ASU awarded prestigious Leadership for Public Purpose classification

Student sharing information about ASU's Public Service Academy from table display

Public service program coordinator Emma Biscocho shares information about ASU's Next Generation Service Corps and public service programs during the annual ASU Day at the Capitol in Phoenix in February 2020. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News

For Ivan Quintana, it was a specific program — one focused on developing character-driven leaders who make a difference in their communities — that brought him to Arizona State University.

"I transferred to ASU as soon as I learned about the Next Generation Service Corps, a leadership development program that helps students drive positive social impact,” Quintana shared during the "College Tour en Español."

That program, which aims to empower the next generation of public leaders, aligned with Quintana’s passion for working for the public good. During his time at ASU, he would advocate for a number of underrepresented communities, including traveling to Washington, D.C., to champion for increased funding for federal programs that support first-generation, low-income students with documented disabilities. After graduating summa cum laude in May 2022 with dual bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and criminology, and public service and public policy (law and policy), he today works for the Arizona Department of Education.

Students like Quintana — and programs like the Next Generation Service Corps — are living examples of ASU’s charter, the university’s promise to, among other things, advance research of public value and to assume fundamental responsibility for overall health of the communities it serves. 

That profound commitment to leadership in public service and societal impact has garnered ASU the prestigious Leadership for Public Purpose classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This recognition marks the first year the Carnegie Foundation has introduced this elective classification. ASU is one of 25 universities to receive the designation, including Rice University, Claremont McKenna College and the United States Naval Academy.

A man in a suit speaks at a lectern
 ASU MLK Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award recipient Ivan Quintana speaks at the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration on Jan. 20, 2022, on the Tempe campus. Quintana said he was drawn to ASU because of its Next Generation Service Corps, a program that develops adaptive leaders charged with working toward the public good. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The Leadership for Public Purpose classification acknowledges an institution’s dedication to fostering public-oriented leadership through its policies, community involvement and educational practices. ASU's approach to higher education, emphasizing inclusivity, student success and social embeddedness, led to the recognition.

“Everything we do at ASU is driven by our core belief that a university must lead in safeguarding the public good," said ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales. “Our academic community, the knowledge and creativity we generate, and the innovations and solutions we develop all aim to build a better, more sustainable and equitable world. This classification is a testament to ASU's success in realizing these ideals."

Those ideals are borne out in partnerships and programs across the university, from leadership-focused initiatives such as First Year Success Coaching, aimed at improving student retention and success, to ASU's collaboration with the United States Naval Community College offering associate degree programs to active-duty military personnel and reflecting its broad commitment to public service​​.

Within ASU’s Academic Enterprise, a few key academic units form the cornerstone of public-purpose leadership cultivation and scholarly advancement that are reflected across the university. Notably, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions — the nation’s largest comprehensive public service college — houses the schools of Social Work, Public Affairs, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Community Resources and Development. The college is also home to, among other programs, the Next Generation Service Corps and the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, which advances nonprofit leaders to solve problems and accelerate social impact. 

“As dean of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, earning this classification is especially meaningful for me,” said Dean and President’s Professor Cynthia Lietz. “This recognition communicates our commitment to activating the assets of a comprehensive research university to make a difference for our local communities. Congratulations to our faculty, staff and students — it is your collective efforts that allow us to realize our design aspirations, including leveraging our place and remaining socially embedded.”

Developing leaders equipped with the drive and skills to further public good around the world is a core part of the university’s mission, ASU President Michael M. Crow said.

“The Carnegie Foundation’s Leadership for Public Purpose classification reaffirms our dedication to fostering an inclusive environment that not only supports academic excellence but also prepares students to contribute meaningfully to society,” Crow said. 

“In a world where we face increased political strife, increased environmental risks, increased inequities in our communities, there is unbelievable opportunity for empowered leaders who would fight for the public good. It is not just the job of the public servant or the military, but it’s the profound and wonderful responsibility of all of us to help our communities thrive. It’s a key part of ASU’s mission.”

More University news


ASU Research Park waterfall sign

ASU Research Park celebrates 40 years of collaboration, innovation

The Arizona State University Research Park celebrates its 40th anniversary this year as the university’s original Innovation Zone, where the university and the private sector collaborate around their…

Group photo of 2024 Arizona Nutrition College Bowl participants.

How College of Health Solutions faculty, alumni rebuilt the College Nutrition Bowl

By Aidan Hansen When Lindsay Gnant first participated in the Nutrition College Bowl as an Arizona State University undergrad in 2011, she fell in love. “It was the perfect sport for me,” she said…

A group of students pose with a professor on a college campus.

Professor recognized for mentoring, increasing representation in and out of the lab

When Jinni Su was in graduate school, she got so nervous during her first presentation that she almost passed out. Despite that experience, she persevered with her studies. Today, Su is an assistant…