Students compete to turn public space into vibrant community

April 14, 2010

Transdisciplinary teams of students from across the" target="_blank">ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will unveil their plans April 16 to transform a dormant public space on the Tempe campus into a vital gathering place for ASU students, faculty and visitors. Announced in October 2009, the" target="_blank">X-square competition creates opportunities for students to bring together their individual creative practices and collaborate in ways that their classes typically do not allow.

“It has been great to experience areas of interest and expertise from students and faculty in the other Herberger schools,” said Alex Schlegel, sculpture student. “One of an artist’s primary motivations is to affect the world, and we can do that so much more effectively if we are willing to collaborate and share.” Download Full Image

Six student teams share their projects for review and evaluation April 15 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the space that connects the Design North and Design South buildings known as “The Bridge.” An international jury evaluates the projects and announces the finalists that are eligible for vote. Jurors for this competition include Bonnie Bentzin, director of ASU Sustainability Practices; Jann Blesener, director of ASU Architecture and Planning in the University Architects Office; Greg Esser, artist and director of Civic Art for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Thomas Lehman, a dancer and choreographer from Berlin; and Valerie Vadala Homer, director of Scottsdale Public Art.

Members of the ASU community are invited to vote for the winning X-square proposal from among six teams’ entries on April 16 in the Gallery of Design. The winning team is announced on the site’s brick square in Neeb Plaza on April 16 at 6 p.m.

The winning team will construct their design and have it occupy the square for nine months, allowing students to experience a project that is actualized on campus. While all of the students are motivated by the opportunity to have a project built and showcased on campus, many students are embracing new ways of thinking and communicating to create their proposal to activate a space for the entire ASU community to enjoy.

“The X-square competition is a huge source of motivation for students who want to apply their learning toward something that can be realized before graduating,” said Bach Tran, architecture student. “This experience is not only comparative to the amount of knowledge I gain from studio but has also taught me to work together in a dynamic team environment, utilizing our expertise and creativity to weave together our individual processes.”

The sense of community that has developed across the institute is exciting to faculty leading X-square.

“X-square provides students with a reason and framework for in-depth exchanges of ideas and methods with their fellow students,” said Adriene Jenik, School of Art director. “In addition to the actual words exchanged, they have gone to each other’s buildings, met other faculty and students and essentially opened up their cultures to one another."

Each team is required to have at least one student from three Herberger Institute Schools: the School of Art, the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture, and one of the other five schools in the Herberger Institute. Non-Herberger Institute students are welcome to participate in addition to the three-Herberger Institute student minimum requirement. Teams also need to have a Herberger Institute faculty adviser. The transdisciplinary collaboration has given students new ways of thinking and working that they have adopted into their other projects and studios.

“I have approached students from other fields to get their insight on my thesis,” said Miles Roberts, architecture student. “Sharing research and collaborating on designs allows me to develop my projects in a more grounded way. Working on X-square certainly encouraged me to collaborate this way.”

Because of the interest generated by the X-square project, the School of Art and the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture created a course for the fall semester about creating small and active public spaces. Public Environments: X-square (ART 494/598 and ADE 494/598) focuses on temporary, long-term installations. X-square serves as an immediate case study for this class, and students from all disciplines are encouraged to enroll.

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Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Jason Franz

Assistant Director, Strategic Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory


Engineering grad program among best in U.S.

April 15, 2010

Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have moved upward among the ranks of the nation’s leading engineering graduate programs, according to the annual survey by U.S. News & World Report magazine released today.

The report shows ASU’s engineering schools improving in the overall quality of the graduate-level education they offer – ranking 24th nationwide among engineering programs at public universities and 44th overall when private universities are included on the list. Download Full Image

Close to 200 engineering school programs are surveyed for the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

The rankings overall put ASU on par for engineering graduate programs with institutions such as Yale University, Boston University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, and the University of Virginia.

ASU’s engineering graduate program is the only one among all Arizona universities ranked in the top 50 nationwide.

Among those programs, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have the 16th largest enrollment of graduate students, and is 32nd overall in research expenditures.

Research expenditures are a reflection of the quality and range of research expertise, indicated by the amount of outside investment and support attracted by universities’ researchers.

The research expenditure’s ranking of ASU’s Schools of Engineering is higher than those of the California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton, Harvard, and Duke University.

Dean Deirdre Meldrum attributes the upward trend in stature to a stronger commitment to ASU’s goals of producing successful graduates and benefiting society.

She points to major steps the schools of engineering are taking to promote innovative approaches to education and entrepreneurship, as well as pursuing collaborative research that combines the diverse range of expertise in engineering and science found at the university.

“I’ve never seen faculty, students and staff who are so focused on accomplishing such a challenging mission.” Meldrum said. “I’m proud to be a part of the revolution going on in engineering at ASU.”

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based in part on peer opinion data gathered from questionnaires answered by deans, program directors and senior faculty at engineering schools, as well as surveys of businesses and professionals who hire new graduates.

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering:


The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University serve more than 4,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students, providing skills and knowledge for shaping careers marked by innovation and societal impact. Ranked nationally in the top 50 engineering schools rated by US News & World Report magazine, the school engages in use-inspired research in a multidisciplinary setting for the benefit of individuals, society and the environment. The school’s 200-plus faculty members teach and pursue research in areas of electrical, chemical, mechanical, aerospace, civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, as well as bioengineering, energy engineering, computer science and engineering, informatics, decision systems, and construction management. The schools of engineering also work in partnership with the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and faculty work collaboratively with the Biodesign Institute at ASU, the School of Sustainability and the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering