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Loss of land and culture ties faraway groups who are forging similar paths

Lecture series finds common legacies among Scottish people, American Indians.
March 25, 2018

ASU lecture series connects legacies among Scottish people, American Indians

In most cultures, identity is inextricably tied to the land, and when land is taken, cultures can struggle to survive. But communities can change that narrative, reclaiming land and heritage, according to two professors who represent cultures that are very far apart and yet face similar paths.

The annual Roatch-Haskell lecturesThe John F. Roatch Global Lecture Series on Social Policy and Practice hosts an internationally known scholar to lecture on a topic of global and social significance to the Arizona community. The event was established by John and Mary Roatch. The Linda Haskell Memorial Master Class capitalizes on national and international talent to create an interactive forum for the discussion of current topics of concern to human-services practitioners in Arizona. The event was established by Rose and William Haskell to honor the memory of their daughter Linda Haskell, a social worker who died in 1992., held Friday in Phoenix, addressed issues of land and identity in talks by two professors — Frank Rennie, professor of sustainable rural development at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, and Robert Miller, professor at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program. The lectures were presented by the School of Social Work at ASU.

The Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland are far away from Indian reservations, but the two cultures share a history that involves losing their land and seeing their heritage face annihilation.

Rennie, who gave the Roatch lecture, said the Scottish Gaelic language reinforces the notion of embeddedness.

“It has a sense of ‘you belong to the land’ rather than ‘the land belongs to you,’ ” he said.

Frank Rennie, professor of sustainable rural development at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, explained how charitable trusts have begun returning privately owned land to the people. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Rennie described the history of the area, going back to 1746, when war wiped out the highland clan culture, with the indigenous language and wearing of tartans banned. Land passed from the family clans into private hands, and many highlanders fled to the coast to become tenant farmers on plots called “crofts.” Many in the clans were hunted down and killed.

“We were not taught this story in school,” Rennie said. “We were taught about the Romans and the American war of independence but not about what happened on our own doorstep.”

Many Scots served in World War I under the promise that they would get land when they returned, but that didn’t happen. The frustrated villagers began “land raids,” grabbing bits of property over time. By the 1990s, Scotland returned its parliament from London to Edinburgh and took on the issue of land reform.

“Even to this day, the imbalance of owning of land by heritage families is so strong within Scotland that if we were to apply for development from the World Bank, they wouldn’t look at us because of the imbalance,” Rennie said.

But now, many villages have formed charitable land trusts to buy back land for their communities. The villagers still pay rent, but to the trust and not a private owner. The trust in Rennie’s village, on the Isle of Lewis, has invested in wind turbines, which produce income that can then be spent locally.

Rennie sees a direct link from that history to the results of recent votes, when Scots narrowly voted against breaking away from the United Kingdom, and voted overwhelming for remaining in the European Union.

“The sense of community is tangible, and that’s led to a drive to be more assertive on the world stage,” he said.

Miller, who is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, found many parallels between the Scots and American Indians, including the whitewashing of history to conceal the stealing of land.

Robert Miller, a professor in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU, said that private-sector development is key for Indians to move out of poverty. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“People raised on reservations, they’re pulled back to their homeland and they want to own their homeland. There’s this sense of belonging to the land — that’s what every American Indian says,” said Miller, who delivered the Haskell lecture.

After America broke from England and looked westward toward expansion, the narrative was that the lands were available for the taking. He showed a letter in which George Washington compared Indians to animals, calling them “savage” and “beasts of prey.” But actually, the tribes had a sophisticated culture involving agriculture, trade networks and a system of public and personal property.

“Women would own berry patches that they would pass on to their daughters,” he said. “We’re not taught about that. We want to think the country was empty.”

Miller said that the United States still claims legal title to Indian lands, dating back to 1790.

“Tribes can’t sell or develop their land without permission from the secretary of the interior,” he said.

This history has led some Indians to mistrust capitalism as a way out of poverty, but Miller said that private-sector development is the best way to keep money on the reservation.

“You have to go off of the reservation to go shopping. You have to go off the reservation to find a house you would want to live in, to find food or a movie theater,” he said.

Miller works with the Navajo Nation, which has about 200,000 citizens on its reservation. Demographically, there should be nearly 2,800 privately owned businesses. In reality, there are 305.

“I worked for the Northern Cheyenne, and the only thing you could buy on their reservation was gas, so you could drive somewhere to spend your money,” he said.

Sovereignty and culture are crucial. Tribes must decide for themselves what kinds of businesses they want and separate that from politics, he said.

Miller said that there’s a “buy Indian” act from 1910 that allows the secretary of the interior to buy goods and services for Indians from Indians. Not only does he think the act should be mandatory, he thinks each tribe should enact its own “buy Indian” rule.

“I tell tribes to talk the talk and walk the walk.”

Rennie said that when communities have an independent income and are no longer dependent on government aid, it gives them flexibility to find new solutions.

“It reverses that colonial mentality,” he said. “You’re not just allowed to do things. You have a right to do things.”

The concept of identity is timely, according to Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU's College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“In 2018 America, identity is so much a part of our politics and we think of identity in largely negative terms. It’s been used by many to divide us.

“We mostly think of identity as being fixed — built off of racial or ethnic identity. I would argue that identity in the social sense can be constructed and built to achieve some of the same positives.”


Top photo: When the Scots were driven from the highlands to the coast, they lost their land and their culture was threatened, not unlike the history of American Indians. The Roatch-Haskell lectures, held Friday in Phoenix and spsonsored by the School of Social Work at ASU, addressed land and identity. Photo by Pixabay

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


Biotech pioneers Bruce Rittmann and Mark van Loosdrecht win 2018 Stockholm Water Prize

March 22, 2018

By revolutionizing microbiological-based technologies in water and wastewater treatment, Professors Mark van Loosdrecht and Bruce Rittmann have demonstrated the possibilities to remove harmful contaminants from water, cut wastewater treatment costs, reduce energy consumption, and even recover chemicals and nutrients for recycling.

Their pioneering research and innovations have led to a new generation of energy-efficient water treatment processes that can effectively extract nutrients and other chemicals — both valuable and harmful — from wastewater. Professors Bruce Rittmann and Mark van Loosdrecht are named the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureates for revolutionizing water and wastewater treatment. Download Full Image

It has also led to the pair being named this year's laureates of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize, which is given annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to promote excellent water achievements and inspire future water-wise action.

Van Loosdrecht is a professor in environmental biotechnology at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Bruce Rittmann is Regents’ Professor of environmental engineeringRittmann is a Regents' Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. and director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

On receiving news of the prize, van Loosdrecht said: “I’m very excited and pleased! This is a recognition not just of our work but of the contributions microbiological engineering can make to the water sector."

RELATED: More on Bruce Rittmann's award-winning research

The Stockholm Water Prize is an annual global award founded in 1991. It is appointed by SIWI and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and awarded by SIWI, to an individual, organization or institution for outstanding water-related achievements. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is patron of the prize.

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize nominating committee recognized Rittmann and van Loosdrecht for “pioneering and leading the development of environmental biotechnology-based processes for water and wastewater treatment. They have revolutionized treatment of water for safe drinking, and refined purification of polluted water for release or reuse — all while minimizing the energy footprint."

The professors’ research has led to new processes for wastewater treatment currently being used around the globe.

“Traditionally, we have just thought of pollutants as something to get rid of, but now we’re beginning to see them as potential resources that are just in the wrong place,” Rittmann said.

In his research he has studied how microorganisms can transform organic pollutants to something of value to humans and the environment.

“We’re in the middle of a paradigm shift, with more and more focus on how we can create resources, using microbial systems,” he said. 

Van Loosdrecht’s work echoes this sentiment. His research has led to increasingly common wastewater treatment processes that are less costly and more energy-efficient than traditional methods.

“With current technology, you can already be energy neutral, and there is a lot of research on how to become energy positive. Especially in developing countries with unstable electricity supply and limited access to funding, this is very important. If we could build a wastewater plant that is self-sufficient in energy, that would make sewage plants feasible in many more places,” van Loosdrecht said.

“Together, Professors Rittmann and van Loosdrecht are leading, illuminating and demonstrating the path forward in one of the most challenging human enterprises on this planet — that of providing clean and safe water for humans, industry, and ecosystems,” said Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will present the prize to Rittmann and van Loosdrecht on behalf of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, at a royal award ceremony on Aug. 29, during World Water Week in Stockholm.

More about Bruce Rittmann

Rittmann has written over 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Together with Perry McCarty (the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate), he is also the author of the textbook "Environmental Biotechnology: Principles and Applications."

Rittmann has chaired the program committee of the Leading Edge Technology Conference of the International Water Association, where he has worked together with van Loosdrecht.  The membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), a technology that Rittmann invented, uses naturally occurring microorganisms to remove contaminants such as perchlorate and tricloroethene from water, and has been commercialized.

Rittmann has received many accolades during his career. These include being named a fellow of the International Water Association, National Academy of Inventors, and American Association for the Advancement of Science; and he is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

More about Mark van Loosdrecht

Van Loosdrecht’s research has led to the quite widely used Anammox and Nereda technologies for wastewater treatment. The Anammox process is a resource-efficient way to remove nitrogen from wastewater. In industries it is used after anaerobic wastewater treatment, while in municipal wastewater treatment it is used in combination with sludge digestion. In both cases this results in an energy-producing treatment process.

The Nereda technology is based on granulation of bacteria, which allows a simpler and cheaper municipal wastewater treatment process. A Nereda plant can be built on a smaller patch of land (more than 60 percent less area need) and uses up to 50 percent less energy than conventional methods. Recovery of high-performance biopolymers from the "waste" sludge will contribute to a future with a more circular economy. 

Van Loosdrecht has been awarded several prizes, including the 2014 Spinoza Prize and the 2012 Lee Kuan Yew Prize. He is chief editor of the scientific journal Water Research and a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Dutch and U.S. National Academies of Sciences.

What is the SIWI?

Stockholm International Water Institute leverages knowledge and convening power to strengthen water governance for a just, prosperous and sustainable future. SIWI focuses on a range of research and development topics within and around water that support decision-makers worldwide. World Water Week is the world’s leading annual water event, the Stockholm Water Prize the most prestigious water award, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize fosters future generations of water excellence.

The best way to tackle water crises and help bring about lasting change, according to SIWI, is to strengthen water governance among public and private actors alike. Essentially, SIWI fosters finding solutions to who gets what water, when and how, and who has the right to water and related services, and the associated benefits.

SIWI’s strong international team of knowledge-generators, convenors, facilitators and trainers works to strengthen the systems and processes that govern access to and protection of fresh water, with the overarching aim to contribute to poverty eradication.

Initially founded by the Stockholm Water Foundation to encourage research and development of the world’s water environment, the Stockholm Water Prize is supported by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, International Water Association, Water Environment Federation and the City of Stockholm. The founders of the Stockholm Water Prize are companies united in their strong conviction to drive sustainability in the water sector. They are Bacardi, Europeiska ERV, Poul Due Jensen Foundation, Ragn-Sells, Water Environment Federation, Xylem and Ålandsbanken.

Joe Caspermeyer

Managing editor, Biodesign Institute


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Blog: Opening week at the new Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center

March 18, 2018

Editor's note: Welcome to ASU Now's live-blog coverage of the opening week of the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at Arizona State University, the university's new home in Washington, D.C. You can also check out the full event schedule and see all the best photos from the week.

Day 1: Free speech, national security, covering Washington in the age of Trump

Day 2: Mission-focused research, the future of autonomous vehicles — and locusts

Day 3: Grad student research, police and trust, and terror and the rule of law

Day 4: The day's theme is international

Day 5: Educating pro athletes, educating the public, ASU's partnerships in DC, redesigning design education


Conversation: How Do We End Terrorism?

7:30 p.m. Monday, March 19

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center discussion
Nicholas Rasmussen (left) and Kurt Volker discuss how the U.S. needs to change its approach to fighting terrorism, during a discussion Monday evening at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center. Photo by Laura Chuckray/ASU

Nicholas Rasmussen — former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a role he held until December 2017 — spoke with Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute, on how the threat of terrorism has changed and how the response of the United States should evolve in turn.

“In the period after 9/11 … we often talked about terrorism as being something we could do until we won: that we would do this until the adversary was defeated, or the problem was solved. Now, I don’t look at the problem that way. I look at it as something that we will be living with in some form or fashion for the foreseeable future,” said Rasmussen. “We need to approach our strategies for our global counterterrorism with a greater degree of humility than in the past.” 


McCain Institute: 5-year highlights

1:30 p.m. Monday, March 19

52 Next Generation Leaders from 39 countries: The Next Generation Leaders program has trained and empowered 52 leaders from 39 countries through partnerships with 45 organizations.

The dome of the US Capitol in Washington
The dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

5 Sedona Forums convened: These forums have convened thought-leaders, decision-makers, action-activists and diverse experts to discuss approaches and solutions to real-world problems ranging from cybersecurity to China, and from crises in the Middle East to human trafficking. Featured speakers have included former Vice President Joe Biden, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

120 students educated and engaged through the Policy Design Studio course: Ten semesters of the Policy Design Studio course have educated and engaged students in the process of crafting foreign policy. Read more: Real-world experience in a model embassy

30 partnerships and 25 events around the country to end human trafficking: The Human Trafficking Program has educated, raised awareness and implemented innovative, action-based solutions to end human trafficking utilizing over 30 partnerships and 25 events around the country. The institute sponsors vigorous research to develop solutions to fight trafficking. To raise awareness of this insidious and destructive crime against human beings in college communities, the institute has formed the Student Alliance Against Trafficking with chapters on more than 20 campuses.

24 debates as part of the Debate and Decision Series: This series has provided the platform for serious, candid discussions answering provocative questions, including: “Drone wars: Are we going too far?”, “Should
 the United States be the world’s policeman?” and “Is ISIS winning?”

More than 500 people trained as part of the North Kivu Democracy Project: Launched in 2014, the North Kivu Democracy Project has directly trained over 500 people in candidate/campaign techniques, as well as 3,000 people through a “training of the trainers” program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

39 Next Generation Professionals from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan: The institute has hosted these professionals for training and capacity building through political and legal training through the Next Generation Professionals Program, a condensed version of the McCain Institute’s leadership training curriculum, built on modules developed for the year-long Next Generation Leaders Program.

19 working groups convened by the Human Rights and Democracy program: The program has convened bipartisan working-group meetings, providing analysis and recommendations regarding human rights, democracy and rule of law in 19 countries.


The importance of being here

12:30 p.m. Monday, March 19

Former U.S. Sen. and McCain Institute trustee Kelly Ayotte provides strategic counsel and oversight of the MCain Institute as an enterprise, with specific emphasis on the institute's Next Generation Leader and Human Rights programs. Here, she talks about the importance of ASU having a presence in Washington, D.C.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


The McCain Institute's mission

10 a.m. Monday, March 19

So what is the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University? This is its mission statement: Guided by values that have animated the career of Sen. John McCain and the McCain family for generations, ASU’s McCain Institute is a nonpartisan do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity — in the United States and around the world.


Two more days of celebration

6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18

Events continue this week at the new Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center in our nation’s capital.

“The McCain Institute at ASU: How Do We End Terrorism?” 5-7 p.m. Monday, March 19 — Former Homeland Security Advisor (and McCain Institute Trustee) Fran Townsend, former Director of the US National Counter-Terrorism Center Nick Rasmussen, and special guests describe the evolution of global terrorism since 9/11and discuss long-term approaches for overcoming it. 

CGEST Reception, 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 — This event hosted by the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology convenes leading African-American women in STEM to provide a forum for women to strategize and build coalitions, continue discourse from previous gatherings that have led to grant-funded projects, share job announcements and explore opportunities to support and lead interagency functions.

Learn more at washingtondc.asu.edu/center-launch.

Katherine Reedy, Steven Beschloss and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Day 5: Educating athletes and the public, DC partnerships, redesigning design

March 17, 2018

Editor's note: Friday's events at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center focused on helping professional athletes transition out of their playing careers, new ways of involving citizens on decisions about science and policy, and a roundtable on redesigning design education. Find the blog roundup here, with links to the other day's highlights. 


A parting thought

6:36 p.m. Friday, March 16

As we head into the weekend, we leave you with this:

“ASU … is the most banana-pants amazing place,” said The Design School director Jason Schupbach, who recently moved to the desert from Washington, D.C. “There’s something magical happening there.”


But wait, there’s more

6:30 p.m. Friday, March 16

The week is over, but the grand opening isn’t — events continue next week at the new Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center in our nation’s capital.

“The McCain Institute at ASU: How Do We End Terrorism?” 5-7 p.m. Monday, March 19 — Former Homeland Security Advisor (and McCain Institute Trustee) Fran Townsend, former Director of the US National Counter-Terrorism Center Nick Rasmussen, and special guests describe the evolution of global terrorism since 9/11and discuss long-term approaches for overcoming it. 

CGEST Reception, 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 — This event hosted by the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology convenes leading African-American women in STEM to provide a forum for women to strategize and build coalitions, continue discourse from previous gatherings that have led to grant-funded projects, share job announcements and explore opportunities to support and lead interagency functions.

Learn more at washingtondc.asu.edu/center-launch.


The dean on redesigning design

6:25 p.m. Friday, March 16

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center design reception
Dean Steven J. Tepper greets guests at the “Arts and Design at ASU” reception sponsored by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts on Friday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“We believe that design and design schools need to be redesigned, like any other institution,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU, during a Friday evening reception at the new center. “They need to be changed — and we’re trying to move forward in a very smart and purposeful way.”


Video: The future of design education

5:36 p.m. Friday, March 16

Nearly two dozen Washington-area design professionals joined Jason Schupbach, director of The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, to share their ideas about the future of design on Friday afternoon. Drawn from government, business, industry associations and education, this roundtable discussion to gather insights and make plans for a school redesign is one of four Schupbach and his team have organized in cities around the country, including San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, in addition to Washington, D.C.

“How can design education be more relevant?” read the main screen. “Where is design going?” read a white board soon jammed with sticky-note responses. Over the next year, the school will take what is learned in the roundtables, expand input from a wider public online, engage in an internal dialogue and make plans to transform The Design School’s curriculum and how best to shape the designers of the future.

Here, Schupbach talks about some of the questions the school is facing.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Panel: 'How the Public Can Inform Science and Technology Policy: The Case of Planetary Defense'

5:15 p.m. Friday, March 16

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center discussion
Participants deliberate best practices for the asteroid-detection activity during the Friday afternoon event, "How the Public Can Inform Science and Technology Policy: The Case of Planetary Defense." Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

In the world of science and emerging technology, it can seem sometimes that the latest research stays within the realm of policymakers and scientists.

But there are growing numbers of people in those communities who think the knowledge — and the ideas for how we move forward — should belong to everyone.

A four-hour event Friday at the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center — hosted by ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, School of Earth and Space Exploration, and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, in partnership with the Museum of Science, Boston — brought in a variety of members of the Washington science policy community, media and academic organizations.

“Your role today is as a citizen, not as a member of the inside-the-Beltway ‘privileged class,’” CSPO co-director Daniel Sarewitz told the crowd before they were divided into teams and charged with the day’s discussion mission.

In 2014, CSPO led a pilot study using Participatory Technology Assessment (pTA) to elicit informed and diverse citizen views and help inform decisions at NASA about its Asteroid Initiative.

On Friday, participants at the ASU center went through the same process, focusing on planetary defense (that is, defending the planet against asteroid collisions — though one NASA representative in attendance did tell this writer in an aside that “nothing is headed our way today” — or anytime soon).

After spending about an hour deliberating at their tables with the interactive decision boards, the teams presented their choices to the room. Most chose option 3 (the U.S. leading an international partnership) though a few went with option 2 (creating a new U.S. office of planetary defense).

Just as had been the response in CSPO’s pilot citizen-input study, participants were enthusiastic after the process and full of questions and comments, including some questioning whether we should be spending money on planetary defense at all — especially “when climate change is an issue as well,” one person said.

The goal of such citizen forums is to both engage the public in issues of science, technology and policy, and to seek the creativity of people outside the usual voices heard in science debate.

“It takes folks to step back and look more at the whole,” Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA, said about public input. “The American citizen has the ability to take a more holistic view of what the program should be. It is the American taxpayers’ space program.”


Panel: ‘For the Win: Innovative Approaches to Athlete Education’

2:30 p.m. Friday, March 16

Led by Kenneth Shropshire, CEO of the Global Sport Institute and Adidas Distinguished Professor of global sport, a panel of experts discussed how education can help athletes transition out of their playing careers and onto paths to long-term success.

On financial incentives in college sports:

Amy Perko, chief executive officer, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics: “March Madness generates over $800 million every year, and the majority of that money is sent back to Division 1 schools. Forty percent of the money sent back is based on how teams perform in the tournament. Our commission said, that is too much money being placed on tournament success and incentive-driven behavior. In 2016, they changed the revenue distribution for the tournament money. For the first time, incentives will be aligned to graduation and academic success moving forward.”

Molly Ott, assistant professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, ASU: “Top football players who go into the NFL are bringing in $1.3 million individually to their colleges and universities. What are the benefits that athletes are receiving, both in terms of the actual degree itself, but also the experience they have and the learning opportunities and skills they develop in college? There are trade-offs. That’s the issue: ensuring that there are equitable opportunities for athletes balancing out their academic and athletic commitments.”

GSI panel
The panelists of the Global Sport Initiative discussed financial incentives, racial disparities and how higher education can better prepare student-athletes for life after their playing careers end. The panel was moderated by GSI CEO Ken Shropshire (left) and included Martin Carlsson-Wall of the Stockholm School of Economics and Arthur McAfee, the senior vice president of player engagement for the NFL (with microphone).

On race:

Collin Williams, director, leadership & education programs, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality: “When we look at the student body overall, black male student athletes are performing worse than the black male undergraduates who are not athletes, they are performing worse than student athletes overall, as well as worse than undergraduates overall. We have to look at this problem not as just a large-scale problem, we have to hone in and pay attention to the space that needs the most attention. Black graduation rates have gone up by two percent in the last few years, but a lot more work has to be done.”

Ott: (Discussing the outcomes of ASU’s Scholar Baller program) “ASU is one of the schools where our black male athletes are graduating 17 percent points higher than other black males on campus. That looks great; however, our overall black male graduation rate is only 39 percent. So, the athletes are doing a lot better, but I think it also shows that some of these issues are issues related to higher education, not even just college sports. Sport can be ahead in a lot of fronts. And this is one example where I think at ASU there are things going on in our athletics programs that could be transferable to the issues that are happening on the rest of campus.”

On athlete identity:

Martin Carlsson-Wall, associate professor, Stockholm School of Economics: “One issue that we are discussing, and other countries are discussing, is the issue of individual identity. In Sweden … our sports stars are also struggling with this identity shift — that you’re really someone, and then the lights are just completely not there anymore. They are really struggling about their identity. And what we ask them is, do you want to be a one-career individual, or do you want to be a two-career individual?”

Williams: “When we talk about identity, for a lot of these folks, it’s the first time they’ve been asked about who they are not relative to sport. If you can think about your entire experience as an adult, and think about going through life for such an extended period of time where you were limited to a singular identity, it’s really hard to think about. How do you take those skills that you clearly have developed over a period of time and apply those in other ways? How do you talk about working towards one goal for 19 years and translate that into a resume when you don’t have work experience?”

On meaningful athlete education:

Arthur McAfee, senior vice president of player engagement, NFL: “The athletes come to campus, they have to major in these things that the university offers, but there is no national curriculum for athletes. So it’s possible, maybe, to create a national curriculum for athletes, because all the rules they play by are national rules. It’s always, in my mind, a policy decision by the institutions to create a circumstance that would be favorable to the athletes as they think forward beyond just their university’s core curriculum in terms of education.”

Williams: “Ultimately, this conversation is one about time. When we look at the demographic that I’m really focused on, the revenue-generating athletes, it’s not really feasible to say, come to school, spend 37 hours at minimum on your sport and then spend another 40 hours to be an effective, successful student. How are we expecting folks to get meaningful degrees and dedicate the hours necessary to learn the concepts they have to learn if there is no time for them to, at minimum, remain eligible, make it to practices, and then rest enough. We need to think about the ways in which we approach scholarship. Do we want to allow athletes to be more flexible in the ways in which they prioritize sport and education, as long as we keep education as the goal?”

On transitioning out of sports:

Perko: “The NCAA does a study, and they ask Division I, II and III basketball players, ‘how many of you think you’re going to go pro?’ And, as you might expect, more than three quarters of the Division I players think they are going to be professional. Fifty percent of Division II players think they’re going to play professionally. And 25 percent of Division III players think they are going to play professionally. … Statistically, in Division I, only about three percent are going to be drafted by the NBA. But there are lots of leagues around the world. Of the Power 5 conferences, 75 percent of the basketball players will play somewhere professionally. The majority of those are going to be internationally. What are we doing, as educators, to help get them ready for that opportunity?”


Following the panel, Shropshire spoke with Jacques McClendon, director of player engagement for the Los Angeles Rams and former NFL and University of Tennessee football player.

“For these guys, they want to know the why,” McClendon said. “Why do I go back to school? I’m making — the minimum is $450,000 — and you’re telling me a college graduate makes $60,000, why do I need to go back to class?”

McClendon said the transition from student-athlete to star-athlete and back to just plain student can be rough for many.

“If we can get these guys back to class, OK, that’s great, but they’re sitting with people who have no clue what they’re going through. … I think it’s hard for them to feel normal in the classroom setting. And that’s some of the push back you get from these guys is, 'These guys haven’t played on a Sunday in front of 90,000 people.'”

It comes down to motivating student-athletes to finding and believing in their second path.

“It all starts with the education piece, because how do you empower somebody to transcend sport, once sport is over, if they haven’t been taught what their ‘why’ is, what they want to do, then how are they going to fly?” he said. “How can we motivate these guys to actually want to learn, to want to strive for better? That’s the conversation that has to be had.”


What happens when you get smart minds together 

11:30 a.m. Friday, March 16

A Zocalo Public Square audience sits under a large gazebo at Desert Botanical Garden.
A crowd listens to a Zócalo Public Square discussion on the question, "Should health care systems be national?" at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix on April 6, 2016. Among its events, ASU's Zócalo Public Square is  partnering with the Smithsonian on national conversations on "What It Means to Be American." Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Part of ASU’s charter is “advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.”

To accomplish that, the university seeks out strategic partnerships with a range of organizations. Among those:

• New America: This is a Washington-based interdisciplinary think tank and civic enterprise that strives to understand problems and opportunities facing the United States. ASU and New America projects include Future Tense, an exploration of emerging technologies and their transformative effects, and the Future of War, an examination of the changing nature of war.

• Council on Competitiveness: ASU is an active member of the Council on Competitiveness, which is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization in Washington, D.C., that focuses the debate on competitiveness by bringing together business, labor, academic and government leaders to evaluate economic challenges and opportunities. ASU President Michael Crow serves as the group’s university vice chairman.

• U.S. Chamber of Commerce — U.S. Israel Business Initiative: ASU is an active member of the U.S.-Israel Business Initiative, which is part of the U.S. Chamber. It is the only Washington-based national program focused on advancing the business partnership between the United States and Israel. The initiative is focused on making the alliance into one of the world’s strongest innovation-based commercial relationships, and it is an important voice, advocate and platform for the bilateral business relationship between these two countries.

• Smithsonian Institution: ASU has several ongoing partnerships with the Smithsonian Institute. Joint projects include the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Smithsonian Water/Water Ways Traveling Exhibition, and national conversations through ASU’s Zócalo Public Square focused on “What It Means to Be American.” 

• Commercial Spaceflight Federation: ASU is an active associate member of the federation, works to promote the development of commercial human space flight, pursue greater safety and share best practices with members. It is focused on preserving American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation and inspiring careers in science and engineering.  

• APLU: The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is a Washington-based association with 237 members. It is a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. ASU is very active in this association and is engaged with many of the association’s councils and commissions. APLU's agenda is focused on three themes: increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research and expanding engagement.


Video: Solving leadership problems

10:35 a.m. Friday, March 16

Allen Morrison, CEO and director general at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU, speaks about combining values and education to better prepare our leaders.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Learn more: Global Sport Institute

8:35 a.m. Friday, March 16

This morning's panel was hosted by the Global Sport Institute. What's that?

To start — the singular "sport" in the name is on purpose. It involves organized athletics, yes, but also looks at fitness, education, sociology, technology and other issues. It's part of the Global Sport Alliance, a partnership between ASU and adidas aimed at shaping the future of sport and amplifying sport’s positive impact on society. 

GSI supports and translates complex research to broad audiences and is led by Kenneth L. Shropshire, an international expert at the intersection of sports, business, law and society.

“The Global Sport Institute will support collaborative inquiry and research that examines critical issues impacting sport and all those connected with sport,” Shropshire said in this story. “GSI's purpose will be to transform the resulting findings into practical knowledge that is widely shared, educating and influencing audiences.


Good morning from Washington!

8:10 a.m. Friday, March 16

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center exterior
Photo by Penny Walker/ASU Now

Just a few minutes after this was taken, snow started falling. 


Video: A bit of fast Friday fun

7:35 a.m. Friday, March 16

The Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center is at 1800 I St. NW in Washington, D.C. — about half a mile from the White House (go ahead, Google Map it).

It’s maybe a 10-minute walk, but here we give it to you in 40 seconds.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


FB Live: ‘For the Win: Innovative Approaches to Athlete Education’

1:20 a.m. Friday, March 16

Update: The event will begin at 8:10 a.m.

The panel “For the Win: Innovative Approaches to Athlete Education” will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.


Katherine Reedy, Steven Beschloss and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo: Retired NFL player Jacques McClendon speaks with Kenneth Shropshire, the Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport and CEO of Global Sport Institute (left), during their dialogue with at the Global Sport Institute panel discussion on "For the Win: Innovative Approaches to Athlete Education" on Friday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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New initiatives aim to bring more international graduate scholars to ASU

March 16, 2018

Fulbright scholar from Mexico just one example of how the Graduate College is reaching out to international students

Eli Perez currently stands as the sole Fulbright scholar from Mexico at Arizona State University, but that is likely to change as ASU’s Graduate College carves out more opportunities for talented international students to study here and for Sun Devils to go abroad.

Several Graduate College initiatives are in place or underway to provide faculty and units a better understanding of the international environment and the processes to recruit and promote graduate scholars.

“We want to serve as a resource for colleges and units in relation to international graduate education affairs,” said Alfredo Artiles, dean of ASU’s Graduate College. “That is, we aim to support the creation and advancement of partnerships, find key opportunities around the world to attract quality students, and contribute to the global engagement agenda of the university.”

Everything begins with data. The Graduate College produces an annual report detailing international graduate student enrollment trends at ASU, including country of origin by unit, by program, sending universities, etc.

“The report is useful because units can see where their graduate student population comes from and then raise questions about strategic initiatives,” Artiles said. “How do we advance our international connections? Do we need to target and prioritize certain regions of the world? Should we consider other regions of a country or a continent where there are high-quality institutions that we want to recruit from?”

Gathering meaningful data to help support decision-making is the starting point to an overall strategic approach the Graduate College is undertaking to broaden opportunities for grad students. They’re also pursuing close collaboration with the Provost’s office, producing “best practices” guides, and proactively collaborating with units to identify and support outstanding grad students for distinguished award nominations. 

“We have a team now collecting information about prestigious awards, reaching out to units and asking them to consider and nominate graduate students,” Artiles said.

"The idea is that you prepare people by allowing them to experience each other’s culture, exchange and learn new ideas, and then have them contribute back to their home countries."
— Alfredo Artiles, dean of ASU’s Graduate College

The university already has a system in place to nominate ASU undergraduates and help them compete for such scholarship awards as Fulbright and Rhodes. But doing so for the more than 18,000 ASU grad students the Graduate College oversees is relatively new.

“We just launched this initiative this academic year,” Artiles said. “We want our graduate students to make the news, to get the recognition their work deserves through distinguished fellowships and awards.” 

Just over 30 international graduate students are currently here under the Fulbright program from all over the globe, including from Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kosovo. While the top sending countries for master’s degrees are India and China, Artiles hopes to see an increase of scholars from closer to home.

“One of our priorities is to target underrepresented regions of the world in our graduate student population, such as Latin America and Africa,” said Artiles, himself a former Fulbright scholar from Guatemala.

Alfredo Artiles is the dean of Arizona State University's Graduate College. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

As a U.S. Department of State-sponsored entity, the Fulbright program strengthens international relationships by exposing students to different cultures by way of foreign students studying at U.S. universities and American students going abroad.

“A very rigorous process is used to bestow these scholarships,” Artiles said. “I think very highly of the Fulbright awards.”     

It is through Fulbright that Perez, the Mexico scholar, chose ASU to work toward earning his doctorate in geological sciences from the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Although he admits ASU is not the first name that comes to mind when people in Mexico think of U.S. universities, Perez became interested in ASU after it was highly recommended by one of his trusted counselors, also a previous student here.

“My experience here in ASU has been really good,” said Perez, who is a professor and researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. “The commitment of the university to diversity and to include people of all backgrounds, it’s amazing.”

After ASU, Perez plans to return to Mexico where he seeks to replicate the studies he conducted here on ecological and hydrological processes within deserts, something he says is not well known there although more than a third of the country is desert or semi-desert.

“We cannot create plans for the future if we don’t know how the ecosystem actually works,” Perez said. “So in the end it depends on nature.  If we don’t understand nature then we don’t have a clear future.”

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

Perez exemplifies why the Graduate College is pushing to increase student scholar exchanges. The value of the type of international collaboration that programs like Fulbright provide is immense.   

“The idea is that you prepare people by allowing them to experience each other’s culture, exchange and learn new ideas, and then have them contribute back to their home countries,” Artiles said. “We also benefit substantially from having people from around the world in our midst because they infuse creativity and innovation in our work, challenge us to reconsider longstanding assumptions, and advance our global engagement goals.”

Learn more about ASU’s Graduate College, including best practices, international initiatives, awards and funding, professional development and other resources.

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Day 4: Today's theme is international

March 16, 2018

Editor's note: Opening week continued at the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU. Find the current day's blog here, with links to the other day's highlights. 

Panel: ‘Globalism in the Age of Nationalism’

9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15

The U.S. and other countries around the world face an interesting balance: growing calls for nationalism — seen in such outcomes as Brexit — while we move with increasing acceleration toward globalism.

“With more technology, we have more globalization; with more globalization, we have more technology,” Allen Morrison, CEO and director general at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU, told a group that included many Thunderbird alumni Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.

In the past, it took decades if not centuries for innovations to catch on. But today, as technology accelerates, our human knowledge doubles on average every 13 months, Morrison said.

Technology — particularly sensors, which drive the big-data industries from health devices to inventory management — is driving globalization in four ways, he said: economies of scale (which lower costs), rising costs of R&D and equipment (if it costs that much to develop, companies want to reach as many customers as possible and make the money back), declining costs of shipping and transportation (leading to global supply chains) and essentially free and immediate communications.

Keeping up with that level of technological change can overwhelm us, and in times of stress, “we turn to leaders, often failed or compromised leaders, and look to them in an almost unhealthy way as someone who can solve all our problems,” Morrison said. And the people who embrace these roles “may be enemies to the cause of good citizenship and ironically may be among the loudest voices for nationalism.”

“How do we handle nationalization in a world of globalization?” he asked.

Jeff Cunningham, Distinguished Professor of Practice at Thunderbird, took over and led a panel that tackled that question.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel
ASU's Anne Simmons-Benton speaks at the Thunderbird School of Global Management panel Thursday evening. Panelists included Kris Balderston (left) with FleishmanHillard and Hiroshi Hamada, Thunderbird alumnus and chairman/CEO of ARUHI Corp. in Tokyo. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

David Young, owner and chief consultant of marketing management consulting firm Young & Associates Ltd. and Class of ’91 Thunderbird alum, said many people were surprised when they woke up the day after the Brexit vote, but that there was no one reason people wanted to leave the European Union.

It was geographically focused — those outside the big cities wanted to leave the EU — but it was also that people were frustrated with immigration, frustrated with government or simply wanted to go against the status quo.

“The underlying thing is there was frustration, and we’re seeing that in the States and elsewhere in Europe,” he said.

Cunningham brought up protectionism in Japan in the 1970s and ’80s.

“Protectionism could work for a specific strategically targeted industry … in the short term,” said Hiroshi Hamada, chairman of the board and CEO of mortgage bank ARUHI Corp. in Tokyo and Class of ’91 Thunderbird alum.

But in the long term it hurts innovation, he said.

Politics certainly come into play, as well as attitudes toward immigration. Most of the panelists expressed the belief that perhaps the younger generation won’t have as strong a pull toward nationalism.

“Information is the key word here,” Young said. “What’s become clear … information isn’t playing a part of decision making. People are deciding on emotional grounds” and then picking and choosing the facts to match.

Is the problem really technology, or is it a trade issue with China, Cunningham asked. “Isn’t China the problem?”

“There’s a lot of fear of China, but many of the larger U.S. corporations are looking to that as a market,” said Anne Simmons-Benton, executive director of ASU International Development. “The ones that are most competitive are using that.”

Hamada echoed that.

“As a neighbor, we (Japan) are quite frankly scared, in terms of politics and military,” he said. “But the world is too much involved. … At the end of the day, market wins over politicians.”

Cunningham asked whether “localism” is just nationalization writ small — disenfranchising farmers 100 miles away.

“Do you feel fear when you say ‘localism’?” Simmons-Benton said. “Do you feel fear when you say ‘nationalism’?”

It may be that, like Brexit, the question is geographically tied.

“The government really has to be thinking differently about how they cushion the blow, particularly to the people in the middle of the country,” said Kris Balderston, president of global public affairs and strategic engagement for public relations firm FleishmanHillard.

He cited a Harvard study that showed the entire center of the country is hurting with opioid addiction and long-term unemployment — “we have to be doing things differently than we have been in the past and putting investment there.”

Cunningham said Thunderbird has authority in this discussion because it is so global.

“But the big defining factors — there are probably other institutions that say they think globally — is we are not a beltway organization, we’re not a coastal organization — we’re from the heartland, we’re from flyover country. …

“We really are in the heartland, and we know what the heartland thinks and breathes, and so I think we bring that part — not nationalism, but we bring that part of the conversation that has been missing, or as Roosevelt called it again, the forgotten.”

And now having the platform of the new building in Washington, D.C., Thunderbird can become a forum for both policy and business decision makers, he said.

“The future looks very T-Bird-ish.”

Watch the entire discussion on ASU’s Facebook page here.


FB Live: ‘Globalism in the Age of Nationalism’

6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15

The panel “Globalism in the Age of Nationalism” will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 7:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.


Video: Learning from the current anti-immigrant backlash

3:10 p.m. Thursday, March 15

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, deputy vice president in the office of research, advocacy, and legislation for UnidosUS, explains the dichotomy of the United States, a nation that cherishes its immigrant roots as a foundational element of its character yet also goes through waves of harsh anti-immigrant sentiment. The hope is that this time we can learn from it.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Presentation: 'Perspectives on the Current Immigration Debate: Communities in a Transborder World'

2:45 p.m. Thursday, March 15

Lisa Magaña, professor and interim director, School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University

Magaña kicked off the event with an overview of the School of Transborder Studies, the first of its kind in the nation. The interdisciplinary school looks at the impact of borders, the politics of immigration, Latino politics and all aspects of the Latino immigrant experience — from health care to the arts to humanities.

The school offers a variety of resources to support Latino immigrant students, including CAMP — the College Assistance Migrant Program — which provides academic support to students from migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds during their first year in college. “So often, first generation students have no idea what it means to be at an American university. This program brings them to ASU, provides assistance, housing, counselling, referrals and whatever else is needed to assimilate into a university setting.”

Magaña spoke of the increasing role Latinos in Arizona are playing in the political process. “There was a 35 percent increase in Latino political participation in the last election. When we think about Latino politics, it’s being redefined. It’s no longer just the idea of voting. You have individuals that are incredibly politically involved but because of their status cannot vote, but have been very important political players.”

Clarissa Martinez de Castro
Clarissa Martinez de Castro speaks about Latino-related immigration issues at the School of Transborder Studies discussion in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 15. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, deputy vice president in the office of research, advocacy, and legislation, UnidosUS

Martinez de Castro offered a national perspective on the current immigration debate, noting that while the majority of Americans (80 percent) support relief for Dreamers and a resolution on DACA, Congress is many steps behind the public. “The debate has a lot of similarities with the other debate on gun violence. If you look at where the public is, there is broad consensus on the sensible steps we can take. What is standing in the way of those solutions is an aggressive campaign of misinformation to polarize people away from solutions.”

She noted that the anti-immigrant sentiment experienced by Latinos today is not unique; every wave of immigrants to the United States has experienced backlash. “If you visit Ellis Island, you can read the headlines and see how people spoke about immigrants in the past. Latinos are the current phase of the immigrant profile. One of many.”

The way forward, she suggested, lies in continued advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. “Lifting up the voice of the Latino community on the streets, in the voting booth and in the halls of Congress. En las casas, en las casillas, y en el Congreso.”

Both presenters emphasized that while political change is an important part of the solution, creating spaces in the community for people to come together and connect is critical to improving understanding of different cultures and backgrounds. Said Martinez de Castro, “We need to create spaces where Americans from all walks of life come together, break bread together, share experiences, and in doing so learn about each other’s aspirations and challenges. When we do that, we realize we have much more in common.”

“The debate is not only about immigration policy, it’s about who we are as a country and who we aspire to be as a country.”

And while she acknowledged the challenges are many, she maintains hope for a brighter future for all. “We are a country that sees diversity as one of our greatest national assets, where everyone has a place, regardless of ancestry or religion. That is the American mosaic. That is what diversity is. It’s all of us.”


Video: The perfect time for a School of Transborder Studies

2:20 p.m. Thursday, March 15

What does the idea of a border in a border state mean? Lisa Magaña, interim director and professor in ASU's School of Transborder Studies said there are a lot of implications for understanding transborder studies. Magaña was a panelist at the school's presentation on "Perspectives on the Current Immigration Debate: Communities in a Transborder World." 

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


10 things you might not know about CSPO

12:18 p.m. Thursday, March 15

One of the groups headquartered in the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center is the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (or CSPO, pronounced see-spoe).

The organizing question for CSPO is: How can science and technology most effectively contribute to an improved quality of life for the greatest number of people? The group cultivates public discourse and fosters policies to help decision makers and institutions grapple with the power and importance of science and emerging technology.

Here are more facts about CSPO:

  1. The consortium was originally created at Columbia University as a research center in Washington, D.C., by Michael Crow, who was then the executive vice provost for research at Columbia, and CSPO co-director Daniel Sarewitz.
  2. CSPO was instrumental in acquiring approximately $13 million for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) from the National Science Foundation. CNS was the world’s largest center for research, education, and outreach on the societal aspects of nanotechnology.
  3. The group publishes a book series called "The Rightful Place of Science," which now includes 10 volumes on a broad range of subjects.
  4. CSPO’s co-founder and co-director, Professor Daniel Sarewitz, was recently profiled in the online magazine Undark for a provocative essay he wrote for The New Atlantis called “Saving Science.”
  5. In partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the University of Texas at Dallas, CSPO co-edits the influential Issues in Science and Technology magazine.
  6. CSPO played a catalyzing role in the development of the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP).
  7. The consortium has led citizen-focused technology forums throughout the United States. CSPO was the North American organizing partner of World Wide Views in 2009 and 2012; a partner in the National Citizens Technology Forum in 2008; an organizer of the Futurescape City Tours in 2013; the host of forums on NASA’s Asteroid Initiative; a NOAA partner on facilitating community resilience; and is now developing a forum program on autonomous vehicles and the governance of geoengineering research.
  8. Through activities going back more than two decades, CSPO has emerged as a global leader in focusing attention on climate adaptation and resilience as critical components of climate policy.
  9. For several years in row, CSPO has ranked among the world’s top 10 science and technology think tanks by the authoritative Think Tank and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
  10. CSPO launched the School for the Future of Innovation in Society — originally a research center and graduate program housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — in 2015.


Video: What is the reality of a border?

10:20 a.m. Thursday, March 15

ASU’s School of Transborder Studies — the first of its kind in the nation — looks at how borders can define us, inspire us and bring us to new discoveries.

This is the video they’ll be sharing at today’s lunchtime panel.

What does the border mean to you?


FB Live: ‘Perspectives on the Current Immigration Debate: Communities in a Transborder World’

12:30 a.m. Thursday, March 15

The panel “Perspectives on the Current Immigration Debate: Communities in a Transborder World” will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.


Katherine Reedy and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU picked to advise Hong Kong on sustainability

March 15, 2018

When City University of Hong Kong asked Rob Melnick to present a keynote address at its annual S-Day for Hong Kong sustainability summit, he recognized it as an opportunity for Arizona State University to present the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong with innovations and solutions to sustainability challenges. This wasn’t ASU’s first such invitation — ASU President Michael Crow spoke at the same event in 2014.

It’s fair to say Melnick has a good grasp of the main issues surrounding sustainability in Hong Kong. For the past six years, he has taught study abroad courses in Hong Kong on urban sustainability, partnering first with CityU and more recently with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, engaging more than 150 Hong Kong and ASU students. As part of their studies, participating students lived in Hong Kong and developed solutions to many of Hong Kong’s most daunting challenges. Rob Melnick presents about smart cities at Hong Kong event Sustainability professor Rob Melnick presents his keynote address, "The Ubiquity of Urban Sustainability," at City University of Hong Kong. Photo courtesy City University of Hong Kong. Used with permission. Download Full Image

Melnick, presidential professor of practice in ASU’s School of Sustainability, is also the university’s official representative to the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes. His trip to Hong Kong included a signing ceremony affirming CityU’s membership in the Consortium, whose member universities collaborate to develop and implement solutions to urgent sustainability challenges in cities around the world.

Melnick’s presentation at the CityU event, titled “The Ubiquity of Urban Sustainability,” focused on a Global Consortium founding principle — that effective solutions to urban social and environmental problems developed in one city can and should be adapted and applied in other cities, notwithstanding different cultures and capacities.

“As the world continues to urbanize, sustainability problems will markedly increase — greenhouse gas emissions, demand on limited supplies of water, housing affordability, energy use,” said Melnick. “As institutions of teaching and innovation, universities need to develop viable solutions to these problems and put them in the hands of the people who can most directly impact them.

“The Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes is an international network of universities that are, in fact, rising to this exact challenge.”

Michelle Schwartz

Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


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Day 2: Mission-focused research, the future of autonomous cars — and locusts

March 14, 2018

Editor's note: Opening week continued at the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU. Find the highlights from Day 1 here, and the current day's blog here.


Reception: Smarts in the spotlight

10:25 p.m. Tuesday, March 13

Knowledge Enterprise Development hosted a showcase and reception giving visitors — including members of Congress — a chance to look at research prototypes and mix and mingle with some of the top research thought leaders of the future from ASU. From locusts to nanobots to the dark web, the projects on display showcased some of ASU's brightest minds. Here's a sampling.


Video: The future according to Lyft exec

7:50 p.m. Tuesday, March 13

Robert Grant, senior director of global public policy and head of autonomous vehicle policy for Lyft, talks about his vision of the future for Lyft — one that is "the utopian version that we think is imminently achievable."

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Panel: 'How Will Self-Driving Cars Reshape Our Cities?'

4 p.m. Tuesday, March 13

Three separate discussions, representing views from autonomous-vehicle (AV) companies, civic planning, academic research and social science, combined in this talk covering a range of concerns about self-driving vehicles. Here are some of the highlights:

— First panel: Moderator Andrés Martinez, editorial director of Future Tense; ASU President Michael M. Crow; and Tekedra Mawakana, vice president and global head of policy and government affairs for Waymo — 

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel
ASU President Michael Crow responds to a statement by Tekedra Mawakana, a vice president with Waymo, during a panel discussion on autonomous vehicles, with moderator Andrés Martinez (left) of Future Tense. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

This is happening. Waymo, for instance, launched its early-rider test program in Phoenix last April.

Mawakana: "Right now, we have 5 million miles driven purely autonomously on public roads. We have 2.7 billion miles in simulation from 2017 alone. So the reason I’m giving you that information is people are like, 'Are you ready? How can members of the public already be in these cars?'"

Are there similar systems overall in the past we can learn from?

Crow: "Gadget-obsessed — we think somehow we’re the first humans that were gadget-obsessed. Indigenous peoples on the coast of present-day British Columbia and present-day Alaska invented and discovered without calculus a fantastic gadget called the kayak. It’s an unbelievably complicated technology that transforms a human’s ability to walk on water, to pursue food on water, to do everything imaginable.

"The same indigenous peoples built unbelievably customized tools for capturing of birds, where every bird required a different head to the arrow. … Humans have as a part of our nature, in our adaptation to everything that we encounter, been constantly developing gadgets. We just think that somehow we’re the first people that have encountered this. Because we’re encountering so many new gadgets, we’re somehow surprised, and we have this reeling, I don’t know what it is — it’s like, 'Well, do I want this gadget? Do I not want this gadget?'"

Autonomous vehicles will greatly affect truck drivers.

Crow, whose father was a truck driver after he left the Navy, driving between Nogales and Detroit carrying auto parts: "I did a run or two with him. It’s not exactly the most exciting thing in the world. It’s a living. … We’re moving to a point now, for the first time in human history, where this tool [holds up his smartphone] — computationally empowered, the chips in these are the same that are in the … Waymo cars or any other kind of autonomous vehicles — they are systems that will allow us once and for all to empower every human to not be saddled with — if they don’t want to be — with physical, repetitious work.

"… How we do it and why we do it, and how we then prepare all of those people who are no longer necessarily going to be employed doing those repetitious tasks, these are huge social questions.

"We need to be thinking about … what are we going to do now that human beings are freed from drudgery? How are we going to move them to higher levels of creativity?"

What about those who are worried autonomous cars won’t have the ability to react to changing conditions or won’t be experienced enough?

Mawakana: "When I was 16, I took a 30-minute test, someone gave me a license, someone else gave me a car. In hindsight, that doesn’t seem like the most prudent thing." Waymo is testing millions of scenarios. "There will always be highly unanticipated scenarios, but that’s what we’re building for."

What about those who don’t want self-driving cars?

Mawakana: "There will continue to be car enthusiasts."

Martinez: "There are who people who still ride horses. But they’re not doing it on the streets."

Crow: "There are more people riding horses today than there ever were in the American West. There are more horses than there were in the American West."

Martinez: "That’s tomorrow’s event." [laughter]

Crow: "We become segmented — we don’t realize the complexity of a country of 325 million autonomous individuals. The autonomy here is the individual, not the technology. People will be using these technologies to augment themselves, and companies will be using them to augment themselves and their businesses and so forth to enhance productivity.

"All this doom and gloom and fear, 'We’re going to be replaced, and we’re going to have robots' — and all this other kind of stuff — what we’re going to have are things we already have: Better tools than we presently have to achieve the things we want to achieve."

But again, what about the safety angle?

Mawakana: The Waymo car can see almost three football fields, 360 degrees. "It has a sense of where things are around it, and anticipation where those objects are likely to go."

Crossing guards, dynamic intersections where it’s different every time — they’ve run the test. “When in doubt, our technology is a hyper-cautious driver.” 


Second panel: Moderator Wellington “Duke” Reiter, executive director of University City Exchange; Grady Gammage Jr., co-founder of Gammage and Burnham law firm and senior fellow at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Eric Anderson, transportation director for the Maricopa Association of Governments; and Jordan Crenshaw, assistant policy counsel and committee executive for C_TEC in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce —

Let’s take a civic-planning view.

Gammage: There are three ways cities will change. 1) Sprawl — Because it sprang up around car use, Phoenix is dominated by single-family, detached homes. AV “will allow that fabric to survive because it may be the last mile from transit you need a ride on.” That could mean fewer streets, homes without garages or people commuting from even farther away since they’ll be able to use the commute time for other purposes.

2) Parking — “Parking made the postwar cities different,” with parking placed in front of stores. Thirty to 40 percent of Phoenix is land dedicated to parking. And as we pack more people into office buildings, “cities may become denser over time with autonomous vehicles.”

3) Signage — “When everything was horse and buggy, you didn’t have to have so many signs … or advertising.” That may change with autonomous vehicles. Right now they’re trying to get AV to read “signs that were built for human eyesight.” It’s possible cities of the future may have zones where humans aren’t allowed to drive because they will have pulled the signs down. And outdoor advertising may move to screens inside the car.

Crenshaw: There’s also the issue of connectivity. Dealing with AV will require things like 5G, “which a lot of state and local governments aren’t reaping the benefits of.”

Anderson: His crew is required to do a 20-year plan for future — “I defy anyone to predict where we’re going to be in technology in the next 20 years.” They’re doing modeling and simulations, but he believes the need to expand roadway capacity will be dampened in the future “and that’s a good thing.”

Gammage: “Cities change in increments. They don’t revolutionize themselves overnight.” They change in increments depending on how people choose to live their lives. For instance, as AV and ride sharing take off, more buildings will need drop-off areas in front of buildings where cars can pull in and queue.

Let’s talk money and data.

Gammage: “Will there be a day we regard cars like we do elevators” — not as items owned, just part of the infrastructure. “You just get in them and they go.”

Reiter: “But with every ride on that ‘elevator,’ a lot of data is harvested."

Anderson: The monetization of data streams is becoming a common theme at the conferences he’s been to. “We have a lot of companies looking creatively at all kinds of data — not just the origin/destination data, which drives a lot of our planning work, but entertainment options. … If you don’t have to worry about driving the vehicle, now you have time to be entertained, educated, whatever. And (companies) are working on seamless entertainment options that when you leave your house and get into your vehicle, it follows you along. I think we’re going to see a big change in in-vehicle entertainment. That goes to Grady’s point that the billboard industry may be dated.”

Reiter: “We can ride around with Grady, because it’s seamless entertainment when I’ve been in his car. It’s fantastic.”


Third panel: Moderator Laura Bliss, staff writer at CityLab; Karina Ricks, director of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure for the city of Pittsburgh; Ken Laberteaux, senior principal scientist for future mobility research for the Toyota Research Institute of North America; and Robert Grant, senior director of global public policy and head of AV policy for Lyft —

Ride-sharing services are adding miles and trips. Won’t AV do more of the same — adding more vehicles to the roads?

Grant: “I don’t think it’s as simple as Uber and Lyft show up and suddenly there’s congestion.” Ride share makes up less than 1 percent of miles on roads, and 70 percent of cars on road are single-occupant vehicles. “Everyone has to get used to sharing rides.” 

What about the question of equity?

Grant: “One of the reasons that vehicles will continue to exist in the future is equity.” Not everyone can take a bus or walk.

Ricks: Transit and equity “does not get enough conversation.” Researchers must include the people in the planning who will actually be using it. “We can look at the data and analyze these things, but until you get down in the cultural” and talk with the people who are the target users, you won’t know the best solutions.

There’s an assumption that all AV will be electric — does Toyota operate under that assumption?

Laberteaux: “I don’t think so. … Electrification will come, if it’s universally and totally better than gas cars.” Once it’s cheaper and more efficient, “then car manufacturers will of course make those, because that’s what the customer wants.”

But still — how safe will AV be?

Ricks: “They really can’t do worse than humans behind the wheel. We set a really low bar.”

See a recording of the entire event on ASU’s Facebook page here.


Video: Intersection of research and industry

1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 13

Asha Hall, one of the morning panelists, talks after the event about the intersection between academic research and industry at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the role university partners like ASU play in developing critical solutions and innovations.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now 


Panel: ‘The Importance of University Researchers Partnering with Mission-Focused Government Agencies’

11:23 a.m. Tuesday, March 13

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel on research
Nadya Bliss, director of ASU's Global Security Initiative, asks a question to Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity on Tuesday morning at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“The reason I went into research was to work on the hardest problems,” Nadya Bliss said as she started off this panel.

Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative at ASU, was moderating the discussion between a handful of government officials and several professors from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

It was a discussion punctuated with laugher, quips, insights into how research gets funded — and a talk interrupted by news of President Donald Trump firing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via tweet, an announcement that would yield additional insight into the world of intel and research.

But more on that later.

First, let’s dig into what it is to work in that world.

“We’re sometimes compared to the Q branch of the James Bond movies, but we’re way cooler than that — because we’ve crowd-sourced Q,” said Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

What IARPA and other mission-based agencies must do is leverage research minds to handle the big challenges. Matheny said he values two things that university researchers possess: risk tolerance and focus on interdisciplinary research — two areas in which ASU has built a reputation.

“A lot of us academics assume it’s imperative for everyone to work with us,” Bliss said to the laughter of the crowd. She asked the government panelists why it’s important to them to work with university researchers.

“We have to lean back to academia, and we need them to look at technology of the future, 10, 15 years out,” said Asha Hall, engineer and technical lead for the Army Research Laboratory. And then crucial is seeing how fast that tech can be manufactured — “It’s key. We want to be ahead of our peers.”

One challenge with academics, however, is that they don’t always make the shift into what government agencies need. Matthew Clark, director of university programs at the Department of Homeland Security, said they have asked universities to replace 11 of their center directors.

“We only have 8 centers, so you can figure it out,” he said. “It’s tough for academics to get out of academic mode; they revert to mode.”

But some universities, like ASU, can be different. Charlie Gay, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies, said ASU brings the benefit of faculty whose skill sets can flow between multiple activities, from academic research to licensing technology. (Tech transfer was brought up multiple times throughout the panel.)

“What I like about ASU is that I don’t think you’re encumbered by those traditions (of how things have always been done) — you have the tradition of excellence without being encumbered by the stovepipe of ossification,” Gay said.

Half of IARPA’s funding goes to academia. “Universities cover more disciplines with greater rigor than any company can,” Matheny said. You also tend to get far fewer marketing pitches. “We like the truth, and we like that professors and students are committed to the truth.”

In today’s world of government research, working on teams and across disciplines is very important, Gay said. The goal of transdisciplinary focus that ASU has emphasized “maps very nicely to the collaborative skill sets we want students to have” when going out into the world, where things shift rapidly, he said. That focus works well for faculty, too.

“Interdisciplinary research is a fantastic educational tool … because interdisciplinary research is very intellectually liberating,” said Zak Holman, ASU assistant professor and Trustees’ Professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel
From left: ASU's Nadya Bliss, Jason Matheny of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, Charlie Gay of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies, Matthew Clark of the Department of Homeland Security, Asha Hall of the Army Research Laboratory, and ASU engineering faculty Aditi Chattopadhyay and Zak Holman. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

But what happens when things don’t work?

“I’m a little nervous to bring this up, since this is an engineering panel,” Bliss said.

“Ultimately we do work with humans, and most of the users are human in the intelligence community,” Matheny said.

“Most? Wait, are you going to tell us there are aliens?!” Bliss broke in to the laughter of the audience.

Sometimes the stuff that doesn’t go anywhere isn’t sufficiently transparent to users, Matheny said. Intel analysts require some level of “explainability” when they are defending their decisions using the systems or programs that came out of that research.

“That will often slow down the research but lead to a greater level of tech transfer on the other side,” Matheny said.

“We learn from failures,” said Aditi Chattopadhyay, ASU Regents’ Professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy and director of the Adaptive, Intelligent Materials and Systems Center.

And success often is a result of the stringent reviews required of government-funded research. Not just annual reviews, she said, but monthly phone calls and dozens of people on advisory boards.

Amanda Arnold, executive director of federal research relations in ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, asked from the audience what the panel is most excited about.

Matheny: “Biology. By far, that’s what I’m most excited about. And most nervous about.”

Clark: “Atmospherics” — looking at wind, waves, tides, runoff.

Gay: “The autonomous grid.”

Hall: “Next-generation combat vehicles. Autonomy is very hot. … Machine learning.”

From the audience, Sharon Burke of New America (one of yesterday’s panelists), said, “As a former civil servant, it’s making me misty-eyed how smart and how thoughtful our government officials are.”

She told them that “since you’ve been onstage, the president fired the secretary of State by tweet.” (“Wait, what?” Bliss asked.) “It’s interesting times,” Burke said.

Political chaos can affect more than the obvious.

“Every time you change somebody who’s in command, priorities change,” Hall said. And that can throw the research process for a loop.

What would the researchers do if they could wave a magic wand and change things in the research ecosystem?

“The opportunity for mentoring would be a terrific possibility,” Gay said. “Taking folks who are my age — baby boomers, I’m almost 72 — and connecting folks like me who still have a lot of kick left in the morning and bringing that set of talent together with the students who are in universities and working their way through their academic careers and looking for what direction to go.”

Clark had two wishes: That “children will like math and science, math particularly” (“How do you change that? It’s well beyond me.”), and improving federal hiring processes.

Holman said he needed to talk with Gay:  “I’ve been kicking around an idea about retirees-in-the-lab program.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” Gay said.

“Now I know how to kick-start it,” Holman said.

The ASU assistant professor said he’d started a PhD class on manuscript writing for engineers but that it was an extreme amount of work on the part of him and his red pen. He needs ideas for how to scale that.

“Machine learning,” Gay said.

“Tweets. Tweets are easier to review,” Bliss said


FB Live: ‘How Will Self-Driving Cars Reshape Our Cities’

8 a.m. Tuesday, March 13

The panel " How Will Self-Driving Cars Reshape Our Cities?" will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.


Katherine Reedy and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Day 3: Grad student research, police and trust, and terror and the rule of law

March 14, 2018

Editor's note: Opening week continued at the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU. Find the current day's blog here, with links to the other day's highlights.


Panel: 'Expanded Opportunities through ASU’s International Rule of Law and Security Program'

8:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center law reception
(From left) Barbara Barrett, Jay O'Connor and Craig Barrett listen to ASU Law Dean Doug Sylvester at a reception Wednesday evening at the Washington, D.C., center that bears the name of O'Connor's mother and the former ambassador. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has some 200 alumni in Washington, D.C., and many of them were on hand Wednesday evening for a lively reception atop the new building that shares part of its name with the law school.

Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Distinguished Professor of Practice Clint Williamson — who served as the evening’s moderator — began with a description of the International Rule of Law and Security program, jointly developed by ASU Law and the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

In the program, students earning their JD degrees at ASU Law spend a semester in Washington, D.C., taking classes and working in an externship in such places as the Department of State, the FDA or the offices of members of Congress. The program also works to promote “rule of law”The meaning of the rule of law can differ by context, but in general it refers to the transparent and uniform application of laws to all citizens by an independent justice system not subject to the whim of those in power (which might be characterized as the rule of man). programs in places such as Mexico, Albania and Pakistan.

Williamson launched the evening’s panel by asking Nicholas Rasmussen about the mood at the White House immediately after 9/11.

The former director of the National Counterterrorism Center said, it was hard to remember just how “palpable that sense of fear was” that we were destined to face another attack. Government offices ran evacuation drills, and everyone was on edge waiting for the next attack.

“Rule of law was not at the front of everybody’s mind,” he said.

But eventually, it became clear that they would need a rule of law framework.

“As powerful as the United States was, it was never going to be in our power alone to conduct a global terrorism campaign,” he said — we had to work “by, with and through” global partners.

And through the changes in administration — from Bush to Obama to Trump — how has he seen the approach to rule of law evolve?

“I would argue there’s more continuity than change,” he said.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center law panel
Nicholas Rasmussen (right) talks about the "rule of law" in the early days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, during a Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law panel Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. ASU Law's Clint Williamson (left) served as moderator for the panel, which included Michael Sulmeyer and Stephanie Pell. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Stephanie Pell, assistant professor and cyber ethics fellow at West Point’s Army Cyber InstitutePell also holds joint appointments to the Department of English and Philosophy and the Department of Law., was a prosecutor in Miami in the days after 9/11 and worked to write some of the first search warrants to search the residences of terror suspects there. She agreed with Rasmussen that the mood then was very much one of fear and feeling like the next attack was imminent.

“One thing we weren’t doing was searching smartphones. Why? Because they didn’t exist — not on September 11th. In the years since then, we’ve seen the advent of the kinds of technology … that most of us couldn’t get through the day without consulting,” she said Wednesday at the ASU Law panel.

She spoke about the case of Apple vs. the FBI as an example of new technology challenging our rule of law framework. The FBI wanting Apple to write new code to allow back doors for security; Apple said no. The government was used to getting access to data if it followed the appropriate steps, but this was a case of “competing visions of security,” Pell said: law enforcement wanting to thwart terrorist attacks, and providers of email and other services wanting to make sure they offered the most secure technology for their customers.

“If they build in access points that allow government access … those access points allow our adversaries to get into our phones as well,” Pell said.

Though the technology is changing, the cyber war is nothing new, said Michael Sulmeyer, director of the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School.

He pointed out that “We are in the middle of a cyber war” was uttered almost 20 years ago this month by John Hamre, then deputy secretary of defense (speaking about the Moonlight Maze operation).

“So when someone tells you, ‘What are we going to do about this new cyber challenge,’ you should remind them 20 years we’ve been watching it. … This is not a new challenge,” Sulmeyer said.

He said that although we point to Russia as a cyber enemy much of the time, “they don’t win the prize.” He pointed to examples of Chinese intellectual-property theft, Iranian aggression and North Korean moves.

The problem, Sulmeyer said, is that hacking still pays — there’s more to gain by hacking than not, because the risks aren’t high enough.

“Hacking pays for Russia. All the arguments that say, ‘Russia, stop it,’ wag the finger, we’re going to sanction eight of your guys who don’t want to come to the United States anyway. …

“At some point, the best way to make sure someone can’t play baseball anymore is to take away their baseball bat. In the United States, we’ve been reluctant to take away their baseball bat … or hack them hard.”

Learn more about the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s history in the nation’s capital at ASULawInDC.com. Watch Williamson talks about the Rule of Law and Security program, which recently changed its name from Rule of Law and Governance, in a video hereFind program FAQs here.


Photo: An O'Connor in the house

6:20 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

Jay OConnor at the Barrett and OConnor Washington Center
Jay O'Connor (right), son of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, visits with Law School Dean Doug Sylvester and President Michael Crow on Wednesday evening in the lobby of the building named in his mother's honor. O'Connor later attended the ASU Law reception and "Expanded Opportunities Through ASU’s International Rule of Law and Security Program" presentation. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Video: In search of the 'Star Trek' replicator

5:35 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

Owen Hildreth, assistant professor at ASU's School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, talks about his research that aims to improve the process for 3-D metal manufacturing — and get us one step closer to that replicator.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Panel: 'Restoring Trust in American Policing'

5 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

A moderator and 13 panelists — including both researchers and active and retired police officers — covered a wide range of topics and engaged with members of the full audience at the panel “Restoring Trust in American Policing” on Wednesday at the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center.

In this event sponsored by ASU's College of Public Service and Community Solutions in partnership with CNA, topics ranged from the use of force and its effect on community attitudes, to what kinds of data are collected by researchers and cities, to the crucial need for transparency and justice both inside and outside the walls of police departments. Here are highlights; watch the entire event on Facebook video here.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel on policing
Cmdr. Morgan Kane of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., speaks on a panel on the use of force and its impact on communities as part of the "Restoring Trust in American Policing" event Wednesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

On the reality of the use of force:

“Force is not pretty. If you’ve been in the District of Columbia, you know we’ve had our fair share.”
— Cmdr. Morgan Kane, a 20-year member of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

On “best practices” after conducting a study of how 662 police departments are instructing officers on how to use force:

“We didn’t find a silver bullet, we didn’t find a panacea — we didn’t find a perfect policy.”
— Bill Terrill, professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU 

On recruitment and expectations:

“We think of law enforcement and then we use the term ‘policing’ They’re not subtle differences to me. Law enforcement is a small part of the job; policing is most of the job. We know going back to the 1960s that much of what police do is not enforcing the law; they’re dealing with people’s problems, right? … Most of their time is spent on social work. So from a recruitment perspective, I hammer this into my students all the time. If you just want to chase the bad guy, you’re probably going into the wrong occupation.”
— Terrill

On the need for community relationships:

“We’re not welcome everywhere. But what continues to surprise me, amazes me and warms my heart is when you go into some of these communities and when you take the time to explain what you’re doing and be transparent in what it is that you’re doing and why you’re doing it and to have discussions — open and honest discussions, the reception changes and now you have a community partner. … That relationship is so important. We can’t be successful without our community giving us information and telling us when something doesn’t look right — the hairs on the back of your neck, ‘This just doesn’t look right’ — if we don’t have that relationship, we can’t prevent crime and keep people safe.”
— Kane

On what the data says on whether body-worn cameras reduce the use of force:

“Every department is different. So again, what works for one department might not work for another. And you also have to factor in there are some departments that don’t have issues with public trust. So they might not have high numbers of use of force or high numbers of complaints, so they’re not going to see reductions in complaints."
— Denise Rodriguez, research scientist with nonprofit research and analysis organization CNA 

“One of the things I’ve been doing with a colleague … is trying to get an assessment of how many studies have been published and what do they say. So we’ve documented now 14 different studies that have been published that look at use of force. Seven of the 14 document a significant decline in use of force. So half do, half don’t.”
— Michael White, professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU

On the importance of data sharing:

“Collecting data could not be more important today than any other time in our history. When I go back to 1990, when I started with (a previous police) department, I remember we were so bad at sharing information within our own organization that we couldn’t even imagine sharing it with the community. I remember being on an undercover sting operation for a couple of weeks because we were trying to catch a burglar — only to find out that the detectives had caught that guy two weeks earlier but had forgotten to tell patrol. … Fast-forward some 25 years forward and I’m just really proud of the tremendous work being done across the country  … on getting data out there to the community.”
— Eddie Reyes, new director of the Office of Public Safety Communications in Prince William County, Va.

On data vs. perception:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about public life, it’s that stories beat the hell out of data every day of the week. If you have a critical incident in your community and all hell breaks loose, it doesn’t matter — for example, in Milwaukee we can demonstrate a 77 percent reduction in complaints against the police over a 10-year period, we can demonstrate a 40 percent reduction in reported uses of force even after we had expanded reportable uses of force. Many police departments can show all kinds of trend analysis that show improvements in activity, that show improvements in the results of their work and improvements at the neighborhood level, in terms of citizen perception. But when you have a critical incident, particularly when it’s captured on a body-worn camera or somebody’s cellphone, that defines policing for news media coverage, political engagement and the mobilization of activist communities. That becomes the reality. So data does have its limitations, particularly in terms of a crisis.”
— Ed Flynn, retired Milwaukee police chief

On procedural justiceProcedural justice is the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources — including issues of promotion. inside and outside the police department:

“I find it very difficult to place those expectations on police officers when they, as you suggest, they don’t get that treatment hardly at all.”
— James “Chip” Coldren, managing director of the Justice Group at nonprofit CNA

On body-camera footage and the courtroom:

“One thing we fail to appreciate as we think about body cameras — the beginning of the conversation is very focused on use of force, complaints, etc. But there is this evidentiary value piece that we’re still trying to track through the process of how does it affect our internal investigations on the criminal side as well as internal to the police force, and we do see some anecdotal evidence of it speeding up those investigations. If you get a frivolous complaint, you can very quickly identify it as such and put the officer back on the street. … We’re also seeing, though, on the prosecutorial side — it’s a lot of video footage, right? If you have like 15 officers on a scene for three hours, you can only imagine how much video footage they’ve got to comb through to extract that evidentiary value. … How are we presenting this video footage in court. Is it necessarily the officer’s perspective? … What are the jury instructions around things like that? On the evidentiary side, there’s so much more to explore in terms of how the footage is playing out in the downstream criminal justice processes.”
— Anita Ravishankar, research fellow at the Lab @ DC and a member of the Metropolitan Police Department team


Video: Studying grasshoppers and helping farmers around the world

1:25 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

Ariel Rivers, program manager for the Global Locust Initiative, talks about why we should care about grasshoppers and locusts — and their role in global food security.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


Panel: 'Transformative Knowledge by Design: Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellows’ Research Impact'

11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

Alfredo Artiles, dean of the Graduate College, led a discussion with Karen Gallagher, PhD alumni; Peter Marting, PhD candidate in animal behavior; and Emily Zarka, PhD candidate in British romantic literature, about the importance of communicating scientific discovery and research in a way that is accessible, impactful and engaging for the public.

According to Artiles, “We are living in an era of unprecedented knowledge production. There has never been a time that we have gathered so much information that is useful, but not used.” This, he explained, is the challenge facing scientists and researchers that must be overcome, merging scientific endeavor with social needs.

Knowledge mobilization is concerned with access, use and impact. To demonstrate the possibilities of knowledge mobilization, Artiles welcomed the three panelists to share their stories in a TED Talk-style presentation.

graduate college panel
Clinical Associate Professor Karen Gallagher talks about her work with military veterans and their cognitive issues at the ASU Graduate College's panel discussion on Wednesday, March 13. Gallagher, a Tillman scholar, was joined on the panel by doctoral candidates Peter Marting and Emily Zarka. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Karen Gallagher, clinical associate professor, College of Health Solutions

An Army veteran herself, Gallagher was inspired to address the lack of resources and support available to veterans transitioning out of the service. Thirty-three percent of military transitioning out will have some kind of brain injury. Forty-four percent will have post-traumatic stress. “We are failing a large number of our military veterans,” she said.

She explained that in the service, “We know what our mission is, who our team is and what success looks like. But no one tells you how to be successful post-service.”

To address the problem, Gallagher created the Veteran Cognition and Academic Success project.

She developed tests that were sensitive to non-traumatic brain injury; that looked at the whole person to understand what was going on, not just the clinical diagnosis. She taught veterans how to define their own missions, identify their own teams and connect with resources that could help. And it worked.

To increase the impact of her work, she presented at international conferences, wrote news articles, gave interviews, published her findings in academic journals and spoke with politicians. “I wanted everyone to have access to the knowledge I found.”

Peter Marting, PhD candidate in animal behavior, School of Life Sciences

Marting studies tree ants and how they differ in their response to various stimuli. Recognizing that his research subject was fairly opaque, inaccessible and difficult for the general public to understand, Marting sought a way to translate his research into something impactful. He chose art.

“Scientists ourselves, at this level, are very creative people,” he said. His challenge was to find a way to take the subject he was passionate about — ants — and create something visual that expressed emotion and communicated his research findings to the public.

By working across disciplines, with professional artists and designers, he created an inspired and imaginative art display that uses light to show the reaction of ants to stimuli in their environment. The project is as beautiful and diverse as the research behind it.

Through the fusion of science and art, Marting hopes to encourage others down a path of “artistic expression of original research,” with the goal of “making science communication beautiful.”

Emily Zarka, PhD candidate in British romantic literature, Department of English

“I’m Emily Zarka, and I’m a monsters expert.” No stranger to skepticism, Zarka must find creative ways to express how her research of zombies, vampires, mummies, walking corpses and other things that go bump in the night, has public value.

“I’m particularly fascinated by the undead. When the living come in contact with such a creature, we are forced to acknowledge our own existences and identify our own monstrous qualities.”

“I’m always looking for new ways to teach history through monsters. Human history is, in fact, monster history.”

To share her research and passion for monsters with others, she authored a chapter in an upcoming book about race, gender and sexuality in "The Walking Dead" comic series; presented at national and international conferences; had an article published in a national publication; and regularly engages with other academics at ASU in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Her ultimate goal? “One day I’d like to have my own television show where I travel the globe visiting different countries and communities and exploring the unique monsters and their individual histories.”  This would allow her to expose her findings to a larger audience and to explain the complex historical and social motivations that have caused every culture since the beginning of time to create monstrous bodies.

“My work shows there is an approachable way to engage everyone from children to academics in thoughtful conversations about larger social issues. The monster is a way to talk about poverty, racism, sexism, discrimination and the social condition in a way that is exciting and approachable. To understand monstrosity is to understand humanity.”

“So I ask, ‘What are you afraid of?’”

READ MORE: Army vet studies brain injuries in soldiers

READ MORE: Snobs and slobs: Ants are just like us


Video: Hacking the hackers

11:12 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Paulo Shakarian talks about the importance of using advanced machine learning to monitor the dark web for signals of impending cyberattacks. He also touches on ASU's emphasis on use-inspired research, which led to cyber watchdog spinoff Cyr3con.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


A brief history of the building at 1800 I St. NW

10:59 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center
1800 I St. NW today. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Owner, architect, and builder Joseph J. Moebs began construction of the 1800 I St. NW building in 1915. Moebs, born in Boston around 1875 to German immigrant parents, is credited for the design of this and 103 other buildings in Washington, D.C. — mostly dwellings — between 1905 and 1931. 

The 1800 I St. NW building originally consisted of 25 apartments and three offices; it was built at an estimated cost of $60,000. 

Upon completion, Moebs sold the building to John F. Conaway, who most likely commissioned the building. Over the years, inhabitants from all walks of life occupied this building; in the 1930s rent ranged between $20 and $90 per month. In 1926, Charles Pettinato opened the “Charles Barber Shop” on the ground floor, which his son, Nunzio, ran until 1965. 

Conaway and his partners eventually sold the building to the Granite Street Corporation in 1946, which continued to manage the building as apartments; in 1960 it was converted to an office building and named the Medical Building, hosting medical and dental offices over the next few decades. The building had several other owners before University Realty purchased it in December 2014.


Video: Solar fishing lights, diabetes prevention

9:25 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

During the morning's presentation "Transformative Knowledge by Design," the Graduate College showed this video showing how ASU students' research and passion are making a difference in the community.

Learn more:


FB Live: ‘Restoring Trust in American Policing’

7:40 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

The panel “Restoring Trust in American Policing” will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.


Katherine Reedy and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo: Jay O'Connor, son of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, visits with Law School Dean Doug Sylvester in the lobby of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU, Meiji University discuss new program that will bring Japanese students to ASU

March 13, 2018

On March 8, Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies hosted Professors Takumi Takeda, associate dean for international affairs, and Hisakazu Kato, chief associate dean in the School of Political Science and Economics from Meiji University to discuss their new joint program.

The 3+1+1 program, modeled on the successful 4+1 program, will connect the two universities to provide students with two degrees in five years. Students will spend three years in an undergraduate program in Meiji focusing on political science and economics. They will then spend two years at Arizona State University, finishing up their undergraduate experience as well as their master's degree. Meiji University professors Takumi Takeda (left) and Hisakazu Kato (right) Meiji University professors Takumi Takeda (left) and Hisakazu Kato. Download Full Image

“We have been globalizing our education so many students are interested in coming to the United States to study politics and economics in English,” Takeda said.

To prepare students for their collegiate experience in the United States, students are offered English training as well as both economic and political science courses taught in English while in Meiji.

“It’s a sort of preparation for them to take those courses and come to Arizona State University,” Takeda said.

Takeda added that they have had great interest from students in the early stages of recruitment for the program. Meiji hopes to send two students to begin the program in fall 2018.

The graduate program within the School of Politics and Global Studies is small and culturally diverse, according to director of graduate studies and associate professor, Magda Hinojosa. The school has graduate students from Austria, Mexico, Indonesia, Iran and all over the world but none yet from Japan.

“I’m really excited about what they can contribute,” Hinojosa said. “The learning environment is improved for everyone when we have that diversity of life experiences. I think it is going to be really exciting for us.”

Initially there were challenges with aligning the Japanese academic calendar with the American one, but Takeda and Kato both met with various faculty and staff during their visit to learn more about ASU and its academic offerings.

With the calendar challenge now solved, the group is excited about the collaboration.

“We are so happy to have this kind of relationship,” Takeda said.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies