image title

Education during and after the pandemic

June 4, 2020

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College dean on improving online teaching tools, methods

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of ASU Thrive magazine. 

Written by Carole G. Basile, the dean of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which is partnering with Arizona schools and other organizations to develop the Next Education Workforce. Find more of her writing on the future of education on her blog, The Next Normal: Principled provocations in education.

Times of extreme stress reveal cracks in the normal that have been there all along. As our college has responded to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, we have lived in and peered through the cracks, and it has made us commit even more resources and strategy to educating professionals on how to teach well online, and to envision strategies for providing more educational access and opportunities to rural areas.

In the spring 2020 semester, we had 646 teacher candidates working full time in schools. In mid-March we had five days to figure how to: 1) keep them safe; 2) provide them with meaningful clinical experiences that would allow them to graduate on time; and 3) create something that would be valuable to our school and district partners and to pre-K-12 learners.

The exercise has opened our thinking to new ways of working with school partners to integrate tech-enabled learning into Next Education Workforce models, and to new ways of thinking about how to prepare educators to succeed in that environment. 

We learned a lot in a short amount of time about how to prepare professionals to teach online, and we will continue to make this a robust part of our education for professionals, both for our own ASU teacher candidates and for in-service educators working in schools. 

What we’re learning about remote teaching could be especially valuable to underserved rural communities. Here’s a potential use case: In Arizona, we have many rural communities that struggle to find enough qualified teachers, especially science teachers. In these communities, it will likely always be difficult in the same way that finding doctors is difficult. 

Just as telemedicine is a reasonable way to address some rural health challenges, bringing expertise into those schools via a remote presence is a viable solution to some rural education challenges. A biology expert appearing remotely could, with the help of educators on site, deliver instruction to provide deeper learning for students. 

The work of implementing such ideas has been slow going. One reason is that we have tackled the issue as a “learning technology” problem rather than as a workforce problem. Today, too often we ask each educator to be all things to all people at all times. The real challenge is how to design and deploy teams of adults with distributed expertise to best serve learners.

We’ve always known there would be a significant tech-enabled dimension to the Next Education Workforce. The crack in the normal offers us all a glimpse into the possible.

Device-free learning activities

To balance the technology-heavy mode of learning, device-free options make for a strong mix of activities. To help kids get started, begin doing the activity yourself, and your children will want to join. Some of our favorite ways for learners to explore their passions, stay entertained and practice skills that will serve them well for years to come can be found at

Top photo: Sun Devil Learning Labs ensured that students, including Williams Caraveo and Kerinne Atkins, could conduct student teaching remotely. Teaching resources are updated regularly for families teaching at home. Photos courtesy Williams Caraveo and Kerinne Atkins

image title

Never let a crisis go to waste

June 4, 2020

Executive coach May Busch has 3 steps to emerge from this crisis better and stronger

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of ASU Thrive magazine. 

Written by May Busch, a former COO of Morgan Stanley Europe who is now an executive coach, speaker, adviser, author and executive in residence in ASU’s Office of the President. Find her at

How are you doing these days? Some people are on what one of my clients calls “the struggle bus.” Others are relatively unscathed. But we’re all feeling the effects somehow.

While it may feel like things could drag on indefinitely, and there’s unlikely to be a clearly marked “all clear” signal, the current situation will not go on exactly as is forever.

Whatever way this COVID-19 situation is affecting you and the ones you love, as the saying goes: This too shall pass.

So, what’s the best way to weather the proverbial storm? 

As a junior associate experiencing my first financial crisis, I remember one of our senior managers saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

It was his way of reminding us to get out of our narrow view of the world and look at the bigger picture — to see beyond the immediate panic in order to identify future opportunities and make the changes needed to take advantage of them.

The key is to make the right kind of changes. And that requires some clear thinking on your part.

1. The single most important question to ask yourself

The most important question you can ask yourself right now is this: “How do I want to emerge from this better and stronger?”

This is a powerful question because it instantly pushes you forward to imagine that future point in time when we emerge from the current situation.

While there’s no precise time frame, I recommend you think of this as at least one month from now and preferably longer. You’ll see why in a moment.

2. What does “better” mean for you? 

It might be becoming stronger physically and mentally, developing a new skill that will land you a higher paying job, or finally beginning that personal project that you’ve set aside for years, waiting for when you have more time.

There’s no single right answer. Just what “better” looks, feels and sounds like for you.

3. Let your vision for 'better' drive your actions

Your vision for “better” allows you to approach this period of uncertainty from a position of strength. It gives you some certainties around which to anchor your days, make good decisions and motivate your actions so you are generating forward momentum.

So, think about this as the time to be forming new habits and ways of being that will serve you better and make you more effective (and joyful) in the future.

What enduring habits, qualities and attitudes do you want to emerge with?

Don’t wish this time away. Even in moments of struggle, remember that time is precious. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And your sense of time depends on how you frame it.

Make productive use of this time. Spend some time thinking about how you want to emerge from this crisis better. Then, start taking steps toward creating your better future.

This is your time. How do you want to emerge from this time better and stronger? 

MORE: Get career counseling resources at