SOU Welcomes Large New Class of Freshmen and Transfers

(Ashland, Ore) Southern Oregon University will welcome what could be a record-setting new class this week. Official totals from the Oregon University System won’t be known until mid-November, but early registrations and new student housing contracts are very encouraging.

In her opening remarks to faculty and staff this morning, SOU President Mary Cullinan noted that “SOU’s enrollment will be impressive this fall. However, we need to remember that we’ve been making steady increases-last year’s enrollment and retention numbers were also strong. Last spring, our headcount was almost 6% over the previous spring’s. Our retention rate has been improving for three years now. And Fall 2009 was the most diverse fall term in SOU history.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Klein said SOU has been working hard to increase enrollment. “We’ve simplified the transfer process for students at a growing number of community colleges in our region,” says Klein. “We’ve also extended WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange) scholarships to California students who are having trouble with affordability and access in their home state due to the California budget crisis.”

As a result, the number of new transfer students is on track to be the largest in SOU’s history, and the number of California students could also be the biggest ever. Early registration in other categories is also up including new freshmen, graduate students, continuing students, students who had stopped out but are returning, and Hispanic students.

It’s especially good news for student housing. “We could be looking at the most students living on campus in almost two decades,” says Director of Residential Education and Services Jason Ebbeling. “We still have room, but we’re getting very close to full.” New student move in day is Thursday, September 23.

New academic programs are also very popular. For the first time this fall, SOU will offer a bachelor’s degree in outdoor adventure leadership. The School of Business is offering a new one-year master’s in business administration program and a master’s of applied science in management at the Higher Education Center in Medford, as well as a master’s in management program at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.

New students will be busy. Orientation is Friday, September, 24, the home football opener for the nationally-ranked Raiders is Saturday, September 25, community service projects, a downtown Ashland scavenger hunt and outdoor activities for new students are Sunday, September 26, and the new fall term begins Monday, September 27.

SOU Builds Bridges to China

(Ashland, Ore) Officials from Southern Oregon University and the Zhengzhou University of Light Industry (ZULI) in China will sign an agreement Tuesday, September 21, to provide a joint degree program between the two schools. The official signing ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m. in the DeBoer Room of Hannon Library.

This agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives SOU has undertaken to build relationships in China. SOU President Mary Cullinan just returned from a two-week visit to China, as part of an Oregon legislative and trade delegation, which included renewing the Memorandum of Understanding between SOU and Fujian Normal University (FNU).  The FNU relationship began 20 years ago with a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development and has included numerous faculty exchanges between the universities over the years.

“I was delighted to plan further collaboration with administrators at FNU,” noted President Cullinan. “And I’m so pleased that I was able to participate in the delegation. Our Oregon legislators are very supportive of SOU’s work to build partnerships in China.”

President Cullinan’s blog and photos from China can be seen at http://news.sou.edu/president/

Last year SOU’s School of Business signed an agreement with Henan Normal University to jointly administer a program in tourism and hospitality management. Arrangements are underway between the two universities to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in aging services as well.

Also in 2009, SOU began offering Mandarin Chinese in collaboration with the Confucius Classroom at St. Mary’s School. Twenty-eight Chinese high school students who are attending St. Mary’s currently live in SOU student housing. With the addition of Chinese to the curriculum, SOU becomes the only regional university in the Oregon University System to offer Chinese and Japanese.

Several Southern Oregon University professors have long had significant ties to China and have committed themselves to support and participate in the activities of the Confucius Institute.

Dr. Gary M. Miller, SOU’s Director of International Programs, has extensive experience in international education, at the local, state, national, and global levels.  His Chinese experience dates from the mid-1980s when he created, negotiated, and directed a program that included faculty exchanges, joint research projects, and a study abroad program at Southwest China Normal University (now Southwest University) in Beibei District, Chongqing Municipality.  This early experience in working closely with Chinese counterparts provides SOU with valuable practical knowledge to ensure its success.  Dr. Miller holds the rank of Professor in the Department of History and Political Science.

Professor Alexander Tutunov is Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at Southern Oregon University and was recently named Associate Director of the Chinese-American International Piano Institute in Chengdu.  He is widely recognized as one of the most outstanding virtuosos of the former Soviet Union.  Dr. Tutunov maintains a busy performing schedule in Europe, China, Mexico, and the United States as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and on radio and television. Dr. Tutunov is also in demand as an adjudicator for piano competitions.

Dr. Rhett L. Bender, is a Professor of Music at Southern Oregon University Department of Music where he teaches saxophone, clarinet, and music theory and serves as Graduate Coordinator.  He frequently teaches as saxophone artist/teacher-in-residence at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China.  Professor Bender’s Saxophone Quartet toured Sichuan in 2005, and performed at the China Music Trade Show in Shanghai and Yantai in 2007.

Dr. Steve Thorpe, is a Professor of Education at Southern Oregon University and an expert on the Chinese educational system and pedagogy. He took part in the teaching exchange at Fujian University and has returned many times to China as a research scholar.  Dr. Thorpe teaches courses on Chinese history and on the educational system in China.  He trains middle school and high school Social Studies teachers on how to teach about China, using China as an example of a major non-Western country and a socialist country ruled by a Communist Party.  Dr. Thorpe also does cultural presentations to elementary and middle school student groups on China, and presents a special curriculum unit, “Demystifying the Chinese Language,” to a minimum of four elementary classrooms each year.

SOU is working to attract international students to study in Ashland.  The new Intensive English Program (IEP) has admitted ten Chinese students for the Fall term.  These students will pursue a variety of majors once their academic English language skills have reached a high level.  The Chinese will join fellow students from over thirty nations in pursuing their education at SOU.

“Futurizing the News” Workshop Brings High School and University Journalism Programs Together

(Ashland, Ore.) –  Tim Harrower, nationally recognized author, award-winning designer, and journalism educator, will present “Futurizing the News” a daylong workshop at Southern Oregon University. The workshop will be on Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Churchill Hall, Room 230.

More than 70 high school and college students will participate in the workshop, which explores changes in journalistic practice in a digital age. The “Futurizing the News” workshop is part of a long-term collaboration between Ashland High School’s Rogue News and the Journalism program at Southern Oregon University.  Since 2006, SOU has provided mentors, guest speakers, and hands-on digital skills training for high school students.

Harrower will talk about the future of journalism and how to make newspapers and websites more reader-friendly.

Contact: Dennis Dunleavy, Ph.D. for more information at 541.778.6271or Bill Gabriel at 541.261.5225

SOU Marks Constitution Day with Library Display

(Ashland, Ore.) – In recognition of Constitution Day, Southern Oregon University will host activities on the Ashland Campus commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. An exhibit in the lobby of the Lenn and Dixie Hannon Library honoring the signing of the U.S. Constitution is currently on display.

On Monday, September 20th, programs featuring Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will play continuously from 10:30am to 3:00pm in lobby of the Southern Oregon University Lenn and Dixie Hannon Library.  The first program, Our Constitution: A Conversation, features Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor discussing why we need a Constitution.  The second program, A Conversation on the Constitution:  Judicial Independence, features Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor discussing judicial independence. The third program, Key Constitutional Concepts, a three-part series examining the guiding principles of the constitution, will also be featured.  A fourth program is a documentary that tells the story of a 1991 landmark Supreme Court case involving the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Copies of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will be available in the Government Publications Section of the Hannon Library at SOU, which is the Government Documents Depository for Oregon’s Second Congressional District.

These activities are free and open to the public.

Across the country on the week before or after September 17, education institutions host events to remember the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government has asked that all institutions receiving federal funding sponsor some type of event. For additional information on the Constitution Day federal requirement, go to:www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2005-2/052405b.html.

SOU Archaeologists Will Do ‘Open Site’ Dig at Britt Homestead in Jacksonville

(Ashland, Ore) The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) will conduct an archaeological dig next week on the site of the historic Peter Britt homestead in Jacksonville (ca.1850s-1960s). The excavations will be conducted in conjunction with Jubilee Week celebrating Jacksonville’s 150th anniversary, September 20th -24th. SOULA’s project partner, the Southern Oregon Historical Society, will provide volunteers to help with research and excavation during the week-long public archaeology event.

Peter Britt was an early settler in the Rogue Valley and is best known for his early photography and his agricultural innovations that helped spur the wine and pear industries in southern Oregon. The project is part of park restoration by the City of Jacksonville. Historians have researched and identified many of the traditional Britt plantings, and the city is updating the park to restore the gardens to their Britt era splendor.

The Britt homestead burned down to its foundation more than 50 years ago. The archaeological investigations will be concentrated around the foundation of the house and the lower orchards, and are expected to provide information on the daily lives of the Britt family, as well as more general information on life in 19th century Jacksonville. The Britt homestead is one of the most significant historical sites in southern Oregon due to the lasting contributions of Peter Britt to the industry and culture of the Rogue Valley. Investigations into well known historical figures such as Peter Britt can be particularly rewarding as archaeologists can use existing documents such as photographs, diaries, and oral histories in conjunction with archaeological findings to obtain information on specific aspects or events in the person’s life.

There will be an ‘open site’ on Monday, September 20th, from noon to 4 p.m., and Friday, September 24th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when the public is welcome to talk with archaeologists and historians, see the excavation, get site tours, learn about the Britt family, and see what the archaeologists have been pulling from the dirt. A curator from the historical society will be on site Friday afternoon to see if any artifacts were found that match items in the museum’s Britt collection, and “Peter Britt” himself will be visiting the site both days to talk about his life and history.

SOULA will also host a free public talk on Tuesday, September 21st, at 4 p.m. at the Old City Hall: “Preserving our Hidden History: Archaeology and the City of Jacksonville” featuring: Chris Ruiz, University of Oregon; Dr. Mark Tveskov, Southern Oregon University; and Dr. Dennis Griffin, State Historic Preservation Office.

About Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology conducts archaeological research throughout southwest Oregon. Our work in the field and in the lab allows students to gain practicum experience towards the anthropology major and the Cultural Resource Management certificate. Consequently there is an applied orientation to our work, and each project is conducted in collaboration with federal and local agencies and Indian Tribes.  We currently have ongoing research projects with the Coquille Indian Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Medford District Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon State Parks, Jackson County, and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

About Southern Oregon University

As the public liberal arts university of the West, Southern Oregon University focuses on student learning, accessibility, and civic engagement that enriches both the community and bioregion. The university is recognized for fostering intellectual creativity, for quality and innovation in its connected learning programs, and for the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU is the first university in Oregon-and one of the first in the nation-to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power.