SOU School of Education makes global connections at Kenya conference

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s School of Education is acting globally this week, serving as one of the leading organizers for the inaugural World Conference on Transformative Education in Kenya.

Bryce Smedley (left) in Africa

The conference will be held Thursday through Saturday, July 26-28, at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, Kenya. Its theme is “Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.”

SOU Assistant Professor Bryce Smedley – an organizer of the conference and the university’s representative at the event – credited SOU’s Global Connections Initiative for an expanding commitment to international education.

“We are part of a global community and therefore we must create globally competent teachers here in southern Oregon,” Smedley said. “SOU is not only participating in these discussions but actively providing leadership and making an international difference.”

Conference topics include Smedley’s work, “Transformative Education Through Service Learning and English Language Clubs,” and other topics including child development, teaching indigenous languages and educational opportunity in rural and developing regions.

The WCTE is co-sponsored by Southern Oregon University, the Global Institute for Transformative Education, the Bay and Paul Foundations, the School Project Foundation and Ball State University.

Keynote speakers include Ambassador Amina C. Mohamed, current cabinet secretary for the Kenya Ministry of Education; sociologist and professor Colletta A. Suda; governor of Kakamega County Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya; and many other experts in the fields of child development, culturally responsive teaching and holistic education.

SOU’s sponsorship of the conference is part of the School of Education’s dedication to expanding educational horizons and opportunities for both international and local students, said John King, director of the university’s Division of Education, Health and Leadership. The school’s Global Connections Initiative is also resulting in partnerships with education professionals and organizations worldwide. It has led to engagement with English learners of all ages and backgrounds, including displaced refugees in sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the initiative, SOU has participated in the construction of a community literacy center and girls’ school in Chombo, Malawi; promotion of teacher and student exchanges with the Roong Aroon School in Thailand; and membership in the Pacific Circle Consortium to support inter-cultural learning, educational research and policy development across the Pacific region.

The SOU School of Education will integrate both content and connections from the conference into upcoming courses in the school’s graduate and undergraduate catalogs, and further international outreach and recruitment efforts.

For more information on SOU’s School of Education, visit: https://sou.edu/academics/education/

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SOU offers opportunities for community members to get fresh air

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is making the best of a smoky situation, taking steps to protect students and employees from the area’s unhealthy air while offering a respite for community members in several air-conditioned facilities across campus.

“We’re lucky enough to be located in what we consider in many ways to be Oregon’s most attractive region,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “This is an opportunity for us to pay back this special community. Many of our students are gone for the summer, and we have several buildings where we are happy to welcome the public for various activities.”

Community members are invited, as long as this summer’s wildfire smoke lingers, to visit the university’s Hannon Library and Stevenson Union, and even get some exercise on the indoor walking and jogging track at the new Student Recreation Center. There will be no cost for any of the activities, but visitors are asked to abide by parking regulations in SOU’s lots.

Campus facilities and hours of public availability:

  1. The Stevenson Union will be open to community members looking for a break from poor outdoor air quality. These spaces are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (SOU offers free Wi-Fi to visitors.)
  • Dankook: SU Room 314.Located on the 3rd level of the student union, this space features soft chairs and couches.
  • Game Room: SU Room 330.Located on the 3rd level of the Union, this space features soft furniture, video gaming, puzzles and board games.
  • Elmo’s Seating: Elmo’s Dining is closed, but Einstein’s Bagels and Coffee is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This space on the union’s main floor features round tables, booths, and small conversation tables. There is one TV.
  • Diversions (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only): Located on the basement level of the union, this space features tables, chairs, soft furniture and cable TV.
  1. The Hannon Library is open during the summer from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Saturdays.
  2. The Student Recreation Center has an elevated, indoor walking/running track that will be available to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. daily, Sunday through Thursday.

SOU employees have been advised to wear protective N95 or N100 face masks – which have been made available to them – if their work takes them outside. They will be encouraged to wear the masks anytime the air quality index rises above 200 at the state Department of Environmental Quality’s monitoring station at the Ashland Fire Department.

“We are very serious about helping all members of our campus community protect their health,” President Schott said.

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Region’s schools send “Chief Science Officers” to visit SOU

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(Ashland, Oregon) — A group of 30 “Chief Science Officers” – students from 15 middle and high schools throughout Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties – will meet at Southern Oregon University Monday through Wednesday, July 16-18, 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. Next week’s institute is co-sponsored by SOU, the Southern Oregon Education Service District, Talent Maker City, First Tech Challenge and Ashland Solar Van.

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 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.

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Recognitions to lead off SOU commencement event

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Seven alumni of Southern Oregon University will be honored – two with special posthumous recognitions and five with annual awards – as part of Saturday’s 2018 commencement activities.

All of the awards will be presented at the Pre-Commencement Alumni Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Steven Nelson, who passed away this spring, will be posthumously recognized when a President’s Medal is presented to his family. Nelson, a financial advisor and former banker, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SOU, and served nearly 20 years as a volunteer leader at Jefferson Public Radio and the JPR Foundation. His work contributed to JPR’s growth and expansion, restoration projects at the Cascade Theatre in Redding and the Holly Theatre in Medford, and the development of the radio station’s new home in the SOU Theater Building.

Edrik Gomez, who was a high-achieving SOU student when he died in a helicopter crash while on a firefighting crew at northern California’s Iron 44 blaze in 2008, will be honored posthumously when a Certificate of Achievement is presented to his mother. He was majoring in communication and political science, had a 3.72 grade point average and had been admitted into the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at the time of the accident that claimed nine firefighters’ lives. Gomez, who was from Coquille, was involved in SOU’s Multicultural Center, the Latino Student Union, and the Ecology and Sustainability Center.

Recipients of this year’s annual alumni awards are Jeff Brady, for Distinguished Alumni; Amanda MacGurn, for Young Alumni; Malcus Williams and Tim Williams, for the Stan Smith Alumni Service Award; and Betsy Bishop, for Excellence in Education.

Brady, who earned his SOU bachelor’s degree in communication in 1995, is a national desk correspondent in Philadelphia, focusing on energy issues for National Public Radio. He is credited with helping to demystify an industry that can seem complicated to many listeners and to establish NPR’s Environment and Energy Collaborative for reporters at NPR member stations around the country.

MacGurn, a 2006 French language and culture graduate at SOU, taught English in Costa Rica and Chile before joining the Peace Corps and ultimately earning her master’s degree in public health from Emory University. An internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led her to a full-time position in the health agency’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. MacGurn was deployed to West Africa four times during the Ebola outbreak, and continues to work in the region where her French skills are critical.

Malcus Williams, who died while on a call for the Ashland Police Department in March, played football and met his wife, Ona, while a student at SOU. He became a reserve officer and then was sworn in as a full-time Ashland Police officer during the 1996 flood. He completed his degree in criminology and criminal justice in 2008, while serving as a full-time officer, and served on the department as a school resource officer, firearms instructor, patrol officer, sergeant and Citizen’s Academy diversity instructor. He also served in the community as a youth sports coach.

Tim Williams was a forward on the nationally ranked SOU basketball team of the late 1990s before earning his bachelor’s degree in criminology in 1999, then moving on to earn his law degree at the University of Oregon School of Law in 2003. He is a partner in the firm of Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, has been recognized as one of the best trial lawyers in the country, has held a variety of posts in the Oregon State Bar and has advocated justice for the economically disadvantaged. He has also served on the board of directors of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Oregon, the Sparrow Clubs of Central Oregon and other nonprofit organizations.

Bishop received her undergraduate degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., before earning her master’s degree in teaching at SOU in 1977. She taught 10 years at Monrovia High School in California, and has taught English and theatre at Ashland High School since moving back to Ashland in 1988. She has maintained a 25-year school and business partnership with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has been recognized with four statewide teaching awards and earned two national awards in 2016.

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SOU internet marketing class features real-life experience

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Undergraduate- and graduate-level business marketing students at Southern Oregon University will complete their first interactive, real-time and real-life Internet Marketing and e-Commerce course this month.

Karen Fronek

The innovative course – designed by SOU Adjunct Instructor Karen Fronek, the president of Make It Happen Marketing in Medford – has taken students from the classroom to the virtual workplace as they built a marketing website (www.SOU436536.com) using weekly lessons in real-time.

Joan McBee, chair of the SOU Business Department, oversaw the project and described Fronek’s approach as unique, with an element of modern marketing not typically available to university students.

“It’s exciting to be part of a course that is specifically designed to propel students from the classroom to the modern workplace,” McBee said. “This is what higher education is all about, and what SOU is committed to achieving. Preparing students for the transition to the next phase of their lives is one of the most important objectives we can accomplish.”

The goal for Fronek’s course was to find a way to properly prepare students for the current work environment in the field of marketing. The SOU436536.com website was created specifically for the Internet Marketing course by Fronek and web administrator Kevin McMillian of Core Business Services in Medford.

“As the owner of a marketing agency and as their instructor, I felt it was my responsibility to introduce these future marketing professionals to our world as we live and work in it every day – the real world of business marketing,” Fronek said. “That means learning the intricacies of one of the most important message outlets in today’s workplace – an organization’s website.”

The university’s previous curriculum didn’t allow for a comprehensive, hands-on approach using current marketing tools, because internet marketing changes daily, she said. Students in the new course learned week-by-week the art of creating relevant and engaging content for social media channels, videos, blogs and vlogs, and writing effective emails. They learned search engine optimization and created a product for ecommerce with web-optimized graphics. Each completed assignment was posted live online to students’ personal branded pages at SOU436536.com.

The curriculum also included instruction on using video editing phone apps to film, edit, and upload videos quickly. Students achieved Google AdWords awards by studying and passing Google Adwords Fundamentals and Google My Business exams through Google’s Academy For Ads.

“I loved watching the students gain confidence and hone their skills during this course,” Fronek said. “Students had to think like real internet marketers. They learned about Ideal Customer Avatars (ICA), creating messaging specifically for their ICA audience. They had to be creative, agile and resourceful in what they produced, and they had to work in teams. The best part is that they were not just learning new marketing concepts, they were actually applying those new-found skills weekly.”

Fronek is currently designing a version of the Internet Marketing course for SOU’s new Online MBA Program, serving as many as 100 students nationwide.

“Making this course relevant is my highest priority,” she said. “As a business owner, being able to bridge students into modern marketing methods is the best I can do for them. My goal is that when they graduate, they are a benefit to any organization immediately. That’s my ultimate reward.”

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Three SOU arts leaders accepted as fellows in international council

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Three Southern Oregon University faculty members – the largest contingent from any college or university in the world – have been accepted into the 2018-19 Fellows Program of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD).

SOU’s new ICFAD fellows are music professor Terry Longshore, director of SOU’s Percussion Studies program; Deborah Rosenberg, professor of costume design in the university’s Theatre Program and past president of the Faculty Senate; and Scott Malbaurn, director of the Schneider Museum of Art. In addition, David Humphrey – director of SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts – has been invited to serve as a mentor for a fellow from a different institution.

The international council offers a fellows program every third year as a professional development opportunity for talented arts administrators considered ready to move into leadership positions.

This year’s program for the 19 fellows who were accepted from around the world will begin in October with an education program, “Strategies for Developing Leaders,” at the ICFAD’s Annual Conference in Seattle. Each fellow will also be assigned a mentor from an ICFAD member institution other than their own.

The International Council of Fine Arts Deans was established in 1964 to facilitate the sharing of information and ideas among deans and other arts executives in higher education. ICFAD is the only organization that focuses solely on issues that impact higher education leaders in creative areas including fine and performing arts, arts education, art history, architecture and communication.

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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.

Elite drum and bugle corps makes SOU its “spring training” home

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/GJd97N)

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 30, 2018

For further information, contact:
Joe Mosley, Director of Community and Media Relations
Phone: (541) 552-6719 | Cell: (541) 729-2860 |
mosleyj@sou.edu

Elite drum and bugle corps makes SOU its “spring training” home

(Ashland, Ore.) — The elite Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has found its tempo at Southern Oregon University, drilling for long hours each day and staying in a university residence hall for its three-week “spring training” before beginning its 2018 national tour next month.

The corps – based in Santa Clara, California – is made up of 154 college-age brass players, percussionists and color guard members from throughout the U.S. and other countries. Another 40 support staff members are with the group for its stay in a block of rooms at SOU’s Greensprings Complex.

Neighbors throughout Ashland’s university area can hear snippets from the practice sessions of Vanguard’s drum and horns sections, but will have opportunities in the coming weeks to hear and see the finished product. The group will offer a free, public thank-you performance at 8 p.m. on June 7 in SOU’s Raider Stadium and will also return for Ashland’s Fourth of July Parade. It is providing clinics for the SOU music program while in town, and will offer a day-long youth clinic at Ashland High School on June 2.

The public is also welcome at the drum and bugle corps’ practice sessions on the SOU athletic fields, but photos and videos are not allowed for licensing reasons.

The Vanguard brass and color guard sections have been at SOU since May 19, and the drum corps arrived a week later. The entire group will leave June 8 to prepare for its competitive national tour – 15,000 miles and 26 performances, from June 22 to Aug. 11.

“We researched dozens of possible spring training sites all over the country and chose Ashland, Oregon, because of the culture and atmosphere,” said Shaun Gallant, the Santa Clara Vanguard Corps Director. “One thing we really strive for is these relationships to be mutually beneficial and that is what we have created with the city of Ashland.”

The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has won six Drum Corps International World Class Championship titles and is the only corps to make the DCI finals every year since the competition began in 1972. More than 800 performers auditioned for this year’s Vanguard touring corps.

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SOU’s Hannon Library celebrates 65 years as a free home for federal publications

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/3YRTFs)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library will celebrate its 65th anniversary as a Federal Depository Library on Thursday, April 26, with a day of presentations, exhibits and an open reception. The festivities will run from 2 to 7:30 p.m.

Federal Depository Libraries are the backbone of a U.S. government program intended to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost. The U.S. government is the world’s largest publisher, and its materials are available in a variety of electronic and paper formats at more than 1,200 depository libraries in the U.S. and its territories.

SOU’s Hannon Library is one of 20 depository libraries in Oregon – 16 of them at colleges or universities. Hannon Library received the program’s Depository Library of the Year Award in 2004 for its digital collections of significant government publications about the unique Southern Oregon bioregion. Those collections will be featured in the anniversary celebration, along with displays addressing the importance of free access to government information, especially congressional information for student research.

Guest speakers at Thursday’s event will include SOU professors and students, a representative from the Bureau of Land Management and exhibiting artists from the BLM-sponsored Artist-in-Residence program in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Presentations and displays will highlight the history, geology, archaeology, biology and environmental education activities in the Cascade-Siskiyou bioregion. Speakers and exhibitors, in alphabetical order, include SOU faculty and staff members Jad D’Allura, Linda Hilligoss, Stewart Janes, Jeff LaLande, Dotty Ormes, Michael Parker, Chelsea Rose and Darlene Southworth; students Hope Braithwaite, Suphasiri Muttamara and Elizabeth Schyling; the BLM’s Christine Beekman; Ashland artist Mabrie Ormes; and Ashland photographer Matt Witt.

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SOU’s “boundary-breaking” Oregon Fringe Festival begins on Tuesday

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

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Oregon Fringe Festival – a distinctive blend of visual, musical and theatre arts presentations – will kick off its 2018 lineup with Gallery Openings at Southern Oregon University’s Center for the Visual Arts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24. The six-day arts celebration will continue with shows and exhibitions on and around the SOU campus through Sunday, April 29.

The Oregon Fringe Festival, established in 2014, is described on its website as a “boundary-breaking platform for artists creating unconventional work in unconventional spaces,” and as a “celebration of zany, alternative (art) forms.” It encourages bold content from courageous artists of all ages and in various stages of their careers.

All of the festival’s presentations are free and open to the public. A full schedule of this year’s events is available online.

Visual arts highlights include exhibitions from current SOU students, visiting master students from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and headlining artist Ruth Lantz.

Musical highlights include performances by current SOU students and alumni, and visiting headliners such as Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion and flautist Tessa Brinckman. SOU’s Left Edge Percussion Ensemble will perform Michael Gordon’s iconic “Timber,” and the vocal octet Desiderata will premiere a new work from composer Judd Greenstein that was commissioned by the Oregon Fringe.

This year’s theatre highlights include performances from current SOU students and alumni, a headlining performance of “The Truth” by Ashland’s A Muse Zoo, a staged reading of Stephanie Neuerburg’s “Ella Enchanted” and the one-woman show “Artichoke Hearts” by Sarah Mitchell.

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SOU Honors College hosts high school students for problem-solving

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(Ashland, Ore.) — About 150 high school students from throughout southern Oregon will try their hand at resolving some of today’s most troubling issues when Southern Oregon University Honors College students lead their annual Democracy Project symposium on Tuesday, April 24.

The event – “Truth and Reconciliation: A Model for America?” – will prepare high school students to use the conflict-resolution model developed as South Africa emerged from apartheid in the early 1990s. The students will then attempt to settle the U.S. First Amendment issues of athletes kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the appropriateness of confederate monuments and the proliferation of “fake news.”

Tuesday’s daylong symposium will include guest speakers Ernle Young, a retired bioethicist from Stanford University who was a white South African and Methodist pastor who opposed apartheid; and Albert Munanga – originally from nearby Zambia and currently the Zambian Embassy’s honorary consul for Washington state – who serves as regional director of quality improvement for Era Living, a Seattle-area developer of retirement communities.

This year’s third annual Democracy Project symposium is being organized by SOU Honors College students Rebekah Krum and Megan Godsby. All members of the Honors College will participate in the day’s events, helping to facilitate and moderate the various presentations and activities.

The symposium will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Democracy Project is an ongoing effort by SOU’s Honors College to comprehensively examine international democracy. It is intended to offer emerging leaders an understanding of conflict resolution and how democracy is understood, implemented and promoted around the world.

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