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Faculty gift supports creation of program that will teach how to connect classroom lessons and real-life issues


Regents Professor Emeritus Cordelia Candelaria speaks to a group of international students studying at ASU in 2017. Photo provided by Cordelia Candelaria

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July 25, 2019

Cordelia Candelaria, Regents Professor Emeritus in the School of Transborder Studies, wants to bridge the past with the present by making Arizona State University classroom concepts and theories applicable to real-life situations. She may not teach in a classroom regularly, but she still educates everyone she meets who will listen.

Recently, the former literature and Latino studies professor developed a program called People-Power Undergoing Life Sustaining Education — PULSE — that provides workshops for ASU faculty and students to integrate fact-based reasoning into their analysis and decision-making in areas such as diversity, law and civics.  

“Years ago when I taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, our students were complaining about tenured professors who were in the dark ages when it came to gender and social equality,” Candelaria said. “This has happened here at ASU, too. We want to show how things are related, make the connection between what they’re learning and real life.”

The PULSE program is funded by a $40,000 gift by Candelaria to the School of Transborder Studies to provide an overview presentation and three PULSE workshops for part-time and full-time faculty and students. The donation will be used to provide 25 grant-in-aids in the amount of $500 for faculty and five $800 scholarships for students.

“Faculty giving is an important component to Campaign ASU 2020 and we are grateful for their generosity and support,” said Gretchen Buhlig, chief executive officer of the ASU Foundation. “The faculty are core to this institution. They engage with our students on a daily basis.”

Candelaria served as an ASU professor from 1992–2008 for the Department of English and what is now the School of Transborder Studies. In 2007, she became the founding associate dean for strategic initiatives in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to advance transdisciplinary diversity programs. Embracing diversity and helping others understand differences is part of Candelaria’s life work. The PULSE program is just the next step in her journey to help faculty and students understand how the past affects current life.

“I can envision PULSE getting faculty and students motivated to consider issues that they have not in the past,” said Lisa Magaña, associate director and professor in the School of Transborder Studies. “Cordelia wants scholars and students to think outside of their traditional frameworks and consider broader impacts of their research on others and the community. The School of Transborder Studies has always been community-focused so a proposal that encourages research in these areas fits nicely with our mission.”

PULSE workshops will be held after the school years starts and there will be optional seminars available with various community groups.

Applicants to the program must complete a two-page application that highlights their interests and goals. The form is available at the School of Transborder Studies. Faculty will need to modify their syllabus and show how they plan to incorporate what they learned from the workshops into their teaching using real-life examples.

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