Home Page Display: 
image title

Blurring the border between urban development and nature

April 19, 2018

Generous Cities Summit at ASU discusses urban biomimicry that would balance the effect of development on nature

Cities and the natural world seem to be at opposite ends of a spectrum, at least according to the dominant thinking of city dwellers like Woody Allen and mankind in general for the past 11,000 years: Keep the wolves out and the Thai takeout close.  

Country folks, on the other hand, readily extol the virtues of clean air, water, greenery and birdsong.

But what if cities were fundamentally indistinguishable from the wildland next door? What if buildings were made of carbon-sequestering concrete and released air three times cleaner? What if streets were made of permeable asphalt and birds nested in plants growing up the sides of skyscrapers?

That’s the idea behind the Generous Cities Summit hosted by the Biomimicry Center  at Arizona State University.

The two-day event, which kicked off Thursday morning, is bringing together sustainability scientists, urban designers, architects, ecologists, software developers, and government and business decision-makers to consider how cities can take inspiration from the natural world and produce the same benefits nature does.

Our current building stock already consumes 40 percent of all global energy used, and those buildings are responsible for nearly one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Can you be in dense groups and not destroy the ecosystem?” asked keynote speaker Janine Benyus, adjunct faculty in the School of Sustainability and biomimicry advocate.

Images of cities draped in greenery and shining with water features flashed across the screen behind her.

“We’re part of the natural world, so our part has to function too,” Benyus said. By function she meant filter and store water, sequester carbon, pollinate, cool, and shelter wildlife, among other tasks.

Using “nature as measure and model,” humans can become producers of ecosystem services, Benyus said.

It’s going to mean a change in urban design and architecture — and a change in worldview, she said.

“How many ecological functions can we get per square foot? … How many services can we meet? You design into that framework.”

Top photo: Cofounder of Biomimicry 3.8 Janine Benyus addresses the audience during the Generous Cities Summit hosted by the Biomimicry Center at the ASU Tempe campus on April 19. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


image title

ASU conference to address needs of children of incarcerated parents

An estimated 2 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent.
Roughly 13% of Arizona children have an incarcerated parent.
April 19, 2018

Like many children who grow up with an incarcerated parent, it took Deborah Jiang Stein years to step out from the shadow of societal stigma and personal shame, eventually detailing her experience in the book “Prison Baby.”

What she went through happened decades ago. Today, although an estimated 2 million children in the U.S. — and roughly 13 percent of children in Arizona — are currently experiencing parental incarceration, resources to help them and their families cope are still scarce.

“We’re a culture of secrecy and shame,” Jiang Stein said. “So if a child has a parent in prison, that falls into the category of ‘Let’s not talk about this.’”

This Sunday through Wednesday, April 22-25, hundreds will gather at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix to challenge that notion at the inaugural National Children of Incarcerated Parents Conference, hosted by ASU’s Center for Child Well-Being.

Jiang Stein will be on hand to deliver the keynote lecture.

The Center for Child Well-Being was founded in 2016 to bring more attention to the needs of vulnerable kids, focusing their work on three areas: research and evaluation, development and facilitation of professional training, and bringing in speakers from community organizations to deliver talks.

Research at the center is carried out by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from disciplines that include engineering, computer science and nutrition, among others.

The idea for the upcoming conference grew out of a smaller, regional event held in 2014, where center director Judy Krysik realized something more permanent and sustainable needed to be established.

“I didn’t know how many people I knew who were touched by this issue until we started planning the conference and people I’ve known for a long time suddenly were telling me they had an incarcerated parent,” Krysik said. “This isn’t something that people talk about. So we hope this conference will raise awareness and allow people to have an open conversation about it.”

The conference will focus on four themes: impact on children and families, training and support for professionals, evidence of program and policy effectiveness, and empowering change through system building. Panel discussions will include trauma impact, reducing harm, visitation practices, providing maternal health services in corrections, resiliency, family-sensitive practice, and addressing gender and racial assumptions and biases.

Those in attendance will include children and families, advocates, practitioners and researchers.

Catherine Tijerina and her children, Brandon and Blake, will be speaking about their personal experiences as the family of a formerly incarcerated husband and father. When Ron Tijerina was released from prison, he and Catherine founded the Ridge Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower generational responsibility to ensure the strength of future generations.

The Ridge Project reaches out to families, youths and individuals touched by incarceration and offers services and support, something Catherine wishes she had more of while Ron was incarcerated.

“You just feel so discarded and unwanted,” she said. She hopes the Ridge Project and the upcoming conference will encourage more people to reach out and mobilize around the cause.

“The very best programs in the world don’t change people,” Tijerina said. “People change people. Having those connections is so important.”

Jiang Stein founded a similar organization to address the needs of those in the prison system. The unPrison Project provides drug and alcohol treatment, as well as mental health resources for incarcerated individuals.

“If we stopped warehousing people in prisons and provided resources for healing, trauma recovery, employment and adequate housing, we’d see recidivism drop,” Jiang Stein said.

One of the deliverables of the conference is a publication based on the topics covered, which will be distributed to help increase knowledge on the subject.

“We’re very fortunate that because of the center, we have the resources to offer this to the community,” Krysik said.

Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

image title

Wide-ranging ASU + GSV Summit explores the future of talent

April 18, 2018

See highlights from 3-day event on transforming education, featuring diverse voices ranging from politics to entertainment

Editor's note: ASU Now will be covering this week's ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego, an event that started in 2010 with a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley that attracts more than 4,000 leaders from across the learning and talent spectrum and serves as a platform for elevating dialogue about raising education and career outcomes through scaled innovation. Find highlights below from some of the hundreds of panels, including videos, quotable quips and links to longer stories. 


All right, all right, all right: Famous folks on the power of education

10:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Judges confer at the ASU GSV Summit
Judges (from left) Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg; Betty Liu, founder and CEO of Radiate; and actor Matthew McConaughey confer before awarding a $50,000 Venture Award to Freddy Vega, co-founder and CEO of Platzi, at the Closing Dinner + Keynote on Wednesday. Platzi is an online education tool serving primarily Spanish-speaking countries. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mexico has progressed rapidly over the past generation thanks to better education, according to Vicente Fox, a businessman and the former president of Mexico. Fox delivered the final keynote address Wednesday, an evening that focused on education's power to transform and also featured Hollywood star power: Matthew McConaughey speaking about his student-focused foundation.


Changing the way people approach college

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Eric Waldo, executive director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative at Civic Nation, talks about how the U.S. has fallen in its worldwide educational ranking of post-secondary completion, and the strategies that could turn that around. 

Video by David Jinks/ASU


What if we got rid of credits? Or semesters?

5:55 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and former president of the Teachers College at Columbia University, talks about how the system of university education — based on credits and semesters — is outdated. Here, he shares what might replace that.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Chronicle report: Emerging trends in U.S. higher ed

5:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

What forces will shape higher education over the next year? Goldie Blumenstyk, senior writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education, discussed key findings from The Chronicle’s 2018 Trends Report. Here are some emerging trends:

  • The American campus ‘under siege’: “What we’re seeing is an incredible rise of incidents on campuses. That’s because a lot of organizations have discovered that a campus is a good place to make a statement about campuses as bastions of liberal thought. Incidents related to white supremacy, like leafletting, have tripled.”
  • Students in charge: “There are a lot of students still disenfranchised, like students at community college, but what we’re seeing at a lot of institutions, in part because tuition is making up a larger piece of the pie, is the balance of power shifting. There’s a lot more market-demand curriculum, nicer dining halls and more of a focus on career services.”
  • Loss of global prestige: “Because of difficulty with visas and DACA, the United States is a less popular destination for students from overseas. The U.K., Australia and New Zealand are making big pushes to go after the international market the U.S. seems to be turning its back on.”
  • Student success up front: “This is not just about adaptive software platforms or success coaches. We’re seeing a systemic approach that looks different from a few years ago. The best example of this is at Georgia State, which is offering completion grants. They use data to identify students who are close to graduation and give them a small completion grants so they don’t drop out.”
  • Black college renaissance: “The more we see hostility to people of color on campuses, the more that students of color will go to institutions where they find things friendly. We’ve seen record enrollment in (historically black colleges and universities), and we’ve seen increased enrollment of Latino students and Asian students at HBCUs.”


Let's hear from the founders of the summit

4:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Video by David Jinks/ASU


The outlook for middle-skills jobs

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

What will the future of work be like for people who want a middle-class lifestyle but no college degree? Cross-sector panelists weigh in.


Digitalization and Education

3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

As the world becomes more connected, it also becomes more complex. Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, discussed how students today must be prepared to solve global problems that haven’t been defined yet, using technology that hasn’t been invented, in roles that do not exist. To thrive in this new era, learners need to know how to learn, problem solve, think critically, and how to use digitization tools.

“Machine learning is core to everything that we do. The key question is, making sure that machine learning, artificial intelligence — we have to make sure that it’s inclusive, that it’s not biased. We have to make sure that we’re not solving for an old problem, but that we’re solving for a new problem. When we’re using machine learning and artificial intelligence to fix the homework problem, when we know homework doesn’t work, are we really solving anything?

“People always ask kids, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That question makes no sense. Instead, I want to ask kids, ‘What problem do you want to solve?’ Because that gets us closer to what Danny Pink talks about in his book, ‘Drive,’ about what motivates all of us as human beings: purpose — what problem do you want to solve? The second question is, ‘How do you want to solve it?’ Autonomy. And then the most important question in education is the third one around mastery. What do you need to learn to solve that problem? What are the knowledge, skills and abilities that you need to have in order to solve that problem?”


Athletics intrinsically linked with education

2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Sports and education experts formed a team to talk about the relationships that exist between college athletics, academics and the pro leagues — both good and bad. ASU President Michael Crow, adidas North America President Mark King and New York Times sportswriter Karen Crouse weighed in on the topic.


adidas' Mark King on what sport has meant in his life

2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Where is testing going?

11 a.m. Wednesday, April 18 

Modern measurement of learning efficacy and human skills is rapidly evolving, and machine learning and AI technologies are at the heart of much of the change. Leaders from a diverse set of organizations discussed the future of testing and assessment and other forms of measurement, at a panel called "From Hype to Insight: Measurement is Woke," led by moderator Karen Cator, CEO of Digital Promise.

Joanna Gorin, vice president, research, Educational Testing Service: I think what we need to make sure that we are doing, while we’re changing and evolving, is think of what we can take advantage of in terms of all of these technologies to better measure what it really means to learn and to know something, but not to lose sight of the fact that we still have to evaluate the data as evidence, and often times there is more data than is really meaningful to be able to do what we need to do.

Lou Pugliese, Action Lab managing director and Senior Innovation Fellow, ASU: At ASU…what we’re finding is that as we begin to go up the level of sophistication, meaning starting with these early tree adaptive systems, to more algorithm-based adaptive systems that really require better diagnostic models, we can start to see the ability to move from just measuring cognition and intelligence surface knowledge, to really measure competence in terms of what the students can actually do. I think that’s most important thing that AI accomplishes.


How to achieve real innovation

10:50 a.m. Wednesday, April 18

Several experts addressed change in universities at a panel titled, “Change Agents or Kamikaze Pilots? Can We Have Unfettered Innovation in HigherEd?”

Jeffrey Selingo, special advisor and professor of practice, ASU: Innovation can be a fuzzy word. What does innovation mean, but more importantly what does unfettered innovation look like? Higher education is a rightly regulated industry in the U.S. and that word unfettered makes some people nervous.

Marni Baker-Stein, provost and chief academic officer, Western Governors University: I think innovation is an empty word in and of itself. It is a tool in the toolkit to get to the most important thing, which is serving every learner better and better all the time. In that context, there is no such thing as unfettered innovation. I’ve never had an experience in my professional life and in working with companies to drive innovation, where there weren’t constraints. That’s what makes innovation innovative. How do we work within those constraints to drive change?

Selingo: As we think about innovation at existing institutions, do you have to change the culture first and then follow with a strategy?

Kevin Guthrie, president, Ithaka: We did a case study of ASU three years ago. We interviewed 50 people. It’s primarily cultural. The degree to which it’s strategic is clarity of vision. (ASU President) Michael Crow has experienced a clarity of vision and it’s taken 15 years. The first five years, there wasn’t a lot movement. We forget that. Whether you agree or don’t agree, what’s happening there is that there’s consistency that’s changing the culture. We asked what percentage of the faculty are on board with this story. And what all the leadership said was 80 percent are on board. It’s taken long enough that the people who are not are gone. Clarity of vision followed by a cultural change in terms of people, design and goals is critical to innovation within an institutional complex.


Diverse array of topics kicks off final day of ASU + GSV Summit

8 a.m. Wednesday, April 18

Read about all the highlights from the morning session, including a conversation about school violence with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a panel with ASU President Michael Crow and this year's McGraw Prize winners, and an expert discussion of the complexities of the Chinese and American education systems.


Fete for McGraw Prize winners

11 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

After the John Legend keynote and the panel discussion, ASU + GSV Summit participants were led by marching band to a reception in honor of the McGraw Prize winners.


John Legend and social justice in the spotlight

10:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

John Legend takes the stage at the ASU GSV Summit
Oscar, Golden Globe and 10-time Grammy Award winner John Legend takes the stage to deliver the Tuesday afternoon keynote address at the ASU+GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

John Legend headlined an evening focused on social justice, as the singer-activist and a panel of experts focused on what our communities must do to cultivate talent in all groups, in particular the incarcerated.


Transitioning from school to the workplace

5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

What are the best ways to prepare graduates for success post-graduation? ASU leaders talk about how the university's role has changed, going beyond the traditional work of a career services office.


Apple VP on unlocking potential

4:40 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

At a talk about technology unlocking students' potential, John Couch reflected on his years as Apple’s vice president of education, and his soon-to-be-released book, “Rewiring Education,” examining how technology can be used to address a number of K-12 challenges.

“We need a new set of A-B-Cs. 'A' is access. We do not have equal access. We don’t have it in the U.S., and we don’t have it around the world. 'B' is the students are capable of much more than being consumers of content. They can be creators of content. And 'C,' code. And I don’t say coding because I want everyone to be a coder. But the process to code is the same process to solve a problem, to start a company,” he said.

“The new learning pedagogy really becomes a symbiotic relationship between the teacher and the student and the community to solve real, relevant problems. And the students become the creators; they collaborate so they leverage each other’s talents and they take on challenges.”


And now for some cool gadgets

4:20 p.m. Tuesday, April 17


The workplace value of arts and humanities

3:55 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

STEM fields can steal the headlines, but at the "Future of Arts and Humanities in a Changing World of Work" panel, arts and humanities were in the spotlight.

Alexander Hochman, senior director, University of San Francisco Career Services Center: If anyone hasn’t checked out LinkedIn’s new monthly reports that they are doing by region, they are worth looking at. For the April report, in San Francisco, the top 10 skills that are in overabundance are all coding, and that was a surprise to me because I’m always worried that our students aren’t learning how to code, especially if they are a liberal arts major. And the top 10 skills that were the most desirable, were all your typical humanities skills.

Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director, University of Miami: When I have a parent come to the career center and say, "Well, I don’t want Johnny studying English or humanities," I use the data to really show that those students are just as successful as our business majors or engineering majors in terms of finding jobs, in terms of salaries. And if you look beyond that first job, second job, five years down the line, they’re doing just as well and sometimes even better than those students. So I let the data speak for itself.


Getting a foot in the door in Silicon Valley

2:50 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Panelists talk about working in Silicon Valley at the ASU GSV Summit
Cassie Nielsen, the vice president for talent at VMG Partners, offers a question she uses in interviews as she recruits executives for placement, during the "View from the Front Lines of Talent in Silicon Valley" panel Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

For new graduates who have their sights set on working in Silicon Valley, a panel of recruiters talked about how they hire in a panel titled, “View from the Front Lines of Talent in Silicon Valley."

What technology will change the workforce?

Marian Pond, vice president, executive talent, Lightspeed Venture Partners: When you look at the sheer amount of employees that need to be brought in, I think human resource technology platforms that are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence are drastically changing the talent landscape. The recruiting staffing industry in the U.S. alone is $400 billion. Through these platforms, they’re able to identify the candidates quicker and shorten the recruiting time dramatically.

Ryan Bulkoski, partner in artificial intelligence and digital practice, Heidrick & Struggles: MIT recently made public this device that allows a human to communicate with a machine without vocalizing words. By determining the neuromuscular signals in your mind, it can pick up the conversation with 92 percent accuracy. How does that change the job market? It would drastically speed up jobs that are heavy in original content creation. Individuals who may have been hampered form birth not being able to speak can enter the workforce in more exciting capacities.

Is talent from Silicon Valley worth the hype?

Pond: It depends. There are a lot of amazing engineers in the Bay Area that have a lot of experience working with very complex enterprise solutions, but it comes at a cost. Compensation is crazy high and I don’t think there’s a lot of loyalty. A consumer company can be built with far less resources, especially technology talent.

Bulkoski: So many clients say they want to meet clients from Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. I ask, "What’s on your wish list?" One, the person will make a big impact. Two, we can make a huge press release. Three, they’ll bring a bunch of friends with them to New York or Pittsburgh. But there are risk factors. One is — is your organization set up from a cultural perspective to allow that person to be a success? Do you have a lot of politics? Second — how will you keep that person when they get a call 12 months later?


Educational needs in the Arab world

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Video by David Jinks/ASU

“The challenges in the Arab world are not unlike challenges in global communities around higher education, but they happen to be more acute,” Maysa Jalbout, founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said in a Tuesday midday panel about improving education in Arab countries through a partnership with ASU.

The panel, which included ASU President Michael Crow, discussed how the refugee crisis requires swift action and change, which many traditional universities are not designed to handle. 


Redefining the land-grant university for the 21st century

2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Panelists discuss land grant universities at the ASU GSV Summit
Andy Rosen, the chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc., speaks at a panel discussion on "Kaplan and Purdue University, Redefining the Land-Grant University for the 21st Century" on Tuesday at the ASU+GSV Summit. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Purdue University’s acquisition of Kaplan University was characterized as “the most talked about business move on the higher education landscape in 2017.” The new university resulting from the transaction — Purdue University Global — has just recently been announced. The leaders who put this transformative transaction together — Kaplan's Andrew Rosen and Purdue's Steven Schultz and Frank Dooley — discussed what it means for their organizations and for higher education overall.

Andrew Rosen, chairman and CEO, Kaplan, Inc.: The question which gets posed to anybody that’s trying to do something different in higher ed is — well, it’s a different modality that you’re using, or a different set of students, and whether you serve them with excellence or not is less important than whether you’re serving that same population in the same way. What Purdue could have done is said, we’re going to try and protect the existing Purdue brand from anybody thinking we’re doing something different, and then they would have rejected this idea. Or, they could say, we’re a land-grant institution whose job is to serve the community that we’re part of. And there are working adults who don’t have access to excellence and we need to help provide that.

Steven Schultz, legal counsel, Purdue University: In a way, this is history repeating itself because a similar thing happened after World War II when Purdue, West Lafayette decided to expand and create regional campuses — up near the steel mills of Gary and Fort Wayne where there’s a lot of manufacturing activity — to give these guys who came back from the war a chance to go to college on the GI Bill in ways that they would not have been able to do. So this is, for the 21st century, another extension of the land-grant vision in the same way that that was for the latter part of the 20th century.

Frank Dooley, senior vice provost for teaching and learning and professor of agriculture economics, Purdue University: One of the things that I think is somewhat unique about this transaction is going with the market differentiation approach. Down the road what I think makes us successful is, are we able to influence ourselves? What can we learn on the West Lafayette campus that they’ve been doing for the past decade that is really a smart way to do education?


The role of AI in education

Noon Tuesday, April 17

Panelists explored the ethical, economic and educational implications of the rise of artificial intelligence during the "Global Benefit or Massive Dislocation: What the Rise of AI Means for Education and the Economy" event.

Marlo Gaddis, interim chief technology officer, Wake County (N.C.) Public School System: The wrong path that we seem to go to with AI is that AI replaces the human element. Part of being intentional in the work in education is making sure that we are still keeping a forward-thinking relationship piece so that our kids and our adults are having conversations and our adults know our students to best meet the needs of those kids.

Elijah Mayfield, vice president of new technologies, Turnitin: The big thing that some ed tech companies are recognizing is that if you want to serve students with machine learning tools, you need to meet them where they’re at. You should build an interface that helps students feel good about their work, helps them feel empowered to grow and helps them feel like they fit in in the community, in their school and with their teacher.

Andrew Krumm, director of learning analytics research, Digital Promise: The modern machine learning paradigm of person and interface, and ignoring the social context makes sense when you’re recommending restaurants and connecting with friends and so forth. In a complex social organization like a school, there’s so many other drivers of that behavior, of that signal that you’re detecting. I think a lot of the metaphors that we take from other industries really fall apart quite quickly when you actually put one of these things in a classroom with students.


Education tech outlook in Southeast Asia

11:40 a.m. Tuesday, April 17 

Several experts discussed educational technology in Southeast Asia in a panel titled “Emerging Tigers.”

Jennifer Lee, adviser and investor at Edukasyon.ph, a college-preparation platform based in the Philippines: Take the Philippines. You have a 100 million population, economic growth, huge willingness to spend on education and a population that’s very engaged technologically. They were one of the first to do mobile banking. In Vietnam, 40 percent of net income after taxes is spent on educational services, and that’s true at every age, for very young kids but also in adult continuing education. But is there a good enough outcome there for an investor sitting in Silicon Valley?

Tuan Pham, CEO and founder of Topica, an education-technology company based in Vietnam: In the U.S., you guys have a great K-12 education system and a great university system. In Southeast Asia there is no K-12 system. So we’re not competing with the legacy system. But in Vietnam and Thailand, very few people speak fluent English and can’t understand a training course in English, so we when we bring in programs, we have to make sure they’re translated.

Tu Ngo, co-founder and chief product officer of Yola, an English-language educational technology company based in Vietnam: I grew up in Vietnam and went to college in the U.S. My partners and I have a lens of how we’re training the next generation of Vietnamese. They need language, but they need a new future. We have to build critical-thinking skills. We do a lot of empowerment so the students can learn about social issues. They use English to present their innovative ideas.


Shaking up higher ed goals

10 a.m. Tuesday, April 17

Panel discussion at ASU GSV Summit
Michael Sorrell (center), president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, talks about the challenges of a college with a 1 percent graduation rate as part of a panel discussion on "Higher Ed Radical ReBoot" on Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

During a session called "Higher Ed Radical ReBoot," panelists discussed the major changes in store for colleges and universities.

Dan Greenstein, senior strategy advisor – education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: At scale, labor economists suggest that colleges and universities are on track to produce 11 million fewer credentialed individuals than the national workforce requires. That means every university and college across the country has to improve credentialing capability by 6 or 7 percent every year until 2025. How many people actually know a university that’s doing that?

Michael Sorrell, president, Paul Quinn College: Revolutions don’t start from above, they start from below. They start from people who are upset and dissatisfied. So we actually listen to our students. We asked them, "What is it you need to make your lives better?’

John Katzman, CEO, The Noodle Companies, LLC: The biggest obstacle for most of us is execution. There are plenty of good ideas and good schools and really interesting approaches, and the delta in the end is the team you have, and can you just deliver critical, scalable, visual results?


The power of grit and perseverance

9:25 a.m. Tuesday, April 17

Angela duckworth
Angela DuckworthDuckworth is the author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the Character Lab., a MacArthur Fellow and psychology professor from the University of Pennsylvania, gives a breakfast keynote address on grit at the ASU+GSV Summit on Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

During her keynote speech at Tuesday morning's breakfast session, Angela Duckworth talked about the meaning of grit — the tendency to pursue long-term goals with perseverance — and how anyone can cultivate it.

“When I grew up, I had this domineering father who repeatedly reminded me that I was not the most talented person he had ever met. It did leave me with a lifelong fascination with achievement. Where I diverged from my father’s view of the world is that I discovered through personal experience and scientific research is that there’s not enough of a role for effort.

“When I say grit, I don’t just mean being a hard worker and being resilient when bad things happen. I also mean, ‘Do you love what you do and do you stay in love with what you do, a kind of sustained passion that matches that perseverance?’ I think schools have a role in helping kids develop this worth ethic and resilience.

“The data shows that as you get older, the grit gets higher. That is the maturity principle. We want to see this growth but we want to see it on a faster timetable. Can we accelerate that development? That is my entire life’s work. I will go to my grave trying to reverse engineer great lives.

“You need deliberate practice — set a stretch goal. You need 100 percent focus. You need feedback that’s rich in information. And you need reflection, getting that learner to be OK with not doing everything right.

 “Grit is not being invincible. It’s being vulnerable and being able to be helped by people who love you.”


Presidential perspective

9:45 p.m. Monday, April 16

Former President George W. Bush speaks at the ASU GSV Summit
An overflow room filled with more than 500 people listen to an often-comical former President George W. Bush reminisce with Ozy Media's Carlos Watson during the keynote fireside chat at the ASU+GSV Summit on Monday evening. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

"If that guy can paint, so can I": Read about who inspired former President George W. Bush's painting hobby, what he considers one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation ever approved, what he was not able to accomplish as president and more from his  Monday evening keynote chat at the ASU + GSV Summit.


Personalized learning is often neither personalized nor learning

6 p.m. Monday, April 16

“The right content, to the right student, at the right time”: Panelists discuss the challenges and opportunities of personalized learning.


What is personalized learning?

5:45 p.m. Monday, April 16

Phil Regier, university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University, discusses the situations where personalized and adaptive learning are important, and how exactly the process works.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Breaking code, breaking barriers

4:15 p.m. Monday, April 16

How did women's colleges help win World War II? Writer Liza Mundy explains in her primetime talk and expounds on the legacy of women in tech in the video below.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Rethinking libraries

3:45 p.m. Monday, April 16

A panel titled “Libraries as Innovation Agents in the 21st Century” addressed how libraries are staying relevant in the digital age.

Andrea Saenz, first deputy commissioner of the Chicago Public Library, an 80-branch system: Before coming to Chicago Public Library I served as chief of staff for the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. I have to say one of the things I found in libraries that is so wonderful and freeing is that it’s not a highly regulated field. It is not a field where folks are breathing down our necks to produce specific outcomes. It’s also a field that’s very underfunded. With that comes the freedom to experiment and a lot of opportunity to think about what the users need rather than what the regulators expect.

Misty Jones, director the San Diego Public Library, a 36-branch system: We’re the only institution that sees someone from the time they’re born until the time they die. ... When you talk about lifelong learning, that’s what our function is, to facilitate that lifelong learning as it changes for everyone.


Workplaces where women can thrive

3:30 p.m. Monday, April 16

A panel titled “Is Helen Reddy?” addressed workplace culture for women.

Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana: You walk into the room and you’re the mayor. You would think it would be inherent authority. "Yeah you’re the mayor, but I’m going to talk to the male chief of staff.” I had an experience a couple of weeks ago where one of our finance people was explaining to me what had to be done with a bond deal. I said, “I know. I’m a bond lawyer.” But you have to be careful because you don’t want people to think you’re strident. Or that other word people like to use. I like to create that opportunity for other women so I’m not the only woman in the room. You encourage them and say, “You belong here.” 

Georgene Huang, founder of Fairygodboss: A Fairygodboss is a woman who helps any woman out. It’s meant to be constructive. Fairygodboss is a platform that’s free and anonymous to see what other women say about their work experience. We’ve been focusing on what the organization does and doesn’t do for their employees. Many women talk about work-life balance, but there’s also a lot of talk about equal pay and the way promotions are doled out. When they don’t see examples, they don’t think it’s a place they can stay. ... Women love it when they see women in senior management. 


A college for a million learners

2:30 p.m. Monday, April 16

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley with the California Community Colleges talks with ASU President Michael Crow at the ASU GSV Summit
California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley (left) and ASU President Michael Crow talk about education access at the ASU+GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego on Monday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, and Eloy Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, discussed the access mission of higher education at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego on Monday. The California system is a network of 114 colleges with more than 2 million students. California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the legislature for $120 million to launch an online community college — $100 million for startup and $20 million permanent ongoing support.

Oakley: Our limitation is a traditional academic calendar. We enroll students two or three times a year, depending on whether the state of California has the funds to offer a summer session. We’d like to see multiple clock-speeds available to multiple types of learners. ... There are nearly 8 million Californians that don’t have a credential now and are in with workforce. It could be a micro-credential.

We need a way to take advantage of the latest in learning science and artificial intelligence to personalize the learning experience. We need to be able to access technology in a very different way and increase the capacity of our faculty and staff — not to replace our faculty and staff.

Crow: What we’re saying in higher education is that there’s a capacity limit. That’s one of the main missions of ASU is to defeat this notion. ... If people could sense that the community college was there for every member of the family throughout their lives, it would go a long way toward enhancing our social and economic outcomes across the country.

We all know what "opportunity youth" are. It’s a positive name for people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither employed nor in school. There are 9 or 10 million of these individuals in the country now. How do we get to the point where we make certain there are no transactional barrier to some aspects of education? There could be some transactional barrier to get into UCLA or Stanford. But if you have transactional barriers around core things that are required for democracy to work and the economy to flow, we’ve made a mistake in the design.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Writers Mary Beth Faller and Katherine Reedy contributed to this blog. Top photo: Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey flashes the University of Texas longhorn sign to some Texas fans before his fireside chat with Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, at the Closing Dinner + Keynote at the ASU+GSV Summit 2018 on Wednesday evening. The actor spoke of the Just Keep Livin' foundation that he and his wife created, dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

image title

ASU + GSV Summit wraps up with focus on transformative powers of education

Matthew McConaughey, wife work to empower at-risk students through foundation.
Former President Vicente Fox sees education as key in Mexico's advancement.
Vicente Fox at ASU + GSV Summit: "Education should not have borders."
April 18, 2018

Former Mexico President Vicente Fox, actor Matthew McConaughey headline final evening of three-day conference

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

Mexico has progressed rapidly over the past generation thanks to better education, according to Vicente Fox, a businessman and the former president of Mexico.

Fox, who served from 2000 to 2006, delivered the final keynote address Wednesday at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego, an evening that focused on education’s power to transform and featured Hollywood star power in the form of Matthew McConaughey speaking about his student-focused foundation.

But before the Oscar winner took the stage, Fox spoke of his admiration for teachers.

“The great thing about teachers is that they’re molding the people around them,” he said.

“To me, the best aspirations of a human being is doing for others, so teachers are transmitting your personality, your capacity, your skills, your heart and your soul to other human beings.”

Fox also spoke in support of the NAFTA trade agreement.

“When NAFTA started, the gap in income between Mexico and the U.S. was tenfold. You’d make one dollar on the Mexico side and if you crossed over, you’d make 10 dollars.

“Who of you would not go for that powerful incentive?” he asked.

The speaker before Fox was Andrea Mondragón-Rodriguez, who was brought from Mexico to Chicago as a toddler by a mother who believed that education was the key to a good life.

Andrea Mondragon-Rodríguez speaks on stage at the ASU GSV Summit
Andrea Mondragón-Rodríguez, a junior at Ohio's Denison University and a DACA "Dreamer," delivers the opening remarks Wednesday evening, speaking of the support she has received from the public, university and politicians to allow her to finish her schooling and make her school a sanctuary location. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“As a DACADeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program implemented during former President Barack Obama's administration that allows young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S. Those young immigrants are often referred to as "Dreamers," based on congressional proposals called the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections had they passed. 'Dreamer,' mapping my future has not been an easy task,” she said.

Fox said that much has changed in Mondragón-Rodriguez’s lifetime.

“What happened 25 years after, the lifespan of Andrea, is that income gap reduced to five to one. That’s why you see the reverse trend of Mexicans going back to Mexico and reducing those coming to the U.S.

“There is only one way you can change a nation in one generation, and it’s through education. This is what happened to Andrea,” he said.

“My belief is in education, and what we are trying to do in Mexico is to keep it open. Education should not have borders and should not have limits.”

Mondragón-Rodriguez believed college would be out of reach despite her 4.0 grade-point average in high school.

“My dream was to attend Denison University, and I had all but written off the possibility of going there due to cost,” she said.

Then she won a four-year full scholarship.

“I keep rising to the occasion. One of my first projects was to have Denison declared a sanctuary school. During the meeting I found out I was the first and only DACA student enrolled at Denison,” she said.

She also organized a peaceful demonstration of unity for DACA students and worked with Amnesty International.

“I have found my voice, and it continues to get louder every day,” she said.

“I am a dreamer that still believes in the dream.”

All right, all right, all right: Oscar winner talks empowerment

Actor Matthew McConaughey speaks at the ASU GSV Summit
Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey has a fireside chat with Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, Wednesday evening at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego. The actor spoke of the Just Keep Livin' foundation that he and his wife created, dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Also at Wednesday’s keynote, Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, sat down with Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey to discuss the mission of his foundation, Just Keep Livin’. The organization was founded by McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, 10 years ago to empower high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices.

“The last place you can catch kids before they’re in the free world and the consequences become much more harsh is high school,” McConaughey said. “I said, ‘Let’s get the ones that are on the wrong track and try to get them on the right track. If they’re on the right track, keep them on the right track.”

To date, 2,500 students have gone through the program, which is currently in 31 Title I schools in five states. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to make positive life choices to improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, expressing gratitude, nutrition and community service.

On the program’s “gratitude circles”: “I believe there is a science to gratitude. The more you’re thankful for, the more you’re going to create in your life to be thankful for.”

On the program’s community service component: “They find ownership in the program. They like the accountability and having responsibility that they have to give back as well.”

On resilience: “We’re sitting in a privileged position up here right now. I know in my own life, getting up and proverbially dusting yourself off, to say no, it’s not the end, it’s not over, this game of life is not over, is a very important trait. Essential trait, to have you succeed in whatever you do.”

Written by Mary Beth Faller and Katherine Reedy. Top photo: Former Mexico President Vicente Fox delivers the keynote address Wednesday evening at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego. He spoke about his country's embracing education as a way to advance its people and broaden the middle class. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The outlook for middle-skills jobs: Cross-sector panelists weigh in at ASU + GSV Summit

April 18, 2018

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

What will the future of work be like for people who want a middle-class lifestyle but no college degree? Several experts debated that in a panel titled, “What Will Middle-Skill Jobs Look Like in 2025?” at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego on Wednesday. People walk a hallway at a conference. A few of the more than 4,000 attendees at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 meet in one of the lobbies at the host hotel in San Diego. The summit attracts people from the enterprise, investment, higher education and PreK–12 communities. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

James Homer, senior vice president, Pearson AcceleratED Pathways: “Companies look at middle-skills jobs as a key imperative around capturing growth. They can be customer facing, back-office or service jobs. They require soft skills and the ability to interact with fellow employees and customers; they have to have technical skills to execute business functions. They are in many cases on the front lines to growth. As hotel chains have huge capital budgets to build more hotels, there’s an army of people they need to staff them. It cuts across every industry segment.

“There are huge segments of the work force who will be disintermediated through automation. For customers we talk to, there’s an imperative to streamline their business workflow, but they have to retrain their workforce to support that. Employers are not saying that all employees will be kept. But for a lot of employers, the number one job is identifying the skills needed and getting their employees there.”

Kristin Sharp, executive director, Shift: The Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology at New America/ Bloomberg: “The middle-skills jobs are ways to earn income that are nontraditional that get people to a middle-class lifestyle. It isn’t just working with your hands or having a certain level of education, it’s having a pathway or vision into a lifestyle that will support a family and give workers a sense of purpose. Because advanced technology platforms are changing the entry points into the workforce, nobody knows what that will look like. We need to redefine that.

“Often, the defining characteristic of what kinds of jobs will be available in the future is that they’re self-directed or motivated. The worker needs to take responsibility for finding the type of work they want to do, finding the skills that will get them there, connecting with those skills and proving that to an employer. That’s a very hard thing to figure out how to do. Workers like specific programs with employers.”

Jonathan Kestenbaum, managing director, Talent Tech Labs: “When you think of middle-skills labor, it’s people who have a hard time articulating their skill set to an organization. In some cases they don’t have a resume. It’s hard when an organization has a tracking system that only focuses on a resume. We’re starting to see some new tracking systems that don’t focus on a resume.

“There are skills-based assessments out there. There are game-based behavioral assessments that will show risk averse you are, etc. There are simulation-based assessments in which you actually go through a simulation of, for example, a call center to see if you’re a good fit. Candidates can test themselves to see what kind of job they fit into.”

Derek Apanovitch, president, Ultimate Medical Academy: “We’re a national online allied health institution focusing on administrative-type programs. Middle-skill jobs pay at least $15 an hour or more. The lower end of that could be medical coding, and the upper end could be surgical technicians, but below nursing. The bottom rung is home health aides. We’re often serving students who are at the bottom who want to move up to the middle. They want to improve their earning potential.”

Mary Beth Faller

reporter, ASU Now


image title

Athletics holds an intrinsic value for a complete education

April 18, 2018

Sports and college athletics experts gather for 'Field(s) of Dreams, If We Build It, Will They Come' panel

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

Sports and learning go hand in hand — or at least they should, according to several experts who spoke on a panel about athletics at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego on Wednesday.

Engaging in sports can teach a person about themselves and many lessons that last a lifetime, according to Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, who was a wrestler and javelin thrower while a student at Iowa State.

“I learned the principle of working in an environment that was fair,” he said. “I was a guy who could win a couple of points for the team. You learn all of that was worth it even if you weren’t an NCAA champion or go to the Olympic trials.

“You were learning from people who were outperforming you. You could understand how to blend your life with all these other things, master the relationship between your body and your mind.”

And overcome fear.

“As a high school wrestler, in my senior year I weighed 220 pounds and wrestled people who weighed 350 pounds and were 6 foot 8. You have to figure out how to overcome the urge to flee,” Crow said.

Karen Crouse, a sportswriter for the New York Times, worries that overeager parents are trying too hard to specialize their children rather than letting them have fun. She is the author of the new book, “Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secrets to Happiness and Excellence.”

“I was drawn to this town because here is a town of 3,000 people that has put 11 of its own on Olympic teams — but not in a sports-factory type of way,” she said.

“They look at sports as a way of instilling in their children life lessons and intrinsic benefits that will carry over into their adult lives — resilience, persistence, delayed gratification, teamwork, being coachable.”

Crow said that ASU tries to provide as many athletic opportunities as possible for its students — at every level.

“We have hundreds of intramural programs involving tens of thousands of students. We have recreation leagues engaging thousands of students. We have over 50 club sports, and we wish we had more. We have rodeo and waterskiing,” he said.

“We have 24 varsity sports competing at the highest level, many at the Olympic level.”

Crow said that sports is an important part of American culture, but pressure from professional leagues is causing problems.

“This corruption going on around sports has been pro sports seeking athletes at the earliest possible age and funneling them through college — this ‘one-and-done' scam,” he said.

“College athletes should be college athletes. We should have agreements like we have with professional baseball that you can’t recruit athletes before their third year of college, and even then they should be allowed to finish,” he said.

Mark King, the president of adidas for North America, said he’s not sure he would have gone to college if he hadn’t gotten a golf scholarship.

“I think athletics gives people a chance to have a better life,” he said.

“We found out that 90 percent of the world’s professional athletes come from poverty. Sport has given them a chance to break out of poverty and do something meaningful for their communities.”

ASU and adidas have formed a partnership that has led to the Global Sport Institute and other initiatives.

“We have projects going on with ASU and other partners where we’re in search of the ‘perfect athlete,’” he said.

“We’re looking at an athlete’s mind, their capacity for oxygen, all the things that go into making an athlete. 

"The outcome isn’t a new pair of shoes — it’s, 'How do you make the world a better place?'”

Top photo: Mark King, president of adidas North America, speaks during a panel discussion on "Field(s) of Dreams, If We Build It, Will They Come? Using Athletics as a Research Lab Featuring adidas," at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego on April 18, 2018. King was joined by ASU President Michael Crow; sportswriter Karen Crouse with the New York Times; and moderator Andrés Martinez, a Cronkite professor of practice.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


image title

ASU + GSV morning conversation: Finding common ground to move past school violence

April 18, 2018

Former education Secretary Arne Duncan is hopeful now is the moment for change

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

The final day of the ASU + GSV Summit began with a discussion between Jessie Woolley-Wilson, the chair, CEO and president of DreamBox Learning, and Arne Duncan, the managing partner of Emerson Collective and a former U.S. secretary of education. On the heels of the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush, the pair discussed the state of the nation and how far — or not — the country has progressed on issues of education, tolerance and violence.

Duncan grew up in Chicago in a family that was deeply involved in the community and focused on expanding educational opportunities for students from all walks of life. As an adult, his desire to have an impact led him to work with Emerson Collective, a nonprofit organization that, among other things, provides an alternative to a life of crime for at-risk and incarcerated individuals by offering job skills training and legal employment opportunities.

According to Duncan, addressing educational attainment issues in Chicago begins with addressing the pervasive, violent crime that plagues schools and neighborhoods and traumatizes students, families and communities. Duncan noted that for the seven years he was the head of Chicago’s schools, they lost a student to gun violence every two weeks. At the Chicago high school he founded, 17 students were shot last year.

In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, Duncan facilitated meetings between survivor and activist Emma Gonzalez and some of the participants in his organization — many who had experienced gun violence throughout their lives — to learn from one another and discuss solutions. “We need math and science and STEM. But we need to find ways to bring kids together and find some common ground that is not around losing your best friends in shootings.”

In spite of the statistics, Duncan remains optimistic. “I’m hopeful. In every crisis there is an opportunity. Our country is strong, and I think it’s an amazing opportunity to do this leapfrog to a better place together.”

Following the conversation, ASU President Michael Crow provided the keynote address, making the case for redesigning education in order to meet the needs of today’s lifelong learners. He described the new design of universal learning at ASU as an “evolving model capable of being of service to all learners, at all stages of work and learning, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, through educational, training and skill-building opportunities.”

Michael crow
ASU President Michael Crow delivered a keynote address on edesigning education Wednesday morning at the ASU + GSV Summit. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU’s focus on developing partnerships, sharing knowledge and resources, and developing innovative and entrepreneurial programs has allowed it to be nimble and adaptable, at scale.

“We’re trying to build a model where the university can be a home to learners that come to learn with us at a particular point in their life,” said Crow. “And then also a place that can be accessible to learners anywhere, anytime, anyplace, drawing from the combined energy of the learners — the faculty, the students, the staff, the library, the support mechanisms, everything of the university itself.”

Crow went on to host a discussion with the winners of the 2018 Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education. The annual awards are presented by McGraw-Hill Education and ASU, and recognize outstanding individuals whose contributions are making a difference in education today. The 2018 award winners are:

• Arthur Graesser, professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis — winner of the inaugural Learning Science Research prize

• Timothy Renick, senior vice president for student success and professor of religious studies at Georgia State University — winner of the Higher Education prize

• Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code — winner of the Pre-K-12 Education prize

The event concluded with a keynote panel, “From Silk Road to Silicon Valley, China Leading the Way,” moderated by Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief, Harvard Business Review, and featuring panelists:

  • Rick Levin — senior adviser and former CEO, Coursera, and former president, Yale University
  • R. May Lee — dean, School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech
  • Gale Huang — CTO, TAL Education Group
  • Victor He — deputy CEO, China First Capital Group Limited
  • Dun Xiao — co-founder, 17zuoye

The discussion centered on the complexities of the Chinese and American education systems, with panelists noting that differences in the country’s markets, business practices, approaches to education and cultural values were not insignificant obstacles to forming partnerships and impacting education at scale.

“We should be very clear that in some ways, education is viewed around the world as a way to a better life,” said Lee. “But it’s also very much a reflection of each society’s core values. I think that in order to understand, you have to know that when we teach in this country, we talk about things in terms of social and emotional learning. But we also convey some very core values that we care about in the United States, around democracy, around self-agency, around independence, that is very difficult to translate to a different system.”

Top photo: DreamBox Learning chair and CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson (left) interviews former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during the breakfast keynotes at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego on April 18. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Katherine Reedy

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


image title

Social justice — and John Legend — in the spotlight at ASU + GSV Summit

April 17, 2018

Singer-activist and a panel of experts focus on what our communities must do to cultivate talent in all groups

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

The theme of the ASU + GSV Summit Tuesday evening keynote was, resoundingly, social justice.

The event began with the recognition of the 2018 Innovator of Color Award winners: Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, and Phyllis Lockett, the CEO of LEAP Innovations. Henry Hipps, deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented the awards to the two innovators, who were recognized for their efforts to support equitable educational outcomes for all students.

The keynote speaker was award-winning singer, songwriter and activist John Legend, who shared the personal hardships that defined his youth and recounted the influential teachers, counselors and school staff whose interest and care turned his life around.

Experiencing the positive influence that one person can have on a child’s life inspired him to create the Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit foundation that works to break the cycle of poverty through education. Along with elevating and celebrating teachers, the Show Me Campaign works to end the school-to-prison pipeline and address systemic issues in the criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities and disadvantaged.

“It’s a commitment to the idea that everyone has something precious to give to this world," Legend said. "This is an expression of love for all people on the planet. I believe in the power of love to bring us closer to justice.”

According to Legend, 60 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed one year after their release. To address this concern, Legend created Free America, a multi-year campaign to change the national conversation about the country's policies and transform America's criminal justice system. The organization recently launched a program called Unlocked Futures to support entrepreneurs who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

“Dr. Cornel West says that justice is what love looks like in public," Legend said. "What would our schools look like if we were committed to loving in public?

"We would recognize that no child is born wanting to commit crimes, and we would do everything we could do to make sure they lived in safe neighborhoods with excellent teachers and good, nutritious food to eat. And we would not criminalize them for minor behavioral problems in schools.”

Following Legend’s keynote address, a panel of experts discussed the importance of social justice to the future of talent. The conversation was led by James Shelton, president for education of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and former undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education, and featured panelists:

Anurima Bhargava — CEO, Anthem Of Us and former chief of the educational opportunities section of the civil rights division at the U.S. Department of Justice: 

“I’m trying to figure out how we actually change the paradigm to not be one where we’re hiring lawyers instead of hiring people who can prevent, treat and counsel on the front end.”

Topeka K. Sam — founder and executive director, The Ladies of Hope Ministries:

“We need to look at the population and say, the same things that are helping the children have access to education and opportunity are the same things that are going to help people that are incarcerated. And how do we give people those opportunities and resources so that when they come home they can thrive.”

Connie Yowell — CEO, Collective Shift:

“At the end of the day, learning is relational and learning is social and it happens in communities. And we all have to be a part of building those communities. We all have our own skills and assets that we can bring to this conversation and be a part of this moment and this movement. But we can only do that if we come as good listeners and as learners in the participation of figuring out what the solution is.”

John King — president and CEO, The Education Trust and former secretary of Education:

“Part of the challenge is we have these pockets of excellence and innovation, but we aren’t smart about scaling the incentives and the policy environment to get where we need to go.”

Top photo: Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winner John Legend delivers the Tuesday evening keynote address at the ASU + GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Katherine Reedy

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


Innovating to help students transition to the workplace

ASU leaders share insights on how to prepare graduates for success post-graduation

April 17, 2018

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

Arizona State University has changed its role in preparing graduates for the workforce beyond the traditional work of a career services office. At the ASU + GSV Summit, ASU leaders discussed how they positioned the university at the forefront of workforce transition innovations. Panel discussion at ASU GSV Summit Grace O'Sullivan, ASU assistant vice president for corporate engagement and strategic partnerships (right), talks with fellow panelist Nicole Taylor, deputy vice president and dean of students at ASU, during the "Workforce Transition Innovations — Reimagining Career Services" event at the ASU+GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego on Tuesday. Also on the panel was Paul LePore, associate dean in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Cindy Parnell, executive director of Career and Professional Development Services at ASU, was the moderator. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

Cindy Parnell, executive director, career and professional development services: In the last decade, career services has undergone steep disruption around the return on investment of a college degree. The old model of career centers being a physical place where a student has to walk through the doors to receive services and support typically from a master’s level professional in one hour is long gone. Now career services is starting to integrate across the ecosystem to foster those career-readiness skills. We call it more of a presence than a place.

Nicole Taylor, deputy vice president and dean of students: In 1980, 80 percent of the undergraduate pop was white. At ASU 50 percent of our first-time students right now are not white. That’s the given. As we think about how we’re educating, if we start at that alone, it changes the game. Our institutions are structured in a way that catered to students in the 1980s.

The helicopter parent isn’t going away. I have more parents who reach out to me than students. It’s a given. We have to deal with parents and family members as well as students.

The other is coping skills. The transition to postsecondary education is dramatic anyway. It is hyper-dramatic for our current college students. We have seen a 92 percent increase in counseling appointments over five years ago. Then you add things like DACA. That all changes how we’re preparing this generation of students for work.

We’ve taken an approach at ASU that all of the preparation doesn’t happen in career services. It happens in the colleges, the counseling center, anyone who is student-facing takes the responsibility across the university.

Grace O’Sullivan, assistant vice president, corporate engagement and strategic partnerships: Our industry participants aren’t just at the end of the pipeline catching talent. They come along for the entire journey. We’re engaged from site selection to talent, upscaling their current workforce to philanthropy. We say, "What do you need? What’s missing from our curriculum? Join our dean’s council. Teach a class. Help us build the skills. We need you to keep us relevant."

This model we’re launching is called practice labs. Think of this as problem-based learning where you’re in an environment where you can test the skills. One of our partners, Starbucks, has a technology center practice lab. They hired full-time employees to be embedded with us on campus. For them the internship is an interview.

Paul LePore, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences: It’s probably not a shock that the question I get from a lot of parents is, "What will my son or daughter do with this degree?"

We need to be thinking of career readiness not as an evil intrusion into the arts and sciences. We need to have career readiness as part of the undergraduate experience. We also need to curate the experience on the employer side.

We didn’t want to call it a career center so we are creating a “future center.” Many of our students go to grad school. They go to professional training. We need to work carefully with a company so they feel the partnership is two-sided. I have students, I have families, I have faculty, I have alumni, I have business partners in the community, and they all have a role in this. 

Mary Beth Faller

reporter, ASU Now


image title

Conflict, access major obstacles to improving education in Arab nations

April 17, 2018

ASU + GSV Summit panel: Refugee crisis requires swift action and change, which many universities aren't designed to handle

Editor's note: Read more of the highlights from the ASU + GSV Summit on our blog.

The Arab world has one of the world’s youngest populations and is in great need of access to higher education to accelerate its economy — a challenge that Arizona State University is helping to solve.

Maysa Jalbout, founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, spoke at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego on Tuesday about improving education in Arab countries through a partnership with ASU. The Al Ghurair Foundation is a Dubai-based organization that provides underserved, high-achieving Arab students with scholarships, support and skills training.

“The challenges in the Arab world are not unlike challenges in global communities around higher education, but they happen to be more acute,” she said.

“The first is around access. If you come from a privileged background, you’re three times more likely to get access to higher education. The second is quality.

“The third, and the one closest to my heart, is conflict. You have these huge disruptive factors which are robbing young people of the opportunity to continue their education.”

ASU President Michael Crow said that traditional universities are not suited to quickly moving to help on a global scale because of their old-fashioned culture and design.

“Academia as a culture is too much built around the notion that we educate the worthy and the smart and the gifted. We build exclusion as a measure of excellence, as opposed to impact,” he said.

“And (traditional universities) are designed like religious organizations rather than complex, socially engaged, transformative institutions. They’re slow to change, argumentative and not interested in broader social issues.”

That outdated model prevents universities from responding to the refugee crisis, Crow said.

“It requires an immediate response. They can’t do that. It requires deploying resources. They can’t do that. It requires a culturally adaptive response. They can’t do that,” he said.

But by empowering faculty and changing the model, ASU is able to extend its reach around the globe.

“We can say we’d like to engage with the refugee community in Jordan with education content at scale. Or we’re working with friends in the Middle East who are finding new ways to expand STEM education,” he said.

“We’re able to do that in real time because of the change in culture as well as our deep commitment to technology.”

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education has partnered with ASU on three initiatives to provide education to Arab youths in 22 countries: Open Learning Scholars, a four-year scholarship program for students to acquire master’s degrees from ASU Online; the Young Thinkers program, an ASU-built online college- and career-preparation platform for high school students in the United Arab Emirates; and STEM Scholars, an opportunity for students to study for their master’s degree at ASU while also receiving mentorship and other support.

Jalbout said that high rates of unemployment are driving an urgency to innovate in education.

“We’re the youngest region in the world and we have the highest youth unemployment rate, close to 30 percent, and our enrollment rates in higher education are lower than the global average, at 28 percent and the global average is 35 percent,” she said.

Half of the world’s refugee population resides in the Arab world, Jalbout said.

“Among young people, 80 percent of those not in school come from conflict countries,” she said. “It transcends borders. Syrians are everywhere in the region.”

Yet there are many opportunities too, Jalbout said.

“We think the solutions are close at hand and achievable. We’re looking to create partnerships like the one with ASU to solve some of those problems.”

Top photo: Maysa Jalbout (center), founding CEO of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, and moderator Jacqueline Smith, an assistant vice president and executive director of the Office of University Initiatives listen to ASU President Michael Crow during a panel discussion on "Responding to Educational Needs in the Arab World" at the ASU + GSV Summit on Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now