Southern Oregon University among U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges

NEWS BRIEF (available online at https://goo.gl/e2TVHy)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is tied at the No. 25 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges rankings for the best public, regional schools in 15 Western states, which was published today. SOU is also ranked No. 76 among all regional universities in the West.

On its overview page for SOU, U.S. News pointed out that the university’s student-faculty ratio is 21-to-1, and that 46.3 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students. It also highlights student services such as nonremedial tutoring, the Women’s Resource Center and the Student Health and Wellness Center.

SOU ranks second among Oregon schools on the public, regional universities list. Western Oregon University tied with two other universities for 22nd on the ranking, while SOU tied with four other universities for the next spot on the list, No. 25.

U.S. News & World Report came out with its first college rankings in 1983, and has published an increasingly more popular – and varied – list since 1985. The 2014 rankings drew 18.9 million page views in a single day to usnews.com, according to Wikipedia. The 2018 version includes almost 50 types of numerical rankings, in categories ranging from “A-Plus Schools for B Students” to “High School Counselor Rankings.”

The publication says it ranks schools based on hundreds of data points, including as many as 15 measures of academic quality. The most weight is given to student outcomes such as graduation and freshman retention rates.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.

A message from President Schott about DACA

Greetings to all members of the SOU community

I am writing to you from Guanajuato, Mexico, where SOU has enjoyed a sister-university partnership for 50 years with the Universidad de Guanajuato. I have been reminded in meetings with my counterparts at our sister university, and with officials from the City of Guanajuato, of what a warm and lasting collaboration we enjoy.

The U.S. began a relationship just over five years ago with a group of young immigrants who entered our country as minors. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy now protects almost 800,000 students and others who grew up in the U.S. and are determined to build their lives there, but lack the legal documentation to remain.

You have likely heard by now that President Trump will end DACA’s protections in six months, unless Congress acts to shield this group of young people from deportation.

I want to assure you that SOU’s commitment to all of its students – including those who have been protected by DACA – supersedes politics. We are obliged as an institute of higher learning to safeguard the ability of each student on our campus – regardless of immigration status, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious affiliation or political persuasion – to pursue his or her educational dreams.

SOU will continue to protect the privacy of all students, respect the value that their differences bring to our campus and accommodate the needs of those who face obstacles in their academic paths. We will resist immigration enforcement at SOU without legal compulsion or evidence of imminent risk to public safety.

Oregon law prevents SOU or any state agency from assisting with the investigation or apprehension of those whose only offense is their lack of immigration documentation. U.S. education privacy laws require that we maintain the confidentiality of students’ information, including their immigration status.

SOU is among the hundreds of colleges, universities and higher education organizations around the country that support the continuation of DACA protections. While we await Congressional action on this issue, students who feel they may be directly impacted by the changing DACA policy may contact Unete, a Medford-based advocacy center for farm workers and immigrants, at (541) 245-1625.

The bonds of friendship between SOU and Universidad de Guanajuato can be felt in every greeting and every hug I have received here. Faculty and administrators told me repeatedly today that it is those bonds that will ultimately prevail. Goodness, kindness and a spirit of determined cooperation will help us overcome our obstacles, regardless of scope or scale. Let us remain strong in our support of each other and in our commitment to education for all who seek it.

With optimism,

 

Linda Schott
President, Southern Oregon University

 

SOU receives silver “STARS” rating for sustainability achievements

NEWS BRIEF (available online at https://goo.gl/xDT5yL)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has earned a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the university’s campus-wide sustainability achievements.

SOU reported its accomplishments through the AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which rates the efforts of colleges and universities in five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. Participating institutions can be recognized simply for reporting their sustainability achievements, or for rating at the organization’s bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels.

SOU’s silver STARS rating is valid for three years. It is the latest of several recent recognitions of the university’s sustainability efforts. SOU received an honorable mention earlier this year at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit, was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA, has been named a Tree Campus USA for three straight years, was named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and offers LEED Gold campus housing at its Raider Village complex.

AASHE is a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities work together to create and lead the way to a sustainable future. More than 400 institutions have participated in the STARS ratings.

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About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was 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. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.