2 ASU juniors selected for fellowship prepare for graduate school, public service careers

March 2, 2023

The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement has announced that two Arizona State University juniors in Barrett, The Honors College have been selected to participate in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellowship Program, a prestigious program focused on preparing undergraduates for public service careers.

Sami Al-Asady, a double major in political science and civic and economic thought and leadership, will spend time this summer at the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs, while Jordan Harb, a global studies major with a minor in Arabic, will be at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Sami Al-Asady sitting in a class with other students surrounding him. Sami Al-Asady, a junior at Barrett double majoring in political science and civic and economic thought and leadership, will spend time this summer at the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellowship Program. Photo courtesy Sami Al-Asady Download Full Image

The Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) is a not-for-profit organization that has supported efforts to increase diversity in graduate studies in public policy, international affairs and public service for over 40 years. Its Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellowship Program was started to address the lack of diversity across the spectrum of professional public service, including government, nonprofits, public policy institutions and international organizations.

The fully funded JSI Fellowship prepares students to obtain a master’s or joint degree in public policy, public administration, international affairs or a related field. The JSI curriculum includes economics, statistics, domestic/international policy issues and leadership topics and is designed to sharpen students’ quantitative, analytic and communication skills that are vital for admission into top public and international affairs graduate programs.

Once students have completed their JSI, they join an alumni network of more than 4,000 leaders. Alumni network participants have access to mentoring and career development, as well as the opportunity to receive financial support for graduate school by attending one of the programs in the organization’s Graduate School Consortium.

Al-Asady, the son of Bosnian and Iraqi war refugees, said he feels gratitude for the protections of the United States Constitution, open government, freedom and the access he has had to education. That is why he is committed to pursuing a career in public service.

He got a firsthand look at government in action as a White House intern for 14 weeks last fall, where he worked with experts on the COVID-19 Response Team to develop strategies, structures and solutions to rebuild trust, partnerships and equitable health outcomes. He was involved with planning the White House Summit on COVID-19 Equity & What Works Showcase that highlighted the critical role community-based organizations played throughout the pandemic.

“It (the internship) really clarified that government service is what I want to do, and I realized that I really thrived in that environment, being able to work on issues that really matter,” he said.

“And something I really appreciated was being able to bring my perspective as a child of refugees and as someone from the Southwest who has attended state and public institutions my whole life, you know, bringing a different perspective to the East Coast.”

“It was also an extraordinary moment for my family going from escaping wars and genocide to seeing their first son being able to walk in the White House among these esteemed policymakers,” he added.

Al-Asady also gained exposure to government and public policy as a participant in the Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference last fall.

Portrait of Jordan Harb standing on a balcony with a city in the background, smiling and wearing a black and white striped shirt.

Jordan Harb. Photo courtesy Jordan Harb

Harb first became civically engaged after the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 when he was still a high school student.

“Feeling unsafe and neglected in public schools resonated and pushed me to start the Arizona Chapter of March For Our Lives,” he said.

As a March For Our Lives Arizona leader, Harb participated in marches, protests, sit-ins and other actions supporting stronger gun safety measures. He helped introduce a bill in the Arizona Legislature calling for more school counselors to bolster safety and student support in schools.

“We passed state legislation to increase counselors in school just as a bunch of high school students. I later went on to run national strategy for the broader (March for Our Lives) organization. For me, the experience emphasized the importance of collective action and activism,” Harb said.

Harb worked as a March for Our Lives national field strategist and served as a policy consultant for the Arizona Department of Education, where he focused on policy recommendations for the state's school safety task force

Harb, who said he has grappled with mental health issues, expressed excitement for the opportunities the program will present, especially the support for graduate school.

“I did not have the strongest GPA due to mental health struggles. I’m relieved that I will have the opportunity to prepare myself academically for graduate school,” he said. 

“I intend to work in public policy and advocate for public education and mental health care for at-risk students, especially as someone who has struggled and overcome.” 

Current ASU juniors who would like to apply to the PPIA Junior Summer Institutes program for the summer of 2024 can receive guidance from the Office of National Scholarships Advisement, which aids ASU students and alumni with application strategy, writing guidance and interview preparation. The next deadline will be in November.

Nicole Greason

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


Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels to speak at ASU event

Daniels will present the keynote lecture at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s annual spring conference

February 20, 2023

Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, will visit Arizona State University to lecture at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s annual spring conference, this year titled "Ideological Conformity on Campus and in American Society," to be held on the Tempe campus this Friday and Saturday. Daniels will present the keynote address “Purposeful Pluralism: The Future of the University in American Democracy” from 5 to 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

“President Daniels is the most prominent higher education leader to raise the alarm about the lack of serious civic education in most American colleges and universities. We’re delighted he agreed to join our conference discussion about civil disagreement and pluralism on campus,” said Paul Carrese, founding director and professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, is pictured in an outdoor corridor, smiling at the camera with his hands together. Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels Download Full Image

Daniels has focused on strengthening the relationship between education and research and broadened student support and access to higher education. In his 2021 book "What Universities Owe Democracy," Daniels discusses the vital but often overlooked role that institutions of higher education play in modern-day democracy.

“'What Universities Owe Democracy' argues that all university and college graduates must take at least one rigorous course in American civics and the principles of liberal democracy, but also that our campuses must offer students robust experiences of public discourse and civil disagreement about important issues,” said Carrese. “The keynote address by President Daniels will address what he calls 'purposeful pluralism' as a higher education mission — providing experiences for students to observe, and participate in, reasonable debate and disagreement across the divergent views Americans hold about many political and social topics.”

Each year, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership hosts an annual conference to invite scholars, prominent writers and speakers to come together each spring to discuss the school’s annual speaker series topic.

“The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership always features a range of views in the Civic Discourse Project, and our annual conferences are a concentrated showcase of intellectual diversity and civil disagreement. This year’s conference discussing whether there is a culture of censorship and conformity in higher education, and more broadly in American discourse, features prominent and thoughtful speakers who will shed more light than heat even as they disagree about the diagnosis, and possible remedies, for concerns about whether colleges and universities are failing to promote robust inquiry and debate,” said Carrese.

Daniels will be one of several prominent speakers participating in the conference. Christine Emba of the Washington Post will serve as a panelist on the "Feminism and Gender Orthodoxy" panel with Boston College Professor Shep Melnick and Wall Street Journal columnist Abigail Shrier. The panel will debate feminism, sexuality and sexual identity in America’s elite institutions.

Heather Mac Donald from the Manhattan Institute will speak alongside Claremont McKenna Professor Jon Shields and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Professor Joshua Dunn on the "Righting the Left-Leaning American Professoriate" panel, which will discuss the evidence (or lack thereof) of discrimination against conservatives in hiring, tenure and promotion in academia.

The conference runs the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, through the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Ventana Ballroom, Memorial Union 241, and is free and open to the public. The complete agenda and RSVP details can be found here.

The Civic Discourse Project is co-sponsored by the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU.

Molly Loonam

Senior Marketing Outreach Coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

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The College recognizes academic excellence with fall 2022 Dean's Medalists

December 9, 2022

On Dec. 14, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest-achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at the fall 2022 convocation.

Each semester, departments and schools within The College select outstanding students who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. These students will be awarded a prestigious Dean’s Medal in honor of their scholastic achievements.

Meet the outstanding Dean’s Medalist awardees from The College for fall 2022:

 Portrait of Catalina Alvarez Flores

Catalina Alvarez Flores

Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Majors: Anthropology, family and human development

Alvarez is a first-generation Indigenous student from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe with research and career interests in cultural resource management and community involvement.

Through her research, volunteerism and mentorship, Alvarez gave much of her time to not only the Sun Devil community but the local community as well. Serving as a lead chair and committee member for all four campuses, she has led Native American Heritage Month and Indigenous Culture Week for the past three years. Alvarez also held clean-up and educational events around "A" Mountain and its history, served on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, assisted with assembly of the Corsi-Rosenthal Air Filtration Box Project in early 2022, served as a mentor to incoming first-year students through the Student Preparedness Initiative Readiness Inspired by Tradition (SPIRIT) program and currently is both a volunteer and archival assistant at the School of Human Evolutation and Social Change Center for Archaeology and Society.

Catalina has left a lasting impact on ASU with her advocacy through co-founding a student land recognition committee to recognize the land ASU resides on while working with ASU faculty, staff and officials on how we can further support Indigenous students through providing support services, resources and assistance to increase retention for on-ground and online students. 

After graduation, she hopes to utilize the skills obtained through her experiences to pursue her goal of starting a career in her tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

 Portrait of Eric Baker

Eric Baker

Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Majors: Geography, urban planning
Certificate: Geographic information science

Baker represents the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning as an outstanding dual-major student with passion for mapping, planning, land development and real estate. 

While at ASU, he held an internship at McArthur Land Company as a real estate geographic information systems (GIS) mapping intern and was a real estate sales associate who conducted research and used ESRI ArcMap software to create maps and update the land ownership database for the company. Currently, Baker is a GIS analyst for Works Consulting, where he works with many government agencies with GIS-related needs, including data entry and development.

Apart from excelling in his studies, Baker managed to also obtain his real estate license while at ASU. 

 Portrait of Austin Bartunek

Austin Bartunek

Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Major: Physics
Minor: Mathematics

In pursuing his degree at ASU, Bartunek appeared six consecutive times on The College’s Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance. 

In his PHY 334: Advanced Laboratory I course, he showed a dedication to learning and improvement by improving his grades on lab reports throughout the semester.

Bartunek has experience in coding with Python, MATLAB and Fortran. He has conducted research on computational nano-optics, including numerically simulating entangled two-level atoms driven within resonant optical cavities.

 Portrait of Sage Binder

Sage Binder

Dean’s Medal: School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Major: Mathematics
Minor: Philosophy

Binder came to ASU as a transfer student to further his education in mathematics and philosophy. In addition to mathematics, he has strong career interests in computing.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree at ASU, Binder has taken many graduate-level courses in graph theory and combinatorics, as well as a graduate seminar course on recent results in the theory of sparse graphs. He has blended his interests in computing and philosophy by tackling coursework that includes symbolic logic, analytic philosophy, philosophy of science and epistemology

In collaboration with ASU's President’s Professor Matthias Kawski, he has completed a research project in which he investigated visualizing Ricci flows on surfaces of revolution. Once the research was finished, Binder submitted the results to the refereed journal “The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology.”

 Portrait of Enzo Carrascal Marquez

Enzo Carrascal Marquez

Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: Geological sciences

Carrascal came to ASU as a transfer student from the National University of Engineering in Peru. Here he has expanded his deep passion for geology. 

During his time at ASU, Carrascal served as an undergraduate research aide working alongside Professor Dan Shim. He assisted in mineral synthesis of iron-rich silicate samples through multi-anvil press experiments. 

He also worked as a teaching assistant for Assistant Research Professor Duane DeVecchio’s dynamic earth course, where he guided students through concepts in geology, chemistry and planetary sciences.

 Portrait of Rachel Collman

Rachel Collman

Dean’s Medal: T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Major: Family and human development

Collman chose to study family and human development in order to help children and their families overcome obstacles. She received her degree through ASU Online.

During her time at ASU, she worked as a teaching assistant for Clinical Assistant Professor Stacie Foster. This role helped her gain confidence in her ability to serve others.

Balancing school with everything else in life was difficult at times, but Collman made it through with high grades and increased confidence.

She is in the process of applying to graduate school to continue her education.

Portrait of Annie Cooper 

Annie Cooper

Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: Psychology

Annie is a Barrett, The Honors College student with research and career interests in parental involvement in adolescent relationships.

While at ASU, she has immersed herself in serving many times as a research assistant, assisting in studies ranging from cognitive changes following combined hormone replacement therapy at ASU’s Memory and Attention Control Lab to the development and health of romantic relationships in adolescents at the Healthy Experiences and Relationships Across Transitions (HEART) Lab. 

She also worked as a research project interviewer for Schlesinger Group. Cooper is also founder and president of Currents Collective, where she spearheads social media branding across web and digital platforms.

After graduating, Cooper intends on going to graduate school for behavioral neuroscience and hopes to continue conducting research on relationships, mental health and addiction. 

 Portrait of Holly Hemesath

Holly Hemesath

Dean’s Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Majors: Biochemistry, mathematics

Hemesath is a Barrett student who discovered her passion for coding in her first year at ASU.

She served as a lab aide in the computational biochemistry laboratory of Professor Matthias Heyden. Hemesath worked with programming languages including C, Java, Python and BASH to script, code and examine mathematics and physics of molecular simulations.

After graduation, she hopes to gain experience in biotech labs as a lab technician and later pursue a career in academia and research.

 Portrait of Lane Hiser

Lane Hiser

Dean’s Medal: Department of English, Department of Military Science
Major: English literature
Minor: Military leadership

Hiser sought to continue his education in English literature while serving as an officer in the United States Army. At graduation, he will be receiving the Dean’s Medal for two departments: English and military science.

In the ROTC program, Hiser has served on the color guard team as a first sergeant in the unit’s Charlie company. During Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Hiser represented the ASU ROTC unit while ranking fifth in his platoon out of 40 cadets from across the country.

After ASU, Hiser plans to make a career out of the Army as an officer in the Field Artillery Branch. Upon retiring from the military, Hiser hopes to write a novel and teach English to share his love for writing and literature with others.

Portrait of Jake Hunter

Jake Hunter

Dean’s Medal: Department of Naval Science
Major: Engineering management

Hunter is a New Jersey native who served as an enlisted Marine for five years before arriving at ASU.

During his time at ASU, Hunter served as the battalion sergeant major for the spring 2021 semester, overseeing administrative duties and supervising military ceremonies for the 100-member student organization. He also trained and mentored Marine-option midshipmen preparing for Officer Candidate School, a requirement for all prospective U.S. Marine second lieutenants. In addition, Hunter set the standard for midshipmen and enlisted Marines within the Navy ROTC program at ASU.

After graduating, Hunter will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He will be assigned to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, followed by flight training in Pensacola, Florida. 

 Portrait of Amanda Lombard

Amanda Lombard

Dean’s Medal: School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Majors: Civic and economic thought and leadership, public service and public policy

Lombard is a Barrett student with career and personal interests in legal studies. In addition to her two majors, she was heavily involved in the ASU community.

Some of her accomplishments include serving as both a justice and chief justice on the ASU Undergraduate Student Government Supreme Court, becoming a member of the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority where she was chair of marketing and traditions, and receiving an ASU Changemaker Central Civic Engagement Grant. 

Lombard was also an extern for the Arizona Supreme Court, where she completed legal research to prepare for oral arguments and other court proceedings.

 Portrait of Thomas Pozsonyi

Thomas Pozsonyi

Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics, School of International Letters and Cultures
Majors: Russian, economics, mathematics

Pozsonyi is a triple major interested in the applications of economic theory, mathematics and finance.

During his time at ASU, he was an equity analyst intern for investment management firm Alpha Squared Capital, where he utilized company reports and press releases to assess company financial health. He later was a health consulting intern for asset management company Mercer, where he analyzed health care claims, projected health care plan renewal costs, and prepared client deliverables based on data and current economic conditions.

In addition to his internships, Pozsonyi worked as an economics tutor through the W. P. Carey Economics Tutoring Center and conducted research on regulatory impact in cities across the U.S. through ASU's Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

Pozsonyi has secured a full-time position at Mercer, where he will continue to work as a health consulting analyst.

 Portrait of Gabrielle Romero

Gabrielle Romero

Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Majors: Justice studies,  Asian Pacific American studies

Romero, a double major in justice studies and Asian Pacific American studies, is passionate about public policy, community outreach, civic engagement, public service and nonprofit organizations.

She served as president of the Hawaii and Pacific Islander Club at ASU, where she collaborated with AAPI organizations and advocated for diversity. She also performed research for the Asian Pacific American Studies program, where she documented 25 years of the program at ASU and collected oral histories of community members, students and faculty. Finally, she served as a fellow for the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organization, where she developed and facilitated workshops on identity, bias, climate justice and more. 

She hopes to one day work for a nonprofit organization that serves the AAPI community as well as the undocumented population in Arizona. 

 Portrait of Nathaniel Ross

Nathaniel Ross

Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences, School of Politics and Global Studies
Majors: Applied quantitative science, biological sciences, political sciences, history
Minor: Dance

Ross is a Barrett student and fourth-generation Arizonan with interests in biology, politics and law.

Since arriving at ASU, he has worked in a genetics lab, managed social media outreach for the Luminosity Lab, assisted in research for a book project on the history of autism, supported the ASU Biodesign Institute Clinical Testing Laboratory in its transition into a COVID-19 clinical testing lab and served as a supreme court justice for ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government.

Ross served as a campaign staffer for a local candidate, interned as a policy analyst at Creosote Partners, analyzed data for the Chicago Justice Project, was a disabilities intern for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, served as a Human Rights Fellow for the Republic of Armenia and even ran for a seat on the Mesa City Council.

 Portrait of Nichole Smallcanyon

Nichole Smallcanyon

Dean’s Medal: American Indian Studies
Major: American Indian Studies

Smallcanyon transferred to ASU after receiving an associate degree in arts from the Maricopa County Community College system. 

In her coursework at ASU, she demonstrated a sincere concern for Indigenous social justice, a dedication to her studies and growth, and a passion for helping youth in her community. She is currently learning the Navajo language.

Smallcanyon is focused on continuing to find ways to support American Indian communities. Her goal is to obtain a position that allows her to use her knowledge and passion for American Indian studies to assist in tribal community development. 

 Portrait of Nicole Webb

Nicole Webb

Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Majors: Communication, justice studies
Minor: Family and human development
Certificate: Cross-sector leadership

Webb has combined her interests and training in communication and social justice to support her community during her time at ASU.

She worked with several ASU clubs and organizations, such as the Movement for Violence Prevention, All Walks Project and Changemaker Central Days of Service. 

Webb is a long-standing member of the Association of Human Communication in the Hugh Downs School. There she organized and hosted several events, including the annual Human Communication Career Day, and she currently serves as the association’s president. 

 Portrait of Mayumi Webb

Mayumi Webb

Dean’s Medal: Department of Aerospace Studies
Major: Computer science
Minor: Military leadership

Webb is an Air Force ROTC cadet who has applied her education to support her roles in the military.

She was recently promoted to the national advisory consultant role for the Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings, where she maintains technical oversight of various processes and builds relationships with members, alumni and service communities. She previously served as the national webmaster for the society.

Webb was the Spring 2022 Cadet Wing Vice Commander. In this role and in others, her leadership has been key to developing and mentoring other cadets.

 Portrait of Rachel Welshans

Rachel Welshans

Dean’s Medal: School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Major: History
Minor: Anthropology

Welshans transferred to ASU after receiving an associate degree in liberal arts at Pima Community College. A Tucson, Arizona, resident, she completed her bachelor’s degree through ASU Online.

As an online student, she participated in the Online Undergraduate Research Scholars program, which allowed her to perform archival research at the Arizona Historical Society and at ASU’s Hayden Library. There she fell in love with public history and specifically her research on the Bisbee Deportation of 1917, which forced roughly 1,200 striking miners of mostly Mexican descent or who were immigrants to leave on a train to New Mexico at gunpoint.

Welshans currently works as an administrative assistant at the Tucson Police Department. She looks forward to taking a break from her studies before applying to graduate school and hopefully expanding her research for future publication – her experience at ASU has proven she has the passion and writing ability to do so.

Lauren Whitby contributed to this story.

Alek Bustamante Valdez

Marketing assistant , The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Debating socialism

Spring 2023 course to empower undergrads with skills of civic discourse, fundamentals of debate and relationship between capitalism and socialism

November 14, 2022

Having a firm grasp on the practice of civil discourse is of the utmost importance when discussing difficult topics. Thankfully, Arizona State University undergraduates will have a chance to learn from experts throughout history to better understand — and debate — the pros and cons of socialism in an upcoming seminar-style course that will examine and discuss socialism from economic, moral and philosophical perspectives.

In CEL 394 Class #34798 — held during Session C from noon to 1:15 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the Tempe campus — students will discuss the nature of capitalism and the viability of socialism. Taught by Andrew Humphries, a postdoctoral research scholar at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, the discussions will help students from all areas of study to explore the concepts of value, economic calculation and the socialist calculation debate in relation to the viability of central planning in a modern economy.  Illustration of a closed fist.

Guided by key texts and engagement with their classmates, they will examine the problems faced by a socialist commonwealth in assigning value to resources and whether socialism is a viable alternative to capitalism in the 21st century. From a historical perspective, they will also analyze the relationship between totalitarianism, democracy, capitalism and socialism.

ASU News spoke with Humphries about why students should consider taking this course.

Question: How will this course help students become better equipped to think deeply about and discuss socialism vs. capitalism?

Answer: At the moment, people have very strong opinions about which is better: socialism or capitalism. It’s a really hot topic again, but most people haven’t really thought through the issues; if they have, they haven’t considered what the best arguments are on the other side. It’s also often difficult to find an arena in which you can learn about and discuss these ideas with others who are going to keep a cool head while exploring the issues rationally and in a spirit of mutual respect and inquiry. So in this class, we’ll read some of the best representatives of people debating socialism from the pro-socialism and from the anti-socialism side, and try to understand and evaluate their arguments together.

Q: Which texts will students read throughout this course?

A: We’ll start reading selections from Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Menger and Bohm Bawerk about the nature of economic value. Marx argues that economic value comes from workers — what is called the labor theory of value — while Menger and Bohm Bawerk argue that the labor theory of value is mistaken. After that, we’ll move on to what is called the socialist calculation debate and look at authors who argue whether it is possible to centrally plan a modern economy while maintaining prosperity and democratic freedoms. The most important participants in this debate are the neo-classical socialists Oscar Lange and Abba Lerner, and the Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek.

Q: How are classes taught and what is the learning environment like?

A: The class will be shared-inquiry dialogue. I will not be lecturing the students — we will all read the arguments of the authors and come to class ready to explain, ask questions and explore the implications of what the authors say. The goal is for students to take responsibility for their own understanding, and for them to learn how to better understand texts and arguments with the help of their peers.

Q: What are the main elements of this course?

A: Students will turn in brief notes and annotations of the assigned at-home readings, and we will have shared-inquiry discussions in class. There will also be one or two writing assignments. 

Q: Which intellectual or professional skills will students develop through the course that will help them prepare for careers in the private sector?

A: Students will finish the course as more independent analytical readers and thinkers. They will practice reasoning, listening, understanding and making arguments. Students will gain confidence in their civil speaking skills through discussing difficult topics in a group.

Q: How will this course benefit those interested in serving in the public sector, for example?

A: The future of our country — and the world — depends on whether people can learn to talk to one another about difficult issues reasonably and civilly. This course helps students to examine the truth and practical importance of difficult ideas together. 

Molly Loonam

Senior Marketing Outreach Coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Where war meets the law

Spring 2023 course examines the laws governing armed conflicts

October 24, 2022

Almost eight months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, news headlines have exposed the war’s tragic consequences for the civilian population.

According to the United Nations, Putin’s armed forces commit daily war crimes, including deliberate attacks against civilian targets, human rights abuses and the targeted destruction of critical infrastructure. The Kremlin rejects these allegations and discredits the images as fabricated. How do international law principles determine what is a lawful war tactic and what qualifies as a war crime? Photo illustration of a soldier in a war zone, surrounded by reddish-orange fog. CEL 394 Law of Armed Conflict will examine the blurry line between lawful war tactics and war crimes.

In spring 2023, Arizona State University undergraduate students will participate in a seminar-style course to examine the law of armed conflict, a branch of international law governing the conduct of hostilities between states, territories and sovereign nations.

In CEL 394 Class #34776 — held during Session C, from 9 to 10:15 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the Tempe campus — undergraduates will discuss some of the most challenging war situations and their legal implications according to the law of armed conflict.

For Bruce Pagel, professor of practice at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, the discussions will empower students from all areas of study to further their understanding of armed conflict and geopolitics and advance their critical thinking skills.

Col. Pagel, who served 28 years as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army, both active and reserve, has a wealth of knowledge on this topic. He has served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and as the senior lawyer in U.S. Central Command. He also served as the deputy chief prosecutor at the U.S. military commissions.

Students interested in national security, foreign service, human rights, history and the law should consider enrolling in this course to broaden their understanding of armed conflict and the role law plays in managing the use of military force. Aspiring law students, ROTC students and future diplomats will benefit from this practical survey of the many legal challenges warfighters face in modern armed conflict.

ASU News spoke with Pagel about this complex and multifaceted topic.

Question: How will this course help students understand the legal implications of warfare on one hand while considering the reality faced by fighters on the other hand?

Answer: The war in Ukraine has vividly highlighted the legal complexities warfighters face on the modern battlefield. Civilian casualties are reported almost daily and raise the specter of war crimes and war crime trials. Is the Russian military targeting civilians or attacking cities indiscriminately — both of which are war crimes — or are these civilian targets actually participating in the fight, making them lawful targets? Is it possible that some civilian casualties are more accurately described as lawful collateral damage based on a tactical proportionality analysis?

Sadly, it is also possible that some Ukrainian civilian casualties are the victims of Russian blunders, which Gen. Carl Von Clausewitz would describe as the “friction of war”. Equipment failure, mistaken coordinates or bad intelligence — the “fog of war,” in Clausewitzian terms — are, unfortunately, not uncommon and all too often produce civilian casualties. What about “dual-use” targets, facilities and infrastructure used by both civilians and the military? Are dual-use facilities targetable? And do some Ukrainian civilian casualties fall into that category? Finally, given how accurate precision-guided munitions (PGMs) can be, should all air-delivered attacks be limited to PGMs? This course will examine these questions, and more, in the context of the law of armed conflict.

Q: Which texts will students read throughout this course?

A: We will read a collection of current articles drawn from professional journals, national security sources, selected book chapters and government publications.

Q: How are classes taught and what is the learning environment like?

A:  This course will be conducted in a seminar-styled format that will rely on class discussion and lectures. The syllabus will be supplemented by guest speakers and other outside resources. 

Q: What are the main elements of this course?

A:  The syllabus is designed to highlight the context in which the law of armed conflict is applied, review its history, survey the relevant sources of law, examine the key principles and concepts found in "jus ad bellum" — the law that regulates state-level use of military force — and "jus in bello" — the law governing the ways and means of operational and tactical warfare — and explore why the law of armed conflict matters in the 21st century. Where practical, we will use current events to illustrate important concepts.

Q: Which intellectual, academic or professional skills will students develop through the course?

A: This class will help students cultivate their critical thinking, analytic and practical reasoning skills, along with developing effective written and oral communication habits, emphasizing both clarity and substance. It will also challenge their ability to fairly examine often unsupported assumptions regarding armed conflict and the broad geopolitical and legal context in which it occurs.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU students travel from Tempe to Narnia and beyond

Spring 2023 course examines C.S. Lewis’s political, theological, moral and philosophical thought

October 18, 2022

For almost 75 years, C. S. Lewis’ series of novels “The Chronicles of Narnia” have helped parents tuck their children in at night, inspired by mythical beasts, talking animals and fantastic adventures.

Since their original publication, between 1950 and 1956, the books sold over 100 million copies in more than 47 languages and were adapted to radio, TV and film. In addition to “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Lewis' other, lesser-known novels also touch on a range of themes that invite readers of all ages to reflect on life, ethics, civics and religion. Row of books, all by author C. S. Lewis. A small black-andwhite-portrait of the author is inset in the main photo of the books. CEL 494 Politics & Literature will explore C. S. Lewis’s works and thoughts. Download Full Image

In the spring 2023 course Politics & Literature, offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Arizona State University undergraduate students will participate in open debates about Lewis' thoughts on politics, civic life and the human condition through a selection of his thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction works. 

The course will be taught by Assistant Professor Zachary German during Session C, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the Tempe campus, and will fulfill the upper division literacy and critical inquiry (L) general studies requirement that all students need for graduation. 

Here, German answers some questions about the course and what students can expect.

Portrait of ASU Assistant Professor .

Zachary German

Question: Which works by Lewis will students read in this course?

Answer: We will spend most of the semester going “beyond Narnia,” so to speak, encountering a selection of Lewis’ most significant fiction and nonfiction works. Some of the readings include “The Abolition of Man,” “The Four Loves,” “The Screwtape Letters” and “That Hideous Strength.”

Q: What type of classroom experience should they expect from this course?

A: This course will be discussion-based, and our goal will be to build a learning community in which we seek to gain insight together into Lewis’ work and what we might learn from it. The more that students invest themselves in the readings, and the more that they are willing to share their ideas and questions during class, the better the exchange of ideas that we will have. 

Q: What inspired you to develop a course to examine the intersections of politics and literature, and why focus on C. S. Lewis?

A: The study of politics and literature is intriguing because literature offers a distinctive way of thinking about timeless questions of politics, civic life and the human condition. A political treatise or essay is likely to make claims about what’s true, right, good or just, supporting those claims with reason and evidence. In contrast, a literary work — at least a certain kind of literary work — tells a story that sparks the imagination. It invites us to ponder what the story and its characters might reveal about reality, even though the characters and events may be fictional, and even though the story may take place in a very different world from our own. I was interested in a course on Lewis, specifically, both because Lewis’ fictional works are engaging and thought-provoking, and because we are able to combine the study of those texts with an examination of some of his nonfiction works in this course.

Literature offers a distinctive way of thinking about timeless questions of politics, civic life and the human condition.

– Assistant Professor Zachary German

Q: Why should students majoring in political science, for example, consider taking this course?

A: I think we may have a perhaps overly strict conception of what it means to study politics, of how one should approach thinking or learning about politics, and of what is relevant to thinking about politics. In this course, by studying Lewis’ fiction and nonfiction work, students of politics will be encouraged to have a more capacious notion of what is worth reading, considering and discussing in an effort to grapple with political questions.

Q: Why should students majoring in religious studies and philosophy consider taking this course?

A: Lewis is so widely known today not only because of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” but also because he has been particularly influential as someone who wrote on religious and philosophical topics in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Students of religious studies and philosophy will have an opportunity to become more familiar with the work of this significant thinker, as well as to explore the connections between religion, philosophy and civic life in his thought.

Q: What will students majoring in liberal arts learn from this course that will help them interpret Lewis’ work differently?

A: Depending on our intellectual interests and our academic training, we are likely to have different types of questions arise when we engage with a text. The questions that we ask about a book end up shaping what we take away from it. In this course, we will focus on fundamental, timeless questions of civic life and human life more broadly – questions that have political, philosophical, moral and religious dimensions.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU course dissects morality, rhetoric through Lincoln's speeches

ASU students to reflect on moral, political issues that shaped US history by engaging with Lincoln’s writings

October 17, 2022

Abraham Lincoln is revered by many as one of America’s most outstanding political leaders. His vision, speeches and guidance throughout the country’s most devastating conflict have shaped the nation and still impact us today. What can we learn from his speeches, writings and actions today?

A course offered to Arizona State University students in spring 2023 will focus on Lincoln’s rhetoric, thought and leadership. In CEL 394 Class #34883 — held during Session C, from 9 to 10:15 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the Tempe campus — undergraduates will utilize Lincoln’s writings and speeches to follow how the 16th president of the United States dealt with some of the thorniest issues of his time. Black-and-white portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Students can now enroll in in the spring 2023 course Lincoln: Rhetoric, Thought, Statesmanship.

For example, his speeches covering the growing conflict over slavery in the 1850s; his approach in his first inaugural address, with the nation on the verge of civil war; his broad conception of executive power during wartime; and his message in his second inaugural address, after Americans had been warring with each other for years.

By reading primary sources and sharing their reactions and questions, students will strive together to understand Lincoln’s thought, actions, rhetoric and political context. For Zachary German, assistant professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, the course offers insight into how we think about America, political life and leadership today. 

Beyond a historical interest in this political figure, the questions presented by this course will invite students to reflect on the fundamental issues of moral principles, politics, constitutionalism and leadership.

ASU News spoke with German about what students should expect from this course and how studying Lincoln’s texts can help shed light on today’s complex issues.

Question: Which texts will students read in Lincoln: Rhetoric, Thought, Statesmanship?

Answer: Students will dive into Lincoln’s most significant speeches and writings, from the Perpetuation Address in 1838 to his second inaugural address in 1865. Throughout the semester, we will think rigorously about the ideas, arguments, rhetoric and context of these texts, but we will also have opportunities to examine speeches and writings of some of Lincoln’s contemporaries, such as the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass and Lincoln’s political rival Stephen Douglas.  

ASU  seated at the front of a class, speaking while holding a book.

Assistant Professor Zachary German

Q: What are the main elements of this course?

A: Rhetoric involves what statesmen say and how they say it. Thought refers to, of course, the way in which statesmen think and the principles they hold. Statesmanship alludes to the actions that statesmen take, flowing from their thought and including their rhetoric. Lincoln will serve as our case study for thinking through each dimension of statesmanship.

Q: Why should an undergraduate student consider taking this course in 2023?

A: Students who take this course will enhance their ability to think carefully about challenging and important issues of political life and leadership – for example, the relationship between moral principles and the practical limits of politics, the relationship between being willing to compromise and standing firm by your convictions, the relationship between favoring harmony and accepting conflict, and the balance that leaders must strike between shaping public opinion and being constrained by it. Students should leave this course with a better sense of who they want to be as leaders and what they want their leaders to be like. 

Q: Who should consider taking this course?

A: This is a course for aspiring leaders who want to consider the characteristics and challenges of leadership in the U.S. constitutional order and in a democratic society more generally. It’s also a course for students who want to become more reflective citizens by thinking more deeply about liberty, equality, constitutionalism, democracy and union. Furthermore, it’s a course for students eager to expand their civic education by learning more about this prominent figure and critical period of American history.  

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


Lecture to address question of progressive bias in the media

Event brings together journalists, academics to discuss free speech, intellectual diversity in newsrooms today

October 13, 2022

According to some national media commentators, there is a growing concern about the potential dangers posed by major media outlets which, they argue, are led by a progressive bias.

They refer to these newsrooms as “woke media" and increasingly voice their criticism about how left-leaning biases might create ideological conformity and represent threats to America’s democracy. Civic Discourse Project banner ad featuring profile silhouettes of several heads, with one head facing the opposite direction. 2022–23 Civic Discourse Project Download Full Image

To address this controversial topic, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University is hosting the lecture “Is the ‘Woke Newsroom’ a Danger to American Democracy?” at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at ASU’s Memorial Union Ventana BC room.

The event is part of the 2022–23 Civic Discourse Project lecture series and is co-sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. Registration is now open for in-person attendance, and a recording of the event will be available on the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership's YouTube channel.

During the lecture, Newsweek Deputy Opinion Editor Batya Ungar-Sargon, Washington Post Columnist Megan McArdle and University of Maryland Senior Lecturer Jason Nichols will discuss whether the so-called “woke newsroom" is a danger to American democracy.

The audience will hear from the three media representatives on whether the mainstream media produce ideological conformity. 

Before joining Newsweek, Ungar-Sargon was the opinion editor of the Forward. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, the New York Review of Books Daily and other publications. She has appeared numerous times on MSNBC, NBC, the Brian Lehrer Show, NPR and other media outlets. She holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

McArdle, who covers the intersection between business, economics and public policy as a columnist at the Washington Post, will join Ungar-Sargon on stage. An early pioneer of internet journalism, McArdle’s work has appeared in numerous outlets, including The Economist, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Guardian and Reason magazine. McArdle has served as the Egan Visiting Professor at Duke's journalism school, a fellow of the Chicago Institute of Politics and a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. She is the author of "The Upside of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success."

Finally, the conversation will be joined by Nichols, an award-winning full-time senior lecturer in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland College Park. Nichols was the longtime editor-in-chief of Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture, the first peer-reviewed journal of hip-hop studies. He co-edited "La Verdad: An International Dialogue on Hip-Hop Latinidades" (Ohio State University Press). 

“We feel honored to host a panel discussion on this critical topic with some of the country’s most thoughtful and respected media critics,” said Paul Carrese, founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “Our school is dedicated to the mission of defending free speech, intellectual diversity and the pursuit of truth on campus and in our society. The role of media organizations in creating ideological conformity and intellectual censorship is a growing concern among critics and political scientists.”

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership combines liberal arts education with outside-the-classroom learning experiences to prepare students for leadership roles in the public and private sectors.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


Psychoanalyzing society

ASU course dives into the intersection between psychoanalysis, social thought.

October 11, 2022

What have Sigmund Freud, post-Freudian theories and the feminist movement taught us about history and society?

In spring 2023, ASU students will have a chance to investigate this topic through a course dedicated to psychoanalysis and social thought. The course is relevent for students majoring in psychology, history, literature, philosophy, religious studies, pre-law and related fields. Graphic illustration of the human head with various dots and connecting lines. Download Full Image

Taught by Associate Professor Kent Wright, with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, CEL 394 (Class # 27633) will be held during Session C, from 3 to 4:15 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the Tempe campus.

In this course, students will become acquainted with Freud’s own writings on topics focusing on the antagonism between civilization and instinctual life, “crowd psychology” and “human nature.”

They will read Freud’s writings through Peter Gay’s “The Freud Reader,” supplemented by Ernest Gellner’s “The Psychoanalytic Movement.” Students will then turn to two leading traditions of post-Freudian psychoanalysis: the German “Frankfurt School” approach, stemming from the theories of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse; and the French tradition, commonly associated with Jacques Lacan.

In the later part of the course, students will read selections from Horkheimer and Adorno’s “Dialectic of Enlightenment,” Marcuse’s “Eros and Civilization,” Lacan’s “Ecrits” and “Seminars,” and classics of psychoanalytic feminism by figures such as Juliet Mitchell, Nancy Chodorow and Joan Copjec.

“At the end of the spring semester,” says Wright, “students will have a thorough working knowledge of Freud’s presentation of the fundamentals of psychoanalysis.

"We will engage with his main books and essays, develop a robust sense of the important extensions and applications of psychoanalytic thinking in two distinct national traditions and one central zone of social thought where psychoanalysis has played a key role: in modern feminism.”

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU, Sandra Day O'Connor Institute team up to honor Civics Celebration Day

K–12 public schools across Arizona to commemorate occasion with activities, lessons, competitions

September 14, 2022

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University has partnered with the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy to celebrate Constitution Day on Sept. 17 and the newly established Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Celebration Day, which will be observed on Sept. 26 this year.

Civics Celebration Day was signed into law in 2020 by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to celebrate a day when a majority of classroom instruction in the state's K–12 public schools is devoted to civics education. School districts and charter schools across Arizona are encouraged to use a wide range of engaging activities to teach students about civics. U.S. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor placing her hand on a Bible during her swearing-in ceremony. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor during her swearing-in ceremony on Sept. 25, 1981. Photo courtesy the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute

The week honors Justice Sandra Day O'Connor taking her seat on the bench as the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court and commends her dedication to promoting civics education. 

"We are proud to partner with the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy to empower teachers, students and Arizona citizens with civic education content," said Paul Carrese, founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. "As Justice O'Connor warned us, the country faces a civics crisis, and our school is ready to help bridge this alarming gap."

To commemorate the occasion, ASU's Center for Political Thought and Leadership, housed within the the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, developed and delivered extensive programming on American civics to teachers and high school students during summer 2022.

During the week between Constitution Day and Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Celebration Day, the center will provide expert visits to classrooms, connecting current issues and events with the principles of American civics; offer ready-made, short lesson plan designs; and present a special civics seminar for teachers hosted by the Center for Political Thought and Leadership in September and October.

"The Center for Political Thought and Leadership at ASU has the sole mission of supporting civic education, and we are grateful for Gov. Ducey's commitment to civic education," said Lucian Spataro, interim director of the center. "Civics Celebration Day takes us one step closer to increasing civics literacy in our state, and we are excited to provide teachers across Arizona with tools and content to share with their students."

As part of the collaborative effort, the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy will pay tribute to their founder with the following events:

  • Monday, Sept. 26: The launch of its national O'Connor Civics Challenge for middle school students to express their civics knowledge through essays, art, music, poetry or videos, for which they will earn laptops and other educational tools.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27: A reception to honor Justice O'Connor, including the impact she has made in Arizona.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 28: A presentation of the webcast premiere of "The Future of the Court," featuring Cristina Rodríguez, Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Adam White, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Rodríguez and White both served on the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, with Rodríguez serving as the commission's co-chair.

"Civics education is vitally important to Justice O'Connor and the institute she founded," said Sarah Suggs, president and CEO of the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy. "We are committed to multigenerational civics education, civil discourse and civic engagement, each embodied in the life and work of Justice O'Connor, and are honored to work with (the school)."

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership