President’s Honor Roll awarded to ASU in recognition of outstanding commitment to community

November 21, 2016

ASU was recently named to the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in all four categories — Education, Economic Opportunity, General Community Service and Interfaith Community Service. ASU was one of the only large public universities to receive this award, the highest honor a college or university can receive for volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

This was ASU’s sixth year on the Honor Roll, and it was the first time the university was named one of four finalists for the Education Award, which recognizes institutions for their strong commitment to improving PreK-14 educational outcomes. In addition to the Finalist award, ASU was the only Arizona institution that was listed on the Honor Roll with Distinction for service that improves the quality of life for off-campus community residents, particularly low-income individuals and families. Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Download Full Image

The Honor Roll designation highlights how the university’s service-minded and civically engaged faculty and students have breathed life into the ASU Charter with their impactful efforts and commitment to the community. In 2015 alone, more than 15,000 students participated in academic service-learning or co-curricular community engagement, while an additional 22,107 students engaged in service and volunteer work in the community. As a result, students contributed nearly 1.9 million hours of service during that year.

“Our institutional passion for innovation is driven by our commitment to improve society,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Creating a culture of social embeddedness is central to who we are and all we do in our pursuit of excellence, access and impact.”

The ASU Charter and design aspirations were first introduced more than a decade ago. Since then, ASU has twice been classified as a Community Engaged institution by the Carnegie Foundation, which further affirms the steps ASU has taken to prioritize social impact as an institutional obligation.

Now, students can engage through a number of ways, including community service, social entrepreneurship, University Service-Learning, or through their academic degree programs. For example, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions requires 100 percent of undergraduate students to complete a Solutions-Based Learning (SBL) credit requirement; SBL integrates community work into the classroom, ensuring students get hands-on learning community experience prior to graduation.

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering encourages their 20,000 engineering students with 60-plus Fulton student organizations to share their energy and passion for science, technology, engineering and math with more than 11,000 elementary and secondary students throughout Arizona by way of their 56 PreK-14 educational outreach programs.

ASU is also home to dozens of interdisciplinary centers and institutes that leverage the unique insights from diverse areas of scholarship to address social challenges, such as the award-winning Project Humanities, which engages students and faculty as leaders in local, national and international conversation about the value of a shared humanity and understanding across communities through service, programming and research.

All of these represent opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of complex social issues and embrace a higher level of civic and social responsibility throughout their academic career and beyond. Graduate student Ethan Clay, who studies the history of Arizona’s public institutions and volunteer teaches a not-for-credit history course in the Eyman State Prison through the Prison Education Programming Initiative at ASU, explained, “Having the opportunity to teach in the prison has helped me better understand the real, concrete problems facing our incarceration system. It also gave me perspective on what change is actually possible within the confines of the current system and how I can help improve it in some small way.”

“The scale of impact that ASU is able to accomplish with community partners is enormous. We look forward to finding new ways to collaborate with partners to continue producing more engaged graduates and further strengthen the communities we serve,” said Lindsey Beagley, director of social embeddedness in the ASU Office of University Initiatives. “We are very honored to receive such a high Honor Roll distinction and grateful for the many community partners that helped make it possible.”

To learn more about ASU’s commitment to connecting with communities, read the 2016 Social Embeddedness Report: Collaboration as a driving force and visit to get plugged into the ASU Social Embeddedness ecosystem. 

ASU professor named AAAS Fellow

Gary Schwartz examines humankind's evolutionary foundations through how our teeth grow

November 21, 2016

Gary Schwartz, who has devoted his career to unlocking the mysteries of human's unique life history through examining how our teeth grow, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science. Von Ebner lines High-resolution image of the growth lines of a tooth — similar to growth rings of a tree. Much can be learned from understanding how an individual lived by studying their history through their teeth. Image courtesy of Gary Schwartz

Schwartz was cited for his “distinguished contributions in the evolutionary history of primate and human growth and development as evidenced from developing tooth tissues.”

Over the past 20 years, Schwartz’s research has combined evolutionary, developmental, histological and 3-D imaging approaches applied to a range of living and extinct primates, as well as our fossil human ancestors, to probe how the growth of teeth and the timing of important dental developmental events illuminates the evolutionary foundations of our unique life history.

“The distinguishing characteristic of our species,” said Schwartz, “is our unique ‘life history’ or the pace at which we grow, mature, produce offspring and die. Amazingly, the overall timeline of a species' growth and development is preserved in the microscopic details of how our teeth grow and when they emerge into our mouths.”

Gary Schwartz

A research associate with the Institute of Human Origins and an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Schwartz works collaboratively across many scientific disciplines to understand how, when, and why we “became human.”

When he received the notice, Schwartz said he was “bowled over. It is such an honor to have my work recognized by my peers, and I am looking forward to getting involved in the society.”

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be recognized on Feb. 18, 2017, at a special fellows forum at the annual meeting of the AAAS in Boston.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society.

Julie Russ

Assistant director, Institute of Human Origins