ASU Insight: Human Trafficking Symposium (RECAP)

February 25, 2016

There are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally estimates International Labor Organization. The symposium contributed to The McCain Institute’s efforts to raise awareness to #EndTrafficking.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, U.S. Senator, North Dakota and Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, Dutch National Rapporteur, Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children, delivered remarks on the fight against trafficking.

Panel I: Leadership in Action

The Human Trafficking Symposium began with Leadership in Action, which is a new conversation series focusing on subject matter experts working directly to make a positive impact on the world today.

Speakers included: John F. Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and Cindy McCain, Human Trafficking Advisory Council Chair, The McCain Institute.


Mrs. McCain talked about the first time she heard the phrase “dark web” – it was during a conversation with Ashton Kutcher about THORN Technology, an innovative technology partnership that is combatting trafficking online. Mr. Clark emphasized the importance of utilizing these critical partnerships with tech companies to fight trafficking. This is one of the many organizations across the United States working to raise awareness and educate people about human trafficking particularly domestic minor sex trafficking. Mr. Clark stressed the importance of education and awareness in combating and ultimately eradicating human trafficking.

Art Exhibit

Kay Chernush of ArtWorks for Freedom presented "Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking." The series speaks to the experiences and suffering of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children affected by trafficking.

Panel II: Human Trafficking Conversation Series

The second panel, the sixth Human Trafficking Conversation Series, “More Than Our Stories: A Conversation on the Importance of Survivor Leadership," shed light on the critical role survivors play in combatting human trafficking and highlighted survivor successes and empowerment over injustice.

Speakers included: Tina Frundt, Founder, Courtney’s House; Carolyn Jones, Resident Advocate, StreetLightUSA; and Ann Wilkinson, Director of Mentor Services, My Life My Choice. Kara Van de Carr, Executive Director of Eden House, served as moderator.


Tina Frundt, Founder of Courtney’s House, focused on survivor activism and advocacy. She emphasized the effectiveness of the Harriett Tubman model of treatment, which incorporates other survivors into the healing process and recognizes the value of treating victims of trafficking and abuse without stipulations.

Carolyn Jones, Resident Advocate for StreetLightUSA, discussed the importance of a trauma-informed approach to treatment. While law enforcement and victim services engage in the important work of rescuing, housing, feeding and clothing victims, it is also important to create a long-term psychological treatment program for victims. The success of a long term, trauma-informed treatment approach should involve contact with survivors who understand what the victim has gone through and provide hope for his or her transition from victim to survivor.

Ann Wilkinson, Director of Mentor Services for My Life My Choice, provided insight into the world of shelters and rehabilitation of sex trafficking victims. One of the hardest challenges she faces is watching the girls she works with make progress and then relapse and get pulled back into the world of trafficking. Programs like My Life My Choice are critical and need funding and resources for their facilities and mentors. Cindy McCain, John F. Clark, McCain Institute John F. Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and Cindy McCain, Human Trafficking Advisory Council Chair, The McCain Institute Download Full Image

Ken Fagan

Videographer, ASU News


ASU Department of English chair to step down; national search commences

February 25, 2016

Mark Lussier, chair of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University since June 2013, has announced he will step down from the position effective June 30. A national search for his replacement is underway.

Under his leadership, English made several innovative curricular changes, introducing a popular online master’s degree and launching new cross-disciplinary bachelor, master and doctoral-level degrees, including an undergraduate writing, rhetorics and literacies concentration and a doctoral degree in linguistics and applied linguistics. In addition, the unit has partnered with other ASU entities on large research projects funded by the Modern Language Association, the Mellon Foundation and the U.S. State Department. ASU Professor of English Mark Lussier / Photo by Bruce Racine Mark Lussier has led the Department of English during a time of explosive change and growth at ASU, and the unit has kept pace as one of the largest and most productive English departments in the U.S. Lussier announced that he will step down from the chair position on June 30. Photo by Bruce Racine Download Full Image

Lussier said he had accomplished what he set out to do. 

“My goals for the department across the last three years were relatively straightforward,” he said. “First, I wanted to improve the budgetary and fiscal foundation upon which all our degrees and programs rest. Second, through collaboration with other units, we’ve embedded our presence across the university. Those commitments have been realized somewhat faster than even I anticipated.

“The time has come,” he elaborated, “to return to the activities that have sustained me across my years at ASU: teaching and research.”

George Justice, dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and also a professor of English, praised Lussier for his service and commitment.

“It has been my privilege to know Mark Lussier for 20 years and to have been able to work with him as chair of the Department of English over the past three years,” he said.

“Mark is one of the most dedicated, energetic and positive-thinking faculty members I know. He has done a great job leading our department in difficult times for the humanities nationally, and I am grateful to him for his great ideas and dedication to the job. Now I can look forward to lauding his achievements as a professor of English, for which he is nationally known for contributions to British Romanticism and critical theory.”

Lussier, a specialist in the literature, philosophy and theology of the Romantic period, has focused his published research across a large period of activity, with his work engaging culture and literature from late-17th to the end of the 19th century. His research particularly focuses on the intersection of science and spirituality in the era’s literature and art, and he is a frequent plenary speaker at major international conferences.

His first book, “Romantic Dynamics: A Poetics of Physicality” (St. Martin’s/Macmillan, 1999), analyzed the relation of poetry and physics in the work of prominent Romantic writers, and his last monograph, “Romantic Dharma: The Emergence of Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century Europe” (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011), was honored in 2013 as a runner-up for the ASU Institute for Humanities Research Transdisciplinary Book Award.

He co-directed both the 2012 and 2006 International Conferences on Romanticism, which were held at ASU. The 2006 conference resulted in the edited collection, “Engaged Romanticism: Romanticism as Praxis,” published with ASU researcher Bruce Matsunaga. He most recently co-authored with ASU lecturer Dana Tait “The Encyclopedia of Romantic Writers and Writing,” to be published later this year by Wiley-Blackwell. Lussier is currently completing a manuscript titled “Blake & Lacan,” which is scheduled for completion during summer 2016.

Lussier has taught in the Department of English since 1994. He served as president of the University Senate and chair of the University Academic Council at ASU (2012-2013), as well as president of the faculty for Tempe campus (2009-2012). Other administrative posts at ASU have included directing English’s graduate studies program (1997-2000) and serving as assistant director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1989-1991).

Previous to his time at ASU, Lussier served as the administrative and senior program officer for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1982-1985), and media arts director for the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans (1986-1987). He earned a doctorate in English at Texas A&M University in 1989.

Lussier led the Department of English during a time of explosive change and growth at ASU, and the unit has kept pace as one of the largest and most productive English departments in the United States. Currently, the department is composed of several interrelated graduate and undergraduate programs spanning the art and science of language, including: creative writing; English education; film and media studies; linguistics, applied linguistics and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); literature; and writing, rhetorics and literacies. In addition, English is also the home of the largest writing program (composition instruction) in the U.S., shepherding some 10,000 ASU students per semester — in hundreds of majors and disciplines — through college writing courses. 

Dean Justice is committed to having new leadership for the expanding unit in place for the next academic year: “Duane Roen [vice provost, Polytechnic campus] will be leading a national search for the next chair of English, who we hope will be here and on the job this summer.”

Lussier will return to teaching and research duties in English, where he plans to focus his work on the interconnections between environmental and medical humanities.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Manager, marketing + communications, Department of English