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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Communities of Practice: Developing Capacity to Innovate

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on February 21, 2014 - 12:00am

Institutions of higher education are environments of silos, with most units functioning in isolation. ASU is no exception. Faculty and staff remain in their unit, department and college with narrow lenses and even slimmer variety of perspectives. When people do the same things, work in the same groups and tackle problems the same way, repetition impedes innovation.

Positive Psychology: Happiness, Mindset and Living the Full Life

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on February 21, 2014 - 12:00am

This Valentine’s Day, UI celebrated with a very special Snacks and Skills. Our own resident expert, Trevor J. Eagle, led the group through an introduction of Happiness and Positive Psychology. This discussion provided mindful reflection on how to reach authentic happiness and live a full life.

Components of a Full Life

1. Pleasant life: Acting on what is pleasurable and enjoyable to you.
Activity: Map out your ideal day, then live it out and savor it!

Ergonomics in the Workplace

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on February 21, 2014 - 12:00am

2014 has gotten off to a tremendously busy start—so busy, in fact, that I have fallen behind on my blog posts!

In mid-January, we kicked off the Spring Snacks and Skills with the topic Ergonomics in the Workplace. Rick Bauer, Program Manager in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, walked our office through the importance of ergonomics, best postures and practices, and preventative measures and resources for optimal health and wellness.

What is ergonomics, and why is it important?

AZ Summit for Volunteerism and Service Learning - Leveraging Millennial Engagement

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on December 17, 2013 - 12:00am

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting at the 2013 Arizona Summit for Volunteerism and Service Learning. This annual event, held at ASU West, sparks conversation and collaboration between people of a multitude of backgrounds, including national service programs and members, youth development organizations, nonprofits, K-12 schools, higher education, government agencies, and service organizations. I enjoyed meeting so many people united in creating a better society through increased and enhanced opportunities to serve.

Stress Management and Resiliency

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on December 17, 2013 - 12:00am

This month’s Snacks and Skills centered on Stress Management and Resiliency- perfectly timed for the hectic holiday season! I’d like to thank our special guest, ASU Employee Assistance Counselor Amber Wonder, for presenting on the topic.

The conversation centered on a series of questions. What is stress? When do you feel stressed? How do you know you are stressed? Is all stress bad? How do we overcome stress? Amber touched on each of these questions and gave us concrete examples of best stress management practices.

Super Girl Carrie Severson

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on October 16, 2013 - 12:00am

This afternoon, I was fortunate to attend the Characters Unite Awards luncheon to honor one of the 2013 award recipients, ASU alumnus Carrie Severson. The Characters Unite Campaign, sponsored by USA Network and programming provider Cox Communications, honors extraordinary individuals who have championed significant efforts against hate, intolerance, bullying, racism, and overall discrimination.

Lesson from the Government Shutdown: Negotiation and Social Responsibility

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on October 2, 2013 - 12:00am

Imagine getting into a passionate disagreement with your boss at work. After volleying back and forth pointlessly, you both decide you are not going to come back to work until one side budges (and it won’t be you.)

Imagine further that no one in your office will go back to work until a compromise is reached and won’t get paid during the break. However, you and your boss still get paid for this time off.

Train your Brain: Neuroplasticity and Brain Fitness

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on September 26, 2013 - 12:00am

Can adults really ‘train their brains’? Brain fitness capitalizes on neuroplasticity, the ability for a brain to rewire itself when experiencing something novel and non-routine. Programs like Luminosity, PositScience, and HAPPYneutron encapsulate the science behind enhancing memory, attention, reasoning, visual-spatial awareness, and language in fun, engaging games. Our September Snacks and Skills explores the background of neuroplasticity and brain fitness and gives an overview of most popular brain exercises.

When Good Is Not Good Enough

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on September 25, 2013 - 12:00am

Like many volunteers, I like to think I am making a difference. I dedicate my time to organizations I believe are dedicated a cause and directly impact the community they serve. I feel helpful collecting food for families who struggle with food insecurity and reading to children in after-school settings. I see impact as I plan and implement educational programming that teaches children about healthy nutrition and exercise. I directly impact many lives, and I feel good about it.

But good is not good enough.

Fellows' Forum - Eric Spicer

Submitted by Trevor Eagle on September 18, 2013 - 12:00am

We welcomed Mr. Eric Spicer, Director of Development, Health Solutions at ASU as our most recent Fellows’ Forum guest. After graduating from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in sports management, Eric linked with his former internship employer, Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, and returned to his home community in Arizona. Wanting to originally work around sports, the foundation offered Eric the chance to lead event coordination and special event fundraising where he regularly interacted with athletes and celebrities alike.

ASU Hosts Higher Education Town Hall

Submitted by Trevor Eagle on September 12, 2013 - 12:00am

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, stopped by Arizona State University on September 11th during his annual back-to-school bus tour. In a town hall format, the Secretary answered questions with a focus on higher education. The themes of the discussion were focused on efforts to improve college access, affordability and persistence for all students, particularly Hispanics.

Things to do in Phoenix (and beyond!)

Submitted by Jessica Eldridge on August 23, 2013 - 12:00am

Yesterday, UI started its 2013-2014 season of Snacks and Skills with the presentation “Things to Do in Phoenix (and Beyond!)”

Topics included:

  • Culture and History
  • Architecture
  • Scenic Desert Nature
  • Events and Festivals
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Athletic Events
  • Happenings Beyond Phoenix


To take the journey through these activities, access the Prezi here.

Take Time to Visualize Your Dreams

Submitted by Trevor Eagle on August 22, 2013 - 12:00am

A few days ago, I attended the 2013 Fall Sun Devil Welcome, which featured speakers, such as President Dr. Michael Crow, head Men’s Football coach Todd Graham, head Men’s Basketball coach Herb Sendek and special performances by student organizations. Highlights of the performances included dances of diverse cultural origins and the ASU Marching Band teaching the students their Fight Song. This mandatory event for new students kicked off their academic school year with some great spirit-building activities.