Welcome to the Office of University Initiatives Blog, an online journal that allows our office to share and reflect on our work at ASU.

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How to Cope with Being a Generalist as a UI Fellow

Submitted by Michelle Villeg... on February 15, 2019 - 12:00am

As the conduit for university-wide initiatives at Arizona State University (ASU), the Office of University Initiatives (UI) is like an island of generalists in a deep sea of specialists. As an R1 university, ASU is a breeding ground for pundits, from professors like Dr. Sha Sin Wei, who studies ethico-aesthetic improvisation and topological approaches to morphogenesis and process philosophy, to researchers like Dr. Diego Mastroeni, who studies genetic and epigenetic changes within single classes of cells in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease using laser capture microdissection.

The UNIVERSAL LEARNING™ Initiative, From Abstract Concept to Tangible Product

Submitted by Lukas Wenrick on February 4, 2019 - 12:00am

Within the first hour of my first day as a University Innovation Fellow, I met with my direct supervisor, Luke Tate, and the leader of the UI Office, Jacqueline Smith. I was handed a paper with my initial assignments and explained that these would be ongoing projects. What I didn’t know was that these projects would take months of research, dozens of meetings, and countless reports -- just to scratch the surface.

My first two assignments were:

Social Embeddedness Report

Submitted by Tunga Lodato on February 1, 2019 - 4:19pm

Often times, our office must communicate with internal and external stakeholders about the efforts ASU has taken to operationalize the charter and design aspirations. Such assignments to do so can be both rewarding and frustrating. With thousands of students, faculty staff and community partners across five campuses, there is no shortage of programs and initiatives that can be featured. One of best aspects of my role is learning about these efforts and how they have made a positive impact.

To Scale or Not to Scale?

Submitted by Joanna Zimmerman on March 12, 2018 - 12:00am

At Arizona State University, you will be hard-pressed to find a group or department discussing education without simultaneously discussing scale. If we are reaching one hundred learners with a product or course offering, can we reach 200? What about 500? At EdPlus, the division which houses Education for Humanity, scale is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Committing to Holistic Inclusion in Higher Education

Submitted by Aya Waller-Bey on March 9, 2018 - 12:00am

Energized about conversations regarding the role of the public university, I find myself reflecting on the role of institutions of higher education more broadly, and commitments to postsecondary access, diversity, and inclusion. There are currently 3,026 four-year degree-granting institutions in the United States. Amongst these institutions are minority-serving institutions (historically black college and universities and Hispanic serving institutions), women’s colleges, small liberal arts colleges, work colleges, and public research institutions to name a few.

Climate Change

Submitted by Lukas Wenrick on February 14, 2018 - 12:00am

I was born and raised in a small rural community in Midwest Ohio. I had only left this small community a handful of times before going off to college -- also in Midwest Ohio. Over the years, my normal was represented by snow-covered winter mornings, humid summer days, and the trees growing their leaves only to have them fall to the ground several months later. When I moved to Boston, what I knew as normal didn’t change much.


Submitted by Regina Uribe on February 13, 2017 - 4:56pm

The other day I came across a book called Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy by Amy C. Edmondson. In the book, Edmondson describes “teaming” as “teamwork on the fly” (pg. 13). It is a set of mindsets and practices that allow groups of people to work together in a fluid environment. The pillars of teaming (pg. 52) include:

Curb Cut Thinking: An Argument for Universal Design

Submitted by Lindsey Beagley on January 4, 2017 - 12:00am
I sit at my desk staring at this cheeky big red button that reads, “To boldly go where everyone else has gone before” and marvel at the common themes that seem to weave through my career. I keep it pinned to my corkboard everywhere I go because, as a generalist and project manager-type professional, I often need to remind myself what principles and values guide my career path and thread together my seemingly disparate intellectual pursuits. Accessibility and equity are chief among them.

Fall 2016 Fellows Forum - Why ASU?

Submitted by Tamara Webb on December 30, 2016 - 12:00am

ASU University Innovation(UI) Fellows are early- and mid-career leaders from policy, STEM, education and other diverse backgrounds who have been recruited to help develop, incubate, and launch various university initiatives that continue the advancement of ASU as a New American University. Fellows Forum is a vital opportunity for UI Fellows and other select members of the President’s Office to converse and network with units across all sectors of the institution.