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Updates from the President

Updates from President Crow: March 24, 2017

  • ASU launches School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
  • Visit to the Wisconsin Board of Regents: Innovate to expand access
  • ASU Founders' Day looks to the past to help inspire the future
  • Sun Devil Service Awards thank longtime ASU staff

ASU President Michael Crow and George F. Will

ASU President Michael Crow and George F. Will discuss the opening of ASU's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

ASU launches School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

On March 3, we launched ASU's 18th transdisciplinary academic unit, The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, a unique effort to prepare a new generation for leadership service. At a special breakfast event that included remarks by Governor Doug Ducey, we welcomed government, business, education and community leaders to kick-off a day-long series of events dedicated to constructive political discourse. Pulitzer-prize winning political columnist, George F. Will, gave keynote remarks focused on the importance of securing basic human rights and preserving the free exchange of ideas. Here is his post-launch Washington Post column highlighting ASU, "The intellectual diversity we need".

Under the leadership of former Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Air Force Academy political science professor Paul Carrese, the school is the first of its kind at a major U.S. university to offer a major and a minor in a program that draws from classic texts and philosophical traditions; is inspired by our nation's founders and foundations; and is oriented toward the public good.

I look forward to tracking and sharing the school's growth in the months and years to come, which will include a graduate program, a national Visiting Fellows program, a speaker series and a variety of outreach initiatives.

ASU President Michael Crow addresses the Wisconsin Board of Regents

ASU President Michael Crow addresses the Wisconsin Board of Regents on access and innovation.

Visit to the Wisconsin Board of Regents: Innovate to expand access

I was recently invited to visit with members of the University of Wisconsin System to discuss the pressing challenges facing higher education and what can be done to address them. As I shared last month, I regularly present trends and updates to the Arizona Board of Regents. However, it is an interesting exercise to share ideas and experiences among postsecondary leaders operating in a unique environment from different perspectives.

My remarks focused on the rapidly changing nature of our increasing technology-based economy and how public research universities need to adapt accordingly by deploying innovations to help expand higher education access. Projections of future college attainment show that the contemporary postsecondary landscape is not adequately positioned to meet the growing demand for skilled college graduates. In order to fulfill the future needs of highly technological industries, public universities must quickly develop pioneering ideas for new learning opportunities and services that facilitate student success through graduation.

While not everyone present was enthusiastic about this message, it is a timely one as the sizable University of Wisconsin system is actively pursuing financial aid and research funding increases among its top federal priorities in 2017.

As I've mentioned in other talks like "Is College Worth It?", repetitive, non-cognitive jobs are anticipated to decline sharply in coming decades as human workers in these roles are replaced by technological solutions. As a result, time is of the essence in educating these workers to perform alternate forms of employment. Failing to do so will carry dramatic consequences for our local, national and global economies, so public higher education has a responsibility to creatively tackle this challenge head on.

ASU Founders' Day 2017

ASU Founders' Day looks to the past to help inspire the future

Every March, ASU stops to celebrate Founders' Day, an acknowledgement of the people, actions and accomplishments that created the university we know today. Hosted by the ASU Alumni Association, Founders' Day gives us an important opportunity to reflect on the evolution of our institution and to give special recognition to the alumni, faculty and supporters who are exemplars of the Sun Devil spirit and whose dedicated efforts are adding to ASU's ever-growing tradition of excellence.

On March 16, I joined 800 members of our extended ASU family for this year's Founders' Day dinner and awards. In addition to honoring two of our most outstanding alumni in Michael Burns, vice chairman of Lionsgate Films, and Jack Furst, founder of Oak Stream Investors, we thanked the following faculty members for their respective research, service and teaching contributions to ASU:

    • Joshua LaBaer, Interim Executive Director, Biodesign Institute at ASU
    • Manfred Laubichler, President's Professor, School of Life Sciences
    • Sharon Hall, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Associate Professor, Global Institute of Sustainability

ASU's ongoing success is fueled by the collective vision, creativity and dedication of leaders like these, and their stories left us all feeling newly inspired.

I closed the night with remarks crafted to serve as an imagined "progress report" of sorts to ASU's founders. Starting with a look at ASU's very first Founders' Day event in 1960 and highlighting our significant advancement in terms of excellence, access and impact, I relayed a sampling of ASU's most unique accomplishments. I am deeply proud of what has been attained and have unwavering faith in the tremendous things to come. ASU has always been a well of unlimited talent and we're only getting started.

ASU President Michael Crow presents a Sun Devil Service Award

Sun Devil Service Awards thank longtime ASU staff

Earlier on Founders' Day, I also had a special opportunity to acknowledge longtime faculty and staff for their service to ASU. This year, 152 individuals were eligible for recognition as part of the Sun Devil Service Awards, an annual celebration lunch and ceremony coordinated by ASU Human Resources. Honorees had a minimum of 25 years of service to ASU. As part of the event, I had the pleasure of visiting with these dedicated men and women to convey my thanks and to present them with a unique gift of their choice to commemorate their employment milestone.

Of those present, we congratulated more than 80 faculty and staff members whose employment totals more than 2,435 years of service to ASU. Eight of these "Sun Devils for Life" have worked at ASU for more than 40 years and two faculty members, Mary Anderson-Rowland, professor in Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, and David William Foster, Regents Professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures, celebrated their 50-year anniversaries. 

It was great to spend time with these ASU family members, both to learn from their experiences at ASU and to express my appreciation for the valuable contributions they have made to the success of our students and our institutional evolution.