Chinese university models facility after Decision Theater

June 10, 2010

Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) opened the doors last week to an immersive visualization environment called the Visdec Electronic Decision Theater and modeled after ASU’s Decision Theater. R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development, represented ASU President Michael M. Crow at the ribbon cutting ceremony and during subsequent meetings to discuss joint projects. The construction was supported by the Ministry of Education in China.

The HUST facility boasts 240 degrees of ceiling-to-floor arced screens brought to life by vast computational power and a sophisticated rear projection system. HUST officials first visited ASU in May 2005 when Shangraw was serving as the founding executive director of the Decision Theater. They made additional trips over the years and temporarily assigned two university staff members to the ASU facility in order to learn more about its construction and operation. Download Full Image

“From the beginning, HUST made it clear they saw enormous value in building a China Decision Theater and in collaborating with ASU on joint projects related to everything from energy and the environment to urban planning and public health,” Shangraw said. “President Crow early on articulated a vision for the ASU Decision Theater which included expansion into a global network of platforms all working together to address grand challenges. We are seeing that vision realized with partners now at HUST and Harbin Institute of Technology, also in China. We also have commitments from others seeking to build Decision Theater-like environments.”

Lu Gang, a senior HUST administrator and chair of the university committee, cited ASU’s success with using the platform as a primary reason for investment in a similar facility housed within the university’s College of Public Administration. He said it will help evolve decision making from traditional to modern approaches and result in more scientifically and democratically based decisions.

“This is a perfect union of government and the university,” said Lu, referring to the role of the Decision Theater as a government decision-making resource. He went on to say he would be making a request to the government that ASU and HUST collaborate to assist high-level officials.

Following the ceremony and discussions, which included the signing of a joint agreement of on-going collaboration, HUST and ASU officials traveled to Shanghai to meet with other China university officials and representatives from the international business community. This led to the announcement of a Global Decision Theater Alliance during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the theme of which is urban sustainability and quality of life. ASU and HUST are the founding members, joined by Harbin Institute of Technology and Renmin University of China, with expansion plans including other China-based institutions and organization during the initial development phase of the alliance.

Xu Xiaolin, Dean of HUST’s College of Public Administration, has long been a proponent of this type of international collaboration. He said he believes the alliance has the potential to deliver real solutions to major challenges. 

Shangraw echoed Dean Xu’s sentiment, adding: “We have a firm commitment to communicate regularly and to pursue research projects of mutual interest and benefit. Our goal is to announce the kick-off of our first major collaborative project by the end of the year.” 

He went on to say he was optimistic the alliance will expand to include representatives from Europe and the Middle East in the not-too-distant future.

The ASU Decision Theater, established in 2004, uses advanced visualization, simulation and collaboration tools to assist policymakers and others in reaching optimal decisions. Clients have ranged from federal government agencies and Arizona state departments to municipalities and industry.

Written by John Skinner

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Commission honors ASU women in leadership roles

June 10, 2010

In recent years, the ASU Commission on the Status of Women has become a familiar name to many at Arizona State University for it advocacy initiatives, professional development programming, safety projects, and, of course, the CSW Outstanding Achievement and Awards Program. Every year, the CSW honors individuals, groups and teams who have worked to benefit women and other underrepresented groups at ASU and beyond.

“It is such a joy to celebrate those in the ASU community who work to enhance opportunities for women and other groups," said CSW Tempe Chair Vicki Harmon. "The contributions made through the efforts of these people enhance the university environment for each of us.” Download Full Image

The CSW Awards Program was established in 1999, and boasts a long list of incredible men and women who have given their all to make a difference – and this year is no exception. A dean, a staff counselor, a media coordinator, and a research team of two full professors are the recipients of the 2010 CSW Awards.

“Faculty, staff, students, men and women are all represented in CSW award submissions," Harmon said. "Awards were presented this year for efforts that displayed exceptional scholarship, leadership, mentorship and program development. It is such a pleasure to see the quality of work being done at ASU.”

The recipients of the 2010 CSW Outstanding Achievement Awards are Margaret Coulombe, media coordinator for the School of Life Sciences; Dean Mari Koerner of the College of Teacher Education & Leadership; Dr. Robyn McKay, staff counselor for the Polytechnic Student Counseling Services; and the collaborative research team of Drs. Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin from the Department of English.

Coulombe was recognized for her dedication to supporting and promoting the success of women in the sciences. Not only does she work tirelessly to highlight the success of women in the sciences in media outlets, which is an important factor in the steady attrition of women scientists as they move through the ranks, but Coulombe goes one step further to provide one-on-one mentoring to undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences. Coulombe reaches out to students, mentors them and helps them to find a place in different communities on campus including organizations such as Women and the Sciences & Engineering. 

Dean Koerner was honored for her work in elevating the status of the teaching profession not only within our university, but within our community and nation. Under her leadership, Koerner has created a paradigm for a college that is focused on providing a world class education to Arizona students by creating effective teachers and school leaders. As a result of her efforts, CTEL has garnered national attention, including a 33.8 million dollar Teacher Quality Grant from the US Dept of Education for the Professional Development School program (PDS). PDS program supports and encourages low income districts to “grow their own” quality teachers – these teachers are primarily women, who normally would not have had the chance to gain a university education. Koerner is described an outstanding leader ready to meet the “challenges of educating in a rapidly changing world.”

McKay was recognized for the significant impact her efforts have had on the climate for women at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus. In the short time that she has been at ASU, she has created a multitude of different programs and lunches to help women of all ages and backgrounds, navigate through challenges from the college experience to major life changes. One of McKay’s most visible accomplishments is in the creation of a Women in Science and Engineering program to benefit the women students in the College of Technology & Innovation. McKay began the program in Fall of 2009 and under her direction and mentorship, the program has achieved great success. Membership numbers are expected to double this year. As one of her nominators explained, “Robyn is creative, innovative and strong … we have all learned and benefitted from her efforts, and our campus is better because of her presence.”

This year the CSW honored a collaborative research team of Drs. Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin, both professors in the Department of English. The pair was recognized for their outstanding collaborative scholarship on a three volume edited series in the area of Women’s Material Culture from the periods of 1750-1950. For centuries things such as such as needlework, painting, and collecting were dismissed in cultural studies and scholarship as “women’s work” or merely hobbies of women in the leisured classes; however, the work of Goggin and Tobin seeks to reframe these notions, giving new voice to women who were ignored or silenced in the past. Their scholarship helps to redefine the understanding of women’s meaning making in often neglected social and cultural work.

In addition to the CSW Award recipients, the commission honored several of its own members for their outstanding work on the CSW with the CSW Chairs Award for Outstanding Service. This year’s recipients included Jennifer Lee-Cota, Kaylen Cons, Joel Hutchinson, Kelly Jackson and Cindy Rasmussen.

All of the award nominees and recipients were honored at a breakfast reception on April 21. Vice President & Dean Elizabeth Langland delivered an inspiring key note address on the importance of women’s leadership.

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