2020 ASU honors grad winner of prestigious Barry Scholarship

August 27, 2020

Corbin Witt graduated Arizona State University summa cum laude and with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in May and took a job in construction in his home state of Montana.

This October, he’ll be leaving his home and the job behind to study abroad with support from a prestigious scholarship. Corbin Witt Corbin Witt, a 2020 Arizona State University honors graduate, has won the Barry Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in England. Photo by Samantha Lloyd. Download Full Image

Witt is a recipient of the John and Daria Barry Scholarship, commonly called the Barry Scholarship. It is offered by the Barry Foundation and the Canterbury Institute, an educational nonprofit, and funds two years of master’s, doctorate or second bachelor’s degree study at the University of Oxford in England.

“I never thought that something like this would be available to me, nor did I ever imagine myself being able to afford a graduate degree from any institution,” Witt said.

“My dad is a contractor who grew up on a cattle ranch,” Witt said. “The fact that I can go from a summer job in the construction industry to studying at the oldest university in the English-speaking world is still a little baffling to me.”

Witt’s bachelor’s degree is in human communication with a minor in civic and economic thought and leadership. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honors society in the United States.

Paul Carrese, director of ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership nominated Witt for the Barry Scholarship.

“The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is honored to be one of the nominators for the Barry Scholarship. As I told Corbin when I suggested he apply, I had benefited from a graduate scholarship to study at Oxford. I joined other faculty in thinking he was an excellent candidate for this kind of intellectual adventure. The Barry Foundation and Canterbury Institute are offering an amazing opportunity for study at one of the world’s great universities, and their distinctive approach to higher learning enriches education in both Britain and America,” Carrese said.

Witt found out he had been offered the scholarship in mid-December last year.

“I was surprised and overjoyed,” he said. “The funny thing about it was that my email was glitching at the time and I was not receiving notifications for received messages. So it took me a whole day to see that I had received the offer, and I was appalled to see that the letter said that I only had 48 hours to accept it.”

He had been spending his winter break preparing applications for law schools and had to immediately change course and apply to Oxford, since the scholarship is dependent on also being accepted to a program at the university.

Witt will begin his first term at Oxford, called the Michaelmas term, on Oct. 11. Each academic year at Oxford is divided into three terms: Michaelmas term from October to December, Hilary term from January to March, and Trinity term from April to June.

He will pursue a second bachelor’s degree in history as a student in senior status, meaning he will be on an accelerated track to complete the program in two years as a master’s degree.

“Hopefully, I will expand my professional network overseas and form lasting connections with my cohort of fellow Barry Scholars,” Witt said.

Corbin Witt talks about his experiences at ASU and the Barry Scholarship. Video by ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Witt plans to set off for England and arrive on Oct. 4, a week before classes start. If necessary, though, he will travel earlier in order to have time to self-isolate at Oxford before the term starts.

He expects that classes will be primarily in-person, with some activities online.

Once Witt returns to the U.S. with his degree from Oxford, he intends to pursue a juris doctorate and become a judge.

“This scholarship, though, can only open doors for me on that road,” he said. “I am studying history, something that Oxford teaches in a very unique way. The method they use for history was incredibly attractive to me and I hope to learn how to see the world with fresh eyes, taking in all of the relevant context for every situation and being careful about which suppositions are fair to make.”

Witt said that the most important factors for him getting the Barry Scholarship were being involved in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and Barrett, The Honors College.

“Barrett also was a major motivator that made me perform better in school,” he said. “It is easy to coast through your degree, but Barrett incentivized me to take honors courses and take on honors contracts in my favorite classes. In fact, in my (Barry Scholarship) application, I made use of an essay that I wrote for an honors contract as my writing sample.”

Common threads throughout Witt’s studies and research are legal issues and the criminal justice system.

Witt’s honors thesis was titled “Perp Walks and Prejudice”, in which he studied the messaging that is communicated by photos of criminal defendants being "perp walked," led into a police station or courthouse in such a way as to enable the media to publicize the event. 

“I have a real passion for those topics, and it shows in the quality of my work,” Witt said. “The papers of mine that I am proudest of are on legal debates for end of life care for infants and experimental medical treatments, and an analysis of how the U.S. government handled a high profile prosecution against a woman accused of aiding foreign terror groups. Those are also the papers that I constantly turn to when I need to submit a writing sample, even though they are quite hefty pieces of work.”

Witt credits his overall ASU experience with leading him down the path to success he is on today.

“It never would have been possible without the support given by ASU faculty and staff,” Witt said. “I chose ASU solely for its affordability, but it seems that it was the best of all places for me.”

Story by Ranjani Venkatakrishnan, who graduated ASU with a degree in journalism and honors from Barrett, The Honors College in May 2020. She is pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at ASU.

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ASU launches wide range of new programs for fall 2020 semester

August 19, 2020

From a trailblazing online planetary sciences undergraduate degree to a fast-track MBA, these programs are set for takeoff

Arizona State University offers more than 800 fully accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs — not to mention more than 270 minors and certificates — and that number is growing this fall.

From sports business to political philosophy to venture development, these new programs will equip students with the knowledge and hands-on learning to thrive in their future careers. Here are some of the new options for fall 2020.

Immersion (on campus)

American studies

The discussion and understanding of the United States in an interdisciplinary context is important, and in wake of current events, increasingly relevant. The American studies master’s degree program — now offered through the School of Social Transformation — is designed to give students a look into what the field of American studies is, where it comes from, and where it’s going.

Classical liberal education and leadership

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership has launched a new master’s degree in classical liberal education and leadership. Focusing on philosophy, politics, literature, ethics, history, mathematics and science, the program combines theory and practice through the reading of classic texts with opportunities to strengthen pedagogical leadership skills.

Counseling — substance abuse and addictions

The substance abuse and addictions concentration of the BS program in counseling and applied psychological science in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts prepares students to care for and help individuals who struggle with substance abuse, addictions and related disorders. Students in this concentration program acquire the necessary skills in screening, assessing, diagnosing and planning treatment of patients afflicted with substance abuse, addictions and related disorders.

Creative writing

The Department of English offers an accelerated degree program in creative writing. The 4+1 BA English (creative writing) and MA English (creative writing track) program seeks to support the artistic growth of student-writers through access to writing workshops affiliated with the nationally ranked MFA program in creative writing while also providing clear, practical value.

Data science

Machine learning and data mining are invaluable technologies with applications as diverse as detecting fraudulent online credit-card transactions, understanding the dynamics of social movements, and personalizing medical treatments based on a tumor's unique genetic profile. The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences' new bachelor’s degree in data science prepares students to be critical analysts and users of data in a variety of areas such as business, research and government. The program allows students to choose a focus area from six different tracks (scroll to the bottom of the major map for the tracks). 

Disability studies

The School of Social Transformation has established an undergraduate and a graduate certificate in disability studies that promotes a new understanding of contemporary culture, not only for the disabled, but for society as well.

Financial planning

The W. P. Carey School of Business has created a bachelor's degree in financial planning, which provides students with the tools and expertise to work as a personal financial planner. The program highlights ways to stand out in the industry and ensures students graduate with the ability to solve complex problems for their clients.


The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning has a new accelerated/4+1 degree for geography. The fast-track approach allows highly qualified students who are finishing their Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in geography degree, or Bachelor of Science in geography (meteorology-climatology) to be enrolled simultaneously in the Master of Arts in geography degree program.

Humanities and global management

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies has partnered with Thunderbird School of Global Management to offer a new 4+1 program allowing students to receive an undergraduate degree in a humanities-related field and a graduate degree in global management.

Innovation and venture development

A unique new degree will teach students from any background how to launch a successful venture. The Master of Science in innovation and venture development is a transdisciplinary partnership among three schools at ASU: The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Students in the one-year, on-campus program will choose an issue, research it, develop ideas, prototype and develop a business model.


To accommodate working professionals, the W. P. Carey School of Business is launching a new blended format for its highly ranked executive MBA through enhanced learning technology. EMBA students will get the same comprehensive business curriculum taught by W. P. Carey faculty with less time away from home and work. The school is also now offering a fast-track MBA that allows students to earn an MBA in as little as 12 months

Organizational leadership

The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts has added an accelerated 4+1 option for its master's degree in organizational leadership. With an emphasis on learning best practices, students explore areas such as institutional evolution, strategic change, leading diverse teams and conflict mediation, as well as learning advanced methodological and statistical skills.

Population health

Optimizing health requires a blending of both public health and health care delivery — a timely degree for a global public health crisis we never could have predicted. In the College of Health Solutions' new Bachelor of Science program in population health, students will learn how social determinants, access to care, decision-making, policy and infrastructure influence the health of defined groups, as well as the roles of various stakeholders and how to work across systems to improve health.

Popular music

The popular music concentration within the Bachelor of Arts degree in music in the School of Music is for those interested in becoming singers, songwriters, laptop performers or composers, producers, engineers, or entrepreneurs in the entertainment world.

Project management

Leadership and project management are vital skills in today's job market. The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts' BAS program in project management offers a skill-driven curriculum to prepare students to be excellent project managers and project management leaders. Students acquire the skills necessary to manage complex projects and learn to integrate leadership theory and practice in organizational leadership courses. (This degree is also available through ASU Online.)

Special education – visual impairment

The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College's bachelor's degree in special education – visual impairment prepares graduates to work with blind and partially sighted students across educational settings. Candidates are taught to work collaboratively with parents, classroom teachers and related service personnel to meet the unique needs of students with visual impairments. The program leads to dual certification in visual impairment (birth–grade 12) and mild-moderate special education (K–12).


The graduate certificate in sustainability from the School of Sustainability is designed to be the first introduction to sustainability research for a nondegree graduate student or allow a currently enrolled student to add a sustainability dimension to their existing degree plan. The certificate requires 15 credit hours and is available on multiple campuses and through ASU Online. 

Technological leadership

ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative has announced its first degree program, the Bachelor of Science in technological leadership, a scalable three-year program where students learn complex problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership through an interdisciplinary blend of classroom learning and research. (This degree is also available through ASU Online.)

Writing, rhetorics and literacies

The Department of English's new minor in writing, rhetorics and literacies teaches students strategies for inquiry. Students study the ways in which communication has, does and will create knowledge and action, and how communication is constructed, circulated, reacted to, and repurposed through time and place.

ASU Online

Aging and health

The Master of Science in aging and health teaches students about the multidimensional aging process and how to address the complex needs of older adults. Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation students learn to work with other professionals and obtain a certificate of completion in interprofessional collaboration. 

Astronomical and planetary sciences

Through ASU Online, the School of Earth and Space Exploration is offering a new bachelor’s degree in astronomical and planetary sciences, 100% online. In this program, students can explore planets, solar systems and galaxies, preparing them for careers in science policy, journalism or K-12 teaching in STEM fields.


Students in the School of Molecular Sciences' online biochemistry degree programs take formal lecture-style courses online but also get critical hands-on skills through in-person laboratory courses. New to ASU Online are the Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry program and the Bachelor of Science in biochemistry with a focus on medicinal chemistry, which covers the fundamentals of organic chemistry in the context of drug discovery and development. 

Biological sciences

The School of Life Sciences has launched three new concentrations through ASU Online, as well as a minor.

  • The bachelor's degree in biological sciences – biomedical sciences will prepare students for careers in medicine and biomedical research. They will gain in-depth knowledge of human biology, including genetics, anatomy, physiology and behavior, while completing the coursework necessary for applying to medical school.
  • Learn to navigate the complexities of how biology and society intertwine. The bachelor's degree in biological sciences – biology and society explores how society shapes science and how science shapes human behavior and our place in the environment.
  • For students concerned about environmental challenges such as climate change and habitat destruction, the bachelor's degree in biological sciences – conservation biology and ecology will prepare them to understand and potentially find solutions to complex environmental threats.
  • The minor in biological sciences can open up the secrets of the living world in ways that satisfy students' desire to know more while complementing their major in surprising ways.

Early childhood studies

The bachelor's degree in applied science – early childhood studies through Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is intended for students working in early childhood settings, focusing on birth through age 5, who do not need initial teacher certification issued through a state department of education. The program prepares students with skills in child development, setting appropriate learning goals and more.

Education — various master's degree concentrations

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has expanded its online offerings with the following:

  • The master's degree in education is designed for professionals interested in learning about education or whose work intersects with education. It prepares students to work with children, youth and adults in formal or informal learning environments in nonprofit settings, community institutions, civic organizations and businesses. This flexible graduate program can be completed in as few as 16 months.
  • Graduates from the master's degree in education – literacy education program are leaders in literacy in a broad array of educational contexts — wherever reading, writing, oral language and the visual arts are at play. Graduates learn how to support inclusive educational practices, critical-thinking skills and multiliteracies to face the challenges of a diverse and global society.
  • The master's degree in education – educating multilingual learners program prepares students to educate bilingual and multilingual learners in a variety of settings, including pre-K–12 schools, colleges and organizations serving linguistically diverse populations. Students of this program gain skills and knowledge in language and literacy development, pedagogy, culture and context, and in advocacy for multilingual learners.

Educational studies

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College's bachelor’s degree in educational studies prepares students to work with children, youth and adults in several environments, such as nonprofits, community institutions, civic organizations and businesses. Students also complete a three-course internship series wherein they put their knowledge and skills to practice in the field. 

Energy production and sustainable use

As new energy technologies are introduced for commercial use, they will create new jobs for American workers who will need to be trained in a variety of areas from renewable energy generation and storage to sustainable transportation. Enter the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy's Master of Science in modern energy production and sustainable use, in which the school will utilize its transdisciplinary expertise to provide graduate student training in fundamental science and engineering principles.

English language learning/teaching

ASU's Global Launch — a platform that provides academic preparation services, training in multilingual communication and professional skills development for students, teachers and professionals — has launched several new offerings for fall 2020.

  • The self-paced Teach English Now: 120-Hour Online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification is for anyone with an interest in teaching English as a second or foreign language, with a focus on college-aged and adult learners. This course is especially beneficial for those with little background in TEFL.
  • The Full-Time Online Immersion English Language Program is developed for a wide range of learners at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. In each level, all students will learn and improve upon the four core competencies of reading, writing, listening and speaking while experiencing American culture. This program is accepted as proof of English proficiency for admission to ASU undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  • The Academic Persuasion Self-paced Online English Course is for students who wish to improve upon their English language skills in the characteristics of persuasion in academic writing, speaking and instruction. Learners will understand all aspects of persuasion and how best to organize summary and response compositions for a future career in academia as a student, researcher or lecturer.

Graphic design

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is expanding its bachelor's degree in graphic design to ASU Online. The program is focused on teaching how to visually communicate rather than teaching software. Students will learn visual literacy, critical thinking and storytelling skills that can be used in many design-related industries.

Homeland security

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions' graduate certificate program in homeland security is focused on the topic as a field applicable to all levels of government (federal, state and local) and to positions in private-sector organizations with functions related to organizational security. Students can study topics related to current international and domestic terrorism issues, intelligence analysis, cybersecurity issues and crime prevention.

Nursing and food safety

The Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation has expanded two of its master's degree programs to online: the Master of Science in nursing and the Master of Science in nursing (nursing education). Additionally, it has launched the all-new online Master of Science in regulatory science (food safety), which focuses on the regulations to ensure the safety of food products, including the production, manufacturing, processing and handling of food and food products and sale to consumers.

Political psychology

The Department of Psychology and the School of Politics and Global Studies have joined forces to better equip students for the modern political environment with the new online master’s degree in political psychology. Political psychology focuses on decision-making and the psychological factors behind politics, such as group dynamics, conflict, leadership and understanding beliefs and motivation. 

Public interest technology

The School for the Future of Innovation in Society is launching the Master of Science in public interest technology. The online, cross-disciplinary program will help students develop the knowledge and skills that will allow them to understand the motivations for and challenges of public interest technology, assess new and emerging technologies for social impact, engage with users and deploy technologies responsibly.

Sports business

For the sports enthusiast, the online bachelor’s degree in sports business prepares students for evolving careers in the domain of sports. The program resides in the top-ranked W. P. Carey School of Business and focuses on sports business with analytics, consumer behavior and design principles embedded into the curriculum.

Sustainable food systems

Students enrolled in the School of Sustainability's online Master of Science in sustainable food systems examine policies and practices related to sustainability, food trends, public policy and agricultural innovation in the United States. Graduates will be prepared to create policy initiatives that will drive the future of food policy and production. 

MORE: Browse the full list of recently launched ASU Online programs.

Top photo: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover onboard launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 30, 2020. The Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. Read about Mastcam-Z, the camera system on the new Mars Perseverance rover created by principal investigator and ASU scientist Jim Bell's team. Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA

ASU offers new master’s degree program in classical liberal education and leadership

July 8, 2020

Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership has launched a new master’s degree in classical liberal education and leadership that will be accepting students for the fall 2020 semester.

“We’re excited to offer a liberal arts curriculum for mature learners that blends study of fundamental ideas about humanity with civic thought and preparation for leadership,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.   New master’s program in classical liberal education and leadership Classical liberal education and leadership focuses on philosophy, politics, literature, ethics, history, mathematics and science. Download Full Image

“Leaders in civil society and public affairs need deeper ideas and judgment to cope with a very complicated 21st-century world, while those interested in classic ideas about the human condition should incorporate the challenges of being free, self-governing and serving as a leader,” Carrese said.

Classical liberal education and leadership focuses on philosophy, politics, literature, ethics, history, mathematics and science. The program combines theory and practice through the reading of classic texts with opportunities to strengthen pedagogical leadership skills. 

This new program will be led by Colleen Sheehan, who was a professor of politics and director of the Ryan Center at Villanova University.

“The country is fragmented. America right now is unsure of herself, what we stand for, who we are as a people and what our future looks like,” Sheehan said. “I'm hoping we can be a part of the solution to move forward in a country and nation that promotes civic understanding and friendship. That's what the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is about.” 

The courses in this degree are taught in the Socratic method, an active and engaging teaching method that Sheehan says is critical for learning. 

“(The Socratic method) means students are not passive recipients of knowledge as if you could transfer it from one line to another,” Sheehan said. “You can get people to memorize something, but educating and learning is about wrestling with the ideas and thinking for yourself."

Sheehan compared the program’s learning style to that of the Lyceum, the ancient Greek philosophical debate school in ancient Athens home to names like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  

“Classical liberal education and leaderships lyceum aims to prepare the next generation’s ‘cultivators of the human mind’ and thoughtful civic leaders to meet the challenges ahead with foresight, integrity, prudence, and imagination,” said Sheehan, who answered some questions about the new degree program.

Question: What will students learn in this program? 

Answer: The master's degree in classical liberal education and leadership prepares teachers, civic leaders, public servants and concerned citizens to think about the challenges of our time within the broader context of the abiding human questions, as well as to consider these questions for their own sake. Classical liberal education and leadership is an integrated, interdisciplinary course of study that is student-learning centered, employing the Socratic method of classroom dialogue. Classical liberal education and leadership is oriented to the classical, holistic pursuit of knowledge captured in the Aristotelian approach to education.  

Q: What career opportunities are available for graduates of this program? 

A: Classical liberal education and leadership prepares graduates for careers in teaching — in both basic and higher education — public service and political leadership. Given the interdisciplinary and classical character of the program, it will establish an educational foundation for any career in which a knowledge of human things and common good is highly prized, such as law, nonprofit philanthropy, public policy and public discourse.  

Q: What kind of students should apply to this program? 

A: This program is particularly suited to those who are interested in pursuing a genuine and rigorous course of study in classical liberal education. Those who are teaching or aspire to teach in classical education programs will find this degree a fitting and excellent choice of graduate study. Additionally, those who are interested in leadership careers, including within the realms of the civic, political, educational and military, will find the program’s lyceum to be an outstanding preparation in the study of the theory and practice of prudential judgment, strategic decision-making and the art of statesmanship. 

Jacey West

Communications program coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU civics summer camp goes virtual

June 29, 2020

Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership hosts its Civic Leadership Institute for high school students each summer. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had to change plans. Rather than canceling the program, the school's faculty and staff adapted the weeklong immersive program into a virtual learning experience held via Zoom.

Now well versed in online classes and Zoom meetings, the high schoolers participating were prepared for the virtual nature of this year's program, which was no different than their last spring semester. old main Download Full Image

“The students have been really active and excellent in sharing their thoughts and opinions,” said Associate Professor Adam Seagrave. “They are really articulate and thoughtful students, and I think it really gives those of us who are older hope about the future of the American republic.”

When asked what it was like finishing his junior year online, Jesus R., a senior from Phoenix, said, “It was certainly new! New experiences make us better and make us adapt better ... you learn to still function with what you have and with what’s available.”

The theme of this year’s Institute was ”The American Constitution in Action." The lessons and discussions explored the ways in which the longest-standing constitution in history has leaped off the page and into the lives of the American people.

“In the Civic Leadership Institute, we are trying to educate American citizens, particularly young American citizens, who are preparing to exercise their full rights of citizenship,” Seagrave said. Seagrave developed the curriculum alongsideprofessors Peter McNamara, Sean Beienburg and Zachary German, and postdoctoral fellow Jakub Voboril.

Video by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

“We wanted to draw that connection between the Constitution, which we always try to educate our students and citizens about, and current moments, which involve so many pressing matters, and see how those two things connect with each other,” Seagrave said.

“As most of us are going to be entering the realm of voting within the next few years, it’s important to understand how our nation was founded and what ideals our nation was founded with,” said Erik F., a senior from San Tan Valley, Arizona. “While going into voting, keeping in the back of our mind what our nation was founded on and how we want it to progress.”

This year, the institute virtually hosted over 30 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from across the country.

For Erik, this was a chance to talk with other students who are experiencing current events in a different part of the country than him. “COVID has affected all of us, but it’s interesting to hear how it has affected other people,” he said.

“It’s really heartening to see how excited they have been and how open they have been to learning about history, our structures of government and how those things are really relevant to the current issues that they really care about,” Seagrave said.

For some students like Jesus, the Civic Leadership Institute is a chance to figure out what he is interested in studying in college. Jesus wants to become a lawyer or work in law enforcement — he wants to be able to apply the law in the best way he can to serve his community.

“By joining this program, it will mature me and my understanding of how the law works in the United States,” he said. “I feel like there are so many flaws in our system that just by bettering my understanding, hopefully, I can make an impact on my community here in Arizona.”

The week culminated in a discussion with former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl. Given the theme of this year’s institute, it was really valuable to have an experienced statesman of recent American politics speak to the students, said Seagrave.

Though the third annual Civic Leadership Institute was held in a different format, the overall consensus was that it was valuable and worthwhile for the students and faculty.

“I think it’s important to have a well-rounded view of what’s going on in the world … it will broaden my perspective and my views of the people around me and the way the world functions,” said Nicole S., a senior from Oro Valley, Arizona, who plans on studying nursing in college. She said participating in the program was a way for her to explore interests that will supplement her education.

Jacey West

Communications program coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU In the News

ASU researcher comments on occupational licensing barriers

Dario Gurrola has spent thousands of dollars and several years of his life trying to realize his dream of becoming a full-time firefighter in California. He’ll even be on the front lines for the next several months, battling blazes in the northeastern part of the state with Cal Fire.

But no matter the amount of work Gurrola puts in — or the number of fires he puts out — his criminal record means that he has almost no chance of ever getting a full-time position doing what he loves, even though he was released from prison nearly a decade ago. California EMT Dario Gurrola

Gurrola, a 38-year-old living in Alturas, a small city near the Oregon border, isn’t eligible for most full-time jobs at one of the state’s 900-plus municipal fire departments. He can’t get the emergency medical technician certification that’s required. A California occupational licensing regulation prohibits anyone with two felonies for a lifetime and those with a single felony for 10 years. Gurrola has two felony convictions, so he’s forever restricted to positions that don’t require the license, including seasonal and volunteer jobs.

The rules, which criminal justice advocates have attacked as arbitrary and unnecessary, can present hurdles to people exiting the prison system and looking for the sort of skilled labor that makes them less likely to reoffend. In fact, states with significant occupational licensing barriers can also expect higher recidivism rates, according to Stephen Slivinski’s research. He’s a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University.

“These laws are really designed to try to keep people out of professions,” Slivinski said. “This is just one more lever, or one more barrier.”

The regulations also likely impact people of color more, too, since Latinx people and African Americans have a higher rate of incarceration.

Article Source: VICE News

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

ASU In the News

Make 'temporary' regulatory relief permanent after the pandemic passes

Early in the response to the pandemic, localities hard-hit by COVID-19 invited medical professionals working in more fortunate places to temporarily relocate and help treat afflicted patients. To make such moves possible, state governments suspended or loosened licensing requirements that would otherwise delay and discourage doctors, nurses and others hoping to lend a hand. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services similarly eased restrictions on cross-border practice of medicine, telehealth, testing and other services. The Food and Drug Administration stepped-down regulation of personal protective equipment and medical devices. Local governments cut all sorts of red tape to make life a bit easier.

Many rules that served as tedious bureaucratic obstructionism in good times were quickly revealed as dangerous and potentially deadly during a crisis and tossed aside. And that's where those rules should remain after the pandemic is gone⁠ , says expert Arizona State University Stephen Slivinski. (imageBROKER/Jan Walter/Newscom)

"We will learn many lessons as a result of this period in history," said Slivinski. "Hopefully one of them will be the benefits of a reduction in the barriers that occupational licensing policies create — not just today in the fight against the coronavirus, but in the future as a means to increase human well-being."

Slivinski, whose work has been quoted by reformers in both the Obama and Trump administrations, has long warned that occupational licensing hampers low-income entrepreneurs and former prisoners seeking work. Now he points out that "it is hard to quickly increase the number of doctors or other medical professionals in a state because state laws make it difficult for medical professionals to simply move into and quickly begin to practice — temporarily or otherwise — in a new state."

Article Source: Reason

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

16 classes to explore this summer from ASU's The College

May 28, 2020

Do you want to get ahead in your degree? Are you debating graduate school? Maybe you’re an incoming first-year student who just can’t wait for fall. Or maybe you’re just tired of the same routine and want to mix it up this summer.

No matter your motivation, with Arizona State University’s 5,000-plus summer course offerings, there is a class for you. Many of ASU’s popular courses are being offered with flexible start dates and the university is offering awards for a variety of students as well as financial incentives to assist learners with their educational goals. student looks at computer Popular courses are being offered online this summer with flexible start dates. Download Full Image

Check out some of the featured courses offered this summer from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Understand the past and present to impact your future

CEL 200 – Great Debates in American Politics and Economics: This course introduces fundamental ideas and debates about liberty and equality in American thought from the colonial era to the present, focusing on major political and economic figures and issues.

CEL 100 – Great Ideas of Politics and Ethics: This course surveys ancient, medieval and modern thinkers in the Greek, Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, tracing their influences on contemporary debates with focus on the great questions of human nature, social and political life and the relationship between religion and politics.

JUS 350 – Immigration and Justice: This course examines immigration policy, history of immigration, refugee issues, labor force participation, gender, family, children, social networks and transnationalism.

JUS 435 – Cinema and Justice: This course tracks the conceptualizations of justice that have been and are currently conveyed in film, including the relationship between crime and various notions of justice. Other depictions include social issues such as gender, race and economics.

WST 335 – Gender, Race and Sex in Science Fiction: This course explores such questions as: How have biological scientists explained human differences along axes of gender, race, class and sexuality? In what ways have these scientific discussions manifested themselves in science fiction?

Discover insights into human behavior

Whether you’re ready for a deep dive into psychology or just want an introduction to why humans behave the way they do, The College has a variety of courses to offer: 

COM 100 – Intro to Human Communication: Required by many majors, this course introduces basic theories, dimensions and concepts of human communicative interaction and behavior while fulfilling general education requirements.

PHI 310 – Environmental Ethics: This course examines a full range of philosophical positions pertaining to our moral relationship to the natural world; anthropocentrism, individualism and biocentrism.

PSY 366 – Abnormal Psychology: This course covers historical and current definitions, theory and research concerning abnormal behavior and major categories of psychopathology, including related treatment approaches.

PSY 394 – Introduction to Applied Behavioral Analysis: By developing a better understanding of why behavior occurs in the first place, this course will give you a taste of how we may accomplish behavior change to benefit the individual and society as a whole.

Explore your world from Earth to outer space

Do you find yourself looking around at your surroundings and asking “how?” The classes below will help you find answers to questions about the solar system, natural disasters, geologic history and more.

AST 111 – Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy: How did our Earth and solar system come to be? What are the patterns we observe in the sky? This course offers learners the opportunity to use astronomy and physics concepts to connect with our solar system and nearby stars, with an optional lab (AST 113).

GLG 102 – Introduction to Geology II (Historical): This course covers the basic principles of applied geology and the use of these principles in the interpretation of geologic history, with an optional lab (GLG 104).

GIS 598 – Special Topic: GIS Methods for Non-Majors: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a valuable tool being used by professionals in a variety of industries. This four-credit, hands-on course is designed for students who are new to GIS and would like to learn how to use it as a tool and apply it to work in their particular field.

GLG 110 – Dangerous World: This course combines both the scientific and human perspective, with primary focus placed on physical processes, case studies and the interactions between humans and Earth, with an optional lab (GLG 111).

GLG 327 – Earth’s Critical Zone: This course offers a quantitative review of the form and function of the processes impacting Earth’s critical zone to build an understanding of the interactions of physical, chemical and biotic processes in shaping the surface and determining fluid, solute and sediment fluxes.

SES 106 – Habitable Worlds: Are We Alone?: This question was once addressed only in our imaginations. Now, it is at the cutting edge of science. In Habitable Worlds, learn how scientists search for other worlds and how they determine whether a planet is capable of harboring life.

SES 141 – Energy in Everyday Life: This transdisciplinary online survey course helps students understand concepts and develop skills that crosscut scientific disciplines, such as the ability to observe, think critically and gather data to make order-of-magnitude estimates.

Kirsten Kraklio

Content Strategist and Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


ASU In the News

Universal licensing reciprocity helps moving Americans

Last year, Arizona became the first state to recognize other states’ occupational licenses for people moving in. “Universal recognition” legislation allows any professional who has met the requirements and maintained licensure for a year in any other U.S. state to transfer that license to Arizona and begin working.

In less than a year, over 750 people have been able to move to Arizona and begin working immediately. This helps not only those moving to Arizona but the Arizonans who are now able to receive services from these professionals.

Universal recognition is gaining traction across several states. MontanaPennsylvania, and Utah have recently joined Arizona and passed universal recognition legislation of their own, removing one of the most daunting hurdles workers face while moving to a new state.

When people move between states, we don’t make them sit for the learner’s permit exam or retake the driving test to get a new license. Instead, we trust other states’ screening mechanism for the ability to drive a car, which is far more dangerous than most licensed occupations.

Licenses restrict the entrance of new professionals, artificially raise wages and the prices consumers pay, slow down innovation and entrepreneurship, and erect barriers to low-skilled workers trying to enter the labor market. All that, with no measurable effect on quality, according to a 2015 White House report. Similar findings have come from researchers at ideologically diverse places like the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Minnesota, the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, and the Council of Economic Advisors.

Article Source: Catalyst

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

Barrett Honors College recognizes five Outstanding Graduates at May 2020 virtual convocation

May 11, 2020

Every student in Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University is talented and special in their own way. In every class there are many accomplished students with skills in a vast array of disciplines. 

Each spring, Barrett Honors College recognizes Outstanding Graduates in several categories who are representative of the high achievement of all honors students. Five members of the May 2020 graduating class have been named Outstanding Graduates of Barrett Honors College and will be recognized in the virtual honors convocation on May 11.* Barrett Honors College sign Download Full Image

“The outstanding graduates represent excellence in the particular values of the ASU Charter: They are leaders, they are accomplished student scholars, and they are true university and community citizens,” said Barrett Honors College Dean Mark Jacobs.

These students have excelled in academics and research, as well as contributed significantly to their communities through research, leadership, volunteerism, public service and the arts.

ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award: Justin Heywood

Heywood is graduating summa cum laude with a double major in political science and in civic and economic thought and leadership with a minor in Spanish and an overall GPA of 4.0. 

He ia a Tillman Scholar, a Lincoln Scholar and a Spirit of Service Scholar. He was a Fulbright Summer Institute awardee in Wales, and he was the University Student Government-Tempe director of civic engagement and an Army ROTC cadet. 

Heywood was an Arizona Senate page and page captain and served as a campaign intern for Sen. John McCain. He took part in the Inside-Out Arizona Department of Corrections program and in Talent Match at Barrett. He is the co-founder and president of BridgeASU and served as both a community assistant and teaching assistant at Barrett.

Outstanding Research Award: Rohini Nott

Nott is graduating summa cum laude with a double major in biology (biology and society) and business (public service and public policy) and an overall GPA of 4.0. 

She is a National Merit Scholar, a Helios Scholar at the Translational Genomics Consortium and a Flinn Scholar. She received the School of Life Sciences Outstanding Service Award and has served as patient advocate and clinic coordinator for the Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) Community Initiative in downtown Phoenix. 

Her research experiences and contributions have been extraordinary. She has completed six different research experiences as a research intern between high school and her undergraduate studies, and she has published three scientific research papers, four encyclopedia entries and presented six times at national or regional research conferences. Her topic at many of those conferences is also the subject of her thesis on stapled peptide analogs and their use in cancer therapy.

Outstanding Creative Work Award: Adele Etheridge Woodson

Etheridge Woodson is graduating summa cum laude with a major in music and a certificate in arts entrepreneurship with an overall GPA of 3.93.

She is a composer at Mophonics Music and Sound in Los Angeles, engaging with full-time composers to score short-form films. 

During her time as an undergraduate honors student, she was the assistant stage manager of the Phoenix Symphony, installed an original electronic work using her own violin samples in the ASU Art Museum and had her first string quartet composition premiered at the Vienna Summer Music Festival in Austria. 

Her nominating professor said that Etheridge Woodson is “the most mature, intelligent and engaged student with whom I have worked, and has contributed greatly to the local music community as a positively empowered woman in the music business and as a film composer.”

Outstanding Service Award: Noah Appelhans

Appelhans is graduating summa cum laude with a double major in business (human resources) and business (public service and public policy). He will additionally receive two certificates, one in political economy and one in public administration and management. He is a President’s Scholar and has an overall GPA of 4.0. 

For four years, he was an operations assistant in the Morrison School of Agribusiness. He also served as the secretary of the student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and a Human Event teaching assistant. He was the head writing tutor at Barrett-Polytechnic for two years. 

In the summer of 2019, Appelhans won an HR Officer Internship at the Department of Defense National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. He was nominated by six of his professors at ASU-Polytechnic, who said Appelhans “exemplifies academic excellence, leadership, a commitment to community and a love of learning and scholarship.”

Outstanding Leadership Award: Primrose Dzenga

Dzenga is graduating with bachelor’s degrees in global studies and creative writing and a master’s degree in political science. She is a Lincoln Scholar, a Garcia Scholar, a member of the Clinton Global Initiative University, a member of the Barrett Oral History project, and the recipient of a Zimbabwe National Arts Literary Award for her poetry and nonfiction writing. 

She founded and has directed for the last four years the Machikichori Citrus Reforestation Project in Zimbabwe, a 12,000-tree community orange orchard run by rural women in Wedza, Zimbabwe. She won a Barrett Global Explorers Grant this past summer to travel to three continents to conduct research on citrus farming techniques that will help in her emergence as a true global leader in international development.

* Due to the coronavirus pandemic and public health recommendations for social distancing, Barrett Honors College is holding its 2020 spring convocation in a virtual, online ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, May 11. The format may be different, but our enthusiasm for celebration has never been more inspired and we encourage you to join us in honoring Barrett graduates. Find a link to the virtual honors convocation ceremony on the Barrett site.

Nicole Greason

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


Graduate develops a passion for politics and civil discourse

May 8, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

Like many first-year college students, Justin Heywood wasn’t sure what he wanted to major in. After scrolling through the hundreds of majors offered on Arizona State University’s website, he chose the first one that really drew him in: political science.  ASU Grad Justin Heywood Justin Heywood will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in political science and civic and economic thought and leadership. Download Full Image

“As a kid, I was always involved in politics,” said Heywood. “It wasn’t until probably my freshman year, second semester that I realized, ‘Wow, I chose right. This is exactly where I need to be.’ That experience came with the 2016 presidential inauguration.

The 2016 election was the first opportunity Heywood had to vote, and he was excited to be a part of democracy. He attended the presidential inauguration and the Women’s March, both of which opened his eyes to the work that needed to be done in politics — particularly as it related to bipartisanship and civil discourse. 

“When I went to the inauguration I saw people pushing, shoving, fighting, spitting on one another because of their political views. We heard stories about friends and family disconnecting or removing them from social media just because of their political views,” Heywood said. “I thought that was something that needed to change.”

Back on campus, Heywood helped start a student organization called Bridge ASU, which hopes to foster civil discussions with people you don’t agree with. 

“I think it’s vital; it’s critical that we engage in this type of discourse,” said Heywood. 

His passion for politics and eagerness to be more involved led him to an internship as an Arizona state senate page. He was quickly promoted to a senate page lead where he had the opportunity to train and teach students how to assist the senators. 

“It’s not the job description that’s really fascinating about this, but being able to understand and see politics happen firsthand, at a local level is an amazing opportunity,” said Heywood. 

As a sophomore, Heywood discovered the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and attended two of its Global Intensive Experiences: one in India and one in Israel and the West Bank. 

In 2019, when Heywood traveled to Israel and the West Bank, he had the opportunity to learn more about the deeply divided state by talking with former members of Israel's unicameral parliament and volunteering at a local kindergarten that taught Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Palestinian students in the same classroom.  

“From all the news we see of Palestinians and Israelis and their clashes and violent protests, I think it was crucial to see that the hate that we see on the TV and hear about in society is really built-in and it's learned,” Heywood said. “These students played as any students would, unaware of the cultural ramifications that are surrounding them. It was really cool to be able to witness that firsthand and be able to help the students throughout that day and just have a chance to play with them.”

Heywood’s travels didn’t stop at India, Israel and the West Bank. Through a Fulbright Summer Institute Program, he was able to study in Wales to learn about national identity and nationhood. 

As far as after graduation, Heywood’s plans are unknown due to the COVID-19 crisis. He was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach English in South Korea, but with travel restrictions, this opportunity has been postponed and will start January 2021. In the meantime, Heywood is looking at working on a campaign or preparing for the general election by registering student voters. 

Heywood will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in political science and civic and economic thought and leadership. The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership caught up with him to ask him about his time at Arizona State University.

Question: Did you write a senior thesis? 

Answer: Yes, so I did write my senior thesis with Dr. Zachary German and Dr. Jakub Voboril within the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and what we really looked at was campus expressions. So, “Do students feel comfortable sharing their views in a classroom setting or do they self-censor themselves due to their perceptions of other students, due to professors or administrators at the school?” Particularly we looked at politically oriented majors and nonpolitically oriented majors and whether they feel more or less comfortable speaking on controversial, hot-button, political issues. We found, largely, within our sample of approximately 350 or so students that this largely was the case — political science majors did tend to feel more comfortable sharing their views in the classroom. We took a look at the common perception made by conservatives that conservatives and Republicans are censored in the classroom due to fears of other students and repercussions by faculty members. We found this largely to be the case with 92% of very conservative students saying that they were likely to self-censor or feel reluctant sharing their views in the classroom. So, very interesting findings and if you want to read more feel free to look at it on the Barrett Honors Repository. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I think getting students engaged and at the table is vitally important, and so if I had $40 million I would probably start some sort of student think tank or incubator for students to engage and learn important leadership skills but also find funding for students groups to be able to advocate for issues that they’re passionate about. I envision this as being a bipartisan movement — students on the left, students on the right, and anywhere in between could critically engage with issues and learn how to engage their communities in meaningful and important ways. So that’s probably what I’d do with my $40 million if I had the chance. And pay off my student loans, of course.      

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I would say the most important lesson I learned from Dr. Michael Mokwa.  He’s a business professor in the School of Business — W. P. Carey — and I took a Tillman Leadership Scholar course with him across two semesters, three hours in the basement of the business administration building — which is kind of funny because we ended up liking “the catacombs” as we called it. I think he taught me a lot about leadership and how to develop and sustain teams when in a leadership role. I really use this in my role as president of Bridge ASU and really starting what we had from very little to know what we have being interviewed and stuff by, you know, popular news organizations and hosting — I think — really impactful events that many students enjoy. He taught me the most important lesson, and I really would have to thank him for all the leadership on that.       

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to students who are still in school? 

A: I would say the most important piece of advice is understanding that you can actually make a difference in some of the issues that we confront in our daily lives and even outside of them. So, when you’re watching the news and you’re hearing about this protest or this issue that’s really drawing your attention, some students it’s really easy to passively listen to news outlets and just say, “Ah, that’s an issue for when I graduate, that’s an issue when I’m that lawyer, I’m that doctor that I really want to step in and confront that issue” but really, it’s something that can be changed and really dealt with in the college environment.

Honestly, college is the best place to find other students that have similar views or to even confront those that don’t have similar views and being able to understand both of them and be able to come together and join in a common cause.

Next issue that you find, that you’re really passionate about, make a difference! Start a club. Start a protest. Really just do anything you can to create change in your community. 

Jacey West

Communications program coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership