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The second week of January marks the convening of the Arizona Legislature and ASU got things rolling by hosting our annual Sun Devil Advocate Legislative Breakfast at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. A large group of state legislators and ASU supporters joined me for an overview of our institutional vision and our policy priorities for bringing that to fruition.
In my remarks, I affirmed that enhancing educational attainment - for the betterment of the individual, our state and our society - is ASU's job and we must counter with facts any assertion that higher education is impractical, lacks value or is an unnecessary luxury.
As a means of advancing college completion in Arizona, I urged policymakers to 1) support the Arizona Board of Regents' proposed funding model, which asks the state to cover half the cost of educating in-state students; and 2) set a specific metric for educational attainment with the aim of expanding the state's skilled workforce to create a stronger economy. If Arizona wants a better future, our leaders must take thoughtful and deliberate action.
The evening after the Legislative Breakfast, I had the pleasure of hosting my 2016 Community Conversation. I enjoy this event because I get to discuss a top-of-mind topic with members from all facets of the community and answer their questions. Coming off of ASU's designation as "#1 in innovation" by U.S. News & World Report , this year's talk to a sold-out crow focused on what it means to be innovative and how ASU is taking innovation to new heights.
I discussed the pervasive nature of innovation that we encounter in daily life, the resolve, creativity and collaboration that makes innovation possible, and most importantly, the serious responsibility that ASU carries for advancing innovation that improves the lives of the people it serves.
In addition to learning more about the incredible scope of ASU innovation (including great work by our School of Earth and Space Exploration, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU Preparatory Academy, and the ASU Center for Education Through eXploration), guests also had unique opportunities to engage with our Starbucks College Achievement Plan partners, try out me3 (a new student career tool), and spot a celebrity...
See the full event and my presentation at your convenience using the link below and mark your calendar for next January.
The Urban Land Institute is dedicated to responsible land use and development, issues that ASU takes seriously as it works to promote the well-being of the communities we serve.
ULI hosted its annual Trends Day on January 20 and I was given a few minutes to share my thoughts about "ASU: 2025" - specifically, what Arizona needs to get right in the next ten years if we hope to live in a successful and prosperous state, and how ASU is working toward that right now.
In short, Arizona is experiencing rapid population growth, but our youth are not enrolling in and completing postsecondary education at the rate needed to fulfill Arizona's future economic needs. The reality is that by 2020, 68% of all the jobs in our state will require a higher education degree. Right now, Arizona sends 32,000 high school graduates to college and 25% of those are not prepared for college-level work.
So what do we do? Identify every possible way to make a quality education broadly accessible, with vital attention to closing the education gap that impacts our Latina/o students. A failure to dramatically increase educational attainment within the Latina/o community can only have major ramifications for Arizona in terms quality of life, economic competitiveness, employment, and many other factors. The time for action is now.
In my last newsletter it was announced that I'd recently been designated a LinkedIn "Influencer" and had begun posting to their Pulse blog.
This month's second post, "Americans Have Always Invested in Big Ideas and Big Projects. Why Stop Now?", examines the significant role infrastructure investment played in the evolution of our nation as a global leader and what diminished investment may mean for the future of our country.
Given today's often contentious political climate, can the U.S. maintain the roads, bridges, transportation systems and telecommunication networks that Americans have come to rely upon or are we setting ourselves up for national decline? Read my thoughts and share yours by subscribing to my posts or checking in via Facebook or Twitter.