Boone named interim dean of School of Sustainability

March 28, 2013

Christopher Boone, professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has been named the interim dean of the School of Sustainability (SOS), effective July 1, 2013. Boone has served as the associate dean for education of the school since July 2010.

“Chris Boone is an outstanding scientist and scholar whose extensive work in urban sustainability and world poverty exemplifies the very mission of the school,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “As associate dean he has helped lead the efforts to educate a new generation of students whose passion is to find solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges of the world. With Chris as interim dean the school is well-positioned to further enhance its academic programs and help students create solutions that will reshape our quality of life.” Download Full Image

Boone succeeds Dean Sander van der Leeuw, who will continue to further the school’s research and academic interests. Van der Leeuw will return as a member of the board of directors for the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) and continue to serve as co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Network, as well as chair of the Consortium for Biosocial Complex Systems. He also retains intellectual responsibility for the Global Institute of Sustainability Climate Impact and Adaptation Center.

“Chris Boone has been an important figure in the development of the School of Sustainability, the first such school in the country, and he will be an important leader of the next stage of development of this unique academic unit,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, ASU executive vice president and provost.

Boone joined ASU in January 2006 as an associate professor and gained full professorship in April 2010. His research centers on urban sustainability, environmental justice and vulnerability, urban socio-ecological systems, global environmental change, human-environmental interaction, geographic information systems and public health.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the School of Sustainability,” Boone said. “I see this as a really important continuation of the work Professor Van der Leeuw did to strengthen the school. ASU serves as an international model for blending sustainability education and research with practice. I am confident we will continue to be a leader in sustainability.”

Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, said he is excited about working with Boone, having “enjoyed working with him previously on sustainability concepts. I consider him to be a scholar of the highest caliber and deeply committed to sustainability and sustainability education. He, Rob Melnick and I will make a great team to lead GIOS and SOS in the coming years.”

Boone is the recipient of grants from prestigious organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a member of the executive committees of the School of Sustainability and the Global Institute of Sustainability.

In 2009, Boone headed a provost’s committee to develop a minor in sustainability. He also serves on the supervisory board for the Social Sciences and Health, and Global Health programs. He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Urbanization and Global Environment Change program, and the Steering Committee of the Workshop on Climate Change in U.S. Cities in Support of the National Climate Assessment.

Boone currently serves on the editorial boards of journals such as International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development and Environmental Justice. He is also the associate editor of the nature-society section of the journal Current Research on Cities and co-editor of a new book series called "New Directions in Sustainability and Society."

Boone received his graduate and doctoral degrees in geography at the University of Toronto before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability is the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States with a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Established in spring 2007, the school is part of the Global Institute of Sustainability, which is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. The School of Sustainability offers undergraduate and graduate programs and minors, as well as doctoral and professional leadership programs.

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

ASU alum wins prestigious Peabody Award for ABC15 investigative series

March 28, 2013

Lauren Gilger, a 2011 graduate of Arizona State University, won a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for an ABC15 investigative series exposing a deadly acceleration defect in Ford Escapes that led to a massive recall of the SUVs.

Gilger, 26, of Phoenix, joined KNXV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix owned by the E.W. Scripps Co., as an investigative producer in 2011 after receiving her master’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Peabody was one of only four given this year to local U.S. news stations and just the third won by a Phoenix station in more than 20 years. Download Full Image

The award-winning team from the ABC15 Investigators unit included Gilger, investigative reporter Joe Ducey and photojournalist Gerard Watson. The team reported on a January 2012 fatal car crash in Payson, Ariz., that claimed the life of 17-year-old Saige Bloom. The news report led to a five-month investigation that uncovered a safety defect that caused the throttles to stick in Ford Escapes and triggered a federal probe and the corporate recalls of more than 700,000 SUVs – 2001-2004 Ford Escapes and 2001-2008 Mazda Tributes.

“We believe our reporting had a real impact nationwide and saved lives,” said Anita Helt, vice president and general manager of ABC15 and a member of the Cronkite School Endowment Board of Trustees. “Taking action to make our community safer and better is our station’s mission. This investigation is reflective of the kind of community-changing journalism we strive for every day.”

Joe Hengemuehler, the Cronkite School’s Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics who was ABC15’s news director during the reporting of the SUV story, had high praise for Gilger’s work.

"In many instances, in-depth investigative journalism is like a marathon,” he said. “On this story in particular, Lauren had the right combination of stamina, focus and passion from start to finish. I am so proud of her and of her work on this major story."

Hengemuehler added: “Being recognized with a Peabody is one great reward. Another is that her accomplishment can most certainly inspire current Cronkite School students who are envisioning what's possible when they start their careers."

Gilger was a standout during her time at the Cronkite School. She was a lead reporter on Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s nightly newscast that airs across the state on Arizona PBS. She was part of a reporting team that produced in-depth stories along the Dominican Republic-Haiti border, earning a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. And she was a fellow in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, spending a summer traveling back and forth to the U.S.-Mexican border to produce stories on the plight of immigrant women caught in deportation limbo.

She was named the school’s Outstanding Graduate Student at the May 2011 graduation ceremonies.

“It is a rare honor for any journalist, let alone one at the very beginning of her career, to receive a Peabody Award, which has represented the gold standard in broadcast journalism for more than 70 years,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “Yet news of Lauren winning the Peabody came as no surprise to her colleagues and professors here at Cronkite. She is an extraordinary talent – an intelligent, inquisitive, passionate and relentless reporter who has a true gift for telling stories. Lauren will be producing these kinds of impactful stories – shedding light on important topics and helping to improve our world – for years to come.”

Gilger said the Ford Escape report is “the kind of story you don’t come across very often in your career, and I was lucky to be a part of it. We’re honored by the award, but even more important to us is that we could tell the story of Saige Bloom and hopefully prevent other tragedies. We are extremely fortunate to have leadership at ABC15 and Scripps that supports this kind of reporting.”

The Peabody Awards, administered by the Grady College of Journalism of Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, are the oldest and among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic journalism. The Peabodys honor excellence in television, radio and the Web worldwide.

“Reviewing submissions for Peabody consideration is a truly exciting process,” said Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards. “Producers and organizations send us their best work from the previous year. It is an astonishing array of outstanding media accomplishment. From this array, we must select the ‘best of the best.’ It’s not always easy, but it always demonstrates the meaning of true excellence in electronic media.”

ABC15 won a 2007 Peabody Award for exposing security risks at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Last year, CBS5 won a Peabody for its reporting on secretly buried drums of Agent Orange on a U.S. Army base in South Korea.

The ABC15 team and the other winners of the 72nd annual Peabody Awards will be honored at a May 20 ceremony in New York. Scott Pelley, anchor of “The CBS Evening News,” will emcee the event.

Reporter , ASU News