PLuS Alliance

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Arizona State University, King’s College London and University of New South Wales Australia have joined forces to form the PLuS Alliance, a new partnership to help find research-led solutions to global challenges and expand access to world-class learning. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president, and ASU Knowledge Enterprise chief research and innovation officer, will tell us more about PLuS Alliance.

Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon," ASU joins an alliance of international universities. Also tonight, hear about a radio play to be broadcast in celebration of the state's 104th birthday. And we'll show you the musical side of a former state attorney general. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS, members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A Maricopa sheriff office announced it is putting body cameras on all deputies. Purchased close to 700 cameras for the job, by far the largest use of body cameras by any law enforcement agency in the state.

Video: People no longer seem to trust on many occasions, not everybody, law enforcement, the media, politicians. At least body cams will give us an audio and video perspective of our duties. But keep in mind, that does not replace people, the cameras do not replace people.

Ted Simons: Sheriff Joe Arpaio used to be against body cameras but a federal judge and a racial profiling suit required that the cameras be used. A memo regarding prayer before the start of session in the Arizona house has angered an atheist lawmaker. The memo states that the prayer is -- Representative Mendez, an atheist was offended by the memo saying he wants to participate but he doesn't believe in a God and that would be referred to during the prayer. Mendez has not indicated if he will take legal action. A house committee passed a bill today that would block state-shared revenues from cities that give I.D. cards to illegal immigrants. The bill was introduced by Representative Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale and would target cities that block information that might indicate a person's immigration status. ASU is teaming up with King's College London and University of New South Wales Australia to form the PLUS Alliance designed to help find research-led solutions to global challenges and expand access to world-class learning. Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan , the Executive Vice President of ASU's Office of Knowledge Enterprise development. Good to see you.

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: Good to see you.

Ted Simons: What is the plus alliance?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: Plus stands for Phoenix, London, small U for universities and S for Sydney. Bringing together of three world-class universities, Arizona State University, King's College London, an outstanding university, as well as University of New South Wales in Australia. Three universities looking at what is the future of higher education? How might we make a huge impact globally on many fronts, working together achieving goals in learning and research.

Ted Simons: Why these particular universities?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: King's College, established historically, outstanding university, one of the top 20 universities in the globe, and located in London, which is the global capital, as well as the University of New South Wales, like ASU, is a younger university. Like ASU, for example, which is the number one most innovative university in the United States right now, which you might know, and University of New South Wales, charting a path in terms of making significant impact globally.

Ted Simons: How did this venture come about? What got all of this started?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: Basically the three university presidents. All of them looking to the future, saw there was a lot of commonality in terms of how they were looking at the path toward the future and synergies between the universities, as well as the context that is -- the locations of the three universities. Namely the Asian context by the University of New South Wales, the European context by King's College, and the North American context by ASU -- all three covering the rest of the globe in terms of different projects across the various continents.

Ted Simons: Couple of main goals. Expanding access to world-class learning. How exactly will this happen?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: By bringing together the programs, closest and various modules that we all offer in different realms, how might we bring that all together, at ASU, as you know, we have one of the most advanced digital environment for learning. And we have 150 technology partners. How might we take that kind of a digital immersion environment and bring the content that the University of New South Wales and King's College provides along with ASU and be able to pretty much offer any program anywhere in the world for all of those learners that are, you know, very, very excited to want to participate in the higher education experience.

Ted Simons: Second big goal is find research-led solutions to global challenges. What are we talking about here?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: If you look at global challenges. Require the bringing together of expertise across many different disciplines and different context again. So, looking at sustainability as a broad umbrella and within that we are targeting certain sub-teams. One team is in terms of how do you have global health, you know, taken care of. How do you have sustainability in terms of environment sustainability? Addressing social justice. How might we take responsible innovation of advanced technology says teams we work together on? An example, environmental sustainability, water, all of us have challenges in terms of water in our own context and it is a global problem. How might we bring the collective experiences of all of us together to solve this problem of water into the future? Another example will be the Ebola virus, in terms of creating the research led to the cure of the patients that came back from Africa, how might we take the global challenges increasingly emerging across the globe bringing together the collective expertise to solve them in a rapid time scale.

Ted Simons: As far as the students are concerned, different degrees offered here. What are we thinking?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: At this point in time, 18 degree programs, certificate programs already in place that we are going to be able to offer, to not only the three university students, but also the rest of the world. And as you can imagine, places like the -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, a lot of students who need higher education but they don't have the capacities in their own countries to do that. How might we be able to provide that set of cultures and programs for them?

Ted Simons: With that in mind, I know the plus works out pretty well with the Phoenix, London, Australians, but I mean, could you add a Brazil? Could you add a Norway, could the plus alliance grow?

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: It most certainly can grow. The three are the founding partners, three universities that are part of that alliance. Project-specific partners that we will engage with in different parts of the world. In Africa, we need a local host country, a university that could be a good partner, we would always partner with them on those projects. Three universities, collectively all of the expertise that we would need.

Ted Simons: The importance of the international learning experience. Talk to us about that.

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: If you take a student at ASU, as you know, students of the future have to be global citizens. Globally aware, global mindset and global expedience. How might this alliance and the courses and -- experiences that these universities offer for the students. Highly innovative. In terms cause a huge impact locally, entrepreneurial activities in Arizona, as well as impacting our companies like Intel who are operating globally with this kind of a mindset they will be even more successful.

Ted Simons: It sounds good, Panch. Exciting stuff. Good to have you here.

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: As always, thank you, Ted.

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Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan: Executive Vice President PLuS Alliance

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