Leading Chinese university to build Decision Theater

August 24, 2007

An eight-person delegation from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) recently spent two days visiting the Decision Theater. They traveled from Wuhan, China, to see firsthand how the Decision Theater is organized and equipped to help decision-makers address public policy issues.

The HUST delegation received in-depth briefings on the theater’s visualization, simulation and modeling, and collaboration tools. They heard from a variety of experts about everything from strategic planning and project management, to visualization technology and group intelligence software. They also met with two Decision Theater clients representing public and private sectors. Download Full Image

Xu Xiaolin, the delegation leader and HUST’s dean of the College of Public Administration, says he’s impressed with what he saw and heard during the visit. He particularly notes the value of the Decision Theater in helping to address a host of urban growth challenges.

“This enables cities to be managed better,” Xiaolin says. “It offers a more scientific approach to managing a city. It gives more people a voice regardless of where they may live,” referring to the power of digital technology as a planning and participation resource. The dean believes his university will have its version of a Decision Theater up and running within a year. He foresees continued strong collaboration with ASU, saying “the future is beautiful between ASU and HUST.”

Xiaolin says he would like to see the HUST visualization center called the “New Sino-American Decision Theater,” but the name will determined by several people sometime later.

Initial discussions about a HUST Decision Theater began more than a year ago and have included ASU President Michael Crow and other senior ASU officials. Rick Shangraw, the Decision Theater’s executive director and ASU’s vice president for research and economic affairs, visited HUST and other Chinese universities in May. While promoting the Decision Theater concept there, Shangraw saw the university’s preliminary construction plans and the proposed location for their Decision Theater on the campus. Given their ongoing strong interest in building a Decision Theater, Shangraw invited his HUST hosts to visit ASU for additional discussions on how ASU and HUST can collaborate.

The delegation’s visit to ASU concluded with the signing of a joint memorandum of understanding between the Decision Theater and HUST’s College of Public Administration. The program ranks fourth among colleges in China. HUST ranks fifth among all universities in China, and delegation members say the university’s appetite for innovation is a major reason for the recognition.

“This is a prestigious research university with whom we already enjoy a strong friendship,” Shangraw says. “I’m excited about the prospect of collaborating with them through our respective Decision Theaters on issues of mutual interest and concern, such as the environment, urban growth, education and public health. The future is indeed bright.”

John">mailto:John.Skinner@asu.edu">John Skinner, (480) 965-4098
Decision Theater

Students earn Next Generation scholarships at ASU

August 24, 2007

Three ASU American Humanics students have been awarded Next Generation Nonprofit Leaders Program (NextGen) scholarships.

Aydaly Briones, Jamie Patton and Shannon Wagner each will receive $4,500 from NextGen as part of a multiyear Kellogg Foundation Grant to American Humanics Inc. to support students across the American Humanics campus affiliate network. The NextGen scholarships support costs associated with the students’ senior internships in nonprofits. Download Full Image

Briones, from San Luis, Ariz., is the former president of the American Humanics Student Association and is interning with the Yuma United Way.

Patton, from Mesa, Ariz., is the former campaign chair for the American Humanics Management Institute, which raised more than $42,000.

Patton is interested in women’s issues.

Wagner, from Tucson, Ariz., will serve an internship in India. She is a former American Humanics Student Association recruitment committee member.

“These scholarships take our students one step closer to fulfilling their goals of positively influencing the nonprofit sector,” says Stacey Vicario Freeman, American Humanics senior program coordinator. “I have no doubt their contributions will create real change for the communities they serve.”

Ryan Tang, one of four ASU American Humanics students funded earlier this year, has been hired in a full-time position at the Valley of the Sun YMCA headquarters in the development office. All told, in this inaugural year of the NextGen program, ASU American Humanics students have received $31,500 in new or external scholarship dollars in support of their efforts. Nonprofits at which NextGen awardees interned earlier this year contributed about $10,000 in matching funds, providing $41,500 in total funds for these emerging leaders.

“There is a looming leadership void in the nonprofit sector,” says Robert Ashcraft, director of the ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management and a professor of nonprofit studies in the university’s School of Community Resources and Development. “It is encouraging that American Humanics Inc., through this W. K. Kellogg Foundation grant, created the NextGen scholarship program to identify promising ASU students who will fill that void. This is further validation of our role as the preferred provider of entry level nonprofit professionals through our nonprofit certificate and degree programs.”

Founded in 1980, ASU’s American Humanics program is part of the School of Community Resources and Development, in association with the ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management. ASU is one of the leading programs in the nation, preparing future nonprofit professionals.

Students pursuing American Humanics certification complete various experiential requirements including participation in the student association, 18 credit hours of in-class coursework and a 12-credit-hour internship. For more information, visit the Web site www.asu.edu/copp/nonprofit/edu/ah.htm.">http://www.asu.edu/copp/nonprofit/edu/ah.htm">www.asu.edu/copp/nonprofit...