maroon and gold balloons floating in the air

Welcome to the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

What does this investment mean?

An investment in public service education is an investment in our shared future

Former Dean Jonathan Koppell
This gift is more than an investment in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions: It is an investment in community, opportunity and solutions.

Goal: Better our community

We can significantly advance our efforts and realize a vision for a new model of integrated teaching, research and service to the benefit of our community. Our ultimate goal is harnessing the full power of Arizona State University and its broad array of programs to transform neighborhoods, communities and cities.

  • A key component of the investment by Mike and Cindy Watts is bettering the lives of those who live in Maryvale, the neighborhood where they both grew up.

    Located several miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, Maryvale is the most populous of the city’s 13 “villages” with over 250,000 residents. If it were a municipality, it would be the 5th largest in Arizona. The community emerged from a developer building affordable family homes in the area more than 70 years ago. Today, Maryvale has the lowest median age of any village in the city of Phoenix. It also has the second highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line (34%).

    The community faces many struggles, including a decline in household income, lower education levels and lower test scores. But the community has many strengths, and the Maryvale Revitalization Project and One Square Mile Initiative want to tap into those strengths to help improve the neighborhood and opportunities for those who call it home.


    • Strategic alliances with already existing nonprofit and governmental agencies serving Maryvale
    • Increase in ASU units deployed to Maryvale
    • Decrease in the number of youth and young adults who commit crime
    • Increased youth engagement with arts, culture, sciences, and sports
    • Increased enrollment in post-secondary education (higher education, West-MEC, etc.)
    • Increase positive human and environmental health outcomes
    • Evaluate and re-evaluate with a series of group meetings/town halls and surveys to determine what is working and what is not working, and react accordingly
  • This endowment supports flexible, adaptable service to the community through the deployment and testing of innovative service programs that address evolving need. It supports community organizations in addressing pressing issues by applying the capacity and talents of students and faculty, and provides seed funding for new, high-demand academic and research programs.


    • Increased number of immediate solutions applied to real-time community needs
    • Increased research, planning and preparation in anticipation of community needs
gray and gold compass with the needle pointing to the word opportunity

Goal: Opportunity for all

Our ability to draw students who represent the diversity of our communities is essential to our success in building servant-leaders representative of the population.

This investment empowers us to build on our current success attracting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds while expanding the college’s ability to support students through scholarships. It also increases our capacity to provide them with rich academic experiences. This is critical; our students are not passive recipients of an education but actively engage in it through hands-on learning.

  • This endowment offers flexible funding for student tuition and transformative experiences such as study abroad and internships, with priority given to first-generation college students in Arizona.

    This group of students will also have the opportunity to participate in an “Early Start” program where they will be introduced to ASU a week prior to the regular move-in date. They will also participate in coaching and career services tailored to first-generation students.


    • Increased enrollment and retention of Arizona’s first-generation college students
    • Increased participation in educational opportunities not typically afforded to all (e.g. study abroad)
  • This endowment expands service-learning opportunities and community impact labs. This includes support for the Student Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which provides seed funding to students with promising entrepreneurial solutions to social challenges. It also supports the Undergraduate Research Program, providing promising undergraduate students with research, presentation, and publication experience.


    • Increase in community service hours through service-learning from 500,000 annually to 750,000 by 2025
    • Increase in community impact labs from two to six, and students served from 50 to 150
  • Provides scholarship support for the college’s flagship program, which admits students from across ASU, as well as programmatic support for its community outreach through the junior scholars program.


    • Increased engagement with community leaders in the mentorship program
    • Mentorship at Maryvale high schools
    • Increase of 60% in the number of high school students engaged in the program.