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Sally C. Morton to lead ASU's Knowledge Enterprise

November 23, 2020

Statistician uses data to change lives for the better, was drawn to university's mission of inclusion

Editor’s note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020.

When Sally C. Morton was about 4 years old, her father would come home every night and ask her to count his change. It was a task she took seriously.

Now she realizes that he did it because he knew she loved numbers — numbers and math and the beauty of the way they fit together.

That passion led Morton to an acclaimed career as a statistician. She is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on the use of statistics and data science to help patients and their health care providers make better decisions. During her career, she has led complex organizations at both academic and industrial institutions. 

Now Morton will be the first woman to take the reins of Arizona State University’s Knowledge Enterprise, an organization with annual research expenditures of $640 million on subjects ranging from space exploration to food systems. As executive vice president, she will be responsible for enhancing ASU’s research competitiveness, strengthening and diversifying the university’s research portfolio, forging strategic partnerships with public- and private-sector industries, helping launch new companies and developing international ties. 

“I’m tremendously honored and excited to be joining ASU,” Morton said. “There is no more important time than now given the issues facing the world to conduct research of importance to our society. We need to do so using transdisciplinary approaches, integrated into our educational mission, and in partnership with industry and our communities. ASU Knowledge Enterprise is the place to make this difference.”

Morton comes from Virginia Tech, where she served as dean of the College of Science, as well as interim director of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. Previously, she was chair of biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh, vice president for statistics and epidemiology at RTI International, and head of the RAND Corporation Statistics Group. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, a master’s degree in operations research and a doctoral degree in statistics, all from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in statistics from the London School of Economics. Morton served as president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is a fellow of the ASA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences in 2017.

“Sally is an unbelievably accomplished scholar in her field and will bring tremendous focus, discipline and rigor to our mission of attaining the highest public value and impact through our research activities,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

Throughout her career Morton has been mission-driven, working on such societal issues as mental illness, homelessness, gun violence and death penalty sentencing. ASU’s mission inspired her to join the university.

“Arizona State University is at the forefront of where public research institutions need to be,” she said. “Once I understood the university’s mission more fully — we are whom we include rather than whom we exclude — that really resonated with me. Coming to Arizona State will give me the opportunity to collaborate with people across the university who are dedicated to this mission and educating the next generation. Knowledge Enterprise is a unique and innovative ecosystem in which to advance research that serves the public and our communities. I became a statistician to change the world, and ASU is the place to do that.”

Morton will begin her new post on Feb. 1, 2021, replacing Sethuraman Panchanathan, who served as executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise and chief research and innovation officer before moving into his current role as director of the National Science Foundation in June. Neal Woodbury has served as interim executive vice president and chief science and technology officer since then and will move to the role of vice president for research and chief science and technology officer. 

Top photo of Sally C. Morton courtesy of Virginia Tech

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News


Vote for ASU students' cooler, fog-free mask design in million-dollar XPRIZE contest

Public portion of voting runs through Nov. 25

November 20, 2020

Update: The Luminosity Lab team made the top five finalists after the public-vote period. The winner will be announced Dec. 15. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated February.)

A student team within Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab has emerged as a top-10 semifinalist in the million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge. The goal: to build a better face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making them more comfortable, functional, affordable — and even stylish. The contest drew nearly 1,000 entries from young innovators in more than 70 countries around the world.  floe mask A student team within ASU's Luminosity Lab designed a "Floe Mask" as part of a competition to create a mask people actually like to wear. It features an elastic chin cover, customizable colors and fabrics, and a bifurcated chamber — the air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the nose and mouth, reducing eyeglass fogging and temperature of the face. Download Full Image

From Nov. 20–25, the Luminosity team will compete in the public-vote portion of the competition, in which people will vote for their favorite mask design, with the top five advancing to the final round of the competition. Anyone, anywhere can vote for the Luminosity Lab team at

XPRIZE is a nonprofit organization that uses global competitions to crowdsource solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. The contest is sponsored by Marc Benioff, CEO and co-founder of Salesforce, and Jim Cramer, the host of "Mad Money" on CNBC.

The contest invited young adults ages 15 to 24 from around the world to shift the cultural perspective around mask-wearing behavior by developing the next generation of surgical-grade consumer masks. 

Led by Nikhil Dave, a student regent on the Arizona Board of Regents and undergraduate student earning a double major in neuroscience and innovation in society, the Luminosity Lab team includes John Patterson, a graduate electrical engineering student; Jerina Gabriel, an undergraduate graphic design student; Katie Pascavis, an undergraduate mechanical engineering student; and Tarun Suresh, a graduate industrial engineering student. 

The team’s design overcomes common complaints about masks through a bifurcated chamber design in which air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the face and mouth. 

“This means that your face stays cooler, the air you breathe in is fresher, and the flow of air stays away from glasses where it would otherwise cause fogging,” Dave said. “The separate chamber design also improves surface area, making it easier to breathe through the mask than other existing mask designs. Finally, with the addition of a custom-colored mesh layer on the outside, our mask can be custom-manufactured to the color and fabric pattern desired by the wearer, making it a more visually appealing article to wear on an everyday basis.”

“Studies show that masks are effective in slowing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet even as cases surge, a large number of individuals are still not adopting the preventive measure,” said Peter Diamandis, the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation. “We understand that masks can be ill-fitting, uncomfortable, unfashionable, and that the most effective masks are often unavailable or expensive for everyday people. We need an alternative. That’s why XPRIZE is turning to the world’s young innovators to help reinvent the face mask and create an accessible alternative that will help protect against the spread of COVID-19.”

As part of the current semifinals round, XPRIZE partners 3M and Honeywell are developing physical prototypes of the top 10 mask designs that will be distributed to the contest’s cultural ambassadors to try on and assess for style, comfort and function. 

In the contest’s final round, a panel of judges and industry experts will select a grand-prize winner plus two additional teams, which will split a $1 million prize purse and be connected to rapid manufacturing opportunities in the U.S. to accelerate production of their new mask designs. Winners will be announced in mid-December.

Learn more about the Luminosity team’s mask on Instagram (@theluminositylab) or Twitter (@LuminosityLab). Cast your vote for your favorite mask by Nov. 25 at

Lori Baker

Communications Specialist, Knowledge Enterprise

ASU Graduate College announces 2020–21 fellows

The new fellows will build platforms to enable inclusive practices and transdisciplinary solutions for urgent social challenges

November 18, 2020

Each year, the Graduate College solicits individuals and teams of faculty to help the Graduate College advance key initiatives that improve graduate curricula across the university through the Graduate College Fellows initiative.

Last year’s Graduate College Fellows — Sally Kitch, an ASU Regents Professor, University Professor and President's Professor, and W. P. Carey Clinical Assistant Professor John Wisneski — collaborated to create the first comprehensive model for a new cross-campus experience: Interdisciplinary Solutions for Social Impact (ISSI). 2020-21 Graduate College Fellows 2020–21 Graduate College Fellows Liz Lerman, Beckett Sterner, Delia Saenz and Kristy Holtfreter. Download Full Image

Rooted in team-taught, project-based learning, ISSI will support interdisciplinary laboratories that bring together faculty and graduate students exploring complex social problems. The first ISSI labs are available in spring 2021 and focus on the theme “Impacting Inequality.” A number of ASU faculty members are participating in the 2020–21 lab. 

The 2020–21 Graduate College Fellows

This year’s fellows include professors Liz Lerman, Beckett Sterner, Delia Saenz and Kristy Holtfreter. Over the next year, they will be working in three key areas: interdisciplinary collaboration in graduate education, inclusive practices across the graduate curricula, and academic and research integrity. 

“The depth and variety of proposals we received from ASU graduate faculty for this year’s Graduate College Fellows competition were truly impressive,” said Vice Provost and Graduate College Dean Elizabeth Wentz. “This reflects the breadth of intellectual resources available within the graduate faculty at ASU .” 

Interdisciplinary collaboration 

Lerman, from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Sterner, from the School of Life Sciences, will provide creative and constructive resources for students to explore transdisciplinary solutions to urgent societal problems.

As a transdisciplinary artist in the field of dance performance, Lerman is an exemplar of what innovation looks like at ASU. A recipient of a 2002 MacArthur Genius Grant and the first Institute Professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Lerman’s work explores questions such as, “Can I make data personal?;" "Is audience in art the same as audience in science?;" and "How can artists contribute to the world?” Her “Atlas of Creativity Tools” and “Critical Response Process” has been utilized by artists and educators both nationally and internationally to enhance learning and deepen dialogue between artists and their communities. 

A philosopher interested in the life sciences, Sterner focuses on “pluralism in the information age through an emphasis on the social dimension of mathematical formalization.” This focus has brought him unique teaching and research opportunities that bridge history, the philosophy of science and the natural sciences together while integrating ethics and societal context into the curriculum. 

Inclusive practices

Social psychologist Saenz, from the Department of Psychology, has long been a force for nurturing intergroup alliance and understanding in her research, teaching and administrative roles at ASU. Her research has looked at tokenism, faculty women of color in the academy, and ethnic identity development and acculturation for Latino youth. Her teaching has focused on stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, gender disparities, group dynamics, diversity in contemporary society, and the social dynamics of inclusion. 

Saenz’s inclusive practices fellowship project will be to design an evidence-based, integrated platform, using both face-to-face and online modalities for training graduate students across disciplines to understand the value to their field of engaging inclusive practice; learn capacity-building skills related to inclusive practice that can be applied during their graduate training and well into their future careers; and begin to develop diversity, equity and inclusion resources that they can benefit from directly and that can also benefit their specific disciplinary program and their field. Once in place, the new platform will be flexible to accommodate evolving understandings, technologies and approaches. 

Academic and research integrity

Holtfreter, from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, will tackle the challenge of academic and research integrity for all graduate students by helping to scale up the resources currently available.  

To deepen the experience, Holtfreter is piloting a three-credit graduate seminar covering topics like best practices in research collaborations, financial responsibility in grants, presentation of research findings and public communication. The seminar will form the basis of a multifaceted academic integrity curriculum for which the Graduate College will seek support in developing.

The Graduate College plans to share contributions made by the fellows with the ASU community each year.

Tracy Viselli

Director of Communications and Marketing, Graduate College


ASU Community of Care advances Sun Devil well-being with the daily health check

Learn how the whole process came together

November 18, 2020

Samantha Sokol, a junior studying electrical engineering, is getting ready to head out the door for a lab on Arizona State University's Tempe campus, face covering on and sanitizer in her pocket. 

ASU Sync offers her a hybrid learning experience, a blend of in-person and live online instruction, with her peers and faculty. Sokol is heading to her lab where her in-person classmates are taking social-distance precautions to converse with their instructor while remote students join via Zoom. Before she leaves, Sokol is reminded, via push notification from her ASU Mobile App, of a crucial step to keep herself and the ASU community healthy in the age of COVID-19: the ASU Daily Health Check. ASU West students and their instructor stay socially distant in their hybrid learning environment. Photo by UTO Download Full Image

“I think everybody has to do their part because we’re in uncharted waters,” Sokol said. The health check, requiring students, faculty and staff to self-report their health status daily before coming to campus, prioritizes and promotes the health and well-being of the ASU community.

The ASU daily health check is a part of the university’s Community of Care, a greater effort to keep its members safe with further testing info, face coverings, social-distance guidelines and more. The health check is a process that caters to users and is enacting a behavioral change across campus by asking questions to help community members monitor their health through a website, the ASU Mobile App or phone calls to the Experience Center.

Creating a new normal together

Improved engineering from UTO enabled effective communication between those in physical and virtual classrooms. Photo by ASU

Partners across the university knew that this process needed to be accessible for everyone. Starting in July 2020, UTO managed four cross-university workstreams — experience and communication, data and privacy, process and systems, and technical integration — consisting of  individuals with varied skills and subject matter expertise, united for work on specific aspects to create the health check process. 

Faculty member Heather Ross, who teaches jointly at the College of Global Futures and the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, joined the data and privacy workstream to contribute to the ethical viewpoint of the project. Ross worked with faculty members, lawyers, technical experts and others to determine the best approach to handle personal information of the ASU community.

“The group was very productive,” she said. “The right assemblage of voices were at the table.”

Those voices centered their discussions around the question, “What are the ethical implications?” Where those discussions ended up, Ross explained, was that only information deemed absolutely necessary was collected, which simply includes the answers to the self-reported data from the ASU community. “Everything the health check process was doing had to be in service of protecting public health,” she said.

Engineering the Community of Care

Bobby Gray, UTO director of digital transformation and a part of the daily health check leadership team, explained the four workstreams’ foci. As mentioned, the data and privacy group found the ethical gathering of data incredibly important from the start. 

That sentiment was carried into conversations with the process and systems workstream, which was concerned with the day-to-day operation of the health check.

Gray posed the question, “From the medical side, what is the process we need to follow?”

Project planners joined with ASU Health Services teams to ensure that HIPAA guidelines were followed while crafting the questions asked of the ASU community.

Meanwhile, the technical integration workstream, made up of UTO engineers and developers, was reflecting the decisions made in all of these groups in the “final” (and continuously evolving) product. This team demonstrated constant collaboration supported by integrating Jira, the project management software, into real-time collaboration tool Slack for continuous testing and the quick updating of improvements.

Mike Sharkey, UTO director of data and analysis, oversees the health check’s reporting features, making sure that ASU’s Community of Care stays on target with reminder emails and password resets if the daily health check is missed. And those features are demonstrating their effectiveness, with over 4 million health checks completed since it was introduced in August.

“We know that the core purpose of this process was to do our part to keep everyone in the ASU community safe and healthy,” Sharkey said. “What's impressed me the most is the wonderful support and positivity from the vast majority of ASU folks I've interacted with.”

Crafting the best experience possible

The ASU Mobile App provides a quick and easy way to complete the daily health check.

“With something as high-profile as COVID, we knew how we communicated would be important,” Gray said.

That’s where the experience and communication group came into play, working on the messaging, visual experience and follow up information to make the far-reaching process as easy as possible.

It was understood that it is a difficult time in the era of COVID-19, and ASU’s Experience Center was ready to help. Dedicated to customer delight, the Experience Center quickly trained its service agents to be HIPAA-compliant and to be able to guide callers through the health check process. At its peak, the Experience Center was supporting more than 3,000 calls per day to help the community submit their health checks.

“We took a human-centered approach,” said Gigi Speaks, Experience Center director. “Words matter. How we communicate with our community matters. It was a process of providing a safe space for callers, and letting them know we are all in this together.”

After their conversations with Experience Center agents, she added, callers walked away with a better understanding of how to keep themselves and their ASU peers healthy.

The ASU Mobile App was also a crucial tool in bringing the ASU Sync experience to the university, and the hard work of many university staff and faculty members made it possible.

“There was an openness as we were working this out together,” Gray said. “There is no playbook to open a university during a pandemic. Sometimes we were caught in the nuances, but we realized we had to keep executing around the idea of doing good.”

Human-centered results

Accessing the daily health check can also be as easy as visiting Photo by ASU

Many moving parts had to come together very quickly to get the ASU daily health check up and running.

“We are very proud of the partnership across ASU teams to make this happen, and in collaboration, we are appreciative that the daily usage of this tool is doing its part to help remind our students, staff and faculty of the importance of their health as well as giving them tailored information about resources when they do exhibit symptoms,” said Chris Richardson, UTO deputy CIO of product ownership and leadership development.

Students and faculty recognized the results, and while there is of course no simple answer to COVID-19, the health check brought some comfort to its users. 

“There were a lot of questions about it at the beginning,” Ross said. “But people understand that this is not a normal time. This is a time when, in the face of a global pandemic, we have to understand we are not individual islands. We have to understand that as we step through this experience, we have to do so with the greater good in mind.”

And Sokol, now leaving her technology-enabled lab, has a new way to stay mindful for herself and for the entire ASU community.

“It’s important to remember (that COVID-19) is not going away any time soon,” she said. “Sustaining that thought into the next semester and beyond is a very important and necessary thing. It feels good to know that (the daily health check) is holding us accountable.” 

Editorial specialist, University Technology Office

Desert Financial teams up with InStride to provide its employees with an ASU education

November 12, 2020

Desert Financial’s InvestED program follows the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, the first-of-its-kind program offered in partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks, to provide its employees with an opportunity to learn and grow while working with the company. 

The Arizona credit union recognized how quickly the world and jobs are changing, and it decided to adapt by implementing a world-class program through ASU and InStride.  InvestED student Greg Schaffran works from home with his son. Schaffran is pursuing a dual degree in business administration and physics. Download Full Image

Desert Financial employees pursuing higher education have the support of the company to keep learning and acquiring new skills as adult learners. Desert Financial hopes to build loyalty, engagement and retention with the company as Desert Financial CEO Jeff Meshey believes in “lifelong learning and continuous education.” 

InStride works with companies to provide exclusive learning experiences to its employees and is excited to work with Desert Financial. 

“We are proud to partner with a company like Desert Financial Credit Union that prioritizes its people and encourages them to pursue career advancement through education,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride. “InvestED is a meaningful program that will contribute to the company’s reputation as an employer of choice and will drive even further employee engagement.” 

The InvestED program allows employees to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, certificates, and more. This fall during its first cohort,100 students enrolled in classes. One of those students, Greg Schaffran, jumped at the opportunity to go back to school at ASU. 

When Schaffran was 19 years old, his plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at ASU quickly shifted when his son was born. By word of mouth and several recommendations, Schaffran applied to Desert Financial’s call center. He’s moved up quickly and now holds a quality analyst position. At his job he values giving back to his customers. 

“It’s always been a passion of mine to get a degree as a way to move forward in my career and give back,” Schaffran said. He says he can already see the difference in his education, and he's excited he doesn’t have to leave his son or the same desk he works from every day, to pursue his passion.  

Schaffran is pursuing a dual degree in business administration and physics, his first love. So far in his education journey with ASU and InvestED, he’s noticed how in-depth his classes are from the explanations, assistance and application of the content. He appreciates how dedicated each person and organization is through this three-way partnership. A piece of advice he received from an academic adviser was, “It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you get started.” Schraffan and other Desert Financial employees have the chance to get started and continue learning at ASU.  

Desert Financial Executive Vice President Cathy Graham hopes that more students will join Schraffan and participate in at least one course. “One day we’ll have 100% participation from all of our employees because ASU education is the crown jewel to employees with dependents and families.”

Get more information about InvestED.

Elon Graves

Student worker, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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ASU completes $50 million in recent facilities upgrades

November 10, 2020

Classrooms, office space and residence halls just a few projects overseen by Facilities Development and Management

While campus life looks different this fall, Arizona State University continued its commitment to a healthy and welcoming environment through recent campus improvements. Spearheaded by Facilities Development and Management — and in collaboration with many departments, partners and essential personnel — ASU completed more than 100 projects totaling more than $50 million over the past six months.

The enhancements included the unique challenge of developing and delivering a comprehensive plan to prep ASU for students and employees to return this fall.

“This pandemic certainly was an unprecedented event,” said Bruce Nevel, vice president of Facilities Development and Management. “Taking advantage of the availability of unoccupied campuses across ASU took hard work, collaboration and ingenuity from FDM and others to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to the greatest degree possible.”  

This effort produced new protective measures, such as physical-distance warnings, facility-cleaning protocols, Plexiglas installations, classroom seating limitations and face-covering requirements to reduce COVID-19 spread.

Personnel also improved and repaired facilities, classrooms, residence halls, laboratories and made critical enhancements to university buildings and common areas on the Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, Tempe and West campuses in response to current public health issues. Below are several recently completed projects:

COVID-19 safety upgrades

ASU COVID-19 prevention signage

Student-workers deliver COVID-19 spread prevention signage to the Tempe campus prior to the start of the fall semester. Photo by ASU Now

  • Added various levels of Zoom installations around the university. Upgraded approximately 380 spaces with electrical, data, microphones and cameras to support ASU Sync learning. 
  • Completed a domestic water flush; a heating, ventilation and air conditioning flush; and deep cleaning in all buildings to eliminate lingering bacteria and pathogens. 
  • Created outdoor rooms at four locations on the Tempe campus, each with a large ceiling fan, lighting, Wi-Fi access and outdoor furniture to provide additional options for students to learn remotely or take a break in the shade.
  • Installed several thousand hand-washing stations, a half-mile of Plexiglas and thousands of signs advising people to maintain physical distancing, wash their hands and wear a face cover. 

Visit the Campus facilities webpage for more information on ASU efforts to provide a safe return to campus.

Durham Hall

ASU’s “historic core” on the Tempe campus saw the first completed phase of Durham Hall’s $65-million improvement with several north-wing upgrades. The renovations to the four-story wing with a lower level include 26 new classrooms with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology, 17,200 square feet of School of International Letters and Cultures office space with new furniture and open work areas, and remodeled restrooms with modern amenities. The building’s skin was replaced with brick veneer and windows to allow more natural light indoors. An updated west-side building entry side better welcomes visitors. In addition to internal improvements, new bike parking and landscaping grace the outside. The next renovation phases include the central tower and the south wing, with completion slated for summer 2021.

Lantana Hall 

Lantana Hall

The new residence facility on the Polytechnic campus, Lantana Hall. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

Offering its residents amenities like two dedicated study rooms and full gaming space on each of its four floors, Lantana Hall is ASU’s newest residence hall on the Polytechnic campus. In the naturally landscaped courtyards common to the campus, students may enjoy the outdoors while attending campuswide events, cooking with friends, or finding shade to study. The $35 million, 115,400-square-foot building includes ample office space, study spaces, a relaxed and versatile event space, and two international classrooms with technology to permit live interaction with classrooms worldwide. The hall also is the new home for Barrett, The Honors College administrative suite. All of this is housed in an energy-efficient building that is tracking for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification.

Sun Devil Stadium | 450 Level 

Sun Devil Stadium office space

Office space at a newly developed part of Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

When the east sideline of Sun Devil Stadium was rebuilt last year, an area under the upper-seating section with beautiful views of the Hayden butte was intentionally left unfinished. The 12,500-square-foot renovated space now is home to the Public Service AcademyGlobal Sport Institute and a Pat Tillman Veterans Center branch office. The office area will allow these groups to work hand-in-hand to serve ASU veterans, students and athletes. 

Music Plaza redevelopment

ASU Gammage music plaza

The view of ASU Gammage from the Nelson Fine Arts Center's upgraded amenities. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

The ASU community will benefit from a better outdoor experience at the central Nelson Fine Arts Center Music Plaza. Enhanced pedestrian circulation and accessible routes throughout the site open up to new landscaping and seating for student enjoyment. The creation of two outdoor stages provides an opportunity for student productions. The addition of a large shade structure, which was repurposed from Orange Mall, has special lighting for student use and special presentations. 

Novus Innovation Corridor

Novus Innovation Corridor office space

Brand new office space will serve multiple units in the Novus Innovation Corridor. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

The Novus Innovation Corridor is quickly filling the northwest corner of Rural Road and University Drive with a new hotel, office building and parking structure. 

The office building will be the new home to several Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts programs and ASU departments. Students will be filling the Herberger Institute gallery with The Design School projects and lecture series in the main first-floor lobby. ASU’s University Real Estate Office and Office of University Affairs will occupy first-floor office suites, putting them in the heart of future Novus land development. On the second floor, the Herberger Institute fills the entire floor with The Design School studio programs, including Innovation Space, Masters of Design and the new fall 2020 program, Masters of Innovation and Venture Development.

The first three floors of a new parking structure are set to open with approximately 750 stalls to serve ASU students, employees and Novus Innovation Corridor office and retail space users. It also provides parking for large campus and sporting events. The remaining four floors will be complete in late 2020, bringing seven floors and 1,800 stalls. The structure will be ASU's first Parksmart Gold structure, a top rating for environmental sustainability. 

Additional capital projects

ASU athletic fields

New athletic fields on the north end of the Tempe campus. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

  • The southern portion of the old Karsten Golf Course was transformed with four renovated and new athletic fields and a large intramural field. The fields include new lighting, turf, sound systems, restroom facilities and parking lot.
  • In addition to the new Mirabella at ASU retirement community, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts programs will be included on the building’s first floor. Renovations include critique space, a new classroom and a 2,000-square-foot gallery.
  • Classroom improvements include: 
    • The Tempe campus’s Armstrong Hall basement received four new classrooms with all modern finishes, carpet and audiovisual packages.
    • On the Downtown Phoenix campus, a midsize computer classroom and math lab in University Center was turned into two smaller traditional classrooms with all new lighting and updated ADA accommodations.
  • New ASU Arboretum signage adorns the Tempe campus as nearly 75 community volunteers helped install 300 signs to identify trees and plants along the main four malls of campus: Cady, Forest, Lemon and Orange. 
ASU arboretum

New arboretum signing on the Tempe campus. Photo by Facilities Development and Management

In addition to capital projects, Facilities Management completed numerous infrastructure projects — electrical, paint, maintenance — on classrooms, laboratories and offices across all ASU campuses.

These completed projects are only part of existing ASU capital projects currently in planning, design or construction phases. Ongoing projects include:

Learn more about ASU’s past, present and future construction projects and follow Facilities Development and Management on Twitter at @ASUfacilities.

Top photo: The newly renovated north wing of Durham Hall on the Tempe campus is designed to let more natural light into classroom and office spaces. Photo by Zoltan Racz/Courtesy of Ayers Saint Gross

Communications program coordinator , Facilities Development and Management


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4 ASU faculty members named 2020 President’s Professors

November 5, 2020

Arizona State University has named four faculty members 2020 President’s Professors — a prestigious designation bestowed upon dozens of ASU faculty members since 2006.

This year, the four faculty members are Heather Bimonte-Nelson, a professor in behavioral neuroscience in the Department of Psychology in The College of Liberal Arts and SciencesEileen Díaz McConnell, a professor in the School of Transborder Studies, also in The College; Cynthia Lietz, a professor in the School of Social Work, an academic unit of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, for which she is also a vice dean; and Ian Moulton, a professor of English and cultural history in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

“It’s an honor to recognize these four outstanding colleagues who have demonstrated hard work and dedication to advancing learning and student success while maintaining robust scholarly records,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. More than ever, it’s essential to have committed educators participating in engaging work and encouraging our learners to become the types of leaders who can change the world.”

The President’s Professor designation is one of ASU’s most prestigious faculty honors — it's designed to reward enthusiasm and innovation in teaching, scholarly achievements and contributions and the ability to motivate and inspire students to create original works. 

“ASU is a 21st-century knowledge enterprise that attracts individuals with extensive experience, highly creative minds, and the dedication as educators to advance student success,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “This year’s President’s Professors exemplify the highest standard of those characteristics and set the bar as the best and brightest for our university’s outstanding faculty.”

This year’s President’s Professors will be honored at a recognition ceremony at a later date.

Learn more about the professors:

2020 President's Professor

Heather Bimonte-Nelson

Heather Bimonte-Nelson

Each semester, Bimonte-Nelson encourages her students to think outside the “textbook box.” Many of their ideas are cultivated inside ASU’s Behavioral Neuroscience of Memory and Aging Lab where Bimonte-Nelson leads research related to the cognitive and hormonal effects of transitional and surgical menopause. In one of her most recent studies, Bimonte-Nelson and her colleagues found rats suffered memory deficits when their uterus was removed, suggesting that the organ may be beneficial outside of reproduction, and could impact the way women age if the organ is removed before natural menopause.

Bimonte-Nelson, who has collaborated with more than 80 undergraduates, says it’s a privilege to mentor students to be scientists in the laboratory.

“What a delight to watch a student recognize that the experiment they just designed is going to turn into scientific discovery,” Bimonte-Nelson said. “My students have won Fulbright Awards, best honors thesis awards, best PhD dissertation awards, NSF grants, and NRSA grants with them as the lead investigator and me as the sponsor or mentor. I am so proud of them!”

Bimonte-Nelson is dedicated to diverse teaching projects at a community, university and national level. As the founder of ASU’s award-winning Brain Fairs for Children, Bimonte-Nelson and her team of doctoral and undergraduate students organize the events to increase public awareness about the brain and to introduce children to neuroscience and the field of psychology.

Bimonte-Nelson has published about 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts evaluating hormone effects on the brain and behavior from early development until old age. She is the co-director of the Research Education Component of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center and associate director of an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Training Grant for the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer’s disease. She is also a member of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium and a recipient of the 2018 Michael A. Cusanovich Bioscience Educator of the Year Award.

“I am overwhelmed and grateful for this award,” said Bimonte-Nelson of the President’s Professor designation. “It is an honor to work with the inspiring faculty and students as ASU.”

2020 President's Professor

Eileen Díaz McConnell

Eileen Díaz McConnell

McConnell is a sociologist whose research focuses on transborder communities and the effects of Mexican and Latin American migration to the U.S. Her most recent paper — in conjunction with ASU Professor Aggie Yellow Horse from the School of Social Transformation — explores how undocumented immigrant parents from Mexico and Central America utilize family functioning strategies to overcome and adapt to challenging situations driven by lack of legal status.

In the classroom, and beyond, McConnell is actively involved in supporting diverse undergraduate students at ASU, especially first-generation college students from Mexican and other Latin American backgrounds. She often connects current students to former students who are further along in their career trajectory.

“These efforts tend to be successful, but only because past and present ASU undergraduate students are exceedingly generous with their time, talents and experience,” McConnell said. “Although much of this work is invisible, it stimulates excellence, expands access, and directly upholds the values of ASU’s charter.”

As for the title of President’s Professor, McConnell adds, “ASU has many wonderfully talented professors, and I am honored to have been selected for this recognition.”

2020 President's Professor

Cynthia Lietz

Cynthia Lietz

Lietz is fascinated by the complexity of family dynamics, especially when family members are confronted with challenges such as trauma or loss. How is it that some families can overcome adversity? It’s a question Lietz has researched for years, translating the results into social work practice through instrumental tools like strengths-based supervision — a model Lietz developed — to implement family-centered practice in child welfare settings. The model has been adopted by public child welfare systems in Arizona, Texas and Idaho.

At ASU, Lietz supports students through mentoring opportunities in the Watts College Undergraduate Research Program. She has also taught a pro-mod, hands-on learning course for freshmen and oversees the Bridging Success program, which supports ASU students with a foster care background.

Honored and humbled by the President’s Professors title, Lietz said, “This recognition is very meaningful and is something I did not accomplish alone. My colleagues and students made this possible.”

2020 President's Professor

Ian Moulton

Ian Moulton

Moulton is a cultural historian and literary scholar whose research focuses on the representation of gender and sexuality in early modern literature. In his most recent book, "Love in Print in the Sixteenth Century: The Popularization of Romance,” Moulton analyzes the role books played in circulating new notions about romance in early modern Europe, leading to significant transformations in rhetoric, ideology and social function of love.

Moulton has been at ASU since 1995 and said he is honored to receive the President’s Professor title. He believes the award is a testament to the great work of all the humanities faculty at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. Over the course of more than two decades, Moulton’s work in teaching and curriculum development has helped build programs at new campuses: West (1995–2005) and Polytechnic (2005–present).

“The ASU model of one university in many places is a powerful one and much more effective than the traditional model of one 'main campus' and lesser 'satellite campuses,'” Moulton said. “Some of the best work at ASU is done at Poly and West and Downtown (Phoenix) and I’m very proud to be part of that effort.”

Moulton is fluent in multiple languages, including French and Italian. He is a member of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, chairing the editorial board for the book series "Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies.” He is currently working on contributions to the “Cambridge World History of Sexualities and the Bloomsbury “Cultural History of Beauty.”

Top photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

ASU lands in top 25 of MBA entrepreneurship program rankings

The rankings measured each MBA program on 10 categories, including the number of students who launched businesses following graduation

October 28, 2020

Inc. magazine has ranked ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business No. 22 in its second annual rankings of MBA entrepreneurship programs worldwide.

The rankings, which include 50 programs, were launched last year with 27 programs by Inc. in partnership with business education publication Poets and Quants. The rankings measured each MBA program on 10 categories, including the percentage of elective courses focused on entrepreneurship, the number of students who launched businesses following graduation and the number of students in each school’s entrepreneurship club. exterior of W. P. Carey School of Business building Download Full Image

ASU ranked ahead of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, Columbia Business School and Rutgers Business School. Read the full rankings.

The rankings of MBA entrepreneurship programs follows on the heels of ASU ranking No. 1 in innovation for the sixth year by U.S. News and World Report.

Entrepreneurship plays a major role at the W. P. Carey School in many ways: a popular undergraduate major in business entrepreneurship, student funding competitions programmed through the school’s Center for Entrepreneurship and deep ties to entrepreneurial opportunities with other ASU schools through the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. 

Earlier this year, ASU launched a first-of-its-kind master’s degree program offered by the highly ranked Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, W. P. Carey School of Business and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The Master of Science in Innovation and Venture Development (MS-IVD) is a one-year program offered on ASU’s Tempe campus that prepares leaders with the mindset, skill sets and practice needed to launch successful ventures in any industry or sector, inside existing organizations or as new entities. Students are required to launch a new product or service that solves a problem as a graduation requirement.

In addition to the new ranking, Poets and Quants recently highlighted the business of a W. P. graduate as a 2020 Most Disruptive MBA Startup. The publication noted that “MBA students at W. P. Carey founded the first academic chapter of Conscious Capitalism,” which exposed students to entrepreneurial ideas centered around selfless service.

“Our goal is to develop the next generation of disruptive leaders of innovation,” said W. P. Carey Dean Amy Hillman. “This No. 22 ranking certainly validates our strategy and recognizes amazing students who have leveraged our programs to become accomplished entrepreneurs.”

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


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Gin Blossoms concert to anchor Salute to Service 2020 at ASU

October 20, 2020

Virtual events will give access to Sun Devils worldwide

Editor’s note:  This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020.

Salute to Service at Arizona State University will move forward this year with virtual events planned from Nov. 5–19, including a concert by multiplatinum-selling alternative rock band the Gin Blossoms. 

Made internationally famous by their hit song “Hey Jealousy,” Tempe’s own Gin Blossoms will perform Nov. 8 for a virtual audience across the U.S. and overseas.

Gin Blossoms ASU Salute to Service Concert

“The most significant change this year is our signature event will be a virtual concert with the Gin Blossoms, instead of the traditional football game experience,” said Jeff Guimarin, director of veteran services and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. “This concert will be broadcast live and free of cost to viewers around the world.”

In years past, Salute to Service featured in-person gatherings, community events and larger forums to celebrate and recognize service. This year’s celebration will go virtual because of COVID-19. Moving forward with the event in the midst of the pandemic provides a great opportunity for the university, Guimarin said.

“One reason is we need to seek out and embrace uplifting stories to show how Sun Devils excel in challenging and complex times,” Guimarin said. “These stories should inspire others to emulate the acts of those who have gone above and beyond to serve the community.”

The virtual aspect of this year’s event means that unlike previous years the celebration will reach Sun Devils beyond Phoenix. This includes online students and alumni who are out of state, or even halfway across the world.

“We’re hoping to catch the interest of Sun Devils in many places, as well as anyone else who wants to watch a great tribute to the selfless acts of our students, staff, faculty and alumni,” Guimarin said.

Online students are scattered throughout the country and the globe, Guimarin said. Military students are logging on from Europe (Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and other countries), the Pacific (mainly Korea and Japan), South America and the Middle East. 

ASU’s military-affiliated student population — veterans, active duty, Guard, Reserves and family members — has risen sharply to 10,500, with nearly 70% attending solely through ASU Online.

Pat Tillman Veterans Center Director Jeff Guimarin

Jeff Guimarin, ASU director of veterans services and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center.

“When we can open up more apertures, availability and opportunities for the online side, it will really help build that community,” Guimarin said. “This kind of event can help accentuate it by giving them a chance to be a part of it.”

While Salute to Service is rooted in recognizing those with military ties, the event is expanding to include everyone who serves the community in some capacity. This year’s theme “service through leadership, mentorship, education, innovation and medical care,” captures the new approach.

“Yes, the Salute to Service theme has evolved,” Guimarin said. “This year we wanted to be more inclusive of those who continue to demonstrate service above self in their everyday lives, across a variety of areas. This includes the teachers, first responders, nurses, doctors, researchers, leaders and mentors who dedicate so much of their profession to serve others and create positive impact on a grand scale.”

Organizers encourage the ASU community, locally and online, to get involved in Salute to Service. It can be an enriching experience with long-lasting impact for everyone.

“First and foremost, we hope they feel a strong sense of community from getting to know some of the Sun Devils who are out there, making a big difference,” said Guimarin, who is a former Air Force colonel. “Also, we want to inspire them to do the same. Lastly, we hope to get participants to reflect inwards and think about the sacrifices others make to ensure our safety, freedoms and way of life.

“Ideally, this will drive more empathy in our society, which helps build trust and collaboration.”

The Gin Blossoms concert will honor the Sun Devil Community and feature a variety of recognition activities highlighting selfless service by students, faculty and staff along the lines of this year’s theme. The broadcast will be available via various digital platforms, such as YouTube, Zoom and others.

Other planned events include a 5K virtual fun run, Nov. 10; a virtual talent show, Nov. 12 and 13; a discussion on the future of energy, Nov. 10; virtual mock job interviews for job seekers, Nov. 12; and many others. Visit the Salute to Service homepage for the latest information and a complete schedule of events.   

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Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Early voting at ASU begins Thursday, Oct. 22.
Vote early at sites across four ASU campuses.
October 20, 2020

Students, employees and the public can cast ballots early on or near all 4 campuses

Editor’s note:  This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020.

While the early bird gets the worm, early voters get the confidence that their voice will be heard. At Arizona State University, students, employees and members of the public have the opportunity to cast their ballots with plenty of time to spare, with early voting locations on or near all four campuses.

The following sites are open on Election Day, Nov. 3, in addition to the early voting dates listed below:

Tempe: Sun Devil Fitness Center, Maroon Gym (Gold Gym on Nov. 3 only), Oct. 22–Nov. 3, except Sundays.
Hours: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Oct. 22–24 and Oct. 26–Oct. 31; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Nov. 2; 6 a.m.–7 p.m. Nov. 3.

West: Verde Dining Pavilion, Oct. 22–Nov. 3, except Sundays.
Hours are the same as Tempe campus.

Polytechnic: Cooley Ballroom, Oct. 28–Nov. 3, except Sunday, Nov. 1.
Hours: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Oct. 28–31; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Nov. 2; 6 a.m.–7 p.m. Nov. 3.

Downtown Phoenix: For students and employees on the Downtown Phoenix campus, there is early voting at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, Oct. 28–Nov. 3, except Sunday, Nov. 1. Hours are the same as the Polytechnic campus.

Any employee, student or member of the public who are registered voters and residents of Maricopa County can vote at any of these locations. Voters are asked to follow ASU's COVID-19 guidelines: Wear a mask both inside ASU buildings and outside on campus, and maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

There will be free parking near these locations: Tempe — Apache parking structure (45 minutes free parking and then parking validation provided beyond 45 minutes); Polytechnic — Lot 10; and West — the north zone (north side of campus, just off Thunderbird Road), specifically Lot 10. The free parking is valid on the days the voting location is open.

To vote in person, people need to show a valid ID. Get information on what type of identification is accepted.

The youth vote

Before you head to the polls, take a minute to familiarize yourself with some of the history behind the mechanisms of the U.S. presidential election. ASU Now spoke with School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Lecturer James Hrdlicka to find out more about that, the events that led to the lowering of the voting age and how it enfranchised America’s youth.

Question: What were the events that led to the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18?

Hrdlicka: When the Constitution was ratified in the 18th century, it left the voting age up to the states, and the traditional age of voting was 21, which reflected a traditional English precedent that that was the age at which you could intelligently exercise the franchise. Of course, at that time, there were a lot of others requirements, such as property requirements, that you had to meet to be able to vote as well. And that stayed the same throughout much of the 19th century until, eventually, things like property requirements were done away with and you began to get this idea of universal manhood suffrageUniversal manhood suffrage is a form of voting rights in which all adult male citizens within a political system are allowed to vote, regardless of income, property, religion or race., followed by the Civil War and the 15th amendment, which said that states could not prohibit men to vote on the basis of race.

So you would think that age would also be a factor that would influence a change in voting requirements, since there were plenty of 18-year-olds fighting in the Civil War, and then later in WWI and WWII, with the argument being that if you're old enough to be drafted and to fight in a war, you ought to be able to vote. But surprisingly, that did not create a huge groundswell on behalf of the states to change the voting age at that time.

Throughout the 20th century, there was some debate on the state level about lowering the voting age. The first one to do it was Georgia in 1943. They lowered it to 18. And then a few states followed: Kentucky lowered it to 18 in 1955; Alaska, in 1956, set it at 19; and Hawaii, in 1959, set it at age 20. Some other states passed referendums on the question of lowering the voting age, but a lot of them failed. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that the people voting on those referendums were over 21. And this is the case for every expansion of voting rights, whether it's about race, or gender or something else; the people deciding on this are not part of the group that is currently disenfranchised.

But with the Vietnam war, there was this situation where you had an especially in-your-face example of young men getting drafted and going off to a war that lacked popular support, and there were a lot of protests surrounding that, which were led by young people. So you could look at that and say, these young people protesting and creating unrest obviously aren't fit to exercise their democratic franchise. Or you could look at that and say, these young people are doing this because they don't have a democratic outlet for that energy, and that’s a legitimate grievance. What ultimately happened was, in 1970, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped guarantee the right to vote for African Americans, was renewed, and at that time, some senators added an amendment to that act granting 18-year-olds the right to vote.

There was much debate over whether that was constitutional because it certainly seemed like the Constitution left the voting age up to the states. So it was immediately challenged in court, and in a very strange a Supreme Court decision, Oregon v. Mitchell, the court divided evenly, with four justices voting against it and four voting in favor of it. And the swing vote, which came from Hugo Black, said that a Congress could regulate the voting age for federal elections, but could not do that for state elections. So what you were faced with was a situation where there was going to be two sets of requirements for voting, where, if you were 18, you could vote for federal officers, but in most states, you wouldn't be able to vote for state officers. And that was just going to be chaos. So the only way to cut through that was to pass a federal constitutional amendment allowing 18-year-olds to vote in all elections, and that's what Congress did in record time with the passing of the 26th Amendment in 1971.

Video by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Q: There have been some grievances from younger generations regarding the Electoral College and its relevance today. What is the history we need to know there?

A: The Constitution was written at a time when the question on the table was, "What do you have to do to create a United States that would be sustainable, that Americans from each individual state would be willing to sign on to?" So features of the American political system sort of derive from that context, and over the centuries, it has manifested in ways that might seem strange.

For example, the 50 states vary dramatically in their populations, but they all get two senators. That's a legacy of that constitutional moment when you needed to make regulations across the board, regardless of state size, because you needed everybody on board. And that's part of why we have the Electoral College. There were proposals at the time for a direct popular vote for a president, but there were questions about whether that was practical. Because if you're in Massachusetts, you might have no idea who a candidate from Virginia is. Or if you lived in a state with smaller population, you might be worried about your voice being diminished in a direct popular vote.

So you got the Electoral College, which was sort of proportional to population, because you take into account how many representatives each state gets, which is assigned according to population. So smaller states get a slightly disproportionate voice, and that's replicated across time and space every time you get a new state, which by nature of it being a new state is going to be smaller in population than existing states. But if you add enough of them up, you get a sort of unbalanced system where smaller states are disproportionately important in terms of the Electoral College. I think, historically, there were reasons people wanted to give a somewhat disproportionate voice to places with smaller populations, and those arguments have less force today. I don’t have a really strong stance about whether the Electoral College should be done away with or not, but I think what defenders of the Electoral College need to recognize is that there are legitimate questions about what we could do to put a system in place that allows all Americans to feel like their voice is heard.

Q: Do you think younger, college-age voters have the power to make an impact on U.S. politics?

A: Certainly. Going back to the '60s, not just in regards to voting rights, but the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement as well, college campuses were a place of organization for young people that made it easier to gather and concentrate their efforts. They still are. So certainly, young students have the power to contribute tons of energy to movements for change, and have done so historically. When you’re in college, you’re at that age where you are thinking of yourself as an adult for the first time, you’re becoming more enlightened and thoughtful, you're considering all these different perspectives. And you want to have your voice heard. And that can be extremely compelling, especially when you’re surrounded by other people having the same experiences and wondering about the same issues.

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