Record number of SOU students to present literary papers

NEWS BRIEF (online at https://goo.gl/lR98M6)

(Ashland, Ore.) — A small but significant trend has developed among literature students at Southern Oregon University – a record number of whom have been accepted to present their scholarly papers at this year’s Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature.

In a typical year, one SOU student is accepted to present at the conference. Three SOU students were accepted last year, and five have been invited to present their papers at this year’s conference on March 25.

The conference – held each spring at Portland State University – is an opportunity for undergraduate and advanced high school students to present their academic papers or creative works in organized panels of fellow students. Participating students share their papers and discuss their knowledge, take part in the presentations of their peers and may attend keynote speeches by noted literary academics and writers.

The SOU students who will participate in this year’s conference include Dante Fumagalli, who will present “The City that Glowed Before Him: Segregation and the Effects of the City in ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain“; Jake Woods, who will present “The Stain on a Nation”; Alexis McDonald, who will present “James Baldwin and the Development of Identity: A Lacanian Approach”; and Caroline Cabral, who will present “Reclaiming Leda: Michael Field’s Interpretation.” A fifth student has not consented to be identified.

Prizes at the conference are given for best critical paper, best creative submission and best high school paper. The “Brass NUCL Award” is given to the hardest-hitting paper overall. All students who are accepted to present their work at the conference receive official records of their participation.

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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.

New director hired for SOU’s small business center

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/4vVUdC)

New director hired for SOU’s small business center

(Medford, Ore.) — Marshall Doak, who has served previously with Oregon Small Business Development Center offices in Tillamook and Salem, began work today as director of Southern Oregon University’s SBDC office at the Higher Education Center in Medford.

Doak served most recently as executive director of the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and has worked in a similar role in Sunnyside, Ore. He received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and his master’s of business administration degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

He replaces Jack Vitacco, who recently retired from SOU’s SBDC office. The university has had an affiliation with the SBDC for more than 20 years, and the current office in Medford collaborates with Rogue Community College’s SBDC office in Grants Pass.

All offices of the organization provide advising and training opportunities to anyone who operates or is planning to open a business. Oregon’s 19 SBDC offices are part of a national network and is associated with both the Oregon Business Development Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SOU’s office of the SBDC – which employs a director, office manager, graduate assistant and two to four business consultants – works closely with the university’s business program to teach and advise students, and collaborate with faculty. The office also runs a Market Research Institute that can offer in-depth, applied market research to SBDC clients around the state who are seeking to grow their businesses and create jobs.

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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.

SOU: Groundbreaking at pavilion dedicated to “outrageous innovation”

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/qrn3Nn)

(Ashland, Ore.) — A groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, will mark the start of construction on “Thalden Pavilion: dedicated to outrageous innovation in sustainability and the arts” – a cutting-edge, education and performance facility at The Farm of Southern Oregon University.

A generous donation from Ashland residents Barry and Kathryn Thalden is paying for design and construction of the new pavilion. The Thaldens, who moved to Ashland five years ago after successful careers as architects, have immersed themselves in several community projects, including downtown Ashland’s flower basket program and outdoor murals at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and outside Sesame Asian Kitchen on the Ashland Plaza.

“Philanthropy will play an increasing role as we position Southern Oregon University over the next several years to best meet the needs of our students and our region,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “The Thaldens exemplify the kinds of people whose collaborative support will help us imagine what we can be, and then bring that vision to reality.”

Barry Thalden, whose architectural career included work on several casinos in Las Vegas and throughout the West, said he and his wife were inspired by the opportunity to create a landmark space that can be used by the entire community. Kathryn Thalden had her own landscape architecture and planning firm in the Midwest before she and her husband moved to Las Vegas and she became a Unity minister.

The Thaldens and SOU envision a facility at The Farm that can bring together the creative forces of the university, the city, the business community and local theaters.

“This place should be an inspiration,” Barry said. “That’s why we say it’s dedicated to outrageous innovation in sustainability and the arts.

“This building has to be outrageous; it has to be totally unique so that it’s recognized for what it is, and brings attention to the idea of sustainability and an experimental farm.”

Thursday’s ceremony will include remarks by President Schott, the Thaldens and others.

The Farm is a student-led agricultural and learning center at SOU. The 3 ½-acre property on Walker Street in Ashland serves as an organic farm for the production of healthy, sustainable food for the SOU community. It is also a center for sustainability and a hub for education, student and faculty research, and community outreach to the Rogue Valley.

The Thalden Pavilion has been designed by Chris Brown of the Ashland firm Arkitek: Design & Architecture.

“It is a rare occasion, indeed, to have a client from the design profession – let alone both an architect (Barry) and landscape architect (Kathryn), on one project,” Brown said. “The evolution from a simple outdoor gazebo into what it has become, has definitely been an adventurous ride.

“We worked specifically with the idea of ‘open’ space rather than a fully enclosed structure, and sought to let light in through the cracks, allow sails to billow in the wind and make explicit the movement and response of structure to wind, sun and change of seasons.”

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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.

Climate action leader to discuss solutions at SOU talk

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/PT3tHz)

(Ashland, Ore.) — KC Golden, a longtime leader in the U.S. climate action movement, will visit Southern Oregon University on March 9 for a talk that explores the need to turn a corner on the climate crisis and focus on solutions.

His free presentation, “Climate solutions: We have met the hero, and it is us,” will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 151 of the SOU Science Building. The talk comes as the city of Ashland works on its Climate and Energy Action Plan, and just a few weeks after SOU was one of six U.S. colleges and universities recognized with Climate Leadership Awards at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit.

Golden will talk about the movement toward climate solutions that has begun over the past five years. The climate crisis has become real, and the cost of impacts is growing too high to ignore. He says a clean-energy revolution has been launched by the strong, citizen-driven climate movement that is challenging the status quo use of fossil fuels.

Climate change is coming to be understood as a moral watershed for our times, and Golden asks how we can drive the transition as fast and as far as is necessary.

Golden, who will speak on Jefferson Public Radio prior to his SOU presentation, is the current board chair of 350.org – a worldwide organization that seeks collaboration among activist groups to focus attention on climate change issues.  The organization’s name is derived from the goal of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the current level of more than 400 parts per million to fewer than 350 parts per million.

He also helped Seattle City Light become the country’s first major, carbon-free electric utility in the late 1990s. He was named one of the “Power 25” most influential people by Seattle Magazine, and was the magazine’s “Eco-Hero.”

Golden has served as the Seattle mayor’s special assistant for clean energy and climate protection initiatives and directed Washington’s Energy Policy Office as an assistant director in the state’s Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. He was the executive director of the Northwest Energy Coalition – an alliance working for clean, affordable energy – from 1989 to 1994.

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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.

SOU recognized with Climate Leadership Award

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/Hz6vZs)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is one of just six U.S. colleges and universities that will be recognized this week with Climate Leadership Awards at the 10th annual Presidential Climate Leadership Summit of the nonprofit organization Second Nature.

SOU and three other colleges or universities will receive honorable mentions during the three-day leadership summit’s awards luncheon on Tuesday. Two institutions – Arizona State University and Johnson County Community College in Kansas – will be named winners of the 2017 Climate Leadership Awards.

Second Nature, which was formed in 1993 to mobilize higher education toward the goal of sustainability, hosts the leadership summit each year as a touch-base opportunity for its Climate Leadership Network – made up of more than 600 colleges and universities in every state and the District of Columbia.

Member institutions each commit to take action on climate issues and prepare students to solve current and future challenges. Members may make a “Carbon Commitment” to work toward carbon neutrality; a “Resilience Commitment” to focus on climate adaptation; or a “Climate Commitment” to do both.

SOU and 14 other public and private colleges and universities in Oregon are Climate Leadership Network members, and SOU is one of four institutions in the state that have made the Climate Commitment.

SOU has also been honored with the Best Case Study Award by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA and offers LEED Gold campus housing at its Raider Village complex.

The Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards recognize leadership in sustainability, climate mitigation and resilience. The awards are made in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.

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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.

SOU receives third Tree Campus USA designation

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/cMAoAq)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has received recognition for the third straight year as a “Tree Campus USA.” The Arbor Day Foundation honors select U.S. colleges and universities with the Tree Campus designation, based upon management of their urban forests and efforts to engage students and staff in conservation.

SOU first received the designation for its efforts in 2014, and the 2016 honors were announced last week. The university has ramped up its Arbor Day activities as part of its ongoing campaign to become and remain a designated Tree Campus – 24,000 plants and 173 large trees have been planted on campus by volunteers during the past three annual celebrations, and a five-acre arboretum has been created.

“We have had a combined Arbor Day outreach of over 2,000 volunteers who have participated in everything from tree planting, pollinator garden creation and planting, botanical tours, pruning demonstrations and world-renowned educator presentations,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscaping, equipment and motor pool superintendent.

All trees planted at SOU’s Arbor Day celebrations have been donated by Plant Oregon, a Talent nursery that specializes in native plants, shrubs and trees. SOU offers free t-shirts to its Arbor Day volunteers, and those interested in participating can find more information on the SOU Landscape facebook page. This year’s Arbor day is on Friday, April 14.

The Arbor Day Foundation created its Tree Campus USA program in 2008. For 2016, 296 campuses nationwide received the recognition – including four universities and one community college in Oregon.

To qualify for the honor, colleges or universities must meet five standards: maintain a tree advisory committee, employee a campus tree-care plan, dedicate funding each year to the campus tree program, observe Arbor Day and engage students through a service-learning project.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management efforts during 2016.

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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.

 

SOU center offers free presentation on debt-reduction for businesses

NEWS BRIEF (online at https://goo.gl/Fp4J2Z)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Small Business Development Center will offer a free presentation, “For Love & Money:  Reduce Debt and Increase Cash Flow in Your Business,” from 12:15 to 1:15 on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Room 132 of the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, at 101 S. Bartlett St., in Medford.

Certified financial coach Kathy Kali will serve as presenter at the session. She has been helping small business owners to grow and manage their income for 10 years.

Attendees will learn how to reduce debt by following the “seven baby steps to wealth-building in business,” retain earnings and pay themselves for their work, and use a monthly budget to maximize profit and cash flow.

Space for the presentation is limited, so those who are interested are advised to register ahead of time at www.sou.edu/sbdc.

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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.

Statement on immigration and support for all students

ANNOUNCEMENT

The following statement was sent this morning from SOU President Linda Schott to all students, faculty and staff.

Dear students and colleagues,

Southern Oregon University is a place where diverse backgrounds intersect and where all members of our academic community are supported and respected – as are their thoughtfully shared views on any issues they consider important.  We do not apply religious tests before admitting students or hiring employees, and we do not discriminate against people based on their nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation. Students and employees who come to SOU – whether from Medford or Mexico, Salem or Somalia – all have the right to be treated fairly and to be valued for who they are.

SOU does not stand alone but is part of a larger network of higher education institutions spread across our nation.  Many of these universities are stepping forward at this point to reiterate their commitments to liberal education and democracy. For example, President Muriel Howard of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities – of which SOU is a member – has issued a statement asking the Trump Administration to reconsider its recent executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and banning travel into this country for the citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations.

“America’s state colleges and universities have been strengthened by the presence of students and faculty from around the globe, including those from the seven countries specifically targeted by the president’s executive order,” President Howard wrote. “We share in the collective commitment to protect our national security while at the same time enriching our nation with invaluable contributions from abroad.”

I share President Howard’s support for diversity – geographic, religious and otherwise. Although SOU has few students from the list of seven countries affected by the executive order, we have many international students who now wonder about their futures in our nation.  Thus I want to be clear that during this period of uncertainty and unrest, as we have throughout the history of our institution, SOU will continue to support all students and employees who wish to learn, grow, and make contributions to our campus and communities. 

Each morning, I walk into Churchill Hall under an inscription that reads, “The difficulties of democracy are the opportunities of education.” As we listen to our political leaders disagree about policies and principles and as we watch protestors take to the streets; as we pen our individual letters to elected officials or otherwise demonstrate our personal political views, it is apparent that our democratic system is being tested. It has been tested before, and we have always emerged from those tests with a new appreciation for both the daunting difficulties and amazing possibilities of self-governance. That self-governance is made possible at least in part by an educated populous and by the schools, colleges and universities providing that education. We at SOU are engaged in a serious, vital endeavor. We will continue our efforts, with renewed commitment, mutual respect and vigorous care for each other.

Respectfully,

Linda Schott
President, Southern Oregon University

The Farm at SOU to have “farm mentor” for five-month appointment

NEWS BRIEF (online at https://goo.gl/HUog5W)

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Farm at SOU will have a new staff member from March through August – a “farm mentor” who will be employed by AmeriCorps and will help inspire a generation of ecologically committed leaders to live and work sustainably.

The farm mentor will work full-time for five months, and will receive a monthly stipend, health insurance coverage and a $2,865 educational award upon completion of the appointment. He or she may also be eligible for childcare assistance.

The mentor will design a master action plan for The Farm’s mentorship program, reach out to local human services programs to recruit participants in the program and develop cohorts based on shared goals and needs. The mentor will also work with the participants on projects that help build life skills, evaluate the program’s effectiveness and coordinate with other staff members at The Farm.

The SOU facility is student-led, organic agricultural project that serves as a hub for education, student and faculty research, and community research.

Those who are interested in the position may apply on the AmeriCorps website. Applicants will be reviewed by Nancy Shea, coordinator of the SOU Center for Sustainability, then will be vetted by AmeriCorps. Shea will make the final selection by mid-February, and the successful applicant will begin March 1.

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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.

SOU’s groundbreaking football coach passes away at age 64

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/AUgWAO)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Craig Howard, the head football coach who raised the bar at Southern Oregon University and earned the love of his team for the family culture he instilled, passed away Thursday night in his home. He was 64.

The Howard family has asked for privacy but will announce services in the coming days. Grief counseling is available on campus today for students and for faculty and staff.

Coach Howard joined SOU as head football coach six years ago, coming home to Southern Oregon following a successful career as a high school coach in Florida. He grew up in Grants Pass and played high school football there, then played at the collegiate level at Linfield College in McMinnville.

He was hired in February 2011 to take over a team that averaged three wins per year in the eight seasons prior to his arrival, and predicted he would bring the university its first NAIA national championship. He did that in 2014, when he was also named the Rawlings NAIA Coach of the Year. He took the Raiders back to the championship game in 2015, falling just short of back-to-back championships.

SOU President Linda Schott referred to Howard as “a terrific leader for our university and its Athletic Department” in a memo to campus.

“In both of those runs through the NAIA playoffs, Coach Howard instilled confidence in his players that allowed them to overcome others’ expectations of them,” the president said. “His teams were underdogs in six of their eight playoff games during those two years.”

After his team won SOU’s first NAIA football title in Daytona Beach, Fla., Howard stripped down with his team and for a triumphant plunge into the Atlantic Ocean – delivering on a promise he’d made at the beginning of that week.

“Coach Howard was energized, passionate and as full of love as ever,” SOU Director of Athletics Matt Sayre said Friday. “He loved his team, his coaches, the recruits he and his staff were talking with and signing, and – above all – his family.

“He was an amazing man,” Sayre said. “He was an inspiration to all those who knew him. He molded men of character, strength and honor and always placed that above winning football games. We will miss him dearly, but are thankful to have had him as our friend, mentor, coach and role model. We are all better people for having Coach Craig Howard in our lives.”

He compiled a record of 50-23 with the Raiders, giving him the best win percentage (.685) in school history.

Prior to winning the 2014 championship, the Raiders had never been past the second round of the 16-team playoff.

Howard’s previous college coaching experience included two stints as defensive coordinator for Oregon Institute of Technology in the late 1970s and 1980s, two years in the same position at Portland State University and two years as Oregon Tech’s head coach from 1991 to 1992.

As a high school coach in Florida, his teams went 76-23 from 2003 through 2010, went to the state championship game three times and won the state title in 2005. His high school athletes included eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

Howard spent his final hours Thursday doing what he loved: recruiting, and familiarizing future Raiders with the “Character, Strength and Honor” mantra he popularized at SOU.

He is survived his wife, Valerie; daughters Amy and Emily; sons Bo, Jordan and Ryan; and five grandchildren. Bo Howard is an assistant football coach at SOU.

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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.