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Updates from the President

Updates from President Crow: November 20, 2019

  • Sharing ASU’s vision in Arizona and around the world
  • It’s time to take exclusivity out of the higher education equation
  • Sun Devil student-athletes are blazing new trails
  • Collective commitment is key to ASU’s sustainability success 

ASU International Tourism Program in China

Raising the pitchfork with some of the 800 students enrolled in our Hainan University – ASU International Tourism Program in China on November 5. (Photo credit: Edelman) 

Sharing ASU’s vision in Arizona and around the world

Recent weeks yielded many excellent opportunities to talk about Arizona State University’s vision and progress in evolving 21st century higher education and how we can be of service in moving our state and our world forward. I just returned from China, where I made my first visit to Hainan University to tour our thriving joint International College of Tourism and learn from students, faculty and leadership about how else we can advance new learning and discovery. During a busy and fruitful visit, I also gave a public lecture on innovation and university design and signed a new collaborative agreement with Hainan to grow our partnership.

Before China, I traveled to Berlin to address 150 international academic leaders at the inaugural event of the newly reconstructed Humboldt Forum as part of “Interdisciplinarity Revisited.” This symposium sought details about ASU’s organizational and cultural restructuring to facilitate interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research. It was exciting to be in the birthplace of the world’s original research university and to be able to highlight how ASU’s world-class faculty work across disciplines to reinvent the research university of the future.

Back at home, in between these two trips, I was pleased to address the Arizona Association for Economic Development, the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, and Tucson’s Southern Arizona Leadership Council at separate events to share ideas about how our collaboration can build a stronger Arizona economy. It is a privilege to be able to convey ASU’s lessons and successes to different audiences and to see our global engagement grow, but everything we do is first and foremost to move forward in service to the people of Arizona. 

ASU Grad with Pitchfork 2019

One of ASU’s 15,000 graduates celebrates with a pitchfork at university commencement in May 2019. (Photo Credit: ASU Now) 

It’s time to take exclusivity out of the higher education equation

Since news of “Operation Varsity Blues” broke last summer, questions about my perspective on the story have been frequent. As charges and sentences in our nation’s largest college-admissions scam continue to unfold, I remain of the opinion that such schemes indicate precisely why long held misperceptions about exclusivity to higher education quality must end.

The outmoded notions that fuel the desperation of some parents and schools ignorantly fail to account for institutions who hold both high academic standards and a commitment to broad access and student success. ASU is a leader in demonstrating that quality and inclusion are not mutually exclusive, and by founding organizations like the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), we are working with other likeminded institutions to develop and share strategies and tools that substantially improve student access and outcomes.

While some “elite” universities attempt to admit some historically underserved students, those very limited numbers will not remotely have the impact needed to meet the increase in degreed learners our nation needs to be an economically competitive global leader in the future.

ASU has demonstrated its commitment to simultaneous quality, access and impact for nearly 18 years with meaningful outcomes and we look forward to building on this progress with your help.

Michael Crow and Remy Martin

Visiting with ASU Guard Remy Martin during a youth basketball clinic with the Yao Ming Foundation in Shanghai on November 7, 2019. (Photo Credit: Sun Devil Athletics) 

Sun Devil student-athletes blazing new trails at home and away

It’s been a history-making semester for Sun Devil Athletics. With more than 3,000 Chinese students enrolled at ASU, 9,000-plus Chinese alumni, and an ever-growing list of academic and research partnerships with China, we were excited at the chance to bring the collegiate athletic experience there, while also giving our student-athletes a one-of-a-kind learning and cultural experience.

The ASU Men’s Basketball team made history by traveling to China for its regular season opener against Colorado, the first time Pac-12 conference opponents have competed overseas. Our players also competed in an exhibition game against Tsinghua University, participated in business and cultural learning activities with Starbucks and Disney, and conducted a basketball clinic for underprivileged youth from the Yao Ming Foundation as community ambassadors. Even Sparky the Sun Devil made some new fans in Shanghai.

Back in the U.S., you may have also seen our Sun Devil football team featured on a recent episode of HBO’s College Football 24/7. ASU was one of only four teams selected for a 30-minute insider’s look at the talent, leadership and preparation of our program. I was especially proud to see examples of the academic drive and aspirations of our team and coaches, a focus that can be found across our athletics program.

Just last month, the NCAA announced its Graduation Success Rates, and seven ASU teams earned a 100 percent GSR, including men’s and women’s basketball (record high), softball, gymnastics, women’s swimming, tennis and volleyball. Baseball also set a new record earning a 96 GSR.

These milestones speak to the drive and dedication of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and exemplify how they are adding to ASU’s tradition of excellence, impact and global engagement. 

University of Guam President Thomas Krise, Michael Crow, Austin Shelton

University of Guam President Thomas Krise and Center for Island Sustainability Director Austin Shelton visited Tempe to discuss our sustainability work and collaboration. (Photo credit: UOG) 

Collective commitment is key to ASU’s sustainability success

ASU recently participated in Campus Sustainability Month, which is an annual opportunity to celebrate, share and re-affirm our year-around commitment and leadership in sustainability. Our university has long demonstrated a steadfast dedication to advancing comprehensive sustainability solutions in education, research and operations. We remain a forward-thinking and innovative driver in this space and we have every intention of maintaining our ambitious trajectory.

Through the focused efforts of the Julie A. Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, University Sustainability Practices; Facilities Development and Management; the Global Futures Laboratory – our newly launched effort to harness and leverage all scholarly work aimed at preserving the habitability of our planet – and the critically important collective contributions by individuals and units throughout our university community, we have made significant advancements toward our sustainability goals. Examples of our progress since 2007 include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent; the diversion of a record 4,000 tons of landfill waste; and a 50 percent reduction in paper use across the university.

We are also grateful for the support our sustainability efforts have received from partners and organizations and want to remain connected. I invite you to visit the resources below for more on the scope and passion that ASU has for fostering a more sustainable community and future. To be a Sun Devil is to be sustainable and I hope you will join us as we reach for new milestones.