The Difference Engine at ASU names Follett as 1st executive board member


The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality has announced that Follett Corporation, a leading provider of education services, technology, and print and digital content that works with over 80,000 schools including Arizona State University, will serve as the center’s first executive board member.

Follett’s exemplary commitment to providing students from all socioeconomic backgrounds access to books that focus on diversity through programs such as ACCESS#AllBooksForAllKids and Titlewave, fits squarely within the Difference Engine’s mission to create products communities can use to end structural inequality.

“I am delighted to welcome Follett as one of our first partners,” said Ehsan Zaffar, founder and executive director of the Difference Engine. “The company’s bold vision, generous support and presence on our executive board will aggressively advance the engine’s work on a number of important products, including the Women’s Power Index — an unprecedented national project to track and rank organizations on their commitment to gender equality.”

With more than 140 years in the industry of manufacturing collegiate products, Follett is the largest campus retailer in North America and currently services 6 million students. Follett drives socially responsible messaging through its brands and products like Titlewave, a platform that curates book lists and discussion guides on topics such as diversity and representation. Follett is also a pioneer in establishing fair labor practices in its industry and maintains a strong partnership with the Fair Labor Association.

Follett serves ASU Sun Devil Campus Stores online and through the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and West campuses. Follett’s emphasis on equality and inclusiveness resonates through the Access Opt-Out program at ASU benefitting at least 45,000 students last year — saving those students more than 20% on the cost of course materials.

“Joining forces with the Difference Engine at ASU as an executive board member is an exciting opportunity and one that is of importance for me as a woman, as a mom and as a female business leader,” said Ashlie Singleton, who will represent Follett on the board. “I am thrilled to be a partner in shaping critical change related to equality and access to higher education.”

Over the course of a 20-year career, Singleton has worked for companies such as Follett Higher Education Group, Inc., Nebraska Book Company: Neebo and Target Stores. In 2017, Singleton relocated to Queen Creek, Arizona, as a Follett regional manager of sales and operations to support colleges and universities, including ASU and Sun Devil Campus Stores. Serving as regional manager, Singleton is proud to lead teams and drive results within the higher education and course material space, positively impacting student retention and graduation rates and helping to make education more accessible for all.  

To learn more about the Difference Engine, sign up to become a Difference Engineer and stay up to date with the center and its work.

media contact
media contact: 
Julie Tenney
julie.tenney@asu.edu