(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is wrapping up the second installment of a research exercise it calls “peering into the future of higher education,” and will share its findings with the community in a Campus Expo event on Friday.
The expo, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room, will feature presentations on seven topics that may help SOU in the implementation of its Strategic Plan – a blueprint for the university’s future.
The expo is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the general public. Refreshments will be served.
“As we completed our strategic planning, I promised that our plan would be dynamic – not one that would sit on a shelf and collect dust,” SOU President Linda Schott said when she announced the current round of research to campus.
“As the (implementation) work has proceeded, it has become clear that we need to do additional thinking about some of the ideas and issues in the plan,” she said.
Seven 10-minute reports at Friday’s expo will cover higher education trends and projections in the areas of financial stability, institutional collaborations, upper division education, general education, generating certifiably creative graduates, increasing learner satisfaction and success, and achieving lives of purpose.
About 80 faculty and staff members volunteered to split into seven “professional learning communities” and research those topics over the past two months, and will offer their findings at the Campus Expo. Audience members will then have an opportunity to discuss each presentation with others seated at their tables.
President Schott introduced the concept of professional learning communities two years ago to set the stage for SOU’s year-long strategic planning process. Seven groups formed at that time examined optimum learning spaces, who future students may be, how people best learn, how students are taught before arriving on campus, how advances in technology will change teaching, how to prepare graduates for jobs that don’t yet exist and how higher education will be sustained in the future.
The findings from that round of faculty-staff research helped to define the university’s new vision, mission and values, and the “strategic directions” that are now being implemented. Information from the current studies will help to maintain, focus and expand the implementation process.
White papers from both the 2017 professional learning communities and the groups that conducted this year’s research will be available following Friday’s expo on the university’s strategic planning website.