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Two Arizona State University faculty researchers are about to journey into the mountainous wilderness of western India, and what they might find there – frightening demons, gods and goddesses, or a peaceful utopia – depends on whom they ask.
But they won’t be searching for physical evidence supporting these types of cultural beliefs about the area. Their goal is to discover the meanings which the country’s sacred mountaintops hold for the many types of people who visit them.
The project brings together experts from two differing traditions and methodologies, a natural resource social scientist and a religious studies scholar who aim to expand our understandings of the complex meanings associated with wilderness and other natural places that have religious significance.
The collaborators are Megha Budruk, professor in the Parks and Recreation Management Program in ASU’s School of Community Resources & Development, and professor Anne Feldhaus in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“We plan to explore the range of meanings that people ascribe to natural places,” says Budruk. “Focusing on commonalities among those meanings allows for contested places to become places of harmony, thus reducing conflict and building stronger communities.”
Both researchers have spent significant parts of their lives in Maharashtra, India, where they’ll begin the study in early July. They have strong attachments to the region and are cognizant of its cultural nuances, enabling them to conduct culturally relevant research that also incorporates international theoretical perspectives.
The project is funded by a $45,000 fellowship from ASU’s Institute of Humanities Research. The institute, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, supports two annual fellowship programs to encourage transdisciplinary activity at ASU.
For information about the School of Community Resources & Development, visit http://scrd.asu.edu. To learn more about the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, visit http://shprs.clas.asu.edu. For details on the fellowship, visit http://ihr.asu.edu/funding/grants/fellows.
This post was submitted by Corey Schubert.
President Obama recently revealed plans to host a summit on entrepreneurship for business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs sometime within the next year. This announcement comes only a month after requesting a $50 million Social Innovation Fund from congress in the FY2010 budget, which emphasizes the president’s position on the potential social entrepreneurship has to transform our society.
Social Entrepreneurship—only one of a number of new terms gaining ground in a field that is expanding at an exponential rate. Traditionally a business term, entrepreneurship has transformed itself to include such diverse areas as health, education, law, engineering, the social sciences, and many more. With this evolution the vocabulary of entrepreneurship itself is changing. Capital gains might now be measured in societal impact. Investment opportunities now include such innovative ideas as micro-financing. And wealth is no longer quantified in strict monetary forms, but now encompasses the social, cultural, and emotional riches of our local and global communities.
The evolved form of entrepreneurship focuses on new and better ways to solve old problems. It challenges the status quo for the purpose of exploring new possibilities leading innovative solutions. Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of ways, but at its heart, entrepreneurship might be viewed as simply a way of amplifying personal goals to achieve maximum impact.
ASU is responding to the changing characteristics of entrepreneurship with the creation of new coursework, funding opportunities, and an array of new certificates in entrepreneurship. The social entrepreneur project GlobalResolve is improving the quality of life for rural communities around the world. And many more initiatives redefining entrepreneurship are springing up everywhere at ASU—from the creation of the new Master of Health Innovation program beginning this fall, to the digital media-based ventures coming out of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to the partnership created between the College of Teacher Education and Leadership and University Public Schools Inc. that has now created two charter schools backed by the immense resources of ASU.
But the opportunity to reach more students, more faculty, and more future entrepreneurs who will help to reshape our world is the task set out before all of us. It is not enough to merely support those who already exhibit the traits of an entrepreneur. We must find a way nurture entrepreneurial thinking in the minds of all who wish to pursue the work of bettering our world for future generations.
Doing this requires empowerment. The entrepreneur does not exist in a vacuum; he or she operates best surrounded by others who share their thinking. So the questions are many: how can we spark this entrepreneurial spirit in everyone? And once sparked, how can we then support our entrepreneurs? How do we educate them? How do we justify the need for entrepreneurial skills to those working in such fields as history, biology, or literature? And what exactly are the transferable and teachable skills of an entrepreneur? How can we make sure all students, in every program, across all campuses have the opportunity to acquire these skills?
Your thoughts on this continuing conversation are both welcome and necessary.
Posted by: Samantha L. Miller, University Innovation Fellow
Office of University Initiatives
The power of the sun is never more apparent than during these scorching summer months of June, July and August in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Whether dashing from our home to our car, or from our car to the grocery store (and lingering in the freezer aisle), for those brave souls who wave goodbye to the snowbirds and tough out this skin-blistering time, there is no reason to doubt the ancients’ quivering reverence to the sun god.
The sun’s power is bursting with the potential to transform our society and improve the quality of our lives. And this is exactly what we’re doing at ASU with an initiative called “Lightworks.” By harnessing the power of the sun, Lightworks is developing a biofuel compatible with diesel and jet fuel production, creating sustainable-friendly plastics, researching ways to mimic antibodies for better and less expensive cures and working on a range of other innovative projects including studying the process of photosynthesis as a way of generating energy for our planet.
For more information regarding these exciting projects contact:
R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr.
Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs
(Posted by Samantha L. Miller)
The 2009 Global Peace Index (GPI), a study that ranks countries of the world in terms of their relative “peacefulness” has arrived to the usual ripple of controversy, but whether you feel a better indicator of peace is something like “gun-related deaths” rather than “gun sales,” the fact remains—the United States places low on the list, year after year. But really, should we be that concerned? With everything else going on in the world these days, with all of the impossibly distressful issues we read and hear and worry about on a daily basis, including a world-wide economic crisis, (and did someone say swine flu?) who has time to add “world peace” to the list?
But the case can certainly be made not only for acknowledging the philosophical ideal of peace, but for recognizing its pragmatic side as well. Many would argue, in fact, that it is the economic value of peace that is of most importance to today’s ever-growing troubles.
“Because they can work better with others, peaceful countries can constructively work together on solving some of our most pressing economic, social and environmental problems,” says Clyde McConaghy, co-developer of the GPI, in a recent Washington Times article. “Indeed, peace is the prerequisite to helping solve today’s major challenges, such as food and water scarcity, decreasing biodiversity or climate change.”
With the 2009 GPI results showing that the world has, overall, become a less safe place in the last year (due in large part to the aforementioned economic recession and the ensuing issues it created such as food shortage) the need for productive collaboration in addressing these issues has never been more urgent. ASU’s Challenges Project is taking this task head-on by helping to identify the most pressing local and global issues we face as global citizens and then asking people to contribute to the solution.
“Most people don’t have any understanding of what they, as individuals, can do right now,” says Terri Shafer, a member of the project committee, in a recent ASU Magazine article. “The Challenges Project establishes big goals, bringing resources together to reach the goals.”
If you haven’t heard of this exciting new initiative check out the video and become a part of the project yourself, here.
(Posted by Samantha L. Miller)
Five years ago, Arizona State University set out to transform its highly acclaimed anthropology department into a one-of-a-kind transdisciplinary school to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world.
In part, it made official what was already happening—faculty and students in anthropology, math, modeling science, sociology, economics and the earth and life sciences, seamlessly collaborating to delve deeply into the big questions they were passionate about. But it also set the stage for a new mission: to keep anthropology strong and relevant in the new digital age and global knowledge economy.
We felt a responsibility—not only to our students, but to the world and future generations—to evolve and adapt to the world as it is, and to forge ahead as pioneers of social change. To ensure that the critical insights from the archaeological record, our knowledge of culture, and the understandings of how we evolve and what makes us human are not only voiced—but heard. And to do so now, at a time when the world is rethinking its trajectory and urgently looking for answers.
To meet the needs of a globalized world and the 21st century student, we restructured our existing degree programs to make them more flexible and responsive to contemporary career avenues, and added whole new approaches that defy traditional disciplinary labels. As a result, all of our students, regardless of their degree program, benefit from the intellectual fusion and expansion of the school, and the increased opportunities for support, research and collaboration that accompany our progress.
- In less than five years, we’ve added 3 new doctoral degrees (Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences, Environmental Social Science, Social Science and Health), 2 new bachelor’s degrees (Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences, Global Health), and a new certificate program (Immigration Studies).
- The school’s expanded menu of global opportunities includes study abroad programs in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and London, and field schools in Cyprus, Hadar (Ethiopia), Kampsville (Illinois, US), Southwest New Mexico, and South Africa. It also operates a full-time Teotihuacan Research Laboratory in San Juan, Mexico.
- School of Human Evolution and Social Change faculty are serving as principle or co-principle investigator on 15 active cross-disciplinary grants, including 6 National Science Foundation Human and Social Dynamics projects, 2 NSF Human Origins: Moving in New Directions grants, 2 NSF Biocomplexity grants, 2 NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship awards, 2 NSF CAREER awards, and an NSF Coupled Natural and Human systems grant. In addition, they have received more than 30 anthropology related NSF grants for themselves and their students since the school’s inception.
Director of Research Advancement and Communications
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University | P.O. Box 872402 | Tempe, Arizona 85287-2402
480.727.8739 | Fax: 480.965.7671 |
Office: School of Human Evolution and Social Change Bldg. Room 222
The p.a.v.e. program invested in six projects during this fiscal year.
- The Sustainable Symphony (Brain Viliunas). This orchestra, led by a School of Music doctoral candidate takes music to public spaces for free concerts and impromptu music education experiences. Their largest project to date has been produced in collaboration with the Phoenix Zoo. They have filed paperwork with the IRS to organize as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit entity, and are planning three concerts for next year.
- Intercollegiate Film Festival is off to a somewhat slower start with their project to host a web-based juried film festival for student filmmakers from top-ten film schools. The website has been designed but the project was put on hold while its organizers concentrate on completing their spring coursework.
- Formatted Pictures. The team has formed a limited liability company to produce issue-oriented narrative and documentary films. P.a.v.e. funds were used to purchase equipment. The company is organizing a screening for potential investors to be held in June.
- The Human Mirror Project. An interdisciplinary group traveled to India to perform and record their cultural interactions in a documentary film. Progress reports were received via a video blog. With the return of the company to the U.S. work on editing the documentary has begun and should be complete by the fall 2009 for potential distribution.
- Kromatic Entertainment. Team leader Marius Ciorcilan has been working with CJ Cornell on developing his product, an interactive media marketing kiosk, for marketability.
- Rehearsal Assistant. Software development for the Android platform was completed in February and there have been over 2500 downloads since. The team is now developing Rehearsal Assistant as an iPhone application available for purchase.
School of Theatre and Film
PO Box 872002
Tempe AZ 85287-2002
Research shows that social connections are important to student retention. But how do you connect students in a university the size of a small city? ASU is tackling this challenge by enhancing the visibility of students’ existing connections through social networking. This month we launched ASU on Facebook, powered by Inigral, a Facebook application that connects students with others in their classes, majors, and colleges. The application also allows students to interact with their professors, join study groups, and find other students from their home town or regions. All of these connections already exist, but with ASU on Facebook students can see their connections as soon as they log on – and new students can start connecting even before they arrive on campus.
The application is secure and private (an ASURITE ID is required for access), and Facebook profiles are hidden from other users in the application. Beginning this summer, alumni can join ASU on Facebook to connect with other grads. And starting this fall, current students will be able to use ASU on Facebook to join clubs and organizations, connect with others in their residence halls, and share events and experiences like internships and study abroad.
To join ASU on Facebook, go to facebook.asu.edu.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Emily Dalton Smith, Office of the Provost, ASU
All of ASU’s efforts create synergy—multiple, differentiated approaches to solving a given problem. ASU is rising to the challenges.
ASU has a wide spectrum of mutually beneficial partnerships in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Some of these are clinical partnerships that enhance both ASU’s research and teaching, and the health and well-being of citizens in the area. ASU has clinical partnerships with:
- Mayo Clinic
- Barrow Neurological Institute
- Banner Health
- Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center
- Maricopa Integrated Health Systems
- NIDDK Phoenix Indian Medical Center
- Scottsdale Healthcare
- Sun Health Research Institute
- Phoenix Children’s Hospital
- Translational Genomics Research Institute
- University of Arizona
- University of Arizona College of Medicine
- Northern Arizona University
- Arizona Biomedical Collaborative
- A.T. Stills School of Health Sciences
- International Genomics Consortium
- ASU creates change on many levels within the Arizona education system.
- Leaps and Bounds is a kindergarten readiness program for families with young children.
- University Public Schools, Inc. develops innovative education models. The Polytechnic Elementary School opened in fall 2008.
- The community school in the ASU Herberger College of the Arts teaches art to kids.
- College is for You, the Math-Science Honors Program and Upward Bound support high school students as they transition to college.
- The Professional Development School allows teachers to take courses within their own communities statewide.
- IDEAL (Integrated Data to Enhance Arizona’s Learning) is an online learning environment for teachers and students.
- The Alpha Partnership works with eight school districts to enhance academic achievement.
- Leaders for Learning gives support to school leaders.
- ASU leadership works to effect statewide change through the Governor’s P-20 Council.
- ASU is working with organizations across the country to solve the nation’s most pressing problems.
- ASU has collaborated with national nonprofit organizations like the Parent Institute for Quality Education and Public Allies.
- The Innovation Groups, International City Manager’s Association and ASU have formed a unique partnership called the Alliance for Innovation in Local Government.
- The Flexible Display Center at ASU works with corporations across the country and the U.S. Army to get new technology to troops.
- ASU works with the national Council for Aid to Education to assess student learning outcomes.
- ASU is a leader of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
- ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes has a policy arm in Washington, DC.
- The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected ASU for its new Community Engagement classification.
- ASU is a Kauffman Campus, recognized by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for cross-campus entrepreneurship.
ASU collaborates with other countries, in partnerships that range in size and complexity. In China, for example, ASU has a suite of initiatives.
The ASU W. P. Carey School of Business is educating top Chinese business executives through its MBA program in Shanghai. This program builds on the school’s partnership with
Motorola and Tsinghua University in Beijing, where ASU offers an MBA in High Technology.
The University Design Institute is a collaboration between Sichuan University and ASU to build new models of higher education.
The ASU Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing works with universities in both China and Singapore to train teachers.
Inner Mongolia University and ASU jointly established the Sino-U.S. Center for Conservation, Energy and Sustainability Science.
ASU has already created five of these multifaceted partnerships with universities and nations around the globe. ASU has strategic partnerships with:
- Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico)
- Sichuan University (China)
- Dublin City University (Ireland)
- Monash University (Australia)
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
And ASU has many other programs and research efforts going on around the world. This means that students can study abroad through over 250 programs in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Submitted by Alison Dalton Smith (email@example.com)
Public Universities and Regional Development
Co-edited by: Kathryn Mohrman, Jian Shi, Sharon E. Feinblatt, King W. Chow
From poverty reduction in Tibet to higher education access in rural Texas, 15 universities in seven different countries address economic, technological, societal, and environmental issues in Public Universities and Regional Development. The case study on Arizona State University focuses on the rapid development of the Downtown Phoenix campus in cooperation with local government.
This volume provides first-hand insight into how each university identified a need in its community, articulated a vision, and implemented its plan. The international scope of this book makes it unique in the growing body of literature on universities and regional development.
This is the first book published by the University Design Institute, co-edited by its director Kathryn Mohrman. The case on of the University of Guadalajara was co-authored by assistant professor Edgar Ramirez de la Cruz of ASU’s School of Public Affairs.
To obtain your copy, contact
Alison Dalton Smith
University Design Consortium
411 N. Central Ave, MC 3720 Phoenix, AZ 85003