ASU Enterprise Partners honored as top employer for 9th year in a row

September 2, 2022

ASU Enterprise Partners achieved the honor of Top Company to Work for in Arizona for the ninth consecutive year, ranking 20th in the medium employer category.

ASU Enterprise Partners is a private, nonprofit parent company whose mission is to provide an ecosystem of services to create solutions and generate resources to extend Arizona State University’s reach and advance its charter. Top Companies to Work for in Arizona text logo Download Full Image

ASU Enterprise Partners supports ASU through resource raising, realty development, technology transfer, collaborative research and acceleration of ed-tech innovations in support of universal lifelong learning. Its business units include the ASU Foundation, ASURE, Enterprise Collaboratory at ASU and MILO Space Science Institute.

The company employs 285 full-time employees and 50 students.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Top Company to Work for in Arizona for the ninth consecutive year,” ASU Enterprise Partners CEO Dan Dillon said. "Our employees are our most valuable asset.”

The award was presented by Arizona Capitol Times, Best Companies Group and Best Companies Arizona to 100 companies based in Arizona. Companies were evaluated through digital surveys to employees about the organizations' leadership, culture, communication, job satisfaction, work environment, training and development, pay and benefits, and engagement. Employers were evaluated about workplace practices, policies, perks and demographics.

ASU Enterprise Partners’ full-time employees have access to health, wellness and retirement benefits, plus budgeting and personal finance tools, an employer-paid health reimbursement account, employer-paid 401(k) match and discretionary contributions, a hybrid work schedule, discounted tuition to take classes at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona for employees and their immediate family, and access to hundreds of complimentary digital personal and professional development courses, ASU Enterprise Partners Chief People Officer Gina Miller said.

ASU Enterprise Partners celebrates employees’ work anniversaries and personal milestones, hosts employee appreciation lunches and company-sponsored family events. Plus, employees receive their birthday off with pay, in addition to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, generous vacation and sick time, and a comprehensive holiday schedule.

“Employee appreciation and recognition are a big part of our company culture, and we’re always looking for ways to demonstrate our core values,” Miller said. “We also value collaboration and teamwork across the organization and developed an award to celebrate those wins.”

A T-shirt displaying the company’s core values — "We care, we serve, we engage, and we innovate" — is given to employees involved in the collaborative projects.

Collaboration and effective communication are so important that employees complete DISC personal assessments when they are hired to learn more about their communication style to improve teamwork, communication and productivity with others who may have a differing style.

“ASU Enterprise Partners strives to be a people-focused, mission-driven organization that does meaningful work for ASU and the community,” Dillon said.

Michelle Stermole

Senior Director, Public Relations and Strategic Communications , ASU Enterprise Partners


ASU School of Social Transformation welcomes new professor

Lila Sharif teaches newly conceptualized courses about humanities-centered social science

September 2, 2022

The School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University has welcomed Lila Sharif as an assistant professor. 

As a former professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Sharif's focus was coursework centered on race, food, settler colonialism, war and migration.  Portrait of Lila Sharif, assistant professor at ASU's School of Social Transformation. Lila Sharif Download Full Image

The school sat down with Sharif to discuss academic methodology and long-term professional goals as an educator at Arizona State University.

Question: Please introduce yourself; where are you from?

Answer: My name is Lila Sharif. I am a creative writer, educator and activist. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California (Tongva lands), and have also lived in the Middle East. My parents are from Palestine, which has inspired my work on land, culture and food, especially for displaced and colonized peoples today. I'm trained as an ethnic studies scholar and sociologist, I use an interdisciplinary approach to thinking and writing about land, food and culture in a way that connects local experiences to global processes of power — and how people work against settler colonialism and racism in life-affirming ways and in everyday practices. 

Broadly, my work conceptualizes land, food and culture through a global Indigenous perspective that focuses on Palestinian experiences in the homeland and diaspora. My first solo-authored book is about how the olive — which has been cultivated in Palestine for 7,000 years — mobilizes decolonial aspirations for Palestinians worldwide. I have published essays as well as poetry in both academic and public journals.

Q: Can you tell us about your professional and academic background?

A: Before arriving at ASU, I was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the department of Asian American studies. I enjoyed teaching courses on race, food, settler colonialism, war and migration. I am so excited about offering new and exciting courses at ASU at the School of Social Transformation! I graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in sociology before earning a dual PhD in sociology and ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. I had the honor of working with path-breaking ethnic studies scholars there, including Dr. Yen Le Espiritu. For my dissertation, I completed ethnographic research in Palestine, Jordan, and the United States, as well as cultural studies analysis of the cultural, material and historic significance of olives from Palestine.

At ASU, I will be completing a book on the topic and teaching courses in global Indigenous studies, decolonial methods, transnational feminisms, food and race, critical refugee seediest, ethnic studies, and Arab American and Muslim American experiences. I can’t wait!

Q: What’s something you learned during your professional or academic journey that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: My research confirms the resilience of the Palestinian people in their struggle for their homeland as well as against empire and racism. More broadly, it reminds us of the everyday work people of color and Indigenous people do to insist on better lives for themselves and their families, especially women in these communities.

Q: What types of social problems do you work on? Why do you think they are important? 

A: I am concerned with the ongoing exploitation of the world’s Indigenous people and the lands they hold sacred. I am also concerned with race, forced migration (refugees), and other forms of structural violence that are based in systems of racial capitalism and settler colonialism. These are important because they impact people in every way and they need to be analyzed carefully. This kind of work also allows us to envision better worlds and futures for ourselves and the environment.

Q: How did you become involved in this type of work? What inspired you to continue working for social change?

A: I began my academic career at Santa Monica Community College, where I studied sociology and joined the anti-war effort. I organized with BIPOCBlack, Indigenous and People of Color classmates, as well as folks from Palestine, Native America, Afghanistan, El Salvador and Mexico. We read political theory, discussed current events and organized marches, rallies, protests, teach-ins, die-ins, workshops, lectures, vigils and other events all over Los Angeles. That experience early would ultimately shape my life, work, identity and vision for a more just world.

Q: What are some of the approaches and methods you use in your work and teaching?

A: I am a humanities-centered social scientist that uses archival research alongside geographic information systems, critical theory and ethnography to answer questions around Black queer communities’ relationships to spaces, places and landscapes. In the classroom, I am very big on popular education and Black feminist pedagogies where we use our lived experiences as a tools to understand class material.

Q: What organizations or individuals outside of ASU do you interact with?

A: I am involved with The Critical Refugee Studies Collective — a group of interdisciplinary scholars who advocate for and envision a world where refugee rights are human rights. As someone whose family has been displaced, this is both a passion project and an intellectual hub. We have just written a book out this month called "Departures."

Q: What do you like most about this work? 

A: What I love most are connecting with students and thinking critically, creatively and compassionately about how we want to make and sustain better worlds and futures for ourselves and our communities. I also love collaborating with colleagues on exciting projects, and look forward to doing big things at the School of Social Transformation.

Q: What are some of your long-term professional goals?

A: I would like to build a network of Indigenous activists and communities from different backgrounds and lands who come to ASU to share their histories and connect with one another and with students. 

Q: What advice do you have for students?

A: When you get stuck, start with what you know.

Marketing Content Specialist, Graduate College

Voto Latino CEO named 2022 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecturer at ASU

September 2, 2022

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University has named María Teresa Kumar, founding CEO of Voto Latino and Voto Latino Foundation and an Emmy-nominated on-air analyst for MSNBC, as its 2022 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecturer.

Kumar’s keynote, titled “Our Changing America,” will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Carson Ballroom at Old Main on the ASU Tempe campus. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available online. Portrait of Maria Teresa Kumar. Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino Download Full Image

A Colombian-American, Kumar deeply understands and is personally part of the fastest-growing demographic group in America. This has given her a unique platform to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, including police reform, gender pay equity, immigration, diversity and inclusion in tech, protecting the vote and climate justice. She has dedicated her career to engaging the public to build democracy and protect human rights.

Kumar is a former host for Changing America on and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

In 2013, Elle Magazine named her one of the 10 most influential women in Washington, D.C. Washington Life Magazine named her to the Power 100 in DC.

Hispanic Business listed her among the 100 most influential Latinos in America. Fast Company called Kumar one of the top 100 Creative Minds for her work at Voto Latino using technology, celebrity voices, media and youth themselves to empower a generation of young voters.

Under her leadership, Voto Latino has become a key factor in national elections by directly registering over a half million voters and influencing millions more through viral, celebrity-driven campaigns.

As the country’s largest Latino voter registration and mobilization organization, Voto Latino has played a decisive role in American elections and been a major voice countering disinformation in the Latino community. Under Kumar’s leadership, this work has garnered numerous awards and recognitions.

In the 2020 election, Voto Latino and Voto Latino Foundation raised $34 million combined — the most of any Latino organization in American electoral history — and registered 612,000 voters, also a record. Since its founding in 2004, the entities have raised more than $75 million and directly registered 1.1 million voters. 79% have gone on to vote.

Kumar is known for applying consumer marketing strategies to civic engagement. Voto Latino has pioneered the use of technology (including artificial intelligence best practices and data modeling), social media and celebrity influencers to effectively register voters and counter disinformation at unprecedented scale.

Kumar serves on the national boards of Planned Parenthood, Emily's List and the Latino Leaders Network, and is a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover and a Council on Foreign Relations Life Member.

She is a frequent guest analyst on NPR and PBS, and was a recent panelist on Bill Maher’s HBO show. She has been an opinion writer for national publications and a speaker at major conferences, including for GE, Prudential, Intel, SXSW, NetRoots Nation, Personal Democracy Forum and TEDx.

She started her career in 1997 as a legislative aide for then-Democratic Caucus Chair Vic Fazio. Kumar earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California at Davis.

ASU Honors Faculty Fellow recognized by Western Literature Association

September 1, 2022

“High-caliber scholarship,” “exemplary” and “bold” were words used by members of the Don D. Walker Prize Committee of the Western Literature Association to describe an essay by Alexander Young, Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.

Young’s essay, titled “Settler Colonial Studies and/as the Transnational Western: Resistance and Representation in Academic Discourse and Cultural Production,” published in History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History 11.1 in 2021, received honorable mention for this year’s award. Portrait of Alexander Young, Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. Alexander Young, Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. Download Full Image

The essay, the readers commented, is rife with “sophisticated theorizing,” “well-done close readings” and “meta-critical rigor.”

It is also “high stakes,” laying out a “comprehensive critical web of connections” between the “critical regionalism and the global scale” that includes the weighty “topics of social death, imagined Indigeneity, resistance to capitalism, and the challenge of representation by the anticolonial intellectual mind,” prize committee chair Emily Lutenski wrote in a letter to Young.

The Western Literature Association is holding its annual meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 19–22. Young’s honorable mention will be officially announced at the conference banquet.

“I am honored to be recognized for my work by the Western Literature Association, a scholarly association that has been an essential community for me since my earliest days in graduate school,” said Young, who earned a PhD in English at the University of Southern California in 2015.

“As a scholar focused on the study of the culture of the U.S. West in its transnational contexts, the WLA is a community that has helped shape so much of my work as a researcher and a teacher at Barrett, so it's great to know that my work is having an impact on a group of scholars who have taught me so much over the years,” he added.

In the article, Young compares two recent Western films – the 2016 U.S. film "Hell or High Water," directed by David Mackenzie, with a screenplay written by Taylor Sheridan, of "Yellowstone" fame, and "Goldstone," written and directed by Indigenous Australian filmmaker Ivan Sen, that are critical of the myth-making function of their genre.

Young said he has long been fascinated with the “often troubling ways that the United States and Australia mythologize their remarkably similar histories of frontier violence,” adding that there is a decades-long tradition of Australian Westerns that dramatize, and often distort, the history of the conquest of Indigenous peoples in the same way that the Western genre has dramatized and distorted similar history in the U.S.

“These contemporary Westerns, I argue, force their audiences to ask pressing questions about the national mythologies that misrepresent the ongoing violence of settler colonialism, and allow us to think about new possibilities for imagining the relationship between settlers and Indigenous peoples,” Young said.

Young has taught Sen’s films during Barrett Honors College’s study abroad program in Australia and in an honors course on race and sexuality in the Western last semester.

“Both times I taught Sen's work, I've been so impressed by Barrett students' ability to build on my enthusiasm for his films to make original critical insights about them,” Young said.

“This particular article also had its origins in my work as a teacher: I saw 'Goldstone' during its theatrical release in Melbourne, Australia, when I was teaching my first study abroad course, when I was a postdoctoral scholar at USC. It had a profound impact on me, and one of my students on that trip, Bowen Du, who is now a graduate student at UC Davis, is writing a dissertation on literature and settler colonialism, and is a member of the WLA!

"So it's extra rewarding to have a piece of my scholarship recognized that has been so closely tied to my work in the classroom.”

Nicole Greason

Director of Marketing and Public Relations , Barrett, The Honors College


ASU School of Life Sciences names renowned geneticist Nancy Manley as new director

August 31, 2022

Arizona State University has named Nancy Manley as the new director of the School of Life Sciences. 

A world-renowned geneticist who specializes in the thymus organ and its effect on immunity and aging, Manley says she is excited to act on the promise of swift and innovative change offered by ASU to leverage the range of the School of Life Sciences and guide it to new heights.  New ASU School of Life Sciences director Nancy Manley sits at her desk smiling at the camera. Nancy Manley received her PhD in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has served for 20 years as Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia, where she also served as head of the Department of Genetics. Her research focuses on the thymus — the organ primarily responsible for the creation of T cells, an important component of the immune system. Download Full Image

“This is, of course, the thing that is the very favorite of all chairs and directors: future hiring and developing strong research initiatives that really leverage what we have now, and innovate across the breadth of (the school),” she said. “It’s definitely one of the things that attracted me here  that breadth, that scope of life sciences. I would say it’s probably unique in the country for a single unit to have that breadth.”

The School of Life Sciences is a unit of the natural sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and one of the largest academic units in the university. Founded in 2002 as one of the first interdisciplinary units as a part of ASU President Michael Crow’s New American University, the school has since grown to 6,000 students and 160 faculty collaborating on cutting-edge interdisciplinary initiatives and leading ground-breaking research in a variety of fields. 

"I look forward to working with Dr. Manley and I’m confident that her impressive skill set, in partnership with the School of Life Sciences community, will help advance the school’s efforts to innovate in immersive and adaptive learning, foster academic excellence, incubate transformative research and develop inclusive environments for students pursuing programs and careers in the life sciences," said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences.

In addition to her far-reaching goals for driving new research initiatives, Manley is passionate about enriching the student academic experience through exciting programs, improved recruitment practices and increased access to quality research experiences. 

Manley is particularly passionate about advancing the success of graduate students, and is looking forward to connecting the many facets of the School of Life Sciences to strengthen recruiting, hiring and retention. 

“Our graduate program has wonderful students, and there is so much potential for really taking that to the next level. I’m very excited to do that,” she said.

The School of Life Sciences undergraduate program enrollments have seen astonishing growth in recent years, particularly with the launch of five degree-granting programs through ASU Online, increasing online student enrollment to over 3,300 students. 

“The undergraduate path, program and growth recently has just been astonishing,” Manley said. “We need to get ahead of future growth and have a strong plan in place to make sure that the quality and scope of those programs remain as strong as they are now, and that the online and immersion programs are aligned with each other.”

Manley is adamant that the opportunity extends well beyond the classroom. Hands-on research experience is a crucial element of the undergraduate academic journey for life science students, and she considers it her role to support the development of those opportunities. 

“The stronger and broader our research program is, the more opportunity there is for undergraduates to get involved in research and everyone should be involved in research,” she said. 

“Science is about doing, it’s not about knowing,” she said. “I always tell undergraduates to get in a lab as soon as you can; don’t wait, do it now. Because if you like it, you’re going to want to be in the lab a lot. And if you don’t like it, you need to know that now  so that you can find out what it is that you do want to do.”

Manley is no stranger to implementing large-scale changes, and brings a wealth of experience in academics and leadership to her new position. 

She received her PhD in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989 and has led a remarkable career. She comes to ASU after 20 years at the University of Georgia, where she was a Distinguished Research Professor and served as the head of the Department of Genetics for the last five years.

An expert in developmental biology and molecular genetics, Manley's research focuses on the thymus  the organ in the body primarily responsible for the creation of T cells, an important component of the immune system. 

Two of the largest collaborative research projects she is currently working on involve gaining a better understanding of the development and function of the thymus in neonatal and aging immune systems, addressing the issue at the furthest boundaries of the life span. 

The immune system actually ages relatively early compared to other elements of the body; the thymus has dramatically reduced capacity to generate new T cells by age 30. While the T cells your body produces in childhood through adolescence are designed to last for decades, functionality starts to decline when production stops, and then continues rapidly at around 50–60 years of age. 

The steady deterioration of T cells to shape and control immune responses potentially underlies numerous other aspects of aging. 

“Obviously, your increase in susceptibility to infectious disease is a direct line, certainly in increased rates of autoimmunity  it’s directly an immune system phenotype,” Manley said. “But aging of the immune system has been implicated in heart disease, in increased rates of cancer, in Alzheimer's … It is implicated in everything.”

Manley and her research collaborators across the country are searching for a way to either slow down the progression of aging in the immune system, or perhaps reverse it entirely by creating new T cells. 

At the other end of life, her lab is also working to understand the function and evolution of the neonatal immune system. Infants carry an entirely different immune system at birth, and a functionally different thymus than an adolescent or adult. 

As an adult, your immune system relies largely on memory T cells  cells that establish a sort of pattern or protocol as you are exposed to diseases and infections and successfully overcome them throughout your childhood. 

“As an adult, as soon as you get sick, you’ve got some memory T cell that has seen that before, and they can fix it fast,” Manley said. “The immune response is faster because you’ve got those memory cells  that’s what memory cells are for.” 

Infants, however, have yet to be exposed to any of these memory-forming experiences. But they still need some sort of protective immune response. As such, the T cells produced in a neonatal thymus need to be quite different. 

Neonatal immune systems include T cells called virtual memory cells, which share some of the same characteristics as true memory cells. They respond very quickly to infection, but this same speed also has the potential to become damaging, so the thymus also produces a secondary set of T cells specifically designed to monitor and control the virtual memory cells. 

These cells stay with you as your immune system transitions into adulthood, and experts theorize that they continue to play very crucial and specific roles in lifelong immunity. 

“So our part of that project right now is trying to tease out the different functions of the cells that were made in the neonatal thymus and the cells that are made in the adult thymus. And to also ask, 'OK, what is it about that neonatal thymus that makes those special kinds of T cells?'” Manley said. 

A better understanding of the neonatal thymus also has significant implications for combating aging in immune systems by seeking a way to create new T cells. If a critical component of an adult thymus has to be made in a neonatal thymus, then developing a way to recreate adult T cells could end up with a crucial element missing. 

“All of this is linked,” Manley said. “That’s why we work across the entire life span  no individual time is a capsule unto itself. It’s all connected.”

Manley brings a similar philosophy to leadership: 

“I very much view leadership  academic leadership in particular, but leadership in general  as being a service job. You do this for other people; you don’t do it for yourself,” she said. “Leadership is actually not about what one person does, ever. Leadership is about what you do with your team. And that team that is already in place here is very good.”

Manley says she is excited to launch this new chapter in her career at ASU. 

“I feel like I’m at a point now where I want to pivot to be more outward-facing and to have an even bigger impact from what I do,” she said. “And I feel like being the director of SOLS is going to give me the opportunity and the platform to really do that.

“That and the reputation that ASU has for being not just an innovative institution, but one that really practices what it preaches.

“You want to try something? Propose it. Let’s get something on the ground, let’s try it and see if it will work. Very few institutions are fast-moving at the size and scope of a public university like ASU is, and I’m just very excited to be here,” she said. 

Dominique Perkins

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Life Sciences


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The College welcomes impressive set of new leaders to ASU this fall

August 31, 2022

Spanning a range of fields, dynamic new leaders are determined to chart new courses, make a lasting impact with students

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University has a full roster of new leaders, and they’re eager to welcome students. 

“We are very fortunate to have high-caliber leaders starting with us this fall,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College. “I am looking forward to seeing their continuing contributions to our students and ASU at large.”

John Carlson

John Carlson, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict

In addition to being the new director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Carlson is also an associate professor of religious studies whose research explores how religion and moral inquiry inform the understanding of political life. His writing spans topics of war and peace, religion and violence, democracy and civic life, among other areas of interest. A major focus for the fall and beyond will be the Recovering Truth project, which will see the center partner with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to undertake a three-year project examining religion, journalism and democracy in our current “post-truth” moment.

At the core of the project is a collaborative lab for scholars, journalists, civic leaders and students to deliberate together about the status and place of truth in democratic life.

“Religion is deeply bound up with the enormous challenges we confront in our world today, at home and abroad: the rise of nationalism in various forms; frontal assaults upon truth, democracy and human dignity; and even the insistence that human beings are masters of our fate who can save ourselves through science, technology and faith in progress,” Carlson says. “The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is devoted to understanding how religious ideas and practices are tied to these problems — and how religion can be part of the solutions, as well.”

Carlson is also working on plans for celebrating the center’s 20th anniversary next year.

Nancy Manley

Nancy Manley, School of Life Sciences

Nancy Manley, a world-renowned geneticist who specializes in the thymus organ and its effect on immunity and aging, joins the School of Life Sciences as its new director. Previously, she was at the University of Georgia, where she served as the head of the Department of Genetics for the last five years and as Distinguished Research Professor for the last 20 years. 

"I look forward to working with Dr. Manley and I’m confident that her impressive skill set, in partnership with the School of Life Sciences community, will help advance the school’s efforts to innovate in immersive and adaptive learning, foster academic excellence, incubate transformative research and develop inclusive environments for students pursuing programs and careers in the life sciences," said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences.

Having received her PhD in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989, Manley’s research interests are in the fields of developmental biology and molecular genetics, and her current work focuses on the evolution, fetal development, postnatal function and aging of the thymus, the primary organ responsible for the generation of T cells.

“I feel like I’m at a point now where I want to pivot to be more outward-facing and to have an even bigger impact from what I do,” Manley says. “And I feel like being the director of the School of Life Sciences is going to give me the opportunity and the platform to really do that. Leadership is actually not about what one person does, ever. Leadership is about what you do with your team. And the team that is already in place here is very good.”

Manley is also the latest in a series of women heading STEM-related units at ASU.

David Sailor

David Sailor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

David Sailor is the new director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Prior to joining ASU in 2017, Sailor was a faculty member at Tulane University, from 1993–2003, and Portland State University, from 2003–2016. His scholarly pursuits include examining the intersection of climate with the built environment and working extensively on quantifying the causes of and prospects for mitigating the urban heat island effect.

Sailor’s main objectives for the school are to improve the quality of outcomes for students while simultaneously growing educational offerings. He also hopes to leverage the school’s strengths in planning, urban climate science and geospatial research to grow leadership within ASU and with community and industry partners.

“We are engaging with local communities and governments, including through direct partnership with city government offices,” Sailor says. “For example, one of our faculty has a joint appointment as an associate professor in our school and as the inaugural director of the new Phoenix Office of Heat Response and Mitigation. Efforts such as this greatly enhance our local impact and social embeddedness.”

He believes that Arizona is uniquely positioned to address the pressing environmental issues affecting the country and the world. 

“One of the grand challenges facing ASU, and the Phoenix metropolitan area in particular, is that of thriving in one of the hottest and rapidly warming metropolitan areas in the country,” he says. “We have planners and urban climate scientists with deep expertise in addressing extreme heat, and community partnerships that position us to tackle these challenges and serve as a model for cities around the world.”

Rebecca Sandefur

Rebecca Sandefur, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

Professor and sociologist Sandefur joined the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU in 2019 as a faculty member.

I came to ASU because of the values that are in the charter,” she says. “It's about excellence in teaching and research, and it's about having a positive impact on the communities that we live in and that we serve. And it was wonderful to me that there was a place where I could do my work that had those values.”

Only a few short years later, she became the school’s new director. 

Sandefur, who previously taught at the University of Chicago, is also a faculty fellow at the American Bar Foundation and the editor of “Law and Society Review.”  She has lived the values so important to her for more than a decade through her research pursuing a more equitable, accessible civil justice system. Sandefur is eager to welcome new students during her first academic year as director.

Sarah Tracy

Sarah Tracy, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

Tracy received her PhD at the University of Colorado and began her academic career at ASU in 2000. At ASU, Tracy has served as assistant professor, associate professor, Herberger Endowed Professor and full professor, as well as in a variety of administrative positions, including director of doctoral studies, director of The Transformation Project and interim director.

In her new role as director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Tracy will direct one of the largest communication schools in the world and administer five degree programs — which include approximately 2,000 undergraduate majors, 250 online master’s students and 50 doctoral students. 

“With communication being the top skill sought by employers, our school provides the knowledge needed for students to excel in a variety of career trajectories,” she says.

Andrea Chatwood

Communications Specialist , The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change welcomes 3 new faculty members

August 31, 2022

With the start of the new school year, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, an academic unit of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, has welcomed three new members to the school's faculty

“We are very excited to add these three esteemed researchers and educators to our faculty,” said Chrsitopher Stojanowksi, director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “Each of them brings a unique perspective and expertise to our school.”  

Portrait of Christopher Caseldine, an ASU assistant research professor.

Christopher Caseldine, assistant research professor 

Caseldine is the collections manager for anthropological collections in the Center for Archaeology and Society at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and now joins the school as an assistant research professor for fall 2022. 

“I have diverse research interests, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA),” Caseldine says. “The fall semester marks the beginning of the NAGPRA learning track – the only NAGPRA educational program in the United states. Students will learn the various steps necessary for NAGPRA compliance and they will learn about the background and wider implications of NAGPRA.”

Other areas of interest and research for Caseldine are ancient irrigation and Hohokam identity. 

“I focus on Hohokam irrigation of the lower Salt River Valley where Arizona State University is located,” Caseldine says. “I'm particularly interested in the institutions and roles that the ancient farmers interacted with during the over a millennium of irrigation in the valley and which continue today.

“Hohokam — who are the ancestors of the Akimel O'Odham, Tohono O'odham, Hopi and Zuni — were commonly characterized as a single entity: red-on-buff pottery, large-scale irrigation, ball courts, marketplaces and so forth. However, people that ascribed to Hohokam identity did so differently across the Hohokam region consisting of the Phoenix Basin, Tucson Basin, Tonto Basin, Safford Basin and neighboring areas in Arizona. Even within the Phoenix Basin, which has been described as the core of the Hohokam world, there appears to be differences that may have been marked by irrigation system membership.”

Caseldine was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps prior to starting his undergraduate studies. He also enjoys running. 

“I picked up running last year after a hiatus, after reading the ASU News story ‘Running toward the pain cave,’” Caseldine says. 

Caseldine received his doctorate in anthropology from Arizona State University. 

Portrait of India Schneider-Crease, as assistant professor at ASU.

India Schneider-Crease, assistant professor

Schneider-Crease was most recently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Evolution and Medicine and joins the School of Human Evolution and Social Change as an assistant professor. 

“My research uses a One Health approach to test hypotheses about the ecology and evolution of infectious disease transmission in dynamic natural systems, using tools from ecology, epidemiology and immunology to understand and disrupt transmission,” Schneider-Crease says. “I work across systems, collaborating with other researchers and public health institutions on projects focusing on infectious disease in wildlife and humans.”

She is also co-director of the Kasanka Baboon Project in Kasanka National Park, Zambia, and a member of the Simien Mountains Gelada Project in the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia.

“I also co-lead community and conservation projects in Ethiopia, and am currently working with the ASU chapter of Engineers Without Borders to support a small-scale recycling plant in Debark, Ethiopia, that will combat waste arising from wildlife tourism while offering additional sources of revenue in the community,” Schneider-Crease says. 

Schneider-Crease received her doctorate in evolutionary anthropology from Duke University.

Portrait of Helen Elizabeth Davis, an assistant professor at ASU.

Helen Elizabeth Davis, assistant professor

Davis joins the School of Human Evolution and Social Change as an assistant professor in evolutionary anthropology. She is also joining the Institute of Human Origins as a research scientist. 

“My research focuses on how learning content and transmission channels shape what, when and from whom children learn,” Davis says. “Specifically, I am interested in how one particular cultural institution, compulsory formal schooling, has shaped the human mind. To investigate these topics, I rely primarily on longitudinal, quasi- and natural-experiments in South America and Southern Africa."

Before joining ASU, Davis held a research associate position in Harvard's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah. Davis received her doctorate in evolutionary anthropology from the University of New Mexico.

Top photo: Exterior of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change building on ASU's Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU

Nicole Pomerantz

Communications specialist , School of Human Evolution and Social Change


ASU center wins national interprofessional collaboration award

August 30, 2022

The team from Arizona State University's Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPER) was recognized earlier this month for its excellent work. CAIPER provides evidence-based strategies, training and education to increase understanding of team collaboration and its impact on health care.

The team received the 2022 George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award in front of their peers and national colleagues at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education’s annual Nexus Summit on Aug. 20. The team from CAIPER pose for a group photo in front of a stage after accepting a national award. The team from ASU CAIPER poses with the current and past directors of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. From left: Jody Thompson; Nina Karamehmedovic; Yvonne Price; CAIPER Director Barret Michalec; Kaitlyn N. Félix; Barbara F. Brandt, founding director of the National Center; National Center Director Christine Arenson; and Gerri Lamb, founding director of CAIPER. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Download Full Image

The award celebrates “exemplary interprofessional collaboration in the United States and those who are thinking and acting differently where practice and education connect in health systems.” It’s given annually and was initiated in 2016.

CAIPER Director and Associate Professor Barret Michalec was ecstatic to learn the team was selected for this prestigious award.

“This is the award in our field, so it’s a testament to our focus, our drive and our innovative approach to interprofessional education, research and practice. We couldn’t be more honored, and I couldn’t be more excited for our team,” he said. 

It’s also a full-circle moment for CAIPER, which was established in 2015 with the help of the award’s namesake and the National Center. At the time, Thibault was the president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which awards grants to organizations “working to improve the health of the public through innovative projects that advance the education and training of health professionals.”

Gerri Lamb, CAIPER’s founding director who now serves in an advisory role, says that Thibault came to ASU early on to meet with university leadership and help champion the center.

“Dr. Thibault and the National Center were instrumental in the development of CAIPER. Both had a major presence during our startup and while we were thinking about what the center would look like, how it would be innovative and how it would contribute to what was happening at the time with interprofessional education and practice,” said Lamb, adding, “It’s extraordinary to receive this award that reflects Dr. Thibault’s legacy and also celebrates the 10th anniversary of National Center this year.”

To date, CAIPER has received more than $2.9 million in research funding and grants to support initiatives in interprofessional practice and education.

Close-up of the 2022 George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award, awarded to ASU's Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research.

The CAIPER team received the 2022 George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award in front of their peers and national colleagues at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education’s annual Nexus Summit on Aug. 20. Photo courtesy the National Center

Over the last seven years, the center has issued more than 40,000 certificates to learners worldwide for completing CAIPER eLearning courses and materials.

Today, CAIPER’s work focuses on advancing the science of interprofessionalism and team-based health care through research, though its efforts don’t stop there. The team then takes that science and translates it into training and education for health and social care professionals, faculty, students and industry leaders.

“This is a team that is passionate about developing and delivering the highest quality interprofessional learning solutions. It’s wonderful to see them earn this national recognition for their consistent contributions to transforming health education and health care,” said Edson College Dean Judith Karshmer

Even now, CAIPER continues to evolve. Recently, the center unified with SHOW, the Student Health Outreach for Wellness, to advance the education-to-practice pathway. 

CAIPER has also developed the Learning Solutions Consulting initiative to work with national and international partners to fully integrate CAIPER’s eLearning programs into existing interprofessional programs and curricula. 

In addition, given the growing interest among students and faculty in CAIPER’s research efforts, this fall, CAIPER will launch the BhEAT Lab (Belongingness, Humility, Equity, Affect and Teamness).

All of this work is aligned with the ultimate goal of transforming health care locally, nationally and globally in order to optimize the health of individuals, families, communities and populations.

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation


New ASU assistant professor to explore policy, social identities

August 30, 2022

This fall, Kenicia Wright joins Arizona State University as a new assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS).

“The vision outlined in the charter couldn't have been a better fit for my personal aims and goals,” said Wright. “These factors, as well as my ability to contribute to such rich diversity and passion for excellence and innovation made joining ASU the clear choice for me.” Portrait of ASU Assistant Professor Kenicia Wright. Kenicia Wright's research focuses on public policy and social identities in American politics. Download Full Image

Wright comes to ASU from the University of Central Florida, where she was an assistant professor. She received her PhD in political science from the University of Houston. Her research focuses on public policy and social identities in American politics.

"We are so excited that Dr. Kenicia Wright has joined SPGS. Dr. Wright is a fantastic scholar whose work is receiving national recognition. And the addition of Dr. Wright to our faculty fortifies our already impressive strength in race/ethnicity and politics,” said Magda Hinojosa, SPGS director and professor.

This fall, Wright will be teaching a political science course on public opinion. In the future, she hopes to teach courses related to social identities — race/ethnicity, gender, class, etc. — and intersectionality.

She spoke with ASU News about why she came to ASU and what she hopes to accomplish while at the university.

Question: What is the focus for your area of research, and why did you choose that field?

Answer: My research interests include exploring the effects of social identities on the policymaking process. I often apply intersectionality to study the overlapping effects of multiple social identities on policy preferences, policy implementation and policy outcomes related to health care policy and education policy. I find it important to develop research that contributes to our understanding of pressing issues and highlights the potential relevance of highly rigorous research for everyday life.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your role as an assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies?

A: Being able to learn and interact with students and the ASU community! I am a first-generation college student, so I am eager to be able to learn more about the interests, goals and experiences of ASU students, as well as the history of ASU and the surrounding communities. I've recently started studying questions related to Latina/o/e/x Americans, so I'm starting to develop that research and connect with the extensive body of ASU scholars with interests in related areas.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as you work at the university?

A: I have two major goals that I hope to be able to accomplish: to continue developing research that centers on important and timely topics of groups that are traditionally under-studied in academic work, and to contribute to the growth and success of students in the School of Politics and Global Studies, as well as ASU students more generally.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


New faculty head to lead ASU's Counseling and Counseling Psychology unit forward

August 30, 2022

Arizona State University’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (CISA) is pleased to welcome new faculty head for Counseling and Counseling Psychology Ayşe Çiftçi (pronounced eye-SHAE chief-T-CHEE).

A truly dedicated educator, Çiftçi's distinguished career includes a 16-year tenure at Purdue University, where she most recently served as the department head of educational studies in the College of Education.  Portrait of ASU Professor Ayşe Çiftçi outside with a natural backdrop of green grass and leafy trees. Professor Ayşe Çiftçi joins the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts ready to lead Counseling and Counseling Psychology unit as its new faculty head. Download Full Image

Through her leadership positions and scholarship, she has worked to identify critical factors and develop interventions that will help build more inclusive environments — particularly for marginalized communities — in educational and training settings.

Çiftçi's academic accolades are plentiful, including the American Psychological Association 2014 Presidential Citation, and she’s an APA Fellow in divisions 17 (counseling psychology) and 52 (international psychology). She has more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, has had research funded by the National Science Foundation and is a renowned keynote and international guest lecturer and presenter. 

“We’re delighted to have Ayşe join CISA to lead the CCP faculty in shaping the next generation of counselors and counseling psychologists,” said College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Dean Joanna Grabski. “The need is great for professionals who are dedicated to promoting the health of individuals, families, groups and organizations in a multicultural, diverse society.”

Çiftçi is excited to be a part of CISA’s team. 

“I am thrilled to have an opportunity to lead Counseling and Counseling Psychology (CCP) and be a part of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts leadership,” said Çiftçi. 

“CCP has such a strong reputation nationally and internationally. I am looking forward to leading the unit collaboratively with its amazing diverse faculty, students, alumni and community partners to a new future that is inclusive, innovative and socially responsive.”

CISA’s Counseling and Counseling Psychology unit offers two graduate degrees — the Master of Counseling and the PhD in counseling psychology — at ASU's Tempe campus, and bachelor’s degree programs in psychology (Polytechnic campus) and counseling and applied psychological science (Polytechnic campus and ASU Online); the latter includes a concentration in substance abuse and addictions.

CCP is also home to the ASU Counselor Training Center, which offers low-cost counseling services for ASU students, staff and faculty, as well as the larger community. Anyone living in Arizona is eligible for services.  

As Çiftçi settles into her Arizona life, she is enjoying her new surroundings. 

“It is fascinating to see the biodiversity of the Valley,” she said. “It’s quite an adjustment to the desert environment after living in the Midwest for 16 years and growing up on the coastal city of Izmir (in Turkey)!”

Çiftçi earned her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Memphis and an MS in psychological counseling and guidance, and BS in educational sciences from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

Theresa Cordon

Web Content Communications Administrator, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts