SOU football game moved due to health concerns

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

(Ashland, Ore.) — Concerns for the health of participants and fans have resulted in the postponement and relocation of Southern Oregon University’s season-opening football game with Eastern Oregon University, which had been scheduled for Thursday evening in Ashland. The game will instead be played Saturday at a neutral site: Sherwood High School, just southwest of Portland.

Air Quality Index (AQI) readings earlier this week in Ashland consistently registered near the high end of the “unhealthy” level, at which everyone is advised to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. For example, the AQI on Wednesday afternoon was 193 – just seven points below the “very unhealthy” level, at which people from all age groups are susceptible to serious health effects.

Ashland’s air quality had improved on Thursday morning, but SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre pointed out that conditions could change rapidly.

“What we know at this point is the fire in Brookings is still raging and there is still a better-than-average chance any game we schedule here could be smoked out,” Sayre said. “We had to make a decision at least two days in advance because of travel for both teams and the immense amount of effort that goes into producing a college football game, and we aren’t in a position to play chicken with the smoke and the health of our student-athletes.”

SOU considered various rescheduling scenarios before settling on the offer to play at 6 p.m. Saturday in Sherwood’s Aaron J. Contreras Memorial Stadium. All previously purchased SOU-EOU tickets will be valid, and tickets will also be sold prior to the game at Sherwood High.

Refunds are available for those who previously purchased single-game tickets online for the SOU home game but cannot attend the contest in Portland. Those wishing to be refunded should contact the SOU athletic office from 8 to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, at (541) 552-6772.

-SOU-

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 Palmer named a “disruptive” journalism fellow

NEWS BRIEF (available online at https://goo.gl/pCd2cL)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Erik Palmer, an associate professor and chair of the SOU Communication Program, has been named one of 17 “disruptive” journalism fellows from around the country by the City University of New York’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.

The recipients will be awarded fellowships to attend the Online News Association 2017 Conference, Oct. 5-7, in Washington, D.C. Each will be asked to champion a specific aspect of journalism education at the conference, and to engage other educators “in any way that proves effective,” including through the Disruptive Educators Facebook group. The closed Facebook group describes itself as a learning organization “for journalism educators disrupting media, through entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Palmer was recognized in the fellowship announcement for his research on how social photography impacts professional media photography, and for his interest in the emerging connection between strategy and journalism.

The Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism was founded in 2010 through grants from The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with support from the City University of New York. It is intended to train journalists in media entrepreneurship, explore new business models for news and provide events for both professional journalists and students.

-SOU-

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 athletic pavilion, to be completed in January, receives new name Thursday

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/jJhP8S)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott, members of the local DeBoer family and others will gather outside the university’s new athletic pavilion Thursday morning to acknowledge the role of philanthropy in the project and unveil the facility’s new name.

The DeBoers and their signature company, Lithia Motors, will be recognized during the 10 a.m. event for the generosity that has made completion of the athletic pavilion possible. Lithia and the DeBoer family have pledged $1 million to the pavilion project and another $1 million to fund scholarships for many of the student-athletes who will compete in the new facility. Several other donors have pledged an additional $600,000 in gifts for the ongoing construction project, which includes renovations to the Raider grandstand.

“The willing support of all these donors has transformed this project, and will have a lasting effect on our university,” President Schott said. “The fund-raising did more than allow us to make ends meet; it enabled us to add dimension and texture to the project.”

Three generations of the DeBoer family have been among the most generous supporters of SOU. Lithia Motors – which was founded in 1946 by Walt DeBoer and incorporated in 1968 by his son, Sid – is one of Oregon’s three current Fortune 500 companies.

“We enthusiastically support the students, academic programs and athletics of Southern Oregon University,” said Bryan DeBoer, Lithia’s president and CEO.

“Much like SOU, Lithia Motors promotes an environment of excellence and continuous improvement for our people,” DeBoer said. “We join with all members of this community in recognizing Southern Oregon University as the educational provider of choice for learners throughout our region and celebrate this significant development to the Ashland campus.”

The new athletic pavilion received $22 million in bond funding from the state, but the need to demolish rather than salvage some portions of the previous athletic facility added $2 million to the project cost. The adjacent Student Recreation Center is separately funded by fees that SOU students levied upon themselves.

The new pavilion’s competition gym will seat more than 1,400 fans for men’s and women’s basketball games and wrestling matches, and women’s volleyball games. The building will also have locker rooms, three classrooms, academic offices, an academic conference room, SOU’s athletic offices, an athletic conference room, a ticket booth, an athletic training and sports medicine room, wrestling practice room, equipment room and storage areas. The Student Recreation Center will include a recreational gym, indoor running track, fitness center, climbing wall, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor programs area, staff offices, locker rooms and storage areas.

-SOU-

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.

“Chief Science Officers” from regional schools to visit SOU

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/dw21Px)

(Ashland, Ore.) — A group of 22 “Chief Science Officers” from 11 middle and high schools throughout Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties will converge at Southern Oregon University on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 15-16, to gain leadership skills and learn to be ambassadors for STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Chief Science Officer Leadership Institute is organized by the Southern Oregon STEM Hub, one of 11 regional STEM Hubs that operate under Oregon’s Chief Education Office to tap local resources and promote STEM educational opportunities. This week’s institute is co-sponsored by SOU, the Southern Oregon Education Service District, Talent Maker City, Rogue Workforce Partnership, Rogue Valley Microdevices, Pacific Power, the Ausland Group, MV Pro Audio, Valley Immediate Care and ScienceWorks.

The event is intended to help the participating students become effective STEM ambassadors in their schools. They will explore STEM activities and potential careers, and receive professionalism and leadership training.

Activities will take place primarily in SOU’s Cox Hall classrooms. A “STEM-Onstration” showcase will also be held at SOU’s Stevenson Union.

The Chief Science Officer program, which is being offered through various STEM Hubs around the state, is a unique approach for aligning education with industry. It is intended to give students a voice in community conversations about outreach and economic development, and introduce them to some of the potential pathways to STEM careers.

The Southern Oregon STEM Hub is part of Southern Oregon Success, a grant-funded program that weaves together community talent, expertise and resources to promote the health, academics and life successes of the region’s youths and families.

-SOU-

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.

Healthcare Administration Program approved for SOU

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/cK7eFH)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission approved a new bachelor’s degree program on Thursday that will prepare students at Southern Oregon University for a variety of careers in health care – the region’s largest and fastest-growing job sector.

SOU’s new Healthcare Administration Program will be offered to students beginning in winter term of the coming academic year. Program coordinator Craig Switzler said he expects an initial cohort of about 10 students, and for the program to eventually grow to between 30 and 50 students.

“I’ve already been approached by about a half-dozen students,” he said.

The program will prepare students for management, rather than patient-care positions, in the health care industry. The Oregon Employment Department projects that over the next five years, there will be nearly 1,500 openings in southern Oregon for health care management positions that require bachelor’s or advanced degrees.

The SOU program will be available to incoming freshmen, current undergraduates who haven’t settled on a major and working professionals looking for additional skillsets.

Those who enter the program may focus on any of three health care-related concentrations. A personnel management track will emphasize human resources in the health care industry; a community health concentration will explore how group or community health care is provided, maintained and improved; and a data analytics path will prepare students to analyze and interpret data for improving health care systems.

The overall program will provide students a foundation in health care, including knowledge of the industry’s terminology, ethics and safety, data management standards and communication skills.

The interdisciplinary program will include courses from SOU’s Health and Physical Education, Business, Communications, Psychology, Sociology and Biology departments. A new philosophy course will be part of the curriculum, and each student will also complete a capstone project and practicum class prior to graduation.

“The classes are already here on campus,” said Switzler, who developed a proposal for the program after he was hired at SOU three years ago as an athletic trainer.

The proposal has gained traction over the past year, and has been endorsed by various SOU committees, the university’s Board of Trustees and the state universities’ Provosts Council. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission approved the program unanimously on Thursday.

There is a handful of similar undergraduate and graduate programs in health care administration or management at other public and private universities in Oregon.

More information about the SOU program is available on its website, at sou.edu/hca.

-SOU-

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.

Student project keeps SOU at the forefront of U.S. water conservation

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

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University, which in 2012 became the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption, has renewed its five-year contract to offset the campus water footprint by supporting waterway restoration in Oregon.

ASSOU has completed a five-year contract for water restoration on Sevenmile Creek (BEF photo)

The project is student-led and will be funded over the next five years by $100,000 annually from a “Green Fund” tax – currently $13 per student, each term – that SOU students have imposed on themselves since 2007. The Green Fund also pays for several other sustainability projects on campus.

Water Restoration Certificates purchased by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University will pay for a ground-breaking piping and flow-restoration project over the next five years, primarily on Whychus Creek near Bend. The project will restore stream flow and fish and wildlife habitat, conserve millions of gallons of water, make more water available for irrigators and prevent the loss of fish in irrigation withdrawals by using state-of-the-art fish screens.

“The Whychus Creek water project is a fantastic opportunity to offset our campus’ water usage while restoring wildlife habitat and streamflow to a river in our community,” said Lindsay Swanson, who serves on ASSOU’s Environmental Affairs Committee. “As a student at SOU, I am proud of this university’s commitment to sustainable water usage.”

SOU students initially offset all of the university’s water usage in 2012 by purchasing Water Restoration Certificates to fund a five-year project on Seven Mile Creek in the Klamath River Basin.  That project has been completed, so students looked at a variety of options before choosing the Bend-area project to continue balancing SOU’s water footprint – and remain one of the few universities in the nation to do so.

The Environmental Affairs Committee considered using the Green Fund on renewable energy projects or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education training before voting to continue supporting water restoration.

“Heading into the next century, conservation of water resources will only become more and more important,” Swanson said. “As a university, it is our responsibility to recognize and mitigate the impact our campus has on the world around us, especially in regard to resource use.”

SOU’s student government works with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to purchase Water Restoration Certificates and identify projects to support. The non-profit BEF – which partners with the Bonneville Power Administration but operates independently – markets green power products to government agencies, businesses, utilities and others.

After adopting the Green Fund tax in 2007, SOU students were among the first in the nation to offset all of their university’s energy use by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates that supported North Dakota wind farms. After that initial five-year contract expired, SOU shifted to water restoration projects, in part to support environmental change closer to home.

-SOU-

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.

OLLI open house to feature opportunities to engage with SOU

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

(Ashland, Ore.) — More than 700 attendees are expected when the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers its fourth annual open house with the theme, “Aged 50+? What’s in it for you at SOU?” The event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, in the Stevenson Union at SOU.

The open house will highlight OLLI’s program of courses for 2017-18 – including more than 100 that will be offered during fall term – along with a variety of other opportunities for community members to engage with the Southern Oregon University. For instance, those who are over 65 and have been Oregon residents for at least a year can audit most SOU courses tuition-free. Any community member with at least a high school diploma may take SOU courses for credit on an individual or “a la carte” basis, beginning two weeks before each term starts, if space is available. Community members can also help students with their housing needs by offering spare bedrooms for rent and can serve as volunteers for various academic, student support and community-facing programs at SOU.

Wednesday’s open house will feature 18 SOU exhibits and 20 OLLI instructors and event sponsors in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room. Another 18 exhibits by non-profit community partners will be in the student union’s lobby area.

Those who attend the event, which is free and open to the public, can enjoy free desserts and beverages, and enter drawings for door prizes. Those who preregister by today will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of a “Rogue Valley Theater Bundle” – tickets for two donated by the Britt Festival, Camelot Theatre, Oregon Cabaret Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

OLLI at SOU offers a variety of peer-taught, non-credit classes to almost 1,900 members at locations in Ashland and Medford. Membership is open to adults of any age, but the program is geared toward those who are 50-plus. More information is available on the OLLI website.

-SOU-

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 rated among nation’s 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/7sZRsu)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has been ranked 21st among the 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students in 2017, according to the online publication College Choice. The new ranking is in line with that of Campus Pride, which has rated SOU as one of the nation’s 30 most LGBTQ-friendly campuses for the past four years.

In its ranking, College Choice cited the findings of Campus Pride – a leading educational organization for LGBTQ college students and campus groups – and also pointed to the university’s “impressive academics” and numerous resources for LGBTQ students.

“Recognitions similar to this one are important for our current and prospective students, especially as some juggle multiple factors in college choice, and in choosing to stay at SOU,” said Thomas Arce, coordinator of SOU’s Queer Resource Center.

“Our campus environment at SOU provides our students with a welcoming, inclusive and affirming learning and living space,” he said.

College Choice offers numerous rankings of colleges and universities, based on criteria ranging from “Happiest Freshmen” to “Most Affordable Online MBA.” The list of 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students is topped by Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tuition rates at SOU are lower than at any of the institutions that are ranked higher on the College Choice list.

The University of Oregon, which ranked 28th, was the only other institution from Oregon on this year’s list.

“Even in a state that has a liberal reputation like Oregon does, it’s still important for universities to pay close attention to the needs of their LGBTQ+ students,” said Christian Amondson, the managing editor of College Choice. “That’s what Southern Oregon does, and that’s why it appears on this ranking.”

In its online rankings, College Choice points out that SOU faculty and staff are trained on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, hate crime prevention, trans-specific concerns and LGBTQ-specific career services.

NOTE: Thomas Arce can be contacted directly by media at arcet@sou.edu or at (541) 552-6488.

-SOU-

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 professor awarded Fulbright scholarship to study in Ireland

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/VfZ695)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Eric Levin, a professor and director of theatre arts at Southern Oregon University, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in Ireland during the 2017-18 academic year. He will use the grant to teach for a semester at the University of Ireland in Galway, and to participate in that university’s international Eugene O’Neill Conference.

Eric Levin

Fulbrights are among the most prestigious scholarships in academia, and Levin’s award is the first for an SOU faculty member in four years.

“I was pleased and surprised to receive this honor,” Levin said. “In addition to learning about Irish university programs and curriculum, I also hope to create ties with the University of Ireland in Galway and other universities as well as professional theatres.”

Levin, who has been an SOU faculty member for 12 years, directs the university’s Master of Theatre Studies Program for theatre teachers. He also teaches theatre literature and foundational courses.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, a master’s degree in theatre from Western Oregon University and a doctorate in theatre arts from the University of Oregon. He previously served as an assistant professor of theatre at Dickinson State University in North Dakota, an adjunct professor at California State University-Fresno, and a part-time instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. He has also taught secondary school in Oregon and California.

Levin’s work has appeared in publications including the Journal of American Theatre and Drama, The Eugene O’Neill Review and Theatre Research International.

His theatre experience includes set and lighting design, technical direction, acting and directing.

Levin is SOU’s 16th Fulbright Scholar. The most recent previous awardee was English Professor Diana Maltz, who used her 2013-14 scholarship at the University of Liverpool to study lifestyle aestheticism, visual culture and family identity in late Victorian and Edwardian England. SOU’s first Fulbright Scholarship was awarded to Economics Professor Byron Brown for the 1986-87 academic year, which he spent lecturing on economics at Karl Marx University in Budapest, Hungary.

Fulbright scholarships are part of a merit-based, international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was founded by former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright and has awarded scholarships each year since 1948. It currently offers about 8,000 grants annually for graduate study, research, lecturing and teaching in more than 160 participating countries.

-SOU-

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.

Distinguished alumni to be recognized at SOU commencement event

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/Bm1oLu)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Nearly 40,000 graduates have earned degrees at Southern Oregon University since its founding in 1872, and four of them will be singled out as part of Saturday’s 2017 commencement activities for the merit they have brought to SOU.

This year’s SOU alumni award recipients are Victoria Kelly, for Distinguished Alumni; Ryan Wines, for Distinguished Young Alumni; James Van Delden, M.D., for Distinguished Service; and Kathleen Thomas, for Excellence in Education. The awards will be presented at the Pre-Commencement Alumni Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Kelly, who earned her SOU bachelor’s degree in social science and human services in 2005, experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when her 17-year-old son disappeared in January 1999, and his body was discovered 18 months later. She turned her grief into advocacy and education, cofounding the Tommy Foundation, serving as a member of the Southern Oregon Child Abduction Response Team and acting as a senior consultant for Team Hope/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Her efforts have helped extend support to more than 14,000 families.

Wines, a 2001 marketing graduate at SOU, is the founder and CEO of Marmoset, a boutique music agency in Portland. He and his team craft original music for film, advertising and television, and curate rare, vintage and emerging artists for music licensing. Wines first recognized his passion for music as a radio DJ at SOU, and has since has pursued creative work while also advising record labels and artists including Beat the World Records, The Dandy Warhols, Dolorean and The Dimes.

Van Delden, who emigrated with his family from the Netherlands to Grants Pass in 1961, became a U.S. citizen while attending SOU and received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1970. He attended medical school at Creighton University in Nebraska and joined the U.S. Army in 1971. After retiring from active duty in 1971, he joined the Army National Guard and the Indian Health Service as a civilian.

He has delivered babies in war-torn nations, cared for children on Native American reservations of the Great Plains, and served on medical missions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Van Delden retired from the Army in 2001 at the the rank of brigadier general, and he continues to volunteer with veterans’ organizations and the Omaha Nation tribal clinic in Nebraska.

Thomas entered SOU as a non-traditional student – holding off on her higher education until her youngest child entered elementary school – then earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2004 and her master’s degree in teaching in 2008. Her path toward teaching began with an active role in her children’s education, regularly volunteering in programs including German kindergarten; international schools in Belgium, Holland, and Norway; British primary school; parochial school; and public schools in Florida and Oregon.

She discovered a passion for chemistry while at SOU, and has taught at North Medford High School for the past eight years and served as science department head for the past four years.

-SOU-

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.