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New Thunderbird degree will take students around the world

New Thunderbird degree will take students around the world as they study.
July 18, 2019

Cohort will study in 6 hubs in cities worldwide while pursuing Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

Executives and entrepreneurs who want to make that giant leap into the global marketplace will now have an opportunity to earn a degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management that will take them around the world for a year.

The new Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy degree, which is now accepting applicants, will begin in January and engage students at Thunderbird hubs in six locations throughout the yearlong program: Phoenix/Los Angeles; Geneva; Mumbai, India; Shanghai; Nairobi, Kenya; and Sao Paulo.

“The idea is that there are senior managers and leaders that are moving up in their career to take on increasingly global responsibilities, which means they need to have some on-the-ground knowledge of different regions of the world,” said Sanjeev Khagram, dean and director general of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Thunderbird, which has been offering degrees in international business for more than 75 years, became part of Arizona State University in 2014 and is based at the downtown Phoenix campus.

The program is seeking professionals from around the world who have at least eight years of management experience, preferably longer, and are on track to become executives in business, government or nonprofit careers.

“They’re in a place in their career where they’re not going to take time off, so we wanted to create a 21st-century flipped classroom with interactive learning,” Khagram said.

The 30-credit degree will be completed in one calendar year and students can continue to work. The course load will include online modules in between immersive weeks in the six locations, which were selected to provide a balance between advanced and emerging markets, Khagram said.

The program will start in January at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses, where the theme will be “megatrends” and students will work in ASU’s Decision Theater Network to engage with data visualization and new technology. Other themes over the year will include sustainability and how to get a foothold in an emerging market. Students will visit a location for a week in January, March, May, August, October and December.

“In most of the locations they’ll be in groups engaging with clients and doing mini consulting projects,” Khagram said.

Each student will work with a leadership coach on a yearlong individual development plan.

The program is unique and the $125,000 cost is less than similar degrees at other universities that don’t offer the same experience, Khagram said.

“Our goal is to work with companies to get them to sponsor these individuals,” he said. “Another potential candidate would be entrepreneurs who have their own companies that are already doing well in a regional market and they want to take them global.”

The six locations are part of the network of current and planned Thunderbird “hubs,” which serve as sites for executive education, research, alumni and community outreach and student recruitment.

Khagram noted that Thunderbird offers three undergraduate degrees, including one online, and an array of graduate and executive programs, including the new Executive Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management degree based entirely at ASU's location in Washington, D.C.

“The Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy is really the pinnacle in our degree pyramid,” he said.

Top image of Shanghai by Pixabay

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


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And they called it puppy love

July 18, 2019

Annual ASU event shows benefits of human-dog interaction on health and well-being

Editor's note: July 3 marked the start of "the dog days of summer," the most sweltering days of the year. (For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway.) To help you make it through, ASU Now is talking to experts from around the university about everything dog, from stars to language to man's best friend. Look for new stories every week through Aug. 9.

The first person to suggest that dogs could be more than just “man’s best friend” was psychologist Boris Levinson, who in the 1960s introduced the concept of animals for use in therapy.

His discovery came when he observed the calming effects that his dog Jingles had on a young patient who was struggling through a therapy session. When Jingles entered the room, the child relaxed, became more willing to participate and their communication improved.

Through that experience Levinson came to understand what any dog owner intuitively knows — that a dog’s presence has power.

And while his idea of animals serving a therapeutic purpose was initially met with resistance, today it isn’t surprising to see a professional pup accompanying a colleague at the office or sitting with a nervous passenger on a plane.

Even ASU faculty and staff have gotten on board with the idea.

Nika Gueci, executive director for university engagement at the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, and Craig Thatcher, senior associate dean and professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, have introduced dogs to their workplace through an annual event during either fall or spring semesters called “Puppies in the Park.” And while the puppers involved aren’t officially therapy dogs, they still have plenty to offer participants.

ASU Now spoke with Gueci and Thatcher to learn more about Puppies in the Park and to discuss the myriad ways dogs enhance our lives.

Question: How is the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience working with dogs?

Craig Thatcher

Thatcher: In 2017, the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience launched an annual program called “Puppies in the Park,” in partnership with the Arizona Humane Society (AHS). The AHS brings adoptable puppies to the park in downtown Phoenix to interact with students, faculty and staff. 

Gueci: This event is definitely a favorite of the students and ours.

As a team full of animal lovers, we share a great passion about the mutual benefits of the human-animal connection. We want to share the joyous connection and mindful state each of us have felt around our animal friends.

Students come up on their way to and from classes and see puppies they can hold and play with, and they light up. Many seem to arrive stressed but they all leave smiling and excited. Some teachers even bring their whole class down for a few minutes of shared happiness!

Q: Why are we so attached to our dogs?


Nika Gueci

Gueci: The human-dog connection is a mutually beneficial one. Our symbiotic relationship goes back hundreds of years, when dogs adapted to become domesticated and we adapted to living side by side with them.

Dogs tend to be very loyal and loving animals. Interactions with pets increase the release of neurochemicals that assist in relaxation and feelings of joy, empathy and compassion.

Thatcher: Dogs can sense emotions and differentiate between good and bad ones. Spending time with a dog can reduce stress and combat loneliness, and also decrease depression and anxiety. They increase our sense of self-esteem and well-being and provide unconditional love. They express empathy and can calm people down when they are feeling agitated.

Q: What happens to our bodies when we are around a friendly dog?

Thatcher: Spending time with dogs lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscle tension, reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and improves mood and happiness by changing brain chemistry. 

Living with a dog can improve cardiovascular health and increase physical activity, which can lower cholesterol and impact obesity. Walking a dog can motivate you to go to parks, beaches, woods and other green spaces. Experiencing nature can provide positive impacts to health.

Q: What are the mental and emotional benefits of spending time with dogs?

Gueci: Some mental health conditions and their symptoms can be alleviated with support from an animal companion. Studies have shown that dogs decrease levels of depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety. More so, people viewing themselves as isolated or (who) feel they have been frequently stigmatized desire and appreciate the nonjudgmental connection and acceptance they receive from their pets.

These benefits are perceived to be because dogs are capable, even more so than any of our closer relatives in the animal kingdom, of interpreting human behavior and emotion, and are able to communicate with us in a variety of ways.

Thatcher: A psychological benefit of interacting with a dog is the opportunity it provides to be more mindful and to focus on the present moment, since dogs have a natural capacity to open up to each moment as it unfolds.

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