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ASU's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts to welcome new dean

When Joanna Grabski took over as director of the School of Art at Arizona State University, she increased enrollment 20%, rebranded it as a globally oriented school for the 21st century, established several interdisciplinary and cross-program collaborations, increased access to the arts for an expanded community of learners, and designed new programs and initiatives to leverage ASU’s No. 1 ranking in innovation as well as its commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Now Grabski has been named the next dean for the College of Integrative Science and Arts, ASU’s fourth-largest college. It’s home to more than 6,300 undergraduate majors at ASU’s Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses as well as the Lake Havasu location and ASU Online, with more than 200 graduate students and more than 350 faculty. It’s a springboard from community colleges into the university system and a landing pad for returning adults who want to complete...

Advancing a culture of innovation: A view from the top

Picture it: The year is 2025 and Arizona State University is the leading Fifth Wave University, seamlessly blending culture and innovation through research, teaching and learning. Inclusivity, engagement and service drive the work of faculty, staff, students and community partners. How do we attain this lofty vision? Leaders from ASU tackled this very question during “Innovation and Culture, a Discussion” at ASU’s inaugural Innovation Quarter . ASU President Michael Crow , Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick and Minu Ipe , senior knowledge enterprise architect and senior fellow of leadership and institutional design, discussed the linkage between culture and innovation as guiding forces driving the future of the New American University. The following are their thoughts about key aspects of the role culture plays at ASU, as moderated by Christine Whitney Sanchez , chief culture officer of the University Technology Office. Symbiosis of culture and innovation U.S. News & World Report...

ASU will lead effort to upskill, reskill workforce through $8M grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Arizona State University an $8 million grant to lead an innovative workforce development partnership to help train workers for high-paying, high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and information technology (IT). The One Workforce grant will help address a critical skills shortage in the U.S. by establishing the Arizona Workforce Training Accelerator Partnership for Next Generation Jobs (AZNext). The program, which will be led by ASU and its many partners, is designed to train at least 2,000 participants, with a goal of achieving industry-recognized credentials and permanent job placement over the next four years. The grant was a collaboration of ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business , Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering , New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and several external partners, including Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Technology Council, Arizona@Work , Infosys and Pipeline AZ. The partnership leverages the state’s...

How 'disruptive innovation' can lead to societal impact

“Disruptive innovation,” a term coined by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen in 1995, describes the process by which a smaller company — usually with fewer resources — moves upmarket and challenges larger, well-established businesses in a sector. The theory of disruptive innovation has been enormously influential in business circles, particularly among Silicon Valley innovators. Unfortunately, according to Christensen himself , the theory has also been widely misunderstood, and the “disruptive” label has been applied too carelessly anytime a market newcomer shakes up well-established incumbents. Contrary to popular belief, disruptive innovations are not simply breakthrough technologies that make good products better; disruptive innovations make products and services more accessible and affordable, which makes them more broadly available. “When you think of disruptive innovation, people think about Silicon Valley, or Silicon Alley, or Silicon something,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter , New America CEO and Arizona State University Distinguished Professor of Practice, at a recent...

Meet the 2021 ASU Founders' Day honorees

The ASU Alumni Association Founders’ Day awards program honors the pioneering spirit of the institution’s founders and celebrates the innovations of alumni, faculty members and supporters of one of the nation’s fastest-growing knowledge enterprises. This year’s event will take place virtually at 5 p.m. MST/PST, Wednesday, March 24. There is no cost to attend the virtual celebration. Covering a wide range of areas, the awards acknowledge excellence in teaching, research, leadership, philanthropy and service. These honors include the Faculty Research Achievement Award, the Faculty Service Achievement Award, the Faculty Teaching Achievement Award, the Philanthropist of the Year Award and the Alumni Achievement Award. The 2021 awards program will honor an alumna who has disrupted the beverage industry; a professor whose knowledge and contributions have had a global impact on mental health and diversity research; an economics professor selected to advise on enhancing opportunities for Black students, staff and faculty at...

Transforming higher education to better serve communities

Rising college costs, skyrocketing student debt and increasingly out-of-touch curricula are leading more Americans to question the fairness and value of higher education. What needs to change in order to transform American higher education into a stronger force for equity and innovation? Zócalo Public Square, an Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise, recently brought together leaders in the higher education space to discuss the top issues facing American higher education and the sector’s legitimacy crisis. During a candid conversation with Jennifer Ruark, deputy managing editor at “The Chronicle of Higher Education , ” college and university leaders reflected on steps they think the sector should take to better serve as engines for social mobility. ASU President Michael Crow said that at the core of many of the sector’s problems is a lack of communication by higher education institutions with the broader communities that institutions serve. “We — the colleges and universities...

Learning through life

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the winter 2021 issue of ASU Thrive magazine. When Kyle Ballard finishes his shift as a U.S. Navy linguist at Fort Gordon in Georgia, he goes home to log on to political science courses to move closer to his dream career in global security. Meanwhile, Shauntel Redhouse, a 2017 graduate of Kirtland Central High School who hails from the Navajo Nation, spends time gaining experience with research methods that will help in her quest to become a dietitian. High schooler Drew Kolber takes calculus online with college students and classes at the Herberger Young Scholars Academy on ASU’s West campus. And soon-to-be retirees Randy and Sharon Fortenberry plan to settle at Mirabella at ASU on the Tempe campus. At first blush, you might not expect people with such varied life experiences to all be enrolled at the same university. Toward greater inclusion ASU...

Designing universities of the future

On Dec. 8, Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Convergence Lab CDMX hosted a binational discussion on how institutions of higher education have been addressing the many challenges presented by COVID-19. ASU President Michael Crow and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey President David Garza joined the virtual event to compare notes on the lessons of 2020 and explore how universities can continue adapting their design and innovating to create a better future for all. Mia Armstrong of the ASU Convergence Lab hosted the discussion. “In addition to the shared experience of confronting the challenge of 2020 as a higher education institution, these two presidents and their institutions have an extensive track record of cross-border collaboration, including a joint executive MBA through our business schools, high-impact research on water and sustainability, the modeling of North American energy futures through our Decision Theater network and rule of law programs...

First-gen Sun Devil and Victoria Foundation awardee dedicates her career to lifting up other students

When Sylvia Symonds sees the students affected by her extensive work on building access to higher education for low-income and first-generation students, she sees herself. “I’m not so different than so many of our students who are doing everything they can to achieve their higher education goals,” Symonds said. Symonds, who is the associate vice president for outreach for Access ASU , earned the 2020 Edith Sayre Auslander Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award from the Victoria Foundation. A virtual ceremony held Nov. 18 honored her alongside the other awardees, which included fellow Sun Devils and professors Jean M. Andino and Sarah Amira De La Garza . Symonds said she is deeply honored by the award because of the work it acknowledges and because of the foundation’s history. “The Victoria Foundation Awards has been a longtime favorite of mine, not only because it is an opportunity to...

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