Mark Tveskov's new book looks at the archaeology of war

New book on archaeology of war from SOU professor

SOU anthropology professor Mark Tveskov has a new book about the archaeology of war and battlefields, and how war and conflict are remembered and commemorated. The volume includes a chapter on Tveskov’s research on the archaeology of the Rogue River War and a discussion of the experiences of African Americans and the Indigenous Metis people of Canada during that war.

“Conflict Archaeology, Historical Memory and the Experience of War: Beyond the Battlefield” is an edited volume from Tveskov and Ashley Ann Bissonnette, an assistant professor of public health at Eastern Connecticut State University. It was published by University Press of Florida.

Essays from a variety of contributors go beyond forensic analyses of sites of conflict “to consider the historical memory, commemoration and social experience of war,” according to the publisher’s website. The writings challenge prevailing accounts of wars throughout the “settler colonialism” of North America.

Conflicts that are examined include the battle of Chikasha, King Philip’s War, the 1694 battle at Guadalupe Mesa, the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and a World War II battle on the Pacific Ocean island of Saipan. The Schenectady Massacre of 1690 and colonial posts staffed by Black soldiers also are analyzed.

“This book is a collection of studies that considers a question of the day: How does a society remember, critique, commemorate, and find significance in events, artifacts and places of conflict and war?” Tveskov and Bissonnette write in its introductory chapter.

Tveskov – who teaches in SOU’s Sociology and Anthropology Department – has focused his current research on the Rogue River War of the early 1850s, shell middens on the Oregon Coast and the African American logging community of Maxville in northeastern Oregon. He has conducted research in Iceland, New England, Southern California and Alaska.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut, and his doctorate at the University of Oregon. He is a member of the governor’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation.

Tveskov and Bissonnette, his co-editor for the new book, both grew up in New England and received archaeological training at the University of Connecticut.

Klamath Outdoor Science School hires SOU graduate

Recent SOU grad hired at outdoor school

Natalie DiNenno, a fall 2022 graduate of SOU’s Master of Science in Environmental Education Program, has accepted a position as executive director of Klamath Outdoor Science School (KOSS.)

KOSS has a camp in Sun Pass State Forest, near Ft. Klamath and Jackson Kimball State Park, and provides outdoor school, summer camps and a wide range of other outdoor education programs throughout southern Oregon. Natalie will continue to reside in Ashland.

After growing up and attending college on the East Coast, Natalie made her way to the Northwest to pursue graduate studies at SOU.

“I was immediately captivated by the beauty of southern Oregon and the supportive network of environmental educators in this region,” Natalie says.

Students in SOU’s Master of Science in Environmental Education Program work to design an environmental education program and then implement it as their capstone project in the annual Fall in the Field outdoor classes for the region’s third- through eighth-grade students. The MSEE program is intended to prepare graduates for teaching and leadership positions at nature centers, museums, schools, government agencies and other organizations.

Natalie grew up outside of Philadelphia and received bachelor’s degrees in environmental studies and sociology from Williams College in Massachusetts. She has worked as a naturalist, camp counselor and administrator, and visited the Pacific Northwest for the first time while attending the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies program.

She enjoys writing, making music or turning over rocks in streams to marvel at benthic macroinvertebrates in her spare time. She is passionate about providing immersive, place-based, experiential education for all students, of all ages and backgrounds.

Natalie is already busy in her new job with KOSS, scheduling fifth- and sixth-grade classes for spring and fall outdoor school, all grades for day camps and planning a wide range of summer programs. She is also hiring instructors and support staff for those camps.

For more information on KOSS’s programs and open positions, see the KOSS website. Natalie can be reached directly at 541-850-8218 or by emailing

New exchange program links SOU and Universidad Católica del Uraguay

SOU adds first exchange partner in Southern Hemisphere

Southern Oregon University in Ashland and the Universidad Católica del Uruguay (Catholic University of Uraguay) in Montevideo are launching a new student exchange partnership in 2023 that will be SOU’s first such arrangement in South America and the Southern Hemisphere.

Bilateral exchange programs, like the one developed between SOU and UCU, function as affordable study-abroad opportunities for participants. Exchange students pay their usual tuition and fee rates at their home university, while spending a semester or year abroad at the partner institution. SOU students keep their financial aid package intact while on exchange, creating opportunities for students of limited financial means to pursue international experiences.

Students on SOU’s Ashland campus will also benefit from the addition of Uruguayan students in the classroom. Exchange students visiting Ashland bring their unique perspectives, histories and cultures to enliven classroom discussions, group projects and creative showcases. UCU offers majors including business, communication, computer science, economics, nutrition, performing arts, psychology, recreation, sociology and visual arts, and exchange students are welcomed from across all fields of study.

SOU students applying to study at UCU in Montevideo will need to have at least a B1-level of Spanish language proficiency, and expect to immerse themselves in Spanish language through their coursework in Uruguay. Students may take courses such as Spanish language, Uruguayan Culture, Latin American and Uruguayan Thinking, or a service-learning course in addition to classes alongside UCU students in their areas of study.

“Uruguay is highly regarded internationally for its stances on environmental stewardship, sustainability, human rights, and democracy. It ranks highly as a safe destination for LGBT travelers,” says Ariel Bloomer, SOU’s Education Abroad advisor. “I’m excited about the diversity this location brings to our existing exchange portfolio, and what that means for cultural exchange opportunities on our campus.”

For SOU students interested in the exchange opportunity in Uruguay, or in other exchange destinations, the application deadline for fall exchanges is Feb. 15. All partners can be explored on the Office of International Programs page on Inside SOU, or at the upcoming Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the Stevenson Union, Room 323. Students can contact the Office of International Programs at

Story by Ariel Bloomer, SOU Education Abroad advisor

New grant for prior learning credits

SOU receives state grant to provide “prior learning” credits

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has received a one-time, $338,000 grant from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission to expand opportunities for students to receive academic credit for knowledge and skills gained through life experiences such as work or military service.

SOU’s current Credit for Prior Learning program was initiated in 2015 as an option in the university’s bachelor’s degree program in Innovation and Leadership, which has been popular among mid-career adult students. The HECC grant, which was awarded this fall, has expanded the prior learning program campus-wide, and it already has been adopted in other academic areas, including Business, Communication, Media & Cinema.

“Offering students the option of Credit for Prior Learning is a way to honor the skills and knowledge our students bring to the school even before they have started taking classes on our campus,” said Moneeka Settles, coordinator for the Innovation and Leadership program. “It benefits students, no matter their major, because it recognizes the wisdom they have gained on their own life path.”

Students’ proposals for Prior Learning credits must meet several criteria under SOU’s policy for the program. Students must produce a portfolio that supports evidence they have learned the course outcomes, then faculty members assess the portfolio on a pass, no-pass basis. Students can also earn Credit for Prior Learning through challenge exams and military credit. Credits for prior learning can make up no more than 25 percent of the credits required for graduation.

SOU is among five Oregon universities and 14 community colleges that received this year’s HECC grants for Credit for Prior Learning programs. The HECC awarded a total of $10 million for the programs, under the state’s Future Ready Oregon investment package to support education and training that may lead to employment and family-wage careers. The grants are for one year, but institutions can apply to renew them annually.

Future Ready Oregon, funded by the 2022 Legislature, prioritizes historically underserved and vulnerable communities by offering opportunities to receive college credit “for prior experience or skills gained outside of traditional higher education institutions.”

The HECC requires standards for prior learning programs, monitors their implementation and provides periodic reports on them to the legislature. The HECC, which adopted its own prior learning standards in 2014, tracks the types and number of Credits for Prior Learning that are awarded throughout the state each year.


SOU pathway programs receive state grant

SOU “pathway” programs for Latino/a/x youth get boost from state grant

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s pathway programs that introduce local Latino/a/x students to the promise of higher education have received funding that will allow them to rebuild toward pre-pandemic numbers and achievement rates.

The highly successful Pirates to Raiders program in the Phoenix-Talent School District and the Bulldogs and Hornets to Raiders programs in the Medford School District will be boosted by a $250,000 grant for the current academic year. The grant is from the Oregon Department of Education’s Latino/a/x & Indigenous Student Success program, funded by the 2019 Oregon Legislature. Pending legislative approval and measurable progress toward its goals, funding for the SOU programs will be renewable at up to $200,000 per year.

“These programs and others across the state will receive significant needed support, thanks to the Legislature’s recognition that systemic inequities that Latino/a/x and Indigenous students have historically experienced must be addressed,” said Rachel Jones, SOU’s director of outreach and engagement. “Our communities will benefit from the success of their students, and their future involvement throughout the region.”

The SOU grant focuses primarily on the Pirates, Bulldogs and Hornets to Raiders programs – located at Talent Middle School and Phoenix High School, and at Medford’s McLoughlin and Hedrick middle schools and North and South Medford high schools – but will also support other ongoing SOU programs and events, including Academia Latina, Latino Family Day and the Cesar Chavez Leadership Conference.

The Pirates to Raiders program began in 2011, Bulldogs to Raiders in 2015 and Hornets to Raiders in 2017. All are intended to open doors to Hispanic students by forming partnerships between students, their families, their school districts and SOU to ensure that the students remain on track for high school graduation and college. Family members make sure their students attend school, manage their studies and participate in events related to the program. The university and school district offer mentoring, financial aid information, transportation to program events and opportunities to learn about SOU. The students take appropriate college preparatory courses, attend two program-related events each year and sign contracts, promising to stay on track to graduate on time.

The programs had grown to a total of about 375 students prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving a high school graduation rate that was 43 percent higher than Oregon’s Latino/a/x student benchmark, double the statewide rate of higher education enrollment for Latino/a/x students and 3.8 times the rate of four-year college enrollment. The programs suffered through the pandemic, hurt by online-only instruction and staffing challenges in their host school districts.

The grant will enable SOU to hire Latino/a/x community members to serve as project coordinators supporting Latino/a/x students at the host schools. The programs have previously relied on staffing from site coordinators hired by the host schools, but those positions have been overtaxed with other duties and have seen high turnover. The new project coordinators from SOU will work with the schools’ site coordinators to provide more consistent services to students, increased engagement with parents and additional attention to culturally responsive curricula and teaching.

Students in the pathway programs will have increased access to mentoring, tutoring and workshops, and the programs will be better able to offer incentives – such as field trips and awards – for students who are on track academically or achieve key academic milestones.

Parents will receive regular updates on their students’ progress, have another trusted contact at their children’s school and receive support completing applications for extracurricular programs, financial aid and college admission. A new Parent Leadership Team made up of the parents of Latino/a/x students in four local school districts – Phoenix-Talent, Medford, Central Point and Eagle Point – will be formed to better incorporate community input into the pathway programs.

SOU will also partner with the Southern Oregon Education Service District’s Migrant Education Program to establish Latino Student Unions at schools that host the pathway programs; the SOU English Department will design a Cultural Empowerment Institute to help secondary school teachers focus on anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching; and the university will provide various offsets for opportunities such as dual-credit courses, college credit for foreign language skills, college application fees for those with demonstrated financial need and college move-in expenses for a limited number of students.


Green Film School Alliance membership for SOU Digital Cinema

SOU Digital Cinema accepted as Green Film School Alliance member

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Communication, Media & Cinema program is one of 16 higher education programs accepted for new membership in the Green Film School Alliance – a collaboration of leading film schools that have committed to industry-level sustainable production practices in their programs.

The GFSA announced its new member institutions on Wednesday, more than doubling its membership to 27 sustainability-minded schools. The organization’s membership now includes colleges and universities in seven states, four countries and three continents – with 10 of them also appearing on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film School list for 2022.

“It’s an honor for our young program to be recognized among the most prestigious film schools in the U.S., and beyond,” said Andrew Gay, an associate professor of digital cinema at SOU and chair of the university’s Communication, Media & Cinema program. “This alliance is an outstanding example of  SOU’s commitment to sustainability, our Digital Cinema program’s focus on state-of-the-art production, and SOU’s top-tier opportunities for students.”

SOU’s Digital Cinema bachelor’s degree program launched in 2019 and drew acclaim earlier this year for its innovative, 12-credit spring immersion course called “The Crew Experience.” Student filmmakers in the course spend an entire term learning from faculty and experienced mentors on location for a significant film project.

This year’s Crew Experience cohort produced the short film “Eight & Sand” – which last week became the 25th student project anywhere in the world to be awarded the Environmental Media Association Green Seal. SOU is the sixth university to earn an EMA Green Seal, and the first undergraduate program on the West Coast to do so. The seal is presented to student productions that achieve sustainable production goals identified in the GFSA’s Production Environmental Actions Checklist (PEACHy) for young filmmakers.

Vincent Smith, Ph.D., the director of SOU’s Division of Business, Communication and Environmental Science, said the university’s Digital Cinema Program is a perfect example of hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experiences that have become a hallmark of the institution.

“I am regularly asked to explain why Business, Communication and Environmental Science are in one division,” Smith said. “This is just one of many good reasons why thinking across traditional disciplinary boundaries makes good sense for our future.”

The Green Film School Alliance and its member colleges and universities commit to common sustainability language, standards and tools to reduce waste and lower the carbon footprint of film productions. The organization is supported by the Sustainable Production Alliance and the Producers Guild of America Green.


McNair Scholars program accepting nominations

McNair Scholars: Nominate potential grad students

There is a reason why the coordinators of SOU’s McNair Scholars Program reach out to faculty members at about this time each year, seeking nominations of promising students to fill out the university’s next cohort of potential graduate school candidates. Most participants since the McNair program began at SOU in 2003 have stood out in the classroom and been steered by their professors toward the U.S. Department of Education program.

“If you know any undergraduate students … who you think may have academic potential and may want to go on to attend graduate school after completing a bachelor’s degree, please mention the program to the student and/or send an email to to nominate that student to the SOU McNair Scholars Program,” said Naomi McCreary, coordinator of the SOU program.

Nomination emails should include the student’s name and email address. Students can be from any academic major, must have completed at least two terms of college and can enter the program as sophomores, juniors or early in their senior years. McCreary described McNair as “a specialized graduate school preparatory program of activities and instruction that the participants engage in over a minimum of a calendar year.”

The SOU program offers one-on-one guidance from faculty mentors as it helps participants complete their undergraduate degrees, enroll in graduate school and prepare for doctoral studies. Scholars complete an eight-week research internship in the summer, attend weekly seminars to help prepare them for testing and graduate school applications, and travel to national McNair conferences and graduate program visitations.

The program is named for Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who was a member of the Challenger space shuttle’s seven-person crew that met a tragic end in a 1986 explosion. As a tribute to his achievements, Congress and the McNair family in 1989 aformed the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program – administered by the U.S. Department of Education – to assist young people in both following McNair’s path and taking the initiative to chart their own courses.

The grant helps underrepresented and first-generation undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds to prepare for research-intensive doctoral programs. However, McCreary urged faculty members to nominate any students they feel may have the ability and desire to complete graduate school, and eligibility will be sorted out during the application process.

The McNair program at SOU received word in August that it has been renewed by the Department of Education for a new, five-year grant cycle. The SOU program has provided an intensive research experience and graduate school preparation to more than 160 students since its inception in 2003. Under the new grant, 28 students each year will share the prestige of being McNair Scholars.

SOU Native American Studies receives grant from Banyan Botanicals

(Ashland, Ore.) — Dragonfly’s Garden, located in Southern Oregon University’s community garden and a project of the Native American Studies Program, has been awarded a grant for $3,000 from Banyan Botanicals – a product and lifestyle company that focuses on the Ayurvedic alternative medicine system that is common in India and Nepal. Banyan Botanicals’ mission is to help people achieve health and well-being.

Banyan Botanicals grant will support hiring T Tschantre The NAS program will use the grant from Banyan to hire SOU alumna T Tschantre, who is of Tewa descent, to support participation in growth of Dragonfly’s Garden and to tend the plot with student intern Alanis Baldy, a citizen of the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

“Students in the Native American Studies Program at Southern Oregon University are deeply committed to sustainable food systems, cultivation of Indigenous first foods and food sovereignty,” said Brook Colley, Ph.D., chair of the NAS program.

“Many have limited opportunities to grow their food and to practice the cultivation of culturally important medicinal plants,” she said, “However, this garden gives students a safe place to learn these skills and be supported in their exploration and learning.”

NAS students attempted to start a student garden project for many years, but were plagued by challenges including a lack of resources to pay student workers, the COVID-19 pandemic and catastrophic Rogue Valley wildfires.

SOU junior Amanda Rose enrolled in Colley’s spring 2021 Native American Ecological Knowledge course, in which she learned about “three sisters” gardening – a system of companion planting in which three plants are grown symbiotically. She and seven other students initiated a group project using the dynamic polyculture system at The Farm at SOU, and ultimately harvested more than 200 ears of sweet corn and 200 squash, of four varieties. The produce was shared with the NAS program, Native students and local Native community members.

Banyan Botanicals grant will support student worker Alanis BaldyBaldy and other NAS students were inspired by the success of Rose’s three sisters garden, and mobilized to use the technique on a garden plot – which would become known as Dragonfly’s Garden – in the SOU Community Garden. The community garden is a student-run organic cooperative at the corner of South Mountain Avenue and Henry Street.

“Dragonfly’s Garden helps keep me connected to my culture and allows me to accomplish my goal of giving back to Indigenous communities,” said Baldy, who grew up on her tribe’s reservation in northern California  – a culturally enriched environment that taught her of responsibilities to the land.

Tschantre considers the grant-supported role at the garden to be a means of using knowledge to be of service to the community. Tschantre, reconnecting with Native roots, said that learning about Native first foods, plants and land restoration is an important part of a personal journey.

“I’m interested in learning how to use methods of companion planting to create healthy habitats using herbs, flowers and vegetables in other annual and perennial gardens,” Tschantre said.

Dragonfly’s Garden is now dedicated to growing student knowledge of Indigenous first foods and companion planting. Students have learned that the system improves pollination, controls pests, provides a habitat for beneficial insects and improves harvests.

“We are very thankful to Banyan Botanicals and our other partners who support these cultural and educational efforts.” said Colley, the NAS chair.

Additional support for Dragonfly’s Garden and the three sisters garden has come from Siskiyou Seeds, which donated seeds for both gardens, and the Traditional Ecological Inquiry Program, which provided camas bulbs, wild onion bulbs and bitterroot for the project. Donations to support Dragonfly’s Garden and other projects of the SOU Native American Studies program can be made online.


SOU's Hala Schepmann leads National Science Foundation grant project

SOU awarded National Science Foundation grant for cutting-edge equipment

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s nationally-accredited Department of Chemistry has been awarded a prestigious, $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The NSF funding – part of the agency’s “Major Research Instrumentation Grant”’ program – provides for the acquisition of a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. The instrument will advance research and research training activities at SOU, and expand students’ use of modern scientific equipment in undergraduate chemistry courses already known for their hands-on instrumentation approach.

Anna Oliveri, National Science Foundation grant team  Samuel David, National Science Foundation grant teamThe new spectrometer, similar to an MRI scanner but used to determine the molecular identity of chemical species, will provide ready access to advanced NMR techniques and its low-aluminum probe will allow on-site analysis of aluminum-containing compounds. The new spectrometer is expected to be available by spring 2023.

“This instrument will increase the breadth and depth of research in the areas of aqueous aluminum chemistry, synthesis of important industrial and medicinal organic compounds, and structural identification of bioactive natural products,” said professor Hala Schepmann, the chair of SOU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics. “It is a state-of-the-art instrument that will support faculty and student research as well as our ongoing efforts to provide upward social mobility to historically underrepresented students by offering a relevant and rigorous curriculum, extensive hands-on instrument training and numerous opportunities to participate in faculty-mentored research and research communication activities.

“SOU values real-world opportunities for its students, and the availability of advanced instrumentation for chemical research puts us on par with the top undergraduate programs in the U.S.”

Schepmann led the NSF grant application process as principal investigator, and was joined by SOU Chemistry Department faculty members Anna Oliveri and Samual David as co-principal investigators. She also credited several SOU administrators and staff members with supporting the successful funding request.

This is Schepmann’s second NSF grant (2019, $1M) in the past three years and the NMR project is the second NSF grant announced this fall with SOU faculty members in leadership roles. A three-year, $1 million grant through the NSF’s Computer Science for All program will help local kindergarten-through-fifth-grade teachers develop the “computational thinking” skills of their students.

“These are exactly the kinds of funding opportunities that we are actively encouraging our faculty members to pursue,” said SOU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Walsh. “They expand our abilities to serve our students and communities in exciting, relevant ways.”

NMR spectrometers enable scientists to study the physical, chemical and biological properties of both organic and inorganic compounds. The new instrument will be used at SOU to advance aluminum chemistry, organic chemistry and natural products research investigations. It will also support the Chemistry Department’s long-held incorporation of NMR instruction throughout its curriculum, beginning with a dedicated Organic Spectroscopy course and laboratory taken by STEM majors in their sophomore year.

The National Science Foundation said in approving the SOU grant request that NMR spectroscopy “is one of the most powerful tools available to chemists for the elucidation of the structure of molecules.” The grant is supported by both the NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation program and its Chemistry Research Instrumentation program.

“Access to state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers is essential to chemists who are carrying out frontier research,” the NSF said. “This instrument enhances the educational, research, and teaching efforts of students at all levels in the department.”


EcoAdventure students and faculty in Ecuador

SOU students enjoying EcoAdventure in Ecuador

Students and faculty from SOU’s Environmental Science and Policy program are currently in Ecuador, wrapping up the field course “EcoAdventure: Andes to Amazon,” which focuses on tourism’s impact on the culture, environment and biodiversity of that South American country and the region surrounding it.

EcoAdventure student with butterflyThe trip is led by Vincent Smith, director of the university’s Division of Business, Communication and the Environment. Past versions of the annual EcoAdventure excursion have taken students to northern California’s Lassen and Yosemite national parks, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Rica and, last year, to the Bear Creek Greenway to help with restoration efforts from the 2020 Almeda Fire.

Each year’s EcoAdventure courses are intended to connect students with real-world environmental issues and create an atmosphere of investigation and problem-solving. The focus this year is on sustainable development and balancing the benefits of tourism with the cultural values of the Amazon region.

“A large part of our goal is to change the script on how tourism takes place in places like the Amazon,” Smith said. “Rather than passing through a place, our goal is to be in the place with the people there.”

For example, students in this year’s course joined a group in an indigenous Kichwa village, combatting patriarchy and promoting women’s rights. The group has also enjoyed more tourist-related pursuits, including up-close experiences with monkeys, parrots and a boa constrictor.

EcoAdventure with boaParticipants in the SOU course toured the Mindo Wildlife Canopy and Ecuador’s capital Quito, visited the Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens, rafted in the Napo River, took a Pacmanca cooking class and visited the Papallacta Hot Springs.

The total cost of the course was about $4,000, including six credits of tuition and a trip fee that included airfare, lodging, food and ground transportation. The EcoAdventure courses are open to all SOU students, regardless of their major – and this year’s students come from SOU’s communication, psychology and art programs, along with Environmental Science and Policy.


EcoAdventure with monkey dog EcoAdventure with Ecuadorian music EcoAdventure Ecuador cohort