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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User-Centered Design to Equip the MasterCard Foundation Scholars

Submitted by Bethany Weigele on April 14, 2015 - 12:00am

Imagine you are a young African student accepted for a full-ride scholarship to study at a university. Your selection was prompted by your passion to change the continent in which you were born. At the end of your time in school, you will be one of several thousand students who can call themselves a MasterCard Foundation Scholar and you will be charged to positively impact Africa by making a difference in your field, be it health, engineering or political science. What resources would you need to be successful?

Opening Doors and Possibilities: Fellows Forum with David Burge, Director of Enrollment Services

Submitted by Ray Andrada on April 10, 2015 - 12:00am

To the delight of our entire team at UI, David Burge, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, joined us for our February Fellows’ Forum. My colleague Mike Meaney shared a great idea for a conversational icebreaker where we described a seemingly random, almost bizarre and yet profound event that happened to each of us in our lives so far. It was neat to hear personal stories from my colleagues that we had never shared before, and coincidentally, it was a great transition for our guest to actually talk about the eye-opening and happenstance events that led to his current career path. Mr.

Access, Excellence, Impact and Creativity: Fellows Forum with Dean Tepper, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Submitted by Ray Andrada on April 9, 2015 - 12:00am

In March 2015, Dr. Steven Tepper, Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Dr. Alexandre Frenette, a post-doctoral scholar in Herberger, graciously shared an hour of their time with the UI team as guests of a very successful and engaging Fellows’ Forum. The topics about what the new leadership at Herberger plans to bring through ASU were so captivating that our conversations with Dean Tepper and Dr. Frenette went overtime, and we realized as we concluded with final remarks that we still had several questions unanswered about them personally and as individuals!

Thoughts on Online Education

Submitted by Michael Meaney on March 24, 2015 - 12:00am

I vividly remember the days of AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM. My screen-name, PurpleWalrus7801, was an attempt at middle-school cool. How clever, I thought, to combine words and numbers into some very non-obvious reference to Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. The “away message” foreshadowed the status update as a means to self-promote how cool and interesting your offline life was, all in order to receive validation from your friends online. Then, of course, there was the flirting dimension.

Is it worth it? A pivotal point of reflection with the Office of the President: Pt 1

Submitted by Ray Andrada on March 20, 2015 - 12:00am

Last month, Fellows enjoyed an extended opportunity to gain perspectives from more senior members of the Office of the President: Joyce Smitheran, Kyle Whitman and Annemarie Belter. It was a very special and rare chance to collectively pause and reflect broadly on the work we do as well as the President we support. For me, the conversation was rewarding in many ways, and I feel that, in order to best convey its significance to me, I should start with a detour of days long passed.

A first taste of leadership in higher education

A Nurturing University

Submitted by Bethany Weigele on February 12, 2015 - 12:00am

My son, Benjamin is currently fifteen months old. He says over thirty words now, but I am proud to say that his first word was ‘mama’. While I did win the competition with my husband of whether he would say mama or dada first, the win was a little anticlimactic because Benjamin does not reserve the word ‘mama’ just for me. He uses the word as a request, and he will say it repeatedly to anyone until his need is met. For example, if he wants to be picked up by his dad he will tug on his dad’s legs and shout “mama, mama, mama”, or if he wants another bite of food he will say “mama?”.

NCoC Conference - October 2014

Submitted by Michael Meaney on November 14, 2014 - 12:00am

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Annual Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), hosted by the National Council on Citizenship. The conference brought together leaders from the public and private sector, as well as members of the Armed Services, in order to discuss civic engagement in America and determine ways to promote and expand national service opportunities. This year, the conference was convened at American University in Washington D.C., focused on the theme of “Connect. Empower.

2014 MasterCard Foundation Orientation with the UI Fellows

Submitted by Ray Andrada on November 12, 2014 - 12:00am

Our class of 2017 ASU MasterCard Foundation Scholars completed a series of high-energy orientation events prior to the start of the fall semester. UI Fellows designed and led workshops that addressed health and wellness, elevator pitches, norms in American communication and research opportunities at ASU. 

Health and Wellness

Seeing problems as opportunities

Submitted by Bethany Weigele on October 10, 2014 - 12:00am

Last month, my friend, Paul Maurice Johnson, lost his battle to cancer at the age of 29. He left behind his wife and four year old son. During his funeral, we remembered Paul as a great friend and a man who possessed a remarkable ability to be optimistic about everything. Even through his daily challenge of being sick from cancer treatments, he constantly checked in with friends communicating genuine excitement and care for those he knew. Paul saw his problem of fighting cancer as an opportunity to inspire people to continue on in their own battles whatever they may be.

Cross-Sector Commitment: ASU's response to the Arizona Leadership Forum

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on September 20, 2014 - 12:00am

The current state of Arizona is not the Arizona We Want, as determined by the Center for the Future of Arizona. But last week, Arizona made huge strides in addressing the complex challenges we face at the 2014 Arizona Leadership Forum, an ongoing movement that convenes leaders in nonprofit, corporate, philanthropic and civic sectors to communicate, collaborate and lead together for the social, economic, and cultural advancement of our state.

Lessons from Design Thinking Bootcamp

Submitted by Jacqueline Smith on September 16, 2014 - 12:00am

I hate to admit it, but sometimes my most productive experiences at conferences occur when I’m (half) listening to a keynote speech that sparks an idea that I map out on the back of my program. The speech becomes “white noise” and I get into a flow made possible by extricating myself from my office and giving myself time to ponder.

There is no “white noise” at the’s Design Thinking Bootcamp. In fact, there is barely any time to check your email.