ASU Learning Transformation Studios premiers at the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles
Education leader Alan Arkatov and higher ed professional Claudia Ramirez Wiedeman to lead the new initiative.
Arizona State University announced the appointment of Alan Arkatov, distinguished education, public policy, and communications leader, to lead the University's new Learning Transformation Studios while also serving as senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow.
Arkatov joins ASU from the University of Southern California, where he served as founding director of Center EDGE (Engagement-Driven Global Education) and the Katzman/Ernst Chair for Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation at USC's Rossier School of Education — an appointment with an interdisciplinary emphasis, leveraging the work at USC's schools of communications, cinematic arts, medicine, public policy, and business.
He transferred Center EDGE operations to ASU in addition to taking on multiple new roles, including senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow; launching the new ASU Learning Transformation Studios, for which he will serve as executive director; and co-chairing and directing a new California Education Council to be made up of a cross-section of innovation leaders.
Arkatov also serves as a professor of practice at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the College of Global Futures. Concurrent with his new roles at ASU, Arkatov received appointments as a senior fellow at the USC Rossier School of Education and the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies.
"Alan brings a tremendous amount of knowledge, talent, energy, and vision to ASU," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "He's well poised to tap into, leverage, and connect the resources within ASU to help advance major educational issues in California and beyond."
Arkatov's goal is to position the new institute as the leading facilitator of accelerated, equity-focused educational innovation and transformation with an emphasis on California; lead public discourse on advancing educational attainment for all students; launch innovation clusters; and speed up and scale sustainable changes through cross-sector collaborations.
"No university has done more to innovate and improve education over the past decade than ASU, and I'm thrilled to be joining President Crow and the Sun Devil family in meeting the unprecedented challenges facing education," Arkatov said.
"The pandemic has exposed, reinforced, and exacerbated the massive structural, pedagogical, and social defects throughout the education ecosystem. We're at a historic societal inflection point that calls for our new institute to be a creative and interdisciplinary catalyst that can rapidly tie together and scale crucial and disparate elements via public policy, research, teaching, practice and communications."
Some of the goals for the new institute will include tapping into California's imagination economy with unique vehicles like Dreamscape Learn that can bring about the dramatic and high-quality teaching enhancements that learners will increasingly require and demand.
Arkatov was previously the president of Changing.edu, CEO of the Teaching Channel, part of the founding team and executive vice president for 2U, and the founder and chairman of OnlineLearning.net. He has guided some of the preeminent communications companies in the U.S. and, as a political media consultant, helped produce the ads for over a dozen successful mayoral, gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and presidential campaigns.
In addition to serving on California's State Board of Education, Arkatov was the chair of California's Post-Secondary Education Commission, a U.S. secretary of education appointee to the Congressional Web-Based Education Commission, president of the Los Angeles Commission for Children and Families, and chair of the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency. He serves on the Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, Roadtrip Nation, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra board of directors. Arkatov was a concert violinist and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
Arkatov will be joined in these efforts at ASU by Claudia Ramirez Wiedeman, the new deputy director for the Studios.
Wiedeman has over 25 years of experience in teaching, research, and higher education administration. She earned her Ph.D. from the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. Before coming to ASU, she served as the director of Center EDGE at USC. Before that appointment, Wiedeman was the director of research and evaluation at the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. Wiedeman also previously held a tenured professorship at Whittier College, where she taught in the teacher education and master's programs and served as associate director of its lab school, the Broadoaks School.