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Each spring, the Milken Institute - an independent economic think tank - hosts a global conference that gathers people with diverse experience to explore solutions in the areas of education, health, government, industry and finance.
I was recently invited to join a panel to discuss the state of education in America, specifically the progress of the education pipeline, and what action is being taken at all levels to improve teacher quality, student performance and workforce preparedness.
Joined by representatives from the University of California, Berkeley, Success Academy Charter Schools, and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, I welcomed the opportunity to highlight our groundbreaking and responsive redesign of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the outstanding outcomes that have been generated by our "Dojo mentality" - every teacher is a student, and every student is a teacher.
I also explained my optimism for the future of American higher education based on my strong belief that we can design varied, effective and scalable teaching and learning models, like the one we are advancing at ASU, to produce the knowledge and solutions we need for a better world.
May 9th kicked off a week of celebrations honoring our 2016 graduates and the people who supported their success. Our campuses hosted an array of memorable ceremonies, including Graduate Commencement where we acknowledged 4,000 new degrees, and numerous college and special interest convocations. The joy and energy across ASU were palpable.
Adding to the excitement of the season, this year's undergraduate commencement was a first for ASU, as the current renovation of Sun Devil Stadium prompted our relocation to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. We welcomed 9,000 undergraduate degree-holders into the ranks of ASU's alumni, and presented honorary degrees to Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, and Sir William Castell, social entrepreneur and former chairman of the Wellcome Trust. We also honored our Golden Graduates of 1966, including former Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation from ASU.
As ASU continues looking for and implementing new and better ways to fulfill its teaching and learning mission in service to the people of Arizona, graduation gives our university community an important opportunity to witness the amazing outcomes of our efforts and to receive powerful inspiration to imagine and pursue new dreams. During my remarks to graduates, I asked them to believe that - despite current and pervasive negative rhetoric to the contrary - a fantastic future is possible. I urged them to fight for it.
At the end of the day, this short video demonstrates what our work at ASU is all about and why it is so important. To read about our 2016 University Commencement and watch our ceremony in its entirety, visit the link below.
As the 2015-2016 academic year comes to a close, it is a good time to revisit some of the outstanding #1 distinctions earned by our ASU community since last summer. For nearly fifteen years, our trajectory has focused on building a world-class university dedicated to excellence, access and impact, and below are just a few examples of the quality and progress demonstrated by our students, faculty, staff, partners and programs. These points of pride are simultaneously meaningful and motivational, and I deeply appreciate the collective effort that made them possible.
In my most recent LinkedIn Pulse post, I discuss the need for more female engineers and how ASU is taking steps to address this disparity. Though we have more than 3,000 women enrolled our Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering , that number is insufficient and must increase quickly. The longer we fail to foster the talent, creativity and perspective of these students, the more societal challenges will continue to go unsolved.
At ASU, we looked at the challenges traditional engineering programs experienced in attracting and retaining female students, and then took an intense look at our own programs to implement a more innovative and collaborative approach for broad student appeal. We also devoted significant time and energy to expanding our STEM education efforts to better prepare students and teachers at all levels to excel. FSE is now home to 19,000 students focused on finding answers to complex issues, but we cannot achieve our maximum potential until we reflect the full diversity of thought.
As we look for new ideas and collaborations to help us move forward in this space, I welcome your feedback and suggestions.
CORRECTION: My April 29 newsletter incorrectly identified Bob Zollars as the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Vocera Communications. Bob is currently Vocera's Chairman of the Board and Brent Lang serves as CEO.