27 new Watts College faculty members start work as fall semester begins

3 more will come on board later in academic year

August 10, 2022

Twenty-seven new faculty members begin work this month at the four schools of ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Six are in the School of Community Resources and Development, eight are in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, eight are in the School of Public Affairs and five are in the School of Social Work, Watts College Dean Cynthia Lietz said. Exterior of building with sign that reads "Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions." Photo by ASU Download Full Image

One more will begin duties at the college in October, while two others will start work in January 2023, for a total of 28 for the 2022–23 academic year, Lietz said.

In addition, two current Watts College faculty are entering new positions.

Lietz said Watts’ status as among the nation’s elite public service colleges significantly contributed to its large number of incoming top-flight faculty members.

“There is no question that our college has garnered a positive reputation for conducting rigorous, use-inspired research and for demonstrating an undeniable commitment to student success,” Lietz said. “As a result, we continue to attract some of the most respected faculty members who find Watts the very best place to continue their impactful careers. Their choice to join us greatly benefits our students and our community, and I am thrilled that they have chosen our college as their new professional home.”

Here are the Watts College’s new faculty members in 2022–23:

School of Community Resources and Development

  • Danbi Seo, assistant professor (starting January 2023).
  • Jong-Hyeong Kim, associate professor, Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College (HAITC).
  • Hyewon Youn, lecturer senior, HAITC.
  • Yeganeh Aghazamani, lecturer, HAITC.
  • Shama Nazneen, lecturer, HAITC.
  • Adriana Szabo, lecturer, HAITC.
  • Christina Coleman, lecturer.

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • Beth Huebner, school director and Watts Endowed Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (starting January 2023).
  • Joseph Schafer, professor (starting August 2023).
  • Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill, assistant professor.
  • Marva Goodson-Miller, assistant professor.
  • Murat Haner, assistant professor.
  • Joshua Adams, professor of practice.
  • Lauretta Sam, lecturer.
  • Kay Varela, presidential postdoctoral scholar.
  • Leonard Mukosi, postdoctoral scholar.

School of Public Affairs

  • Shannon Portillo, school director and professor (starting October).
  • Maryann Feldman, Watts Endowed Professor of Public Affairs.
  • Julia Melkers, professor and director, Center for Organization Research and Design.
  • Maribel Guerrero, associate professor.
  • Nicole Mayberry, assistant research professor.
  • Moses Boudourides, professor of practice.
  • Walter Huber, lecturer, HAITC.
  • Scott Langford, postdoctoral research scholar.
  • Catalina Canals, postdoctoral scholar.

School of Social Work

  • Renee Cunningham-Williams, Watts Endowed Professor of Social Work.
  • Manual Cano, assistant professor.
  • Justin Harty, assistant professor.
  • Heidi Pottinger, assistant research professor.
  • Linda Banda, postdoctoral research scholar. 

The two current faculty members starting new assignments are Robert Capistrano, assistant professor at HAITC, and Melanie Gall, assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs.

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Recognizing intelligent innovation at ASU

Karen Walker awarded the 2022 National Organization of Research Development Professionals Innovation Award

August 10, 2022

For any public research institution, the task of translating its intellectual capacity into something senior leaders and investors can get behind is nothing less than an issue of existential importance.

At Arizona State University, Karen Walker has been doing just that for 15 years. Recently, the assistant director of research development within Knowledge Enterprise was awarded the 2022 National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) Innovation Award for that work. ASU Charter sign on the Tempe campus. Download Full Image

Walker’s innovation is relatively simple: take formal corporate practice and adapt it to the more collaborative and open environment of academia.

“When we tell the story of research development at ASU, it goes something like, ‘We were two girls and a dream,’” said Faye Farmer, executive director of research development in Knowledge Enterprise. “The reality is that we really enjoyed what we did and believed others found it useful. Turns out, we were right. Karen started a movement in academia and now, she’s a sought-after authority for establishing a strategic intelligence function at universities everywhere.”

Meeting an increasing demand

This past fiscal year, Walker’s staff of three people produced 81 reports and analyses to inform strategic decision-making, in addition to many presentations on competitive programs for federal funding. This year, the team has tracked federal funding using a bi-weekly memo format that is sent to college-level leaders.

As a former team member, Jamie Burns, now employed by an industry group, can attest, “Karen and her team have developed a robust network of clients across ASU’s campus. Under Karen’s leadership, the team has standardized products and processes while remaining nimble enough to innovate and meet stakeholder needs. The team has consistently grown its reach and service to the university, a testament to the quality of the intelligence they provide.”

In 2017, Walker developed several capacity analyses for Vice Provost Elizabeth Wentz. One helped inform a proposal to a local nonprofit, which was awarded approximately $15 million. Similarly, Walker provided unique support for Wentz, including institutional information for ASU’s NSF ADVANCE proposal, which was funded at approximately $3 million in 2018.

“Karen’s analyses were incredibly comprehensive. Taking data and making it into accessible information is critical when walking through a strategic planning exercise. Under her leadership, her team consistently produces high-quality documents that start as a simple question but have significant impact on what we decide to pursue,” Wentz said.

Innovation Award

The NORDP Innovation Award recognizes those who have “unique skills or resources to kick-start innovation in research development in ways that generate evidence of promise or demonstrable results.”

Walker’s work has yielded real gains for research development and has forged new connections with institutional peers. For example, she partners regularly with The Ohio State University Strategic Intelligence and Mapping Unit, which focuses on industry research business development.

Walker’s team has attracted new talent to the research development field, and she has consulted with many universities over the past few years that have gone on to establish their own dedicated intelligence units.

In 2018, Walker founded the Competitive Intelligence Working Group (CIWG) as a national resource for those in academia interested in exploring competitive intelligence.

“Knowledge Enterprise has led the national conversation on research in so many ways. Karen’s commitment to the university’s positioning and dedication to surfacing our expertise is unwavering. This award is a wonderful recognition of the value of her work and the impact it has nationally,” said Sally Morton, executive vice president of research in Knowledge Enterprise.

Research Development maintains the website funding.asu.edu. If interested, you can sign up to receive weekly information regarding general federal funding programs and outreach events on the main page.