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New vice provosts to address native communities, value-based learning

portrait of ASU Regents' Professor Rebecca Tsosie
November 21, 2014

Two new associate vice provost appointees at Arizona State University will broaden the outreach and scope of the Office of Academic Excellence and Inclusion by addressing native communities and championing ethics throughout the curriculum and across the campuses.

Dean’s Distinguished Professor Jason Robert will coordinate a pilot values-based curriculum and ethical engagement enterprise as associate vice provost for ethics, and Regents' Professor Rebecca Tsosie will engage indigenous communities as the new associate vice provost for academic excellence and inclusion.

“Rebecca Tsosie and Jason Robert bring an impressive history of work, skills, energy and passion to their work, and their presence in the Provost’s office will vastly help us reach our goals of creating a more inclusive environment that will meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Eduardo Obregón Pagán, vice provost for academic excellence and inclusion and Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History.

Both Tsosie and Robert are distinguished experts in their respective fields, enabling them to approach their new positions with skills gained from years of academic inquiry.

Rebecca Tsosie, who is of Yaqui descent, is a Regents’ Professor in ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, teaching in the fields of Indian law, constitutional law, property and critical race theory. She is a founding co-chair of the Provost’s Native American Advisory Council and now serves as an ex-officio member of the group, examining strategic programs relevant to Native American students and conducting relevant outreach to tribal governments and communities. Tsosie also addresses diversity, including women and students/faculty of color issues.

Tsosie has served as the executive director of the Indian Legal Program from 1996-2011, and her career includes such honors as being named a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar. She is the co-author of a leading casebook on federal Indian law, as well as the author of numerous publications on tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights.

“I am very excited about my appointment as associate vice provost for academic excellence and inclusion because it allows me to participate more fully in the dialogue about how ASU can maintain the highest standards of academic excellence, while still being an institution that serves an incredibly diverse student body, given President Crow’s commitment to promote access in higher education for a broad cross-section of students,” Tsosie said.

Robert is the director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at ASU and the Lincoln Chair in Ethics at the university. The Lincoln Center develops applied ethics knowledge and disseminates resources to enhance ethical understanding, discourse, decision-making and behavior at the university and beyond.

Robert is a bioethicist and philosopher of biology, and his focus is on cultivating productive dialogue and action in the face of values-based disagreements in a diverse and complex world. In 2008, ASU President Michael Crow selected Robert as one of a handful of promotion and tenure exemplars who exhibit the characteristics of excellent scholarship, teaching and service that represent the New American University.

Last year, Robert co-chaired a task force on Institutional Ethics and Integrity for the University Senate, which resulted in the identification of four aspirational values for Sun Devils to uphold: respect, integrity, responsibility and service.

“My appointment as associate vice provost for ethics will enable me to champion these core values across campus and to inspire faculty, staff, students and alumni to uphold the dignity of our institution,” he said.