Jason Thompson hired as assistant professor of music education in the School of Music

June 16, 2015

The ASU School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Thompson as assistant professor of music education.

“We are delighted that Jason Thompson will join our faculty this fall,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music. “Thompson’s research portfolio parallels the Herberger Institute socially engaged practices initiative; he brings a number of courses and teaching interests that will enhance our offerings in music, music education and engagement with community; and he provides a unique voice to our faculty.” Jason Thompson joins the ASU School of Music as assistant professor of music education, beginning in fall of 2015. Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

Thompson graduated with a PhD from Northwestern University this spring, and his dissertation research focuses on the role that creating rap music may play in how detained youth experience their incarceration.

“While the contexts of prisons have been characterized as places filled with fear, violence, extreme sadness, boredom and even violence, findings in my study suggest that participating in the musical experience can be positive experiences for youth detained in these settings,” says Thompson. “My findings suggest that music making was a platform for participants’ artistic expression, an opportunity for culture relevance and a means for identity construction, to name a few.”

As Landes notes, Thompson’s research interests and professional experiences align closely with several initiatives in the Herberger Institute, including socially engaged practice in design and the arts, arts in urban contexts and sociocultural issues in arts education.

“The School of Music’s reputation as a top-ranked music institution was an initial attraction as a place to work, but the most important draw was the Herberger Institute’s focus on how socially engaged practices in the arts can transform societies for the better,” says Thompson. “ASU is a forerunner in regards to thinking about the role the arts will play in the future, and I’m really honored to be a part of seeing that mission come into fruition.”

In addition to his work in the music education and music therapy division, Thompson will contribute to non-major offerings such as Gospel Choir, general music studies courses, and potentially the Urban Music Ensemble. “In both teaching and research, I’m really looking forward to rolling my sleeves up and digging my hands deep into the transformative work of music that will potentially connect ASU students with surrounding communities,” says Thompson.

Prior to beginning his PhD work, Thompson taught at Appalachian State University. He also has general and choral music education experience in elementary, middle and high schools in North Carolina and Virginia.

Originally from Hillsborough, North Carolina, Thompson was raised in a family with a strong focus on music at home and in the church he attended. “These experiences were coupled with an amazing elementary music teacher and high school choral director whose teaching styles made music a favorite subject and a possible career goal for me,” says Thompson. “I used to think that I chose music; I’ve come to believe that music really chose me, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison

Forum 2015 to explore the future of libraries

June 16, 2015

Welcome to Mesa THINKspot, the future of libraries.

Walk into the building at the intersection of Mesa’s Power Road and Decatur Street and you’ll see the usual library sights – rows of bookshelves, reading nooks, a book return and a reference desk. But beyond the regular features is a makerspace, where ideas can be cultivated and realized. Mesa THINKspot The THINKspot network makes ASU-sponsored educational programming accessible to local entrepreneurs and business owners through member libraries and other institutions. Photo courtesy of sciencearizona.org Download Full Image

The spot is brightly lit with colorful walls, 3-D printers, a podcasting studio, rows of computers and a collaborative workspace.

“Traditionally, libraries have encouraged quiet absorption of knowledge and reflection with few assigned spaces for creative exchanges,” said Sarah Prosory, Mesa THINKspot coordinator and Librarian III at the Mesa Public Library – Red Mountain Branch. “Through THINKspot, we are trying to inspire conversation and exchange of innovative ideas from the get go.”

On THINKspot’s walls, words such as “change,” “communicate,” “people,” and “collaboration” set the tone for what the space hopes to inspire – collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship – a goal it hopes to achieve with the help of Arizona State University’s Entrepreneurship Outreach Network.

The network, previously known as the Alexandria Co-working Network, is a membership-based, collaborative group of libraries that work to advance and support the growth of entrepreneurial mindset as well as skillset among community members, regardless of their background and education.

“Libraries are trusted and accessible spaces in our communities. Through the network, we work collaboratively with libraries to provide the public with access to entrepreneurship resources that can minimize the risks and costs associated with launching a startup,” said Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives at ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “This work is especially important in communities that are historically underserved by entrepreneurship programs.”

The network, which received a $249,000 grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services, makes ASU-sponsored educational programming, such as ASU Startup School, accessible to local entrepreneurs and business owners through member libraries and other institutions.

ASU Startup School provides an open-source educational platform for development of startup ventures. Each site is connected with partners, including local economic development professionals and support staff from ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E+I), who help design and execute programs offered by each location.

“Programs that work closely with the community in a concerted effort to bring entrepreneurship education beyond the walls of academia are rare,” said Iffert-Saleem.

Because of that, Iffert-Saleem said they will host Forum 2015, an event aimed at bringing together creative minds from the fields of academia, library science, and economic development to explore solutions that support a diverse group of entrepreneurs and connect with thought leaders from other innovative communities.

Forum 2015 will be held on June 18-19 at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center in Chandler, Arizona. It will feature a keynote by Michael Porter, branch operations administrator ­– innovation and strategies at Maricopa County Library Districts.

The form will include hands-on workshops; sessions on topics such as building a mentor network, marketing entrepreneurship programs, evaluating success and supporting makers; networking sessions; a panel discussion on supporting diverse entrepreneurs; and a group ideation session on supporting entrepreneurs in the community.

“Working alongside librarians to ask, ‘How can we join forces to further advance our libraries as powerhouses of entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development?’ will inform initiatives that continue to build and leverage resources, empowering community gathering spaces across the country,” Iffert-Saleem said.

More information regarding the Entrepreneurship Outreach Network can be found here. Information on Forum 2015 is available here.

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development