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Arizona State University recently hosted Emerge, an energy-filled internal collaboration event for all ASU IT professionals. Emerge brought over 700 participants together to engage in idea-generating peer discussions and passionately discuss technology trends.
“This event is the first of its kind at ASU," said Tina Thorstenson, ASU’s chief information security officer and one of the executive sponsors for the event. "And given the amazing energy in the room it certainly served as a catalyst for creatively exploring and ultimately delivering a new level of service to students and faculty.”
Attendees were encouraged to reflect on how ASU can leverage current technology advancements to embody the direction of the New American University.
From the welcome address from Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost, to the panel of ASU leadership and student leaders, to a series of lightning talks meant to spark ideas, the tone of thinking about big ideas was set for the day.
“The Charter of ASU and its ambition for making access and quality the key elements in the New American University is made possible by technology and the contribution of the ASU IT professionals in this room,” Searle said.
Deputy Provost Stefanie Lindquist, the event’s emcee, moderated a discussion between Tempe campus Dean of Students Nicole Taylor; Executive Vice President, Treasurer and CFO Morgan Olsen; Associate Vice President Research Tamara Deuser; and two incoming undergraduate student government presidents, Tempe's Allison Sorgeloos and West's Alexander Haw.
Innovative initiatives were presented by the conference’s lightning talk presenters:
"LROC: Nine Years Exploring the Moon" by School of Earth and Space Exploration Professor Mark Robinson
"Dream, Do, Drive — Finding the Next Gear" by Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick
"Education through eXploration" by President’s Professor Ariel Anbar
"EdPlus — Inclusive Design for International Populations" by Senior Director, Lifelong Learning Initiatives at EdPlus, Bethany Weigele
"Ask a Biologist: Teaching and Learning K to Grey" by Chief Technology Innovation Officer Charles Kazilek
Over lunch, attendees selected one of 50 big ideas to discuss with their lunch partners. These innovative Birds of a Feather discussions ranged from artificial intelligence academic pathway, to blockchain infrastructure for lifelong learning, to enterprise-wide VR adoption, and beyond.
In the afternoon, participants also hosted breakouts based on their own ideas, gathering the like-minded and the curious to discuss enhancements to processes around career progression in IT and making the digital experience effective for students.
At the end of the conference, participants enjoyed a gamified experience to highlight the most intriguing ideas of the day. Capping off the event, Gonick said, “There is enormous talent across the IT professionals at ASU. If we are intentional about emerging as a loosely coupled community of practice, we can, and we will be a catalyst for advancing the mission of the New American University.”
All in all, the conference was a joyous, productive day full of important conversations looking to the future of technology and education at ASU, a constant relevant facet in all fields.
Written by Tristan Ettleman