, who introduced the term “moral injury” to the public lexicon through his 2016 book, “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars.”

This year the center is taking it a step further by making the term — which means a violation of one’s sense of right or wrong in battlefield conflicts or military environments — the focus of an international conference next week.

Moral Injury: Toward an Internal Perspective” takes place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13 and will feature deans, directors, lecturers and experts from the United States, England and Australia, all in an effort to deepen their capacity to make sense of the experience of armed conflict.

To give more clarity to this issue and what the conference will cover, ASU Now turned to Daniel Rothenberg, a professor of practice who co-directs the center with CNN senior analyst and ASU faculty member Peter Bergen.

Question: How do moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differ? They seem similar.

Answer: Moral injury differs from PTSD in that it isn't associated with a physical trauma but is rather a debilitating psychological or spiritual injury resulting from the transgression of deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Importantly, the therapies that have been developed for PTSD generally do not appear to work for moral injury, which in itself is a good reason to understand the differences between the two conditions.  

Understanding the differences is complicated by the fact that occasionally the same incident gives rise to both conditions, making both treatment and diagnosis difficult. In many cases, however, moral injury often arises from a long sequence of events or experiences that do not give rise to PTSD symptoms. All this taken into account, however, it is still the case that moral injury is still being researched and defined. 

Man in beige suit
Daniel Rothenberg

Q: What is your hope with this conference?

A: We hope our conference will build upon David Wood's book; indeed, he helpfully provided a chapter for the report, “Moral Injury: Towards an International Perspective,” that we are releasing at our Nov. 13 conference. Because moral injury is so destructive of veterans, their families, and the communities that support them, we hope that our ongoing focus on this category of injury will encourage continued progress in the identification and treatment of individuals who may have suffered such an injury.  

In addition, this conference and our report both introduce for the first time an explicit multicultural approach to moral injury, which we think is a substantial contribution to research, analysis and mitigation in this area. That's because the conference and the report are products of the PLuS Alliance, which includes ASU, University of New South Wales and King's College London.

Q: In addition to military personnel, you are making an attempt to introduce the term to medical and health-care workers, theologians, journalists and uninformed personnel and peacekeepers in other parts of the world. Why is it important for them to understand the term going forward?

A: Moral injury as we are approaching it often occurs on the battlefield, but its effects are more frequently felt upon the return of the injured warrior to his or her family, and community, and they can last for many years, even many decades, as experience with Vietnam War veterans shows. 

Moreover, the phenomenon is a complex one and extends beyond the boundary of any single domain, and treatment may well involve not just traditional health-care workers, but spiritual and theological leaders, and even the community as a whole. This explains the broad collection of disciplines and discourses that we are encouraging to coalesce into a community of practitioners who can effectively address the many ways in which moral injury may be expressed.

Q: What will be some of the highlights of this conference?

A: Among the highlights will be the video presentation of Dr. Michael Crow, who will discuss the importance of addressing moral injury, and the particular strengths that the PLuS Alliance brings to such a complex task. The panel that forms the core of the conference includes a number of luminaries in this growing field, including David Wood, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on moral injury in 2012 and the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction for his book on the topic; Ed Barrett, director of research at the U.S. Naval Academy's Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership; William P. Nash, director of psychological health, United States Marine Corps; and Brad Allenby, Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics and President's Professor, at ASU.  

Q: What is the center’s ultimate hope when it comes to use and understanding of moral injury?

A: We hope that the Moral Injury Initiative, which will be under the Center on the Future of War, will become an important contributor to better understanding moral injury, and to identifying ways in which it can be prevented, and treated when it does occur.  


Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Reporter , ASU Now