On the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ASU looks toward the future of inclusivity

University also to celebrate accessibility on campuses with year of events

September 3, 2020

When Peter Fischer came to Arizona State University as a student in the architecture program in 1995, finding his way around campus using an electric wheelchair wasn’t too much of a challenge. Fischer believes that even when the Americans with Disabilities Act — which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations and communications — passed in 1990, the university had already been working toward making campuses accessible for all students.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility leaders at ASU are hosting an entire year of celebrations starting on Sept. 3, 2020. Upcoming virtual events include a panel about disability services, a discussion of the history of the ADA and an event focusing on adaptive recreation. A group of students celebrating Image courtesy of 123rf.com. Download Full Image

The celebrations are led by the staff and students who work with ASU Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services (SAILS, formerly known as the Disability Resource Center), who are dedicated to making ASU accessible inside and outside the classroom.

“ASU was ahead of the game before it started,” Fischer said. “I don’t remember there being a lot of barriers, and I think that’s because ASU wanted to accommodate students. It didn't matter what their abilities were, they just wanted to do something.” 

Now working as the ADA compliance coordinator at ASU, Fischer is tasked with reviewing construction projects and renovations to assure that the buildings are ADA compliant. However, Fischer’s role encompasses more than just meeting ADA standards. He documents a list of mobility barriers — 18,000 in 2020 alone — that could be obstacles for students and faculty with disabilities. All are important to address, Fischer said, even if they’re small changes. 

“They might be as simple as the toilet paper roll is a little higher than it’s supposed to be or the bathroom’s missing a certain type of grab bar,” Fischer said. “I have an idea of what really is important to do.”

While ASU continues to make existing buildings and future projects more accessible, Fischer has his eye on the future. He believes that embracing universal design and creating spaces with people with cognitive disabilities in mind is the next step to creating a more accessible campus.

Fischer works with SAILS, which has offices on all ASU campuses to offer accommodations for students with disabilities to provide equal access to academic and university services. Accommodations include test taking, alternate formats of class materials, communication access, notetaking and more. Students who register with SAILS work with accessibility consultants who support their needs inside and outside the classroom.

SAILS also provides training to increase institutional awareness and help faculty and staff understand how to serve students with disabilities. These include lunch-and-learns as well as AccessZone, an in-depth, interactive training offered to the Sun Devil community covering the history of disability and laws that impact those in higher education. 

Fischer said the layout of colors and buildings can have a strong impact on people with cognitive disabilities. 

“I try to instill this idea in all of our project managers,” Fischer said. “It’s not about me in a wheelchair or about someone who is deaf or blind. It’s about all of us being able to experience that space the same or in a way that’s useful for them. I think we’re all pretty familiar with the concept of physical disabilities, as well as deaf and blind concepts, but we’re not really sure about cognitive disabilities yet.”

Looking to the future of access and inclusion, ASU also has its hands on the crossroads between technology and accessibility. Terri Hedgpeth, currently the director of accessibility for ASU’s Educational Outreach and Student Services and former director of Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services, works to increase participation of students with disabilities concerning access to online platforms. 

Hedgpeth, who is blind, found how much of an impact technology can have in terms of accessibility during her time at SAILS. 

Before Hedgpeth and SAILS implemented AIM (now DRC Connect), students had to come into the office, make an appointment with a consultant and bring all the necessary paperwork. Although she faced pushback, she believed an online scheduling and consulting platform would help SAILS reach students who didn’t want to come into the office but wanted resources.

Hedgpeth said after the online platform was implemented in the spring of 2010, SAILS went from serving 1,900 students to 3,500 in one semester. Currently, it serves around 6,800 students. 

“Just because you have a disability, hidden, obvious or observable, you shouldn’t have to go through so many extra steps just to get access to the course content and facilities that everyone has automatically,” Hedgpeth said. “Especially people with hidden disabilities, they might have felt inhibited to come into that office.”

Recently, Hedgpeth has worked on more projects to make technology-driven experiences more accessible. She worked on accessibility for several years with Handshake, the college career development platform. When the Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness complex was renewing their equipment contract, Hedgpeth was involved to make sure a good percentage of the equipment was accessible to blind or vision-impaired students. 

Hedgpeth also reaches out to oft-used apps and platforms to help guide them in becoming more accessible. Most vendors don’t have an ADA compliance employee, and some aren’t always willing to listen or change. Yet, Hedgpeth helps them work toward solutions that truly have all users in mind. 

“That needs to be the experience you offer everybody, not just the ones you’ve recognized,” Hedgpeth said.

Keep up with the year of celebration events on the ASU ADA celebration website and join in the kickoff event, a panel discussion on ASU’s disability services and the impact of the ADA on higher education, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, via Zoom.

Written by Julian Klein, Sun Devil Storyteller

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU seeks nominations for 2021 MLK Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award

September 1, 2020

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Arizona State University vice president for cultural affairs and ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. committee chair, is soliciting nominations for the 2021 ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award. This year’s theme is “Race may differ. Respect everyone.”

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will present a Servant-Leadership Award to an ASU student at the MLK Breakfast on Jan. 21, 2021, at the Tempe campus.
A black-and-white photo of Martin Luther King Jr. sitting and thinking. Download Full Image

Servant-leadership is a practical philosophy, which supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and the ethical use of power and empowerment.

The committee requests the help of the ASU community in identifying a student servant-leadership awardee. The student must be currently enrolled full-time, exemplify the ideals of servant-leadership and have a track record of commitment through volunteer service. A candidate may submit his or her resume with this form. Letters of recommendation are acceptable, but no more than two. Self-nominations are encouraged.

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will provide a $2,000 scholarship to the awardee to be used toward his or her educational costs. This scholarship is available to ASU full-time undergraduate or graduate students. The winner must be a full-time student during the spring 2021 semester.

All applications will be reviewed, and three finalists will be selected. Finalists will have 30-minute interviews with the committee on Thursday, Oct. 15. Finalists will be contacted for their interview. The awardee must be able to attend the breakfast on Jan. 21.

Please submit this nomination by close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Scan and e-mail to Michelle Johnson at mmjcap@asu.edu with the subject line: 2021 MLK Student Nomination – Last name of candidate.

Marketing Assistant, ASU Gammage

ASU's newly named accessibility center is primed to serve students

August 17, 2020

Arizona State University’s Disability Resource Center recently announced that it has changed its name to Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services. 

In alignment with ASU’s Charter to be “measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed,” the new title represents the office’s mission of ensuring that every program, service, event and experience at the university is fully accessible and inclusive to all students, not just those who identify as having a disability. Student Emily Bowe utilizes services at ASU Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services Student Emily Bowe utilizes services at ASU Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services. Photo by Spencer Brown. Download Full Image

“The name reflects the importance of creating a culture of accessibility and inclusion; a culture that is fundamental to the educational experience,” said Lance Harrop, dean of students for ASU’s Polytechnic campus and executive director of Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services. 

“It is also important in that it includes those who may qualify as having a disability, as defined by law, but perhaps do not identify in that way,” Harrop said. “A student’s experience in how they identify with and view disability is very personal and important. The new name is an acknowledgment of that experience.”

The name reflects SAILS’ vision for its future as it continue to serve a growing and ever-changing Sun Devil community, where the number of students with disabilities continues to increase and the impact of those disabilities present in varied ways, according to Harrop.

“Given our commitment to providing all students with a world-class education, SAILS will ensure that the entire ASU community will have access to the resources, expertise, training, consultation and facilitation of accessibility needed to ensure that the ASU experience will be fully accessible from design to implementation,” Harrop said.

SAILS will also continue to be a resource and support for faculty and staff, who are critical partners in ensuring their courses are designed and implemented in a way that allows for full participation without barriers.

ASU’s legacy of serving students in this way began in the mid-1970s when the office was originally established as Special Services for Disabled Students. The focus at the time was providing physical access to the university for the increasing number of returning veterans. 

Over the years, its name and focus have shifted to become more forward-thinking about the design of space and how best to meet students’ needs in and out of the classroom. 

Today, SAILS has offices on all four ASU campuses and offers a range of accommodations that provide students with equal access to academic and university services. These include test-taking, alternate formats, communication access, notetaking services and more. 

Students who register with SAILS work with disability access consultants who assess their needs and assist them with arrangements for their classes, housing and other university services and activities.

Chellis Hall and his partner, Kiley

SAILS also offers community trainings to increase institutional awareness and support. Lunch and Learns are offered for faculty and staff to learn how best to serve students with disabilities. AccessZone is an in-depth, interactive training offered to the Sun Devil community that covers the history of disability and laws that impact those in higher education. It also introduces the concept of universal design, which calls for designed environments to be accessible by all people regardless of age, size or ability.

Chellis Hall, a Master of Social Work student, utilizes Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services for things like taking exams and communicating with professors about accessibility services for his classes. He also works there as a testing proctor. Hall says that SAILS has provided him with “many opportunities and created educational experiences that (he) would not have had without it.”

He likes that the office’s new name promotes the inclusive culture that ASU strives for and feels it’s more effective in informing the community about SAILS’ purpose and offerings. 

“I am differently abled and just because I learn and do things differently does not mean I am 'disabled,'" Hall said. “I appreciate the university taking into consideration how the name of something can and does affect students.”

Chloe Breger, who graduated from ASU in 2020 with a degree in biological sciences (neurobiology, physiology and behavior) and is now pursuing a Master of Education at ASU, utilized SAILS services during her time as an undergraduate. She said without them, her trajectory would have been very different.

ASU Grad

Chloe Breger

“The name impacts the Sun Devil community because it shows how we include people within our community no matter how they learn or no matter what support they might need,” Breger said.

As SAILS moves forward with this new chapter in its history, Harrop says it will continue to serve students, educate and inform the campus community, raise awareness regarding accessibility opportunities, and increase connections with campus and community partners in providing support and resources to students. It will also continue its critical role in supporting ASU faculty and staff, and serve as a resource for all within the ASU community.

“ASU students are positively changing and influencing the world in amazing and important ways,” Harrop said. “We look forward to continuing to play a part in that experience by ensuring all students, including and especially students with disabilities, have the opportunity to be successful.”

Visit the SAILS website to learn more or visit its ASU Foundation page to support the important work it does for the Sun Devil community.

Copy writer and editor, Educational Outreach and Student Services


Live from ASU presents town hall conversation with W. Kamau Bell Aug. 27

August 10, 2020

Arizona State University continues its Live from ASU virtual event series with "Black Lives Matter and the Pandemic of Racism: A Town Hall Conversation with W. Kamau Bell," streaming live at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27.

Bell will speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism in America. Bell is known for his critically acclaimed and award-winning docuseries on CNN, "United Shades of America." Image of W. Kamau Bell with Live from ASU Logo and ASU Logo W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and the host of an Emmy Award-winning CNN docuseries. Download Full Image

This event will be streamed live free at livefromasu.com for the entire ASU community and the public. It will feature a panel discussion moderated by ASU Vice President for Cultural Affairs Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, with a Q&A session with ASU students and members of the ASU community to follow.

“We are currently living through two pandemics in this country, and systemic racism will be the harder one to defeat,” Jennings-Roggensack said. “This special town hall will be the first in a series of events focused on this important issue that is so vital to the ASU and local community.”

W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and the host of the Emmy-award winning CNN docuseries "United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell." He recently made his Netflix debut with the stand-up comedy special "Private School Negro." Kamau also has a book titled, "The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’ 4”, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian."

He is the director of the documentary "Cultureshock: Chris Rock’s 'Bring the Pain.'" Bell has hosted three critically acclaimed podcasts: "Kamau Right Now!," "Politically Re-Active" and "Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period." Bell is on the advisory board of Hollaback! and Donors Choose and is the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice. The New York Times called Bell “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.”

Bell has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards and a GLAAD award, and he was featured on Conde Nast’s "Daring 25" list for 2016. The SF Weekly called Bell “smart, stylish and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle” — though he was mostly just excited that they called him “handsome.” The New Yorker said, “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: He treats racial, gay and women’s issues as inseparable.” Bell is also known for his FX and FXX comedy series, "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell."

Kimberly Inglese

Marketing and Sales Coordinator, ASU 365 Community Union


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Daily health check a part of ASU's Community of Care

August 9, 2020

Checking in via app, phone or website required starting Aug. 24

Editor's note: A previous version of this story had the date of requirement as Aug. 17.

Advancing the well-being of the ASU community is a full team effort. As part of that, the university is developing a Community of Care, where we recognize that our actions impact the lives and health of others. 

As a part of ASU's proactive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and promote well-being across the community, all students and employees will be asked to “check in” on their health on a daily basis. All students and employees, with the exception of ASU Online students, will be required to complete a daily health check via the app by answering a series of questions and recording a self-obtained temperature. Being mindful of our health during the pandemic will help promote a healthy working and learning environment.

Video by Media Relations and Strategic Communications

Some frequently asked questions are answered below; find more at healthcheck.asu.edu

Question: What exactly does a daily health check entail?

Answer: The daily health check involves taking one's temperature and answering questions about any COVID-19 symptoms before beginning your day.

Q: Do I have to? 

A: Yes, it is required. The daily health check is a critical strategy for keeping our community healthy and is a requirement for all students and employees, with the exception of ASU Online students. Students should fill it out every day and can note on the app if they are not coming to campus.

The health check update to the ASU mobile app is available now, and daily health checks will be required starting Aug. 24. Noncompliance may result in loss of access to ASU systems until the health check is completed, and willful noncompletion may result in disciplinary action.

Screenshot of the ASU health check app

The ASU Mobile App has been updated with the daily health check.

Q: How do I check in?

A: There are three easy options:

  • ASU Mobile App: Sun Devils will be able to complete the health check, leverage additional health resources and get reminders via the app. (If you have previously downloaded the app on your smartphone, make sure to update the app or reinstall it to get the health check update.)

  • healthcheck.asu.edu: ASU community members can also check in through our web portal.

  • ASU Experience Center: If you do not have access to the internet, call 844-448-0031 to complete your health check before you begin each day. Students and employees are asked to utilize the app or website first and only use the phone number if they have no other option.

Q: What if I don't have a thermometer?

A: A digital oral thermometer is included in the Community of Care kit, provided free of charge to every ASU employee and student. The kit also includes two face coverings, several packs of wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Some people think the bag containing it all is pretty snazzy, too.

Students living in student housing will receive their kits upon move-in. Students living off campus can pick up their kits beginning Aug. 10 at Sun Devil Campus Stores located on each of ASU’s metropolitan Phoenix campuses; students must present their Sun Card to claim a kit.

Employee kits began to be distributed the week of July 27 via interoffice mail. One kit per person will be sent to their assigned mail code and addressed to the business operations managers (BOMs) in each area. BOMs and/or other administrative staff in each area can make them available for pickup or individual distribution as they deem appropriate. For mail codes that are still on hold, Mail Services will deliver when the mail code is reopened.

Q: What about when I'm on vacation?

A: You will not need to check in daily if you are on planned time off, but you will need to set your work schedule in advance through the app, website or phone system to reflect that you will not be on campus for a period of time. 

Within settings, you can set a custom schedule for days you will be working. 

Q: Will my health information be kept private?

A: Your answers to the health screening will be kept confidential — the university's primary concern is whether it is safe for you to come on campus and interact with others, and to provide support and resources should you become ill.

Q: What else is involved with the Community of Care?

A: In addition to the Community of Care video training required of all employees and students, members of the ASU community are encouraged to:

  • Share COVID-19 test results with ASU. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can share those results with ASU so we can follow up to provide support and send an alert to those you may have been in contact with.
  • Share your on-campus location for exposure management. This can help ASU determine if you have crossed paths while on campus with someone who ASU has been informed was diagnosed with COVID-19. This can be done through the ASU Mobile App.

Q: What about COVID-19 testing? Where can I get that done?

A: ASU offers a saliva-based COVID-19 test at no cost for students, employees and the public. Results are usually available within 24–48 hours. Please see the corresponding category below for how to schedule a test.

STUDENTS: Schedule a test through My Health Portal on the ASU Health Services website at https://eoss.asu.edu/health. Those who are experiencing symptoms and/or want to talk with a medical provider about their health may schedule a telemedicine appointment through the same portal or by calling 480-965-3349. Note: COVID-19 tests do not require a telehealth pre-appointment, but telehealth is available if students want to speak with a medical provider.

EMPLOYEES: Schedule a test at https://cfo.asu.edu/employee-testing. This is for employees only, not spouses or dependents.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC: Schedule a test at the Arizona Department of Health Services’ testing site at azhealth.gov/testing; look for ASU Biodesign Institute entries on the list of dates and locations. The saliva tests are prohibited for individuals younger than 8.

Top photo by Jarod Opperman/ASU

ASU alumni represented well in the Phoenix Business Journal’s '40 Under 40 Awards'

August 5, 2020

More than a third of this year’s Phoenix Business Journal “40 Under 40” honorees are Arizona State University alumni, with representatives from eight different colleges. The 15 honorees pursued careers in law, nonprofits, sustainability, engineering, journalism, higher education and social work. 

The annual awards recognize the top business and civic leaders in the Phoenix area for their career success, community involvement, leadership ability and influence. Download Full Image

More than 400 nominations were reviewed and narrowed down to 40 honorees by a panel of judges that included previous winners and sponsors. All the honorees will be featured in a “40 Under 40” special section to be published in the Aug. 7 issue of the Business Journal and at a virtual awards celebration Aug. 5.

To celebrate their achievements, ASU will be sharing the honorees’ biographies on its social media channels in the upcoming weeks.

Congratulations to this year’s Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 honorees and ASU alumni:

Eric M. Bailey
Bailey Strategic Innovation Group

Antwan Davis
Beyond Borders & Co.

John Gray
Perkins Coie LLP

Jon Howard
Quarles & Brady LLP

David Jackson
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie

Jacob Kashiwagi
Kashiwagi Solution Model Inc.

Lindsay Leavitt
Jennings Strouss Law Firm

Jamison Manwaring
Neighborhood Ventures

Anna Ortiz

Lea Phillips
Ballard Spahr

Vanessa Ruiz
Arizona State University

Drew Trojanowski
Arizona State University

Karla Verdugo
United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

Dylan Vicha
Windom Security Strategies Today and Wounded Warriors

Tamara Wright
Community Solutions

ASU Law announces new leadership positions

August 4, 2020

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has announced the following new appointments and expanded roles on its leadership team.

Adam Chodorow is now vice dean, taking on broader responsibilities in the external relations of the school, in addition to continuing to serve as the Jack E. Brown Professor of Law. photo of asu law deans Download Full Image

Zachary Kramer is now executive associate dean with broader responsibilities for the day-to-day function of the school, in addition to continuing as a professor of law and the Mary Sigler Fellow. 

Eric Menkhus is now associate dean of centers, programs and innovations leading efforts to support and grow the school’s centers of excellence in research and teaching.

Tamara Herrera is now associate dean of academic affairs, succeeding Chodorow in this role, with oversight of academic experience for students and faculty.

Victoria Sahani is newly appointed as associate dean of faculty development, succeeding Herrera in this role, to support faculty research and innovation.

Kathlene Rosier is newly appointed as assistant dean of institutional progress to focus her efforts on the student experience. She will continue to serve as executive director of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program.

photo of douglas sylvester

ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester

“A big part of what makes ASU Law so special is our stellar faculty and staff who work hard every day to ensure we are delivering the most exceptional law school experience possible,” ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester said.

“As we all are facing challenging times, I am confident we will overcome these circumstances with this team, and I continue to be so grateful to be a part of the ASU Law community.”

Julie Tenney

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

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ASU among top 10 ‘Best Buy’ public schools in latest Fiske Guide to Colleges

ASU is the only Arizona school to make Fiske Guide's "Best Buy" top 10 list.
July 28, 2020

University's strong programs, support services highlighted in annual report

Arizona State University has been ranked in the top 10 “Best Buy” public schools in the 2021 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, the only Arizona school to make the list.

Now in its 37th edition, the Fiske Guide provides an annual snapshot into more than 320 public and private colleges and universities across the country, ranking the institutions for academic excellence and value for the cost of tuition. ASU shares the distinction with, among others, the University of Florida, the University of Iowa, the University of Washington and Texas A&M. ASU was also recognized last year

The guide, which is widely known as a reputable resource for prospective students and parents, recognizes ASU for innovation and touts the university as a “national model of how to navigate the emerging demographics of U.S. higher education.”

“ASU is proud to be an advocate and leader for higher education,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “We understand that no two learners are alike, and are honored that the Fiske Guide recognizes the commitments ASU has made to provide flexible options to those who are interested in pursuing their educational or career goals through the university’s nationally ranked programs.”

ASU offers a wide variety of academic choices with more than 800 undergraduate and graduate programs from the university’s 16 colleges and schools — along with access to top programs and award-winning faculty through ASU Online. The Fiske Guide highlights ASU’s hands-on programs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering; spotlights the “ambitious honors projects” at Barrett, The Honors College; and calls the School of Earth and Space Exploration a leading center for research in astronomy and astrophysics. The guide also identifies eight strong programs at ASU:

  • Architecture.
  • Art.
  • Business.
  • Design.
  • Education.
  • Engineering.
  • Journalism.
  • Performing arts.

Positioned in one of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas, ASU has made “serious efforts to provide students with strong support services,” according to the guide. The Fiske Guide points to ASU’s award-winning First-Year Success Center, where new students can receive a variety of peer coaching services to help them adjust to college life while reaching their goals. Also noted: the success of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, contributing to the growth of ASU’s veteran population.

Overall, research expenditures are up at ASU, along with student retention and graduation rates. In fiscal year 2018, ASU reported a record total of $617.7 million in research expenditures, rising to No. 7 in total research expenditures for universities without a medical school.

Base tuition for an Arizona resident and full-time student is about $10,710, although ASU offers a number of opportunities for tuition assistance, including financial aid and scholarships — significantly reducing the cost of a college education.

Top photo by Arizona State University 

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

Woodbury named CEO of Science Foundation Arizona

ASU's chief science and technology officer will lead the nonprofit, which connects researchers, businesses

July 21, 2020

Neal Woodbury, interim executive vice president of Arizona State University's Knowledge Enterprise and chief science and technology officer, has been named chief executive officer of Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz). SFAz is a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to establish industry and university partnerships, attract world class talent and jobs to Arizona, enhance the state’s competitive standing in the global economy, and increase access to quality STEM education. 

“It’s an honor to be selected for this role, and I’m excited to work with the exceptional board members at SFAz, my colleagues at Arizona universities, our state government and the science-based industry in Arizona,” Woodbury said. “I also look forward to helping expand the application of innovative science and the high-tech workforce that underlies it.” Neal Woodbury ASU Neal Woodbury, ASU chief science and technology officer. Download Full Image

Woodbury is assuming the position previously held by William Harris, who served as CEO of SFAz since its inception in 2006. Under Harris’ leadership, SFAz funded and enhanced research and education at Arizona’s three state universities, as well as developed collaborative relationships with industry and state government. 

“The board of SFAz is pleased that a leader and scholar of such regard has accepted the leadership of the organization. Our board, led by SFAz founder Don Budinger and our longstanding CEO, Bill Harris, have built a significant asset for our state. The foundational support of our primary donor, Jerry Bisgrove, allowed SFAz to leverage additional resources and make broad investments in research that contributed greatly to our state’s economic prosperity,” said Rick Myers, chairman of the SFAz board and former Arizona Board of Regents member. “Going forward, we appreciate the strong support of ASU to keep SFAz building on our past success. With Neal’s leadership, we are excited for what the future will bring.”

Throughout the course of his 32-year tenure with ASU, Woodbury has been a trusted resource and advocate for the research enterprise, regularly advising ASU leadership on issues related to the university’s major research activities. He has been responsible for developing new, large-scale collaborative projects, as well as facilitating broad interactions between the Knowledge Enterprise and ASU’s academic units. Woodbury concurrently serves as a professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences.

“It’s great news for Arizona that Neal Woodbury has been appointed the next CEO of SFAz," said David Schultz, vice president for research at Northern Arizona University. "Neal’s deep knowledge of science and technology, Arizona’s universities, the needs and potential of STEM education, and the opportunities that exist to build Arizona’s economy, are ideally suited to support SFAz’s mission and the goals of the state in STEM and technology business growth. I look forward to working with Neal and furthering collaborations between Arizona’s great higher education institutions.”

Woodbury is an expert in the field of electron transfer and photosynthesis and is the co-founder of HealthTell, a company focused on a diagnostic technology known as immunosignaturing. In addition to his academic and research achievements, Woodbury is a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors and holds multiple patents.

Woodbury will continue in his role as interim executive vice president and professor at ASU in addition to this appointment.

ASU Law and Behavioral Science initiative wins 2020 President's Award for Innovation

July 10, 2020

In just three years’ time, the group of faculty behind the Law and Behavioral Science initiative took Arizona State University from relative obscurity in the field to one of the most dominant players. In recognition of their dedication and hard work, the original team of eight who founded the initiative has been named the recipient of the 2020 President’s Award for Innovation.

Nicholas Schweitzer, founding director of the group and an associate professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said it is an honor to be recognized, but their success would not have been possible without the commitment of the ASU faculty and students who have contributed to the initiative’s success over the years. statue of Lady Justice Download Full Image

“It’s pretty unusual to go from nothing to the kind of scale and the scope we have in just a few years,” Schweitzer said. “When I looked back at how many times ASU has presented at national and international conferences, we had more people presenting than any other university in the world. And we’ve been very fortunate because we’ve been able to recruit the best students and the very best faculty.”

The purpose of the initiative is to bring together scholars and students from across ASU whose research interests are at the intersection of law and psychology, an area which has broad appeal and an exciting potential for real-world impact.

“This team has been incredibly innovative in taking scientific principles about human behavior from psychology — including social, cognitive and affective processes — and integrating them with an understanding of law and legal institutions to address important societal problems,” said School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Associate Director Nicole Roberts.

“They were front-runners in bringing together topics to create a new, and hugely popular, field of study at ASU — forensic psychology. Although there are now many interdisciplinary teams at ASU, they were one of the first not only to engage in this, but also to gain traction among students at all levels — undergraduate through doctoral — and to draw national attention as a destination for cutting-edge research in psychology and law. Their research questions have widespread implications, such as how to reduce bias in the legal system; how to understand who is convicted or exonerated and under what circumstances; and how to change ineffective or unfair practices within the criminal justice system. Their collective work allows them to examine individual- and institutional-level processes using a variety of descriptive and experimental methods.”

The initiative’s founding team will be recognized by ASU President Michael Crow at a ceremony this fall. They include faculty from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences:

  • Nicholas Schweitzer, founding director – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Hank Fradella – School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Watts College.
  • Michael Saks – Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
  • Jose Ashford – School of Social Work, Watts College.
  • Jessica Salerno – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Tess Neal – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Tosha Ruggles – director of academic services for Graduate Studies, New College.
  • Todd Sandrin – dean, New College.

The President's Award for Innovation honors ASU faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to the university and higher education in general through the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects, programs, initiatives, services and techniques.

Since its founding, the Law and Behavioral Science initiative has grown to include 32 core and affiliated faculty across seven schools and colleges at ASU, operating five cross-school academic programs that educate over 1,300 students at the undergraduate, master's degree and doctoral levels, placing it among the largest in the world of its type.

“We already had the intellectual base to do something like this and just needed to be brought together with some organizational structure,” Schweitzer said. “Once that happened, we realized we were really poised to do something big.”

The initiative is responsible for research that has looked into such issues as how emotion affects jury members’ decision-making, the effectiveness of tools used to assess one’s competence to stand trial and more.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU News

(480) 965-9657