Students may pursue new ASU bachelor’s degree in emergency management, homeland security starting this fall

Online, in-person curricula join No. 1-ranked graduate program

April 25, 2023

The top-flight learning experience of Arizona State University’s graduate program in emergency management and homeland security (EMHS) — which U.S. News & World Report has ranked No. 1 in the nation for two consecutive years — will be offered to undergraduates starting this fall.

A concentration in EMHS for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in public service and public policy has been available for many years, said Monica Gaughan, professor and interim undergraduate director in the School of Public Affairs. Plane flies through dark clouds dispersing a red substance. An air tanker drops fire retardant on a recent wildfire near Thousand Oaks, California. Photo by Ben Kuo/Unsplash Download Full Image

But now students seeking careers in EMHS and wanting to take a deeper dive into a full major will be able to do so either online or in person, she said.

Many current students are military veterans with emergency services experience, Gaughan said. Others are already working as paramedics, firefighters, police officers and such careers where advancement could be slowed or halted by lack of a bachelor’s degree.

Students in the new Bachelor of Science program will gain knowledge in expanding areas of EMHS, including cybersecurity and biological threats.

“We tend to think of emergency management as involving natural disasters, but these are human-caused, and so the focus is also on homeland security,” Gaughan said.

Students in the new program, like those already in the graduate version, will learn how to look systemically at managing risk and crises, she said.

U.S. News & World Report announced its 2023–24 rankings earlier this week, listing ASU’s EMHS graduate program as No. 1 nationwide for the second straight year.

The full undergraduate degree program expands on the school’s already impressive EMHS offerings and builds on the expertise of the School of Public Affairs faculty, said school Director and Professor Shannon Portillo.

“U.S. News & World Report ranks the School of Public Affairs’ emergency management and homeland security specialty No. 1 in the nation, and now undergraduate students have the opportunity to pursue a full degree program in this area, or as a specialization in our public service and public policy program,” Portillo said. “We’re excited to launch the full EMHS undergraduate degree online and in person this fall.”

Associate Professor Brian Gerber, co-director of the ASU Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said the new program is important for reasons even a casual observer of news and current events would understand.

“For one thing, we’re living in an increasingly complex world. There is also an increase in vulnerability in cyber- and biosecurity. The work of people who work in responding to and recovering from these hazards and threats is increasingly important,” Gerber said. “These are people entering public service, not just in government, but private-sector companies and nonprofit organizations as well. Students interested in a degree don’t necessarily have to work in government, because almost all organizations will be touched in some way by these disruptions and hazards.”

Students will see how such harms and threats are interconnected and will learn applied, practical skills to address such issues from multiple perspectives, Gerber said. A bachelor’s degree in EMHS is a start toward entering a very challenging professional environment, he said, and the program is designed to hone integrative and future-oriented thinking proficiencies.

“You have to think about these issues in a much broader way,” Gerber said. “If you want to reduce risk, what does that mean on a national or international scale? And how do you need to approach that? It’s more complex than learning to respond to a very specific disaster.”

Assistant Professor Melanie Gall, co-director of the EMHS center, said one important way ASU’s program is different from those of other universities is its emphasis on long-term sustainability thinking.

“Emergency management, when you think about it, is like an iceberg. What you see are the crises above the water, the hurricane, for example, but the rest is below the surface,” Gall said. “The training, the planning, the cross-sector work with the private sector and nonprofits, all these things are hidden from the public view, because when something bad happens, that’s when the cameras show up and you see the death and destruction. You want to have the crises be as little of your work as possible, because you want to avoid them.”

Gaughan said EMHS is one of many disciplines within the School of Public Affairs that focuses more on preventing problems than dealing with them after they occur, she said.

“With many things in government, you don’t know they’re going on, because things are going fine,” she said. “But that means there has been preparation for problems that have not emerged. You can’t prevent every problem, but you can be ready for them.”

Currently, about half of the undergraduate students enrolled in the public service and public policy baccalaureate program have opted for the EMHS concentration, Gaughan said.

Interested prospective students may visit the program website for more information about the undergraduate EMHS degree, or may write to Joe Kaufman at

The School of Public Affairs is part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


10 ASU MBA specialties rank in US News' top 25

April 24, 2023

In the newest U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University ranked in the top 25 across 10 MBA specialty areas, including No. 3 in supply chain management and No. 5 in project management.

The rankings, released publicly today, also named W. P. Carey’s full-time MBA No. 35 in the country, ahead of Pennsylvania State University–University Park, the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Arizona. W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University Download Full Image

With this rankings update, all four of W. P. Carey’s MBA programs — including full-time, part-time, executive and online (ranked in January 2023) — now rank in the top 35. Here's the breakdown of the new MBA speciality and program rankings:

  • Supply chain management, No. 3.
  • Project management, No. 5.
  • Information systems, tied for No. 9.
  • Production and operations, No. 10.
  • Business analytics, tied for No. 16.
  • Entrepreneurship, No. 16.
  • International, tied for No. 16.
  • Management, tied for No. 16.
  • Executive MBA, tied for No. 17.
  • Accounting, tied for No. 19.
  • Marketing, tied for No. 23.
  • Part-time, tied for No. 33.
  • Full-time, tied for No. 35.

The U.S. News rankings are the output of several factors, with methodology updates this year giving greater weight to compensation outcomes and student GPA.

“The results of this year’s rankings reflect areas for continued growth as well as changes in ranking methodology, giving less weight to peer reviews and more weight to employment outcomes,” said Ohad Kadan, the Charles J. Robel Dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The W. P. Carey newly launched bold strategic plan is focused on inclusive excellence, technological innovation, and societal impact through business education. I am confident that these important areas of strategic focus will help propel the school to new heights and will also be reflected in future rankings of our graduate programs.”

The W. P. Carey School's No. 16 entrepreneurship specialty ranking is up from No. 23 last year.

“W. P. Carey is focused on providing an MBA where students learn to both capitalize on their business ideas and help companies think entrepreneurially,” said Luiz Mesquita, associate dean of graduate programs at W. P. Carey. “ASU is No. 1 in innovation, and we make sure that focus on invention permeates our programs.”

>>READ MORE: US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 33 in the top 20 

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


The College earns high marks in US News graduate program rankings

April 24, 2023

Graduate programs in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University are among the best in the nation, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The College, which offers more than 140 graduate degree programs in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, has seven graduate programs included in this year’s survey. Students in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences smile outside Wexler Hall. Students from the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, which was included in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings. Download Full Image

“It’s wonderful to see our graduate programs in the sciences ranked among the top programs in the country,” said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences at The College. “From fundamental discoveries to translational research, the natural sciences have a tremendous impact on the communities we serve.”

The School of Earth and Space Exploration ranked No. 14 overall for earth sciences graduate programs, tied with Yale University and UCLA, among others. The school ranked ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Harvard University and the University of Texas–Austin.

Within the earth sciences specialties, the school ranked No. 6 for geochemistry and No. 8 for geology. In geochemistry, the school shares the spot with Columbia, Princeton and the University of Arizona, and ranked ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Harvard University and the University of Texas–Austin, among others. In geology, the school shares the spot with Colorado School of Mines and is ranked ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Columbia University and Harvard.

Graduate programs in earth sciences offered by the school include master’s degrees in geological sciences and earth and space sciences, and a geological sciences PhD. 

The Department of Physics ranked No. 50 overall for physics graduate programs, tied with Virginia Tech and Florida State University, among others, and ahead of the University of Southern California, Emory University and Case Western Reserve University.

Graduate programs in physics offered by the school include the master’s degree in physics and a physics PhD.

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences ranked No. 55 overall for mathematics graduate programs and shares the spot with Boston University and Dartmouth, among others, and ahead of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Rochester.

For the applied mathematics specialty, the school tied for No. 26 with Cornell, Northwestern University and Pennsylvania State University University Park.

Graduate programs in mathematics offered by the school include the master’s degree in mathematics and PhDs in applied mathematics and mathematics.

The School of Molecular Sciences' chemistry graduate program ranked No. 51 overall, tied with Brown, New York University, the University of Arizona, among others, and ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Harvard University and the University of Texas–Austin.

Graduate programs in chemistry offered by the school include a master’s degree in chemistry and a chemistry PhD.

Through first-of-their-kind degree programs, world-class research and innovative learning experiences, The College is committed to improving communities on a local, national and global scale, while supporting the largest and highly diverse student population within ASU.

>> READ MORE: US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 33 in the top 20 

Allison Connell

Director, Marketing and Communications, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 33 in the top 20

April 24, 2023

Master’s degree program in homeland security maintains No. 1 national ranking

Arizona State University has 14 graduate degree programs in the top 10 nationwide — including one that is No. 1 for the second year in a row — according to the 2023–24 rankings just released by U.S. News & World Report.

ASU’s master’s degree program in homeland security was ranked No. 1 in the country, ahead of George Washington University, Columbia University and University of Southern California, among others. The program, which tied for the top spot last year, is one of seven top-10 rankings for the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, which ranked No. 10 overall for public affairs graduate programs.

“These latest rankings are a reflection of the expertise of our faculty and their commitment to our students,” Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales said.

“Information in all fields of study is constantly evolving, and our professors, instructors and academic mentors invest their time and talents to bring leading-edge knowledge into their teaching and research. Our faculty ensures our programs are relevant and forward-looking, and I am grateful that their efforts are being recognized through these rankings.”

U.S. News & World Report provides several higher education rankings throughout the year, and last fall it rated ASU as the most innovative university in the country for the eighth year in a row. Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report named three ASU Online programs No. 1 in the nation — bachelor’s in business, master in education administration and supervision, and master in education/instructional media design.

In addition to homeland security and the overall public affairs programs, 12 other graduate degree programs were ranked in the top 10 in the latest ranking (with last year’s ranking in parentheses):

  • Information and technology management, in the School of Public Affairs in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions: No. 2 (4), tied with Syracuse University and ahead of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University at Albany–SUNY. 
  • MBA in supply chain management, in the W. P. Carey School of Business: No. 3 (3), ahead of Ohio State University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Texas–Austin.
  • Local government management, in the School of Public Affairs in Watts College: No. 3 (4), ahead of Syracuse University, Indiana University–Bloomington and the University of Southern California.
  • Nonprofit management, in the School of Community Resources and Development in Watts College: No. 4 (4), ahead of the University of Washington, American University and the University of Southern California.
  • Public management and leadership, in the School of Public Affairs in Watts College: No. 5 (4), ahead of Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.
  • MBA in project management, in the W. P. Carey School of Business: No. 5 (2), ahead of Purdue University–West Lafayette, Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Dallas.
  • Geochemistry, in the School of Earth and Space Exploration in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: No. 6 (3), tied with Columbia, Princeton and the University of Arizona and ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Harvard University and the University of Texas–Austin.
  • Urban policy, in the School of Public Affairs in Watts College: No. 7 (6), tied with UCLA and ahead of Indiana University–Bloomington, Syracuse University and Harvard.
  • Geology, in the School of Earth and Space Exploration in The College: No. 8 (5), tied with the Colorado School of Mines and ahead of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Columbia University and Harvard.
  • Elementary teacher education, in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College: No. 8 (12), tied with Stanford University and ahead of UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • MBA in information systems, in the W. P. Carey School of Business: No. 9 (11), tied with the University of Pennsylvania and ahead of University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of California, Berkeley.
  • MBA in production operations, in the W. P. Carey School of Business: No. 10 (16), ahead of Pennsylvania State University–University Park, Harvard and Cornell University.

*The 2023–24 Best Law Schools rankings will be released at a later date.

Notably, Watts College was ranked in the top 20 for all 10 public affairs categories in the latest release. In addition to seven top-10 programs detailed above, Watts College's other programs in the top 20 are: environmental policy, No. 11 (8); public finance, tied for No. 12 (12); and public policy analysis, No. 20 (19). 

“These most recent rankings place ASU as a top 10 school for public policy and administration, ahead of Columbia and Duke,” Watts College Dean Cynthia Lietz said. “The faculty of the Watts College have demonstrated that ASU’s commitment to access and excellence can be achieved. This accomplishment is a point of pride for ASU and our college.”

Overall, 33 ASU programs were ranked in the top 20 nationwide, including the programs detailed above.

Ten are in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Besides the four top 10 programs listed above, the others are: MBA in management, tied for No. 16 (16); MBA in international business, tied for No. 16 (20); MBA in entrepreneurship, No. 16 (23); MBA in business analytics, tied for No. 16 (13); executive MBA, tied for No. 17 (13); and MBA in accounting: tied for No. 19 (14).

Eight are in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. In addition to the top 10 elementary teacher education program and the No. 18 overall ranking, the others are: curriculum and instruction, tied for No. 12 (11); educational administration, tied for No. 13 (15); special education, No. 14 (12); education policy, tied for No. 15 (25); education psychology, tied for No. 17 (17); and secondary teacher education, tied for No. 17 (17). 

In addition to the top 10 rankings for geochemistry and geology, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' overall graduate earth sciences program was ranked No. 14, tied with UCLA and Yale University, among others, and ahead of the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering counted two programs in the top 20: environmental engineering, tied for No. 17 (16); and industrial engineering No. 19 (18). 

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program excellence and statistical indicators about the schools’ faculty, research and students.

ASU individual graduate degree programs that were in the top 50 of the magazine’s rankings include: higher education administration, tied for No. 22; marketing, tied for No. 23; civil engineering, tied for No. 25; aerospace engineering, tied for No. 25; applied math, tied for No. 26; overall business (part-time MBA), tied for No. 33; overall business (full-time MBA), tied for No. 35; computer engineering, tied for No. 36; electrical engineering, tied for No. 36; material engineering, tied for No. 37; mechanical engineering, tied for No. 38; computer science, tied for No. 46; chemical engineering, tied for No. 47; physics, tied for No. 50.

See the full rankings at

More on the individual colleges

Top photo of ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus by Deanna Dent/ASU

Krista Hinz

Copy Writer , ASU Media Relations

Watts College is home to 7 of ASU's 14 top-10 US News graduate rankings

School of Public Affairs earns overall No. 10 spot on nationwide list

April 24, 2023

Six graduate specializations at Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs are among the top 10 in the United States, according to national rankings released today.

In addition, the school itself, located in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, was ranked 10th nationwide in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023–24 graduate public affairs listing. The school's total of seven top 10 designations account for half of ASU's total in the latest ranking.  Watts College, sign, Arizona State University Photo by Mark J. Scarp/ASU Download Full Image

The school’s overall rank rose to 10th from 12th the previous year, outpacing Ohio State University and Texas A&M University–College Station. It tied for the No. 10 spot with Princeton University.

ASU’s homeland security graduate program is ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year, higher than George Washington University, Columbia University and University of Southern California, among others.

The ASU nonprofit management program was ranked No. 4, higher than the University of Washington, American University and the University of Southern California.The program offers courses supported by the School of Public Affairs and the School of Community Resources and Development.

Watts College Dean and President’s Professor Cynthia Lietz said the rankings validate the school’s reputation as one of the best in the nation.

“This new ranking places ASU as one of the top 10 programs for public policy and administration, ahead of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Columbia and Duke,” Lietz said. “The high rankings in emergency management and nonprofit management demonstrate the value of interdisciplinary collaboration occurring across our college. Congratulations to our faculty for demonstrating that ASU’s commitment to access and excellence can be achieved.”

The Watts College is the nation’s largest comprehensive public service college.

The School of Public Affairs’ overall top 10 ranking signifies the “amazing work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Shannon Portillo, school director and professor.

“With six specialty areas ranked in the top 10 and an additional three specialty areas in the top 20, our school demonstrates a breadth of excellence. This year we maintained our No. 1 ranking in emergency management and homeland security, just as we’re expanding our programs in this area, adding a new undergraduate major available to students in person and online,” Portillo said.

“This year, we also moved into the top three in local government management rankings. This recognizes a significant focus of our school. The Marvin Andrews Fellowship program provides an unparalleled experience, preparing future local government leaders. Scholarship of our faculty helps move this field forward, while also working with local governments throughout the country to improve practice today.”

Portillo said the school’s high rankings reflect its commitment to living the ASU Charter by:

  • Preparing students and professionals for ethical, inclusive and effective public service.
  • Conducting cutting-edge research of public value.
  • Engaging locally, nationally and internationally with the communities it serves.

School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Brian Gerber, co-director of the Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said he is grateful for U.S. News’ ongoing acknowledgement of the program’s excellence by retaining the No. 1 homeland security ranking.

Gerber said the high quality of the program is partly rooted in ASU’s emphasis on blending applied knowledge and skills with broader conceptual frameworks.

“This combination is important to understanding ways to improve community approaches to managing hazards and risk,” Gerber said. “It is also fundamentally rooted in the excellence of our students and practitioners with whom we work closely. Those incredibly smart and talented people do great public service work in their communities every day. I am especially proud to be associated with our students and external partners, and this recognition is really their honor.”

The four other School of Public Affairs programs in the top 10 are:

  • Information and technology management, ranked No. 2, tied with Syracuse University and ahead of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University at Albany–SUNY. 
  • Local government management, ranked No. 3, higher than Syracuse University, Indiana University–Bloomington and the University of Southern California.
  • Public management and leadership, ranked No. 5, higher than Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Urban policy, ranked No. 7, tied with UCLA and ahead of Indiana University–Bloomington, Syracuse University and Harvard.

Three other School of Public Affairs programs were ranked in the top 20 nationwide:

  • Environmental policy, ranked No. 11.
  • Public finance, tied for No. 12.
  • Public policy analysis, ranked No. 20.

>>READ MORE: US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 33 in the top 20 

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU lecture series showcases industrial engineering

Inaugural Douglas C. Montgomery Distinguished Lecture at ASU features Harriet B. Nembhard

April 24, 2023

This month, the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, presented the inaugural Douglas C. Montgomery Distinguished Lecture.

Generously supported by Douglas Montgomery, ASU Regents Professor of industrial engineering, the new lecture series serves as a forum for the exchange of current topics related to industrial engineering. Harriet B. Nembhard, a notable member of the industrial engineering community, presented the inaugural lecture on how to apply Quality 4.0 to higher education. Photo courtesy Erik Wirtanen/ASU Download Full Image

To kick off the first annual event, faculty, students and alumni joined guest lecturer Harriet B. Nembhard, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa and an ASU alumna.

A well-respected member of the industrial engineering community, Nembhard researches ways to improve complex systems in manufacturing and health care. She has held academic leadership positions at Oregon State University and Penn State, and her work has been recognized by election to the status of fellow of the American Society for QualityInstitute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Nembhard is also preparing for her new role as president of Harvey Mudd College, beginning July 1, 2023.

“I think Dr. Nembhard was an outstanding choice as the inaugural lecturer for this series,” Montgomery said. “It’s like we hit a home run.”

Kyle Squires, the ASU vice provost for engineering, computing and technology and dean of the Fulton Schools, kicked off the event, thanking Montgomery for his vision in creating the series to raise the profile of the industrial engineering program at ASU and noting that it was a great honor to introduce Nembhard.

Nembhard’s lecture focused on how higher education institutions can benefit from implementing Quality 4.0, a concept that aligns Industry 4.0 technologies — such as artificial intelligence, cyber-physical systems and big data analytics — alongside a robust skillset and competencies in critical thinking, collaboration and leadership. The end result improves the quality of an organization and the outcomes it creates.

“Quality 4.0 is something of a substrate for the way that I’ve approached leadership in many ways,” she said. “It addresses the challenges that academic leaders face from quality training to more technical challenges on the managerial side, and has influenced the way that I lead. I think it offers a lot for academic leaders to contemplate.”

She presented attendees with thought-provoking ideas, providing a basic understanding of Quality 4.0 axes and giving examples of how they can be applied to improve higher-education processes.

Beyond being highly informative, her talk also offered an opportunity for discussion and creative thinking. Participants were challenged to brainstorm solutions for problems, including how Quality 4.0 can improve six-year graduation rates and how to humanize education at ASU.

Nembhard said she hopes that attendees reflect on Quality 4.0 and its potential to impact higher education, noting that her goal for the talk was to encourage reflection and spark curiosity for how industrial engineering can be applied to all areas of life.

“Industrial engineering is about systems, and higher education is a system we can work to improve,” she said. “We, as industrial engineers, have the capacity to influence how rapidly improvements and advancements can happen in the academy through the way that we do strategic thinking and develop a culture of quality and collaboration.”

For Nembhard, her background as an ASU alumna made the lecture experience even more fulfilling.

“Dr. Montgomery’s work was a model for the type of applied research in alignment with industry that really mattered to me early on in my career,” Nembhard said. “To come back to where, in some sense, a lot of the work that I’ve done in my academic career had started is really special. To be asked to give the inaugural lecture is a tremendous honor.”

Equally as fulfilling for Nembhard was the opportunity to recognize her late mother, Helen L. Eastman, also an ASU alumna who studied English. Nembhard dedicated the talk to her mother’s memory.

Nembhard said she hoped attendees would be motivated to more deeply understand the enterprise of academia and work to advance industrial engineering when envisioning the future of higher education.

Esma Gel, a Fulton Schools associate professor of industrial engineering and longtime friend of Nembhard’s, was also in attendance. The two have been friends for 25 years due to their involvement in the industrial engineering community.

“It’s wonderful to be able to see Harriet speak and be recognized for her contributions to this field,” Gel said. “She’s a great person, in addition to being a notable member of the industrial engineering community. So, it’s amazing to see someone like her be rewarded with these kinds of well-deserved opportunities.”

In reflecting on the inaugural lecture, Montgomery noted that his goal for the series is to increase visibility of the industrial engineering discipline, both at ASU and across the field.

“We have a really good industrial engineering program at ASU, and some really outstanding faculty with many noteworthy accomplishments,” he said. “I hope that this lectureship will be an opportunity to celebrate that and also showcase it more broadly to industrial engineering professionals.”

Annelise Krafft

Communications Specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


An electric academic impact

Anamitra Pal, assistant professor of electrical engineering, wins Centennial Professorship Award from Associated Students of ASU

April 24, 2023

Anamitra Pal, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, has recived the Centennial Professorship Award for 2023.

The award — created in 1984 by the Associated Students of Arizona State University, also known as the ASU student government — honors up to three ASU faculty members each year who excel in academic achievement, community service and social embeddedness. Anamitra Pal poses on the rooftop of a building on ASU's Tempe campus. Electrical engineering Assistant Professor Anamitra Pal won the 2023 Centennial Professorship Award from the Associated Students of ASU for embodying the values of academic excellence, community service and social embeddedness in the classroom and beyond. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU Download Full Image

“I am honored to receive this award,” Pal said. “Receiving the 2023 Centennial Award is as much of an achievement for me as it is for the students who have supported me with their hard work and dedication.”

A graduate of Virginia Tech and a faculty member in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering since 2016, Pal’s research specialties are in power grid systems, specifically in monitoring, protection and control of grid functions, energy modeling and smart grids.

The Centennial Professorship Award is the latest notable career accomplishment for Pal, including earning a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2022 and achieving the rank of IEEE Senior Member in 2019. Under his leadership in 2021, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, Phoenix Section Young Professionals Affinity Group also won the IEEE Region 6 Outstanding Affinity Group Chapter of the Year Award.

On fire for the ASU community

Pal volunteers his time to improve the ASU experience for both students and faculty.

He serves at the Fulton Schools’ E2 program for incoming first-year students, where he gives presentations on what students can expect during their time at the Fulton Schools and what societal problems they can help solve through engineering. He also leads student research at ASU through the NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Beyond volunteering to assist in students’ academic and research activities, Pal served as a faculty advisor ASU’s Asha for Education student chapter, which helps support education in areas of India with high poverty rates. The group provides financial assistance and support to non-governmental organizations focused on education projects.

He also supported new engineering faculty as a member of the Fulton Schools New Faculty Advisory Council from 2019 to 2022. The group helps new ASU engineering faculty members adjust to their positions through social activities and professional development opportunities.

Powering up students’ electrical engineering interest

When it comes to his teaching and mentoring philosophy, Pal believes in listening to his students to better understand them.

“I am an advocate of the philosophy that it is futile to win an argument but lose the individual,” he said. “For facilitating open discussions, I create an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and empathy in my research lab. That way, my students can talk about their problems without feeling inhibited by position or personality.”

To engage his students with the topics they’re learning, Pal will relate the concepts he teaches to real-life experiences. When teaching about single-phase induction motors, he uses an example of a fan that requires being pushed by hand to start, even after the switch is turned on.

“It turns out many of the students had faced such a situation in the past,” Pal said. “When I explain to them the reason, a failed starting capacitor, they are able to better relate an electrical engineering phenomenon with their own experiences.”

He also fuels students’ interest in the practical applications of electrical engineering with guest presentations and tours of industry facilities, such as the Salt River Project control center.

Pal’s mentorship inspired Reetam Sen Biswas, a research and development engineer at Hitachi Energy and ASU electrical engineering doctoral degree graduate, to write a recommendation letter to support Pal’s nomination for the award.

“Pal always encourages creative and ‘outside the box’ thinking,” Sen Biswas said. “He shows great enthusiasm and interest when any graduate student comes up with their own ideas.”

Sen Biswas emphasized Pal’s determination to improve students’ professional development by encouraging them to participate in internships and conference paper competitions. He said Pal is always readily available to meet with students for discussions and any assistance they may need.

Sen Biswas also shared that Pal coaches his students to hone their research presentation skills, which also helps them in job interviews.

“After graduation, I was interviewed by a well-known power systems company, Hitachi Energy,” Sen Biswas said. “The interviewers were impressed with my dissertation, securing me a full-time job.”

ASU electrical engineering Regents Professor Vijay Vittal noted Pal’s teaching as well-deserving of the Centennial Professorship Award.

“Anamitra is a very dedicated teacher, and I am glad that his sincerity, enthusiasm and excitement for working with and mentoring students in and out of class has been rewarded,” Vittal said. “He dedicates a lot of time to students, and when he takes on a responsibility, he puts his heart and soul into it.”

Moving the power grid into the future

Matthew Rhodes, SRP’s principal engineer for grid operations support, works with Pal on the company’s joint research projects with ASU. He said that Pal is productive and exciting to work with on the industry research.

“Anamitra is constantly pushing the envelope in research that assists utilities in moving forward to analyze the constantly changing power grid,” Rhodes said. “He has always tailored research to fill currently relevant gaps in utility maintenance and operations.”

Pal’s career and research goal is to fill these gaps in the face of a changing electricity landscape to ensure the future resilience of the power grid. He aims to educate the next generation of power grid workers who can rise to the challenge of using modern, data-driven methods to improve electric infrastructure.

Over the next 20 years, Pal said, artificial intelligence-enabled monitoring, protection and control of the power grid based on accurate, quickly delivered data will be crucial in the face of climate change, renewable energy’s increasing role in power generation and the proliferation of electric vehicles.

“I want to devote my career to creating robust and resilient electric power infrastructure that can ‘keep the lights on’ even under the most strenuous of circumstances,” Pal said.

He will be presented the Centennial Professorship Award during ASU’s Graduate Professional Student Association award ceremony on April 27 on ASU’s Tempe campus. 

TJ Triolo

Communications Specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Social Transformation Lab announces 4 faculty fellows

April 21, 2023

The Social Transformation Lab at Arizona State University has formally announced its 2022–23 faculty fellows.

The lab, founded in 2021 under the leadership of President's Professor Bryan Brayboy and Assistant Professor Mako Fitts Ward, works to co-create inclusive offerings that reimagine equitable, just, intersectional and sustainable systems to deepen personal belonging and end legacies of exclusion and harm. Each academic year, the lab brings on faculty fellows to help further the co-curation of articles, texts and learning sessions to grow its reach. Collage of the four 2022–2023 Social Transformation Lab faculty fellows with a bookcase in the background. The four faculty fellows in the Social Transformation Lab at Arizona State University are working on diverse publications. Download Full Image

“The faculty fellows program provides the time, peer support and resources necessary for faculty to pursue social impact research that advances the university’s aspiration to transform society. This year’s cohort reflects a diversity of research interests, campuses and faculty ranks,” said Ward, who specializes in African and African-American Studies and women and gender studies. 

Ersula Ore is a Lincoln Professor of Ethics and associate professor of African and African-American Studies. Her work acknowledges the divide between civility and Black women’s experiences as citizens in America. Her first book, "Lynching: Violence, Rhetoric, and American Identity," extensively investigates lynching as a racialized social practice that has been intrinsic to the fabric of the U.S. As a faculty fellow, Ore’s research and writing work will culminate in the development of a chapter for her second book. The chapter is titled "Sandy’s ‘Black Looks’: Civility, Contemporal Postures, and Reclamation of Time."

Angie Bautista-Chavez is an assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies. As a faculty fellow, she is currently working on a draft of her book manuscript, "Exporting Borders: The Administrative Architecture of U.S. International Migration Control." The book examines the U.S. immigration system while thoughtfully critiquing inequities within transnational cooperation, which makes obtaining and maintaining U.S. immigration status complicated for some and virtually seamless for others. Bautista-Chavez was recently selected to participate in the American Political Science Association’s Minority-Serving Institution Virtual Book Workshop Project.

Jerome Clark is an assistant professor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies. He is working on a chapter titled “Kǫǫ shíni’ hazłįį’: Diné Situatedness and Colonial Extraction," which will appear in the anthology "Storied Deserts: Reimagining Global Arid Lands" that is forthcoming from Routledge. The chapter shows the connection between land and being amongst Diné people. Clark writes, “For Diné … the land is a repository of memories, history, experiences, and knowledge. I explicate how colonial extractive industries, government leaders and officials, and other white colonial agents operated to hinder and eliminate Diné existence and situatedness.” Clark is the recent recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for the 2023–24 academic year for his monograph, "Bundling: A Diné Theory and Practice of Storying and Future-Making."

Mathew Sandoval is an artist, scholar and associate teaching professor for Barrett, The Honors College. Also known as Professor Muerte, his work follows the ethnographic history and cultural significance of Día de los Muertos between the United States and Mexico. His forthcoming monograph, "A Transcultural Pop History of Day of the Dead: From Heritage to Hollywood and Back Again," highlights the historical reverence and contemporary celebrations of the cross-cultural holiday. The book is also being made into a documentary. “This is a golden opportunity to work with a dope group of scholar-artist-activists to translate our ideas and expertise into solutions for transforming our community, our university and society more generally,” said Sandoval last September in an ASU News article.

In addition to working alongside these dynamic fellows, the lab continues to grow in its mission to expand knowledge and possibility to those at ASU and beyond. Kyra Trent is producing a dynamic dual-format podcast that will be available for listening this summer and promoted under Arizona PBS. The production team includes graduate students Jamal Brooks-Hawkins, Kyle McKinney, Amber Green and Hannah Grabowski and postdoctoral scholar Celina Osuna.

To stay up to date with the latest news on the lab and faculty fellows, be sure to join the mailing list and follow along on Twitter and YouTube.

Kyra Trent

Communications Specialist, Social Transformation Lab

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ASU Library stacked with special collections

April 20, 2023

A look at some of the unique collections in honor of World Book Day

Even in a world of Kindles and eBooks, physical books — with bindings and paper pages — still hold great value, which is why the ASU Library has at least 3.5 million print volumes spread across its seven locations, and a staff of 165 people responsible for their care. 

In honor of World Book Day, we're spotlighting a few of the ASU Library's special collections. The books can be accessed by ASU students, faculty and staff as well as the general public. 

“Our doors are open to all who want to explore the world of books,” says Shari Laster, head of Open Stacks at ASU Library. 

The collections include several incunables — books printed as far back as the 15th century — as well as books that are topping today’s bestseller's lists. 

“We are constantly buying new books,” Laster says.

Rare books are kept in highly secure locations on and off campus for safety and preservation purposes, “so that they will be available for people in the future,” she says. 

Other books, including those in the Sun Devil Reads Collection, are easily accessible to all.

“The Sun Devil Reads collection is not like anything you will ever find in a public library,” Laster says. 

Some collections create spaces where readers can immerse themselves in specific communities and cultures — such as the Labriola National American Indian Data Center — one of the library’s newest additions. 

Patricia Gopalan, collections services supervisor for Distinctive Collections, notes that it is not always the contents of a book that make it rare. Nor does “everything need to be ancient to be special.”

For example, ASU’s Rare Book and Manuscripts collection holds many unusual books, such as a copy of “Dracula” with a bite taken out of the cover and an oversized audubon book with pages that allow for life-sized illustrations of birds. 

Here is a deeper look at some their special collections.

Rare Books and Manuscripts

This diverse collection is part of ASU’s Distinctive Collections. It holds many unusual and one-of-a-kind items, and sometimes shakes up the notion of what constitutes a book. 

One such item is a children’s hornbook from 15th-century England — single-sided alphabet tablets with wooden or leather handles. 

Another treasure in the collection is “Chefs-d'oeuvre of French Literature,” a book with a fore-edge scene painted directly on the edges of the book pages that is visible only when the book is closed. 

The Doris and Marc Patten Collection is also part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, and features herbal and early gardening works. The volumes date back to the year 1485 and are filled with exquisite illustrations and early book designs that have survived (thanks to proper preservation) for more than 700 years. 

Appointments to view materials in Rare Books and Manuscripts, or any of ASU Library's other Distinctive Collections can be made through the Ask an Archivist service

Sun Devil Reads

“The Sun Devil Reads collection is much more of a bookstore experience,” says Laster — without the bookstore prices. 

Inspired by the academic and personal interests of ASU students, the books in this collection are organized into thematic categories to encourage browsing and discovery. Categories include: sports, pop cultures, self-help, romance, mysteries and more.

“If you want a book about knitting, we have it. If you want sci-fi, that’s there too,” Laster says. 

Sun Devil Reads can be found on the second floor of Hayden Library on the Tempe campus.

Latin Americana Collection

This collection includes historically important as well as modern Spanish and Portuguese authors and scholars who write about the day-to-day issues of Latin American life, such as revolution, Indigenous history, race, immigration, independence, enslavement, religion, medicine, cinema, photography, religion through essays, fiction and poetry. 

It includes a sub-collection of one-of-a-kind manuscripts that give voice to female writers in convents in colonial New Spain (1519–1810), including nuns who documented everyday concerns through prayer, poetry and legal documents.

This open stack collection can be found on the lower level of Hayden Library.

The Labriola National American Indian Data Center 

It is very unusual to have an Indigenous library within a library, says Laster. 

The Labriola Center is one of the few repositories in the United States with a focus on information resources created by Indigenous people for Indigenous people. This makes the collection highly sought after. The center receives requests for research consultations with scholars and researchers from around the world.

The data center is responsible for a multidisciplinary collection of resources in American Indian studies and Indigenous education and related topics such as decolonization and cultural resilience. 

The Labriola Center is accessible on the second floor of Hayden Library on the Tempe campus, and a location on the West campus is available by appointment.

ASU Music Library 

What was on Ludwig van Beethoven’s daily to-do list? What errands did he run around doing in Vienna, Austria, each day, before sitting down to his composing table?

The answers to these questions and more can be found in volumes of the German composer’s “Konversationshefte” or “Beethoven’s Conversation Books” — daily  journals that can be found in the ASU Music Library.  

The library is located in the music building on the Tempe campus and is home to more than 35,000 books dedicated to music. There are almost 180 titles featuring the correspondences of Beethoven, as well as such composers as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Claude Debussy — both in their original language and translated.

There are also books on a wide range of musical topics including: general music history, composers, music genres and pedagogy, as well as the the construction of musical instruments and more.

Top photo: “Ortus Sanitatis,” a book about the medicinal uses of plants, is part of the Doris and Marc Patten Herbal Collection, one of many collections in ASU Library’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collections. Books in this collection were written between the years 1485 and 1935. Photo by Dolores Tropiano/ASU News

Dolores Tropiano

Reporter , ASU News

ASU's Institute for Humanities Research announces 2023–24 seed grant recipients

April 19, 2023

Arizona State University’s Institute for Humanities Research, or IHR, has announced five seed grant recipients for 2023–24.

The IHR seed grant program supports humanities-based projects that engage with social challenges in the past, present or future. Successful projects employ humanities or creative interdisciplinary methodologies. The purpose of the program is to enable scholars to develop their research reputation in their field through increased publications, enabling them to be competitive for national grants and major fellowships. The grant also helps enhance the impact of their research by enabling them to disseminate and translate their work to a broader public. Collage of photos picturing Jessica Early, Frédéric Canovas, N. Ángel  Pinillos, Anita Huizar-Hernández and Markus Cruse Left to right (top): Jessica Early, Frédéric Canovas and N. Ángel Pinillos. Left to right (bottom): Anita Huizar-Hernández and Markus Cruse. Download Full Image

“The IHR is excited to support this year’s seed grant recipients and their innovative research projects,” said Ron Broglio, institute director.  “We are honored to collaborate with our humanities colleagues to help with funding to jump-start their work — that will lead to external funding opportunities.”

The 2023–24 IHR seed grant recipients are:

Frédéric Canovas, faculty head of French and Italian and associate professor, French, School of International Letters and Cultures

“Performing Gender at the Time of Colette” aims to bring the work of French writer Colette (1873–1954) and her peers on gender to the ASU community, with a Gay Identities in Modern French Culture course in fall 2023, as well as a series of free public lectures by international scholars specializing in the works of Colette and other female writers and performers of her time, as well as scholars in gender and performance studies.

Markus Cruse, director of graduate studies and associate professor, French, School of International Letters and Cultures

“World Conquest in Medieval Eurasian Literature and Art” examines the origins, uses and effects of ideas about global domination in medieval Eurasia. It focuses on the depiction of figures including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane in French, Latin, Persian and Mongolian texts, and in images produced across Eurasia. This book project shows the deep roots of ideas about global domination that persist to the present, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chinese and U.S. foreign policy, and multinational corporate strategies and capital discourses. This book will illustrate how and why world conquest was normalized in premodernity on a global scale.

Jessica Early, associate chair (personnel) and professor, English (with co-PI Joe Buenker, ASU associate librarian, Humanities Division)

“A systematic review of qualitative research in the teaching of secondary writing.” The literature on teaching writing in American secondary (grades 6-12) classrooms has proliferated over the past few decades, crossing geographical disciplinary, theoretical and methodological boundaries. This project will be a systematic review of research in the teaching of secondary writing from the past 50 years, representing a significant contribution to the field of writing research for scholars and teachers across the globe.

Anita Huizar-Hernández, associate professor, School of International Letters and Cultures (with co-PI Stella Rouse, faculty consultant, Hispanic Research Center)

“A Virtual Exhibition of the Hispanic Research Center’s Latinx Art Collection.” The Hispanic Research Center at ASU has a world-class collection of Latinx art, rivaling the depth and breadth of the most prominent holdings in any location. However, the over 500 pieces of artwork are largely stored offsite in a warehouse and are inaccessible to the public. This project digitizes a subset of this artwork and makes it publicly available as a virtual exhibition, allowing students, scholars and community members from around the world to access this incredible artwork alongside interpretive materials that contextualize its historic and cultural significance for Latinx and other communities.

N. Ángel Pinillos, associate professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

“Philosophical Skepticism in the Real World.” Philosophical skepticism is one of the most significant and enduring ideas in the history of Western philosophy. A common view about skepticism espoused by David Hume, C.S. Peirce, Ludwig Wittgenstein and many other philosophers is that it is an esoteric theoretical invention with little relevance to practical matters. Recent work reveals that this idea may be mistaken. Through survey experiments, corpus research and the study of conspiracy theories, this project investigates the real-world impact of philosophical skepticism as it spontaneously arises in society at large.

The Institute for Humanities Research advances the research, access and engagement mission of the university through the study and promotion of all humanities disciplines, an endeavor central to the understanding and resolution of the most challenging problems of our times.

Learn more about the institute's seed grant program.

Mina Lajevardi

Marketing and Communications Specialist, Sr., Institute for Humanities Research