President’s Professors advance anthropology, indigenous research and education

April 15, 2014

Two ASU professors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be named 2014 President’s Professors on April 18 at the Faculty Excellence Awards.

Kaye Reed, a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation, will be recognized at a ceremony set to take place at 4:30 p.m., in the Marston Exploration Theater (ISTB-4) on the Tempe campus, hosted by ASU President Michael M. Crow and University Provost Robert E. Page Jr. portraits of ASU professors Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy and Kaye Reed Download Full Image

Guests are welcome to attend the reception at 3:30 p.m. outside the theater.

The President’s Professor award honors faculty who have made significant contributions to undergraduate education at ASU. Awardees are chosen based on a variety of criteria: mastery of subject matter; enthusiasm and innovation in the learning and teaching process; ability to engage students both within and outside the classroom; ability to inspire independent and original thinking in students and to stimulate students to do creative work; innovation in course and curriculum design; and scholarly contributions.

Professor Brayboy joined ASU in 2007. A Centennial Professor, director of the Center for Indian Education and member of the Lumbee Nation, Brayboy seamlessly weaves together rigorous research, teaching and service. He has written and edited five books and authored dozens of book chapters, journal articles, essays, policy and technical reports about the experiences of Indigenous students, staff and faculty, and Indigenous knowledge systems and research methods. He is also an affiliate faculty member in American Indian Studies, Department of English, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Learning Sciences Institute at ASU.

Teaching, he believes, should be “nimble and work in relation to where students are socially, technologically and academically.” Brayboy teaches difficult topics in ways that open up new ways of thinking and relating. “I am guided by a fundamental understanding that courses are spaces for growth, retrenchment and expansion of personhood, belief systems and understandings of the world around us.”

“Professor Brayboy places the student front and center at all times,” said Mary Margaret Fonow, director of the School of Social Transformation. “Much of his research and service concerns the experiences of Native American students in higher education, so his teaching is informed by his scholarship and community outreach. He is generous with his time and talent. Students are fortunate to have such a caring and innovative professor who believes in their potential.”

President’s Professor Reed came to ASU in 1997, at the same time as the Institute of Human Origins, which was originally based in California. A Centennial Professor, research associate in the institute and director of graduate studies in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Reed’s research interests center on biological anthropology, primate evolution, landscape ecology and paleoecology – the use of fossils to examine the ecological context for evolution.

Her studies have taken her to Morocco, Spain, Eritrea, Argentina, South Africa and Ethiopia, where she also teaches at ASU’s Paleoanthropology Field School in Hadar. Her teaching philosophy emphasizes hands-on, life experiences beyond a regular program of study, with accessible faculty to subtly assist in guiding students to their full potential.

“Africa offers more than an education in paleoanthropology," said Reed. "There are life-changing experiences for undergraduates as well – learning how to interact with other cultures, to respect other religions and to consider abject poverty. I like to think that the students who had these experiences were prepared for more than their chosen field of study; they were prepared for life."

Reed received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Faculty Women’s Association in 2013.

“Dr. Reed brings real adventure into her teaching, in the old-fashioned sense of discovery and pushing the frontiers,” said Alexandra Brewis Slade, director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “What I especially admire is that she is doing this in so many different ways – taking students on study abroad to South Africa to discover how early hominids lived, to her more recent innovations in virtual field trip technologies that allow many more students who otherwise can't go to Africa to share that experience as well. She is also just a truly generous mentor, and has helped so many students over the years exceed their own career dreams.”

“I know that I can’t reach everyone who crosses my path,” said Reed, “but I strive to create an environment where the students who desire to pursue learning experiences that they may think are out of their reach will have an ally.”

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


ASU immigration scholar chosen for prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship

April 15, 2014

Arizona State University professor Cecilia Menjívar has been named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, one of a group of 178 diverse scholars, artists and scientists from the United States and Canada who were chosen from almost 3,000 applicants.

“This is truly a great honor, and I will do my best to live up to the expectations of this fellowship,” said Menjívar, Cowden Distinguished Professor and associate director of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University and prominent immigration scholar. portrait of ASU professor and immigration scholar Cecilia Menjívar Download Full Image

Menjívar was appointed by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and plans to use the fellowship to write the book, “Living with the Law,” which will examine how Latino immigrants in Arizona live within the confines of immigration law in everyday experiences when they are waiting for decisions regarding their legal status in the country.

“The book will shed light on strategies immigrants adopt to deal with the fear and risk of deportation, and how their tenuous legal status experiences have transformative effects in their lives and in how they view the law more generally,” Menjivar said.

The book will also have policy relevance in this era when immigration reform is being discussed. “Living with the Law” will analyze immigrants’ everyday experiences of the law, and will focus on the various statuses into which immigrants are categorized, such as waiting for a “green card” and renewing temporary statuses and work permits.

“Given how much of immigrants’ lives are shaped by their legality, they often look to the law to make small and big decisions, to make sense of their place in society and to gain an understanding of their rights and limitations,” she said.

A primary research interest for Menjívar is the effects of immigrants’ legal status on different spheres of their lives, such as social networks, family, gender relations, religious participation and transnational ties, mostly among Central American immigrants in the United States.

In January, she was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council panel on immigrant integration. Menjívar and Boston College Law Professor Daniel Kanstroom recently edited the book “Constructing Immigrant 'Illegality': Critiques, Experiences, and Responses” (2013, Cambridge University Press).

Guggenheim Fellowship candidates are chosen on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. Representatives from this year’s Fellows are from 56 disciplines, 83 different academic institutions, 29 states and two Canadian provinces.

Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted over $315 million in Fellowships to almost 17,700 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poets laureate, as well as winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Fields Medals and other important, internationally recognized honors.