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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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We send our sincerest thanks to Mr. Keith Walton, vice president for strategic industry collaborations and senior advisor to President Crow, for joining us in our first Fellows’ Forum of the Fall 2014 semester.
I am constantly glued to my hand-held screen. And it seems I am not alone. Walking around campus yields a somewhat unsettling observation – almost nobody walks with their heads up, held high, encountering the natural world as it comes to them. Instead, we are often busy making our way to wherever it is we are going in an aggressively hurried fashion, with our heads planted firmly looking down, encountering our own preferences of the digital world.
It’s been several weeks now since I started as an Innovation Fellow at Arizona State University. I can without a doubt say that I love my job for many reasons. I am constantly challenged to design and create meaningful initiatives for the university. Though I am enjoying the fellowship, I have also begun to identify skills required for my job that I have never developed. To be honest, admitting these weaknesses does not come naturally.
Many unfortunate features of the Arizona education system are regularly discussed and documented. As Arizona is set to become a majority-minority state within the next two decades, the Latino education gapthreatens the long-term economic viability of our state. We also face an impending established teacher shortfall, with annual teacher retention rates of only 65%.
As a recent graduate of a Ph.D. program in Molecular Microbiology, I am quite guilty of keeping my eyes “glued to the books” and not thinking about the larger picture of my educational endeavors. I spent five years studying foodborne pathogens, and I often joke about the paleness of my skin caused by always working in lab. At the end of the program, however, I began to reflect on my future and found myself wondering if I was going to be satisfied at the end of my life, if I continued as a scientist in the lab trying to solve one problem? For me, the answer was no.
June Snacks and Skills also touched on a particular skillset termed as learning agility. Known as the ability to adapt, learn from past experiences and feedback and embrace innovation and change, Korn Ferry Talent and Leadership Consulting considers learning agility to be the top predictor of long-term professional success. Through their longitudinal study of business executives, they found that higher an individual’s level of learning ability correlated with greater advancement: Highly learning agile individuals averaged three more promotions in a ten-year period.
What are your greatest transferrable skills? How do you market those skills to your future employer? Are you an agile learner, and if so, how do you leverage such a skill in the job hunt? These are the questions explored in UI’s June Snacks and Skills. To see the entire presentation, access the Prezi.
Earlier this spring, the Office of University Initiatives launched the Action Collab Design Process to discover opportunities and solutions to heighten ASU’s social embeddedness landscape. (For a recap of the first part of this process, read this blog.) On June 19, a second group of community engagement practitioners from across the institution gathered to tackle a design question built upon opportunities presented from the first session: How might we better track service learning and community-based internships across ASU?
In efforts to address possibilities and solutions surrounding challenges in social embeddedness, the Office of University Initiatives at ASU hosted the first stage of an Action Collaboration Design Process (Action Collab). Throughout this process, we convened multiple community engagement stakeholders from across the institution and collectively interviewed, in rapid-fire fashion, a sampling of them. Participants grouped takeaways on post-its in idea clusters and voted on areas of highest opportunity.
Action Collab I: Wednesday, May 9th
UI embraced true Snack and Skill synergy for its April Snacks and Skills presentation, “Brain Food and Mood Food”. When it comes to your level of alertness, memory effectiveness, cognitive ability and overall mood, the food you consume plays a major role. And in a fast-paced environment like UI, staying alert, focused and mentally prepared is critical to quality, timely outcomes.
So, what makes for great brain food? We must first consider a few facts about the brain:
For March Snacks and Skills, UI received an audit… on our LinkedIn profiles. Thanks to Barbara Aarestad, an expert career advisor in ASU’s Career Services on the Polytechnic Campus, we got to see how we measured up on the business-oriented social network. Marketability on LinkedIn is critical, as two people per second join LinkedIn, further saturating a pool of over 227+ million users looking for opportunities. Barbara evaluated critical parts of our profiles and gave overall information about how we can best utilize LinkedIn. Below are five lessons learned:
Thank you to Dan Saftig, Chief Development Officer at the ASU Foundation for A New American University, for speaking with us about the broader world of higher education philanthropy and fundraising.
For many, ASU as a New American University is only a concept they have read or heard about either from a speech given by ASU President Michael Crow or from a conversation with a proud ASU affiliate or community member. Throughout the year, the Office of University Initiatives (UI) hosts and interacts with several different guests who are interested in learning more about ASU. UI is consistently included in campus tours because of its one-of-a-kind function as an intrapraneurial special projects unit for the president.