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Program offers in-person experiences for ASU Prep Digital students

July 26, 2022

Online high school students participate in discussions, project-based learning in hybrid format

With online learning on the rise, more high school students are accessing their education fully online. Although online learning offers great flexibility, some students want more face time with their teachers and peers.

Enter ASU Prep Local — a new program from ASU Preparatory Academy offering in-person collaboration, discussions and project-based learning in small group settings on Arizona State University campuses for online high school students.

In the spring 2022 semester, ASU Prep partnered with the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences to pilot the first in-person experience on the West campus for ASU Prep Digital students.

Through the program, 19 high school students engaged in a number of project-based learning activities led by New College faculty, including planting trees in the Desert Restoration Zone, conducting water testing at Lake Pleasant, and analyzing mock crime scenes and fingerprints in the crime scene lab at the West campus. Students also worked with faculty and lab mentors in the Communication Lab (CommLabASU) to hone their communication skills.

Group of students gathered in a desert setting, listening to an instructor.

ASU Professor Majia Nadesan shows students the Desert Restoration Zone at ASU's West campus. Photo courtesy New College

“It’s really important for New College to engage with ASU Prep because of our commitment to education for everybody, diversity, access, inclusion…” said Lara Ferry, senior associate dean of research and strategic initiatives at New College. “We want to embrace what all different kinds of learners bring to our table.”

Over the course of the semester, students engaged with 23 faculty members, five staff members and 15 current or recently-graduated ASU students, including PhD students and undergraduate mentors.  

This fall, the program at the West campus is expanding to a yearlong program offering students two in-person days on campus to enhance their online experience and to engage with ASU faculty through project-based learning.

In addition to the West campus, the yearlong, hybrid program will be offered in the 2022–23 school year in Mesa at ASU's Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center. Additionally, one-day-a-week, semester-long experiences will be offered on the Polytechnic and Tempe campuses.

​​“ASU Prep leads the way in designing new models for educational success, and we put the learners at the center of our design,” said Betsy Fowler, executive director of school design at ASU Prep. “These new models provide more flexible options for families and create opportunities for students to begin a college pathway while in high school.”

ASU Prep hopes to continue expanding ASU Prep Local to offer hybrid learning experiences on every ASU campus across the Valley and beyond.

“We cannot thank the team at the ASU West campus enough for their support of ASU Prep’s inaugural ASU Prep Local cohort,” said Megan Hanley, director of strategic initiatives at ASU Prep. “Over the course of a semester, we saw students experience life on a college campus and be entrusted by faculty to engage in college-level work. We saw students grow and develop in their communication skills, presentation skills and in their critical thinking skills.”

“Students made connections that will last a lifetime with each other and with the ASU West campus. We are so excited to be offering more programs for the upcoming school year and are looking forward to continuing to connect with the ASU West faculty and its programs.”

ASU Prep Local is currently enrolling for the fall 2022 semester and aims to have two cohorts of 30 students at the West and Mesa campuses.

Top photo: Clinical Associate Professor Susie Sandrin and Clinical Assistant Professor Cara Thompson take students on a field trip to Lake Pleasant to test soil and water samples. Photo courtesy New College

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications , New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

ASU director of bands receives international award

Jason Caslor given 2022 International Band Award by the Canadian Band Association

July 26, 2022

Jason Caslor, associate professor and director of bands in Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre, has been awarded the 2022 International Band Award by the Canadian Band Association.

Caslor was presented with the award by Darrin Oehlerking, director of the University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra and associate dean of student affairs for the College of Arts and Science. Oehlerking is also a past president of the Canadian Band Association. Portrait of ASU Associate Professor Jason Caslor. Jason Caslor, ASU director of bands Download Full Image

“I was completely surprised when they presented me with the award,” Caslor said. “I was guest conducting in Canada at the Halifax Community Band Festival when one of the other conductors, Dr. Darrin Oehlerking, stopped between pieces and began talking to the audience about the award and its criteria. It was extra special having Darrin present the award, as we have known each other for over 20 years, and he is one of my absolute closest friends.”

Caslor was nominated by the Saskatchewan Band Association and is only the sixth recipient of the award since 1991.

The award recognizes those individuals who have embraced the ideals of the Canadian Band Association (CBA) and have contributed to the promotion, growth and development of the musical, educational and cultural values of Canadian band outside of Canada.

A champion of Canadian band compositions and values, Caslor said he relishes every opportunity to introduce Canadian wind band music to new ensembles and audiences.

“Caslor was the visionary behind CBA’s Howard Cable Memorial Prize in Composition, which allows for development and recognition of the importance of music for developing wind bands,” Oehlerking said. “He is extremely supportive and active in commissioning new works for winds, and champions established and emerging composers’ efforts to push the envelope for winds as a serious art form.”

Caslor, a master teacher and educational clinician for Conn-Selmer, has taught at every level, from elementary music to graduate students. He is also committed to community-building and mentorship through his involvement with the United Sound project, which aims to remove barriers and foster social change through music.

Caslor holds degrees from ASU, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba in Canada. He is in demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator across North America and has conducted honor bands across Canada and the United States. He has commissioned numerous new works for wind bands and has given presentations and master classes in the United States, Canada and Europe. In 2019, he was co-chair of the 2019 College Band Directors National Association National Convention, which was held at ASU.

“I consider myself very fortunate to both teach at ASU and still have numerous opportunities each year to return to Canada to collaborate with many of its amazing music educators and musicians,” Caslor said. “I truly love ASU and all the opportunities it has afforded me and my family. I am also a fiercely proud Canadian. Without a doubt, it was the guidance and mentorship that I received growing up in Canada that built the foundation for the successes I have had here at ASU.”

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music