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2 from ASU elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Two members of the Arizona State University community are named in the new membership rolls of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced on April 22. ASU President Michael Crow and Regents Professor of English Ayanna Thompson are among those newly elected to the prestigious academy, one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Others elected this year include former Starbucks CEO Howard D. Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, former U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, journalist Maria Hinojosa, activist Angela Y. Davis and neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. Members are recognized for their outstanding achievements in academia, the arts, business, government and public affairs. Their charge is to conduct policy studies and nonpartisan public policy advocacy. The academy was founded in 1780 and included George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in its first membership cohort. Over 1,300 nominations are considered each year; in 2020, around 270 members...

The best time to expand online education? Right now

Just do it. That was Arizona State University President Michael Crow’s message to 13 university presidents from around the world who are seeking to put their education online. “The moment is here,” Crow said. “The technology is viable. The partners are here. The outcomes are measurable. It’s time to plug one’s nose and jump into the water. The only way to do this stuff is to do it. If you sit around in the normal academic world and discuss it, it will take years.” Crow’s interview was part of the launch of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative, which aims to recreate the online learning accomplished at ASU overseas. “Our degrees for online students don’t say online,” Crow said. “There’s no difference. … We will graduate 12,000 students this (fiscal) year from our online activities.” ASU offers more than 200 degrees online, from anthropology to user experience. “I wish...

Leading-edge tech company plants flag at ASU Polytechnic campus

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2021 year in review . An advanced technology lab has moved its headquarters to the Innovation Zone at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa. MECHnano, a manufacturer of advanced chemistry and materials that improve the performance of 3D-printing ingredients, is the first company to move to the district, one of seven ASU Innovation Zones across the Valley. MECHnano CEO Steve Lowder said the move was locked in by the opportunity to work closely with students and the university. “When I saw the plans for the innovation district I became extremely excited,” Lowder said. “It's something that I've thought about for a long time with respect to industry and education working together. … One of my startups was based out of the U.K. We were right there with universities in the U.K. … I've seen the benefits that come out of it...

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

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2021 year in review . 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...

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...

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