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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 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 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.
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, 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 , we are working with other likeminded institutions to develop and 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.
It’s been a history-making semester for . 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 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 . 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 , 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.