SOU-scary story contest

SOU writing contest: 13 words and scary

“The Churchill ‘thing’ made nighttime passersby disappear. It’s been quiet since summer began.”  Thirteen words, one scary story: knock yourself out.

Courtesy of the SOU English Program, all students, faculty and staff on campus are invited to try their hand at the (extremely) short story format by entering a Halloween-themed “13-Word Scary Story Contest.”

The criteria are self-evident: 13 words and scary. All submissions will be judged blindly by English Program faculty members. The contest winner will receive a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card, redeemable at the SOU Bookstore, and second place will be good for a $25 card.

“The entries, thus far, have been great,” said Professor Alma Rosa Alvarez, who is chair of the SOU English program. “The very brief story format allows people to participate with very low stakes.”

Entries should be submitted to Alvarez at alvarez@sou.edu.

The English Program has been hosting literary contests since 2016, when one of its faculty members read an article about public literary displays. Another school, to get students excited about words, solicited six-word stories that were written in various locations with paint that is visible only after interacting with water. Students and townspeople were amazed by the magical display of words that emerged on the first rainy day.

The SOU English Program followed suit with its own contest of six-word stories about autumn. The stories weren’t published, but students had fun producing them, Alvarez said.

The program now hosts a contest every fall, and this year’s shifted to a 13-word format to coincide with Halloween. The two winning entries and a selection of runners-up will be published on SOU News.

“Many people have expressed that they have had a lot of fun writing their 13-word stories,” Alvarez said.

The SOU English Program also hosts a poetry contest each spring. Winners of that contest receive gift cards, and the writer of the first-place submission is invited to be a featured reader in the English Program’s annual poetry-reading event, which is open to the entire community.

Past writing contests have been restricted to SOU English majors, but the program opened its contests this year to all students, faculty and staff.

The English Program’s mission – which it promotes through its writing contests – is to encourage a love of words, language and literature.

SOU Ronald E. McNair

Students sought for SOU McNair Scholars Program

SOU faculty members and others are asked to help identify and nominate promising undergraduate students to become part of the legacy of Ronald E. McNair, who stood up for civil rights as a youth before becoming a physicist and astronaut. He died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

SOU’s McNair Scholars Program, which has prepared eligible undergraduate students for post-graduate education since 2003, is seeking students for its 2019 cohort of scholars. Prospective McNair Scholars should be sophomores, juniors or early seniors with academic potential and an interest in attending graduate school.

The SOU program offers one-to-one guidance from faculty mentors as it helps participants complete their undergraduate degrees, enroll in graduate school and prepare for doctoral studies. More than a dozen SOU McNair alumni have completed their doctoral programs since the program began 15 years ago.

“When asked how they heard about the McNair Program, the majority of past scholars reported that they were encouraged by SOU faculty or staff members to apply,” said Dee Southard, an associate professor and director of SOU’s McNair program. “I am again asking for help in reaching potential McNair Scholars and connecting them with the resources that the program offers.”

Student participants in the nation’s 187 currently funded McNair programs are considered “targets of recruitment” for graduate admissions officers. They are offered fully-paid visitation opportunities and often given offers of admission that include all-expenses-paid packages with stipends for living expenses.

Seminars on topics pertinent to pre-doctoral students, advising, tutoring, access to a resource library, help with graduate school applications, travel assistance and other resources are available free of charge to participants in SOU’s McNair Scholars Program.

The program is geared toward undergraduate students from underrepresented and disadvantaged segments of society, but those criteria should not be a concern for those recommending students as McNair scholars. Each nominee will be contacted and provided program details. Even those who are not eligible will be directed toward resources that are helpful for all students considering graduate-level studies.

Those wishing to recommend a student for the program should send the student’s name, email address and undergraduate major to Southard at McNair@sou.edu. The application packet for students interested in being part of the 2019 cohort is available online. The deadline for submission of completed packets to SOU’s McNair office in Susanne Homes Hall is 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The McNair program was initiated in 1989 by the U.S. Department of Education to increase doctoral studies by students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. It honors McNair, who received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the second African-American to fly in space. SOU’s McNair program serves 28 undergraduate scholars each year.

SOU Jim Hatton

SOU’s Friday Science Seminar returns with the “replication crisis”

NEWS RELEASE

(Ashland, Ore.) — The fall series of Southern Oregon University’s popular Friday Science Seminars will open Oct. 5 with a presentation by Jim Hatton, SOU’s mathematics program chair, on the so-called “replication crisis.”

Hatton will review causes and some proposed solutions to the crisis, which stems from social scientists’ frequent inability to reproduce important studies. Statistical methods commonly used by the scientists has been called into question.

The lecture will be in SOU’s Science Auditorium (Science Building, Room 151), from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with light refreshments provided by the university’s STEM Division.

A 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists by the journal “Nature” found that 70 percent had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment and 50 percent had failed to reproduce experiments of their own.

The inability to replicate studies could have serious consequences for scientific fields in which significant theories are based on experimental work that cannot be reproduced. Replication of experiments is an essential element of scientific research.

The replication crisis, which was identified in the early 2010s as awareness of the problem grew, has been a significant issue in the fields of social psychology and medicine, where several efforts have been made to replicate classic studies or experiments, and to determine the reliability of results.

Hatton teaches developmental mathematics and precalculus at SOU, and publishes his mathematics explorations and other thoughts on his blog, Math Thoughts. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and his master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University.

SOU’s weekly Friday Science Seminars cover a variety of topics from academic, industrial, commercial and non-profit sectors in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science.

Other lectures in the next month include “A Frame Semantic Approach to Metaphoric Meaning,” on Oct. 12 with SOU German language instructor Maggie Gemmell; “Assessment of Virulence Mechanisms used by Pathogenic Vibrio Species,” on Oct. 19 with Blake Ushijima, an Oregon State University postdoctoral researcher of coral disease; and “Fall into Chemistry,” on Oct. 26 with the SOU Chemistry Club.

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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 Bryce Smedley Kenya

SOU School of Education makes global connections at Kenya conference

NEWS RELEASE
(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 STEM science

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

NEWS RELEASE

(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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online marketing fronek

SOU internet marketing class features real-life experience

NEWS RELEASE
(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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ICFAD Longshore

Three SOU arts leaders accepted as fellows in international council

NEWS BRIEF
(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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SOU Democracy Project Honors

SOU Honors College hosts high school students for problem-solving

NEWS RELEASE
(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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SOU Smedley CAR

SOU’s Smedley promotes peace through education in Central African Republic

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Bryce Smedley returned last week from the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), where he served as an English language specialist on a project to equip students with the communication skills necessary to promote peace and conflict resolution.

Smedley, an assistant professor in SOU’s Education Department, visited students at the University of Bangui and elsewhere during his two-week stay in the CAR. He conducted an education needs assessment, offered teacher trainings and promoted the development of English Language Clubs in the country that is rated as the world’s poorest and the lowest in human development.

Most schools in the CAR have no books, teachers have little training and many schools have remained closed due to insecurity in a nation that has been at war off-and-on since 2004. English language learning allows students to better understand American foreign policy and provides skills that can help them gain upward social mobility.

Students in Smedley’s upper-division multiculturalism class at SOU are paired with students from the CAR to share their life stories, dreams and educational challenges.

“We need to encourage our students to be bold, compassionate and excited to explore cultures, languages, teaching and service-learning in a global context,” said Smedley, who served as an international mentor at Kabul Education University and a faculty member at American University of Afghanistan before joining the SOU faculty last summer.

“My work in Africa is continually connected back to my classroom teaching at SOU,” he said. “These types of educational experiences are transformative, and help develop students’ cultural competence in a global world.”

The CAR project is considered a medium for promoting security, peace and conflict resolution while teaching about democracy, gender and human rights, and restorative justice. The program was organized by the U.S. Embassy of Bangui in conjunction with the English Language Specialist program, which sends academics throughout the world to help strengthen education.

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