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Crow names Friedman university vice president

February 01, 2008

As part of the school-centric model, ASU President Michael M. Crow has named Debra Friedman as university vice president in addition to her position of dean of the College of Public Programs. This appointment gives ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus the same organizational structure as the other three ASU campuses.

Mernoy Harrison, whose task was to construct the Downtown Phoenix campus, will continue as vice president and executive vice provost, but with the new responsibility of building what might be considered ASU’s “fifth campus.” This covers the university’s continuing education programs, including its online programs and face-to-face programs throughout the Valley for nontraditional students, with degree completion, bachelor’s and master’s degrees available. The ultimate goal is to have 100,000 individual student enrollments.

Both appointments are pending Arizona Board of Regents approval.

“I am delighted that Debra has agreed to take on this additional responsibility, and that Mernoy was willing to take on a challenge of building a virtual campus – a challenge as great as the one he just accomplished in building a concrete-and-steel campus,” Crow says.

Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi adds that this administrative structure reflects the nature of the university’s academic structure.

“Each of our campuses or learning environments is anchored by a college at the core of the campus’s academic mission, and the dean of that college also functions as a vice president of the university, responsible for coordinating university academic functions among the deans at that location,” she says.

In Tempe, Quentin Wheeler serves as the vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science. At the West campus, Elizabeth Langland serves as vice president and dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. At the Polytechnic campus, Keith Hjelmstead serves as vice president and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation.

The vice president and dean on each campus reports directly to the university provost and holds no supervisory role or authority over the other deans on his or her campus. All 22 deans and school directors continue to report directly to the provost. Non-academic functions have been centralized for economies of scale. The position of campus-based vice provost and executive vice president, which previously coordinated university academic functions on each campus, no longer exists.

“The ASU Downtown Phoenix campus serves as ASU’s portal to the city and expression of its civic responsibilities,” Friedman says. “I look forward to joining with deans Callahan, Corey and Melnyk to create an academically rigorous environment rooted in social embeddedness.

Together with our public, private and nonprofit partners, we will work to make Phoenix a city unparalleled in its dedication to the social, economic and educational advancement of all.”

“It has been a great pleasure working with the many partners that have made the creation of the downtown Phoenix campus a success, especially our partners in the city of Phoenix,” Harrison says. “I now look forward to the development of many new partnerships as we create ASU’s virtual campus and expand its face-to-face for nontraditional students.”

Friedman joined ASU in 2005, when she was named dean of the College of Public Programs, one of three colleges that established the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus in 2006. Friedman led the relocation of the college to downtown, refined its vision and strategic plan, and has secured new funds during her tenure as dean.

She has mobilized a Phoenix Futures Board and Dean’s Investment Board, comprising influential and highly visible community leaders.

Three schools and eight centers comprise the College of Public Programs, including the Schools of Public Affairs, Social Work, and Community Resources and Development. More than 30 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees or certificate programs are offered through the college.

The College of Public Programs also plays a key role in ASU’s social embeddedness initiative, with more than 100 ongoing community partners in public, nonprofit and private sectors. In recognition of its location on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, the college offers new undergraduate and graduate degrees in public policy, urban and metropolitan studies, nonprofit studies, and tourism development and management, among others.

Before coming to ASU, Friedman served as associate dean of undergraduate education and associate provost for academic planning at the University of Washington. In these roles, she was responsible for managing university-wide innovation programs, enrollment planning and strategic visioning initiatives.

She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a book.

Friedman has taught at the universities of Iowa, Arizona and Washington, and she has won distinguished teaching awards at the University of Washington and the University of Arizona. She was a national fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a visiting scholar at the Australian National University and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Friedman earned her doctorate in sociology from the University of Washington.

Harrison served as vice president and executive vice provost at the Downtown Phoenix campus from 2004 to 2008. He oversaw the opening of the campus in fall of 2006, with 300,000 square feet of academic space serving 6,299 students. University College, the College of Public Programs and the College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation ushered in a new era of learning downtown when the campus opened.

Among the many amenities offered at the opening of the campus were student services, such as counseling and consultation, disability resources, a library and student clubs. About 250 beds were available at the first student residential complex at Residential Commons. A bookstore, recreation center at the Lincoln Family Phoenix Downtown YMCA and student union at Arizona Center were among services developed downtown.

Harrison also oversaw initial construction of new downtown projects slated to open this year: the new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication building, and new student housing in Taylor Place.

He has been with ASU since 1997.

Before his appointment downtown, Harrison served as executive vice president for administration and finance, and as the university’s chief financial and administrative officer.

Harrison previously served as vice president for administration and vice president for finance, among other varied positions, at California State University-Sacramento. He earned his doctorate degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.