A New American University

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — I met Marla in a restaurant. She was my server, friendly and animated, asking about me, and then wanting to hear more about my trip. I of course asked about her. “I’m a student at ASU,” she beamed. I learned that she is graduating in June from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, located on the downtown campus. We talked about journalism, point of view, and writing in general. We wished each other luck with future ventures.

And I wanted to learn a little more about ASU. I must say, I’m impressed, and I pass along what I found.

Arizona State University is one of the top 100 universities in the world, according to its students and faculty.  It is one of America’s “best college buys” according to Forbes Magazine.  It is in the top 5 in the US for corporate recruitment, according to The Wall Street Journal.  And it is the top college choice for Arizona students, according to www.mycollegeoptions.org . Just listen: http://www.asu.edu/excellence/

Defining itself as “A New American University,” ASU claims commitment to excellence, access and impact. “We measure ourselves by those we include, not by those we exclude.”

Michael Crow is president of ASU; he’s been there since 2002, coming from Columbia. NEWSWEEK (Aug 8, 2008) described Crow as “overseeing one of the most radical redesigns in higher learning since the modern research university took shape in 19th-century Germany.”

Crow intends to transform ASU into a metropolitan research university directly engaged in the vitality of its region. He has abolished traditional departments and lumped pieces together into “transdisciplinary” institutes. Rub shoulders and think outside your discipline – that’s the message. Example: the College of Nursing doesn’t focus only on bedside care; it has architects and policy experts teaching too.

Goals listed on the ASU site flash before your eye in eye-catching yellow posts:

  • Transform Society
  • Value Entrepreneurship
  • Conduct Use-Inspired Research
  • Enable Student Success
  • Fuse Intellectual Disciplines
  • Be Socially Embedded
  • Engage Globally

“One university in many places,” ASU has four campuses in the Phoenix area.

Tempe Campus has 51,000 students in research-based programs, broad pedestrian malls, subtropical landscaping, Sun Devils athletic complex, performing arts facilities, high-tech research space, imaginative architecture. http://campus.asu.edu/tempe

West Campus has 9,000 students, professional and liberal arts degrees in northwest Phoenix. http://campus.asu.edu/west

Polytechnic  Campus has 9,700 students, professional and technological degrees, lab space, heart of the growing East valley. http://campus.asu.edu/polytechnic

Downtown Phoenix campus has 5,000 students, urban lifestyle, high-tech facilities and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. http://campus.asu.edu/downtown/

Check it out.