ASU faculty member headed to Bulgaria on Fulbright Scholar grant

August 6, 2014

Dan Fellner, a faculty associate in the Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication unit in the School of Letters and Sciences at ASU's Polytechnic campus, has received a five-month Fulbright Scholar grant to Bulgaria. He will be teaching courses in journalism and communications at the American University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, during the spring semester of 2015.

This is Fellner’s third Fulbright Scholar grant to Eastern Europe; his prior grants were to Latvia and Moldova. Additionally, he has received two Fulbright Senior Specialist grants to teach at universities in Lithuania and Latvia, and has taught a one-week intensive course in communications four times at the Fulbright International Summer Institute in Bulgaria, including in August 2014. portrait of ASU faculty associate Dan Fellner Download Full Image

“I’ve been traveling to Eastern Europe since 1991 and have enjoyed witnessing firsthand such a dramatic transformation in the region since the fall of Communism,” Fellner said. “Through the Fulbright program, I feel that I have learned so much about a fascinating and often misunderstood part of the world, and have been able to share this expertise with my students at ASU.”

Fellner, who resides in Chandler, joined ASU as a faculty associate in 1998 and currently teaches courses in communications and English. Fellner is also a faculty affiliate with ASU's Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and teaches courses in Eastern Europe and travel writing for ASU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In 2011 he was named to the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau of the Arizona Humanities Council, and he also gives presentations about Eastern Europe to audiences throughout Arizona.

Prior to joining ASU, Fellner worked in television news in four different cities, and spent ten years in corporate public relations as the spokesman for the Dow Chemical Company. He also works as a freelance travel writer and photographer, and has had more than 60 travel articles published in various newspapers and magazines.

The prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program provides approximately 800 teaching and/or research grants to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals in a wide variety of academic and professional fields in over 125 countries worldwide. It is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more information visit,

Reporter , ASU Now


New ASU course looks at creating smart, sustainable cities

August 7, 2014

It’s 7 o’clock, Monday morning. The year is 2034. Coffee in hand, mentally preparing for the day ahead, you’re out the door and ... the world is green.

Not necessarily in a literal sense. But every element of the city you inhabit reflects sustainability principles: from housing to advertisements, vehicles to roadways. Green city emerging from an iPad Download Full Image

What would this world look like? Specifically, what role would smart technology play?

If you’re already in love with this future city but are finding it difficult to imagine more than bicycles and solar panels, you’re in good company – and in luck. Because it is this gap, the one between interest and innovation, that a new course offered through the School of Sustainability intends to fill.

In anticipation of Changemaker Central’s Innovation Challenge, an ASU seed-funding campaign that encourages every academic unit to create its own theme, the School of Sustainability teamed up with The Verizon Foundation. Given the foundation’s interest in innovative change, particularly in the area of energy management, the eco-conscious shoe fit, and the School of Sustainability’s theme was born: “How can we accelerate the adoption and deployment of smart technologies to make our cities more sustainable?”

This is a question that SOS 498: Smart City and Technology Innovation Challenge will address in depth – a noble endeavor in light of our rapidly urbanizing and “plugged in” population of 7 billion. And given the host of smart technologies that already exist, but whose potential for a greener good is not fully realized, answers are needed.

Colin Tetreault, former senior sustainability adviser to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and SOS 498 instructor, will provide a rich plot of expertise and experience for students to seed.

“This workshop-style course will feature local, regional and national guest speakers, all experts in their respective fields,” Tetrault says. “It’s going to be radically collaborative, and will incite the entrepreneurial spirit in all enrollees.”

Through scenario development activities like the one above, students will dissect the idyllic, ultra-sustainable city of the future and explore its underpinnings. Smart technologies like telematics, data aggregation and cloud computing will each take a turn on the examination table, their potential for sustainable urban enhancement carefully scrutinized.

Over the course of fifteen weeks, seedling ideas will flower into projects, prototypes and/or ventures. They will be refined under the guidance of experts and fellow SOS 498 classmates until a feasible and sustainable innovation has been fashioned.

As an added incentive, students can win up to $4,000 toward the ASU Bookstore, courtesy of The Verizon Foundation. All proposals will also be submitted to the Innovation Challenge for a chance to receive thousands more in seed funding.

Enrollment is now open to all. For students pursuing degrees in the School of Sustainability, the course meets the three-credit applied/capstone requirement.

Communications specialist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability