SOU government relations director Marc Overbeck

Career policy advocate takes on government relations position with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Marc Overbeck, who has served for the past 12 years in a variety of legislative and policy roles for the Oregon Health Authority, has been selected to become Southern Oregon University’s director of government relations. He will begin his duties at SOU on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Overbeck has served in a variety of policy-related roles over the past 30 years, including positions with the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Governor’s Child Care Commission, the Oregon Governor’s Office and as a legislative aide. In his current role as the federally-designated director for Oregon’s Primary Care Office, Overbeck has provided insight and direction to state and federal policymakers and helped guide distribution of millions of dollars in government funding.

“I’m thrilled and honored to join the team at Southern Oregon University,” Overbeck said. “As a third-generation Oregonian with ties to the southern Oregon area, it’s really special to me to give back. I’m excited to bring my decades of governmental, political and policy experience to an institution I truly believe in.”

Overbeck said he was particularly drawn to SOU by the university’s emphasis on entrepreneurial spirit and innovation as it looks beyond higher education’s traditional, two-pronged financial reliance on state appropriations and tuition revenue. SOU has addressed the issue of cost management, is expanding its efforts to secure funding from external granting agencies and organizations, and is leveraging an ongoing surge in philanthropic support. The university is also a pioneer in revenue-generating projects that include solar power generation, construction of a senior living facility and creation of a university business district.

“I’m very inspired by President (Rick) Bailey’s vision of a university of the future,” Overbeck said. “At a time of social division, the opportunity to create and foster a place where all students, faculty and community members can belong is special.

“Something wonderful is happening at Southern Oregon University under President Bailey’s leadership, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

SOU’s government relations director is the university’s primary liaison with state and federal lawmakers, and advocates for the university on matters involving higher education policy and funding.

Overbeck received his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Willamette University, and was named a Hansard Scholar at the University of London. He also received a Hammer Award from then-Vice President Al Gore – a recognition of work that results in a government that works better and costs less.

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four appointed to SOU board

Four appointed to SOU Board of Trustees

(Ashland, Ore.) — A local entrepreneur and double-alumna, a chemistry professor and campus leader, a graduate student in the School of Education and an undergraduate Honors College student have been appointed by Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees.

Sachta Bakshi Card will complete the unexpired, at-large term of Jonathon Bullock, who resigned from the board last year; her term will end in June 2027. Hala Schepmann, Ph.D., will serve a two-year term as the SOU board’s faculty representative; Julissa Taitano will serve a two-year term as the board’s graduate program representative; and Garima Sharma will serve a two-year term as the board’s undergraduate representative. Card, Schepmann and Taitano are full voting members of the board, while Sharma’s undergrad position is non-voting in its first year and then shifts to a voting position in its second year.

“This is an outstanding group to help steer the course of the university we all love,” said SOU Board Chair Daniel Santos. “These new board members bring rich and varied experiences to the table, and each has deep connections to SOU. Our governing body, university, community and state will benefit from their service.”

Sachta Bakshi Card, who was born and raised in India before moving to the U.S. at age 17 to attend SOU, is an entrepreneur and investor who owns restaurants and advises other small businesses in southern Oregon. She is an honors graduate of SOU, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics, a certificate in Applied Finance and Economics, and a master’s in management degree. She also has an MBA from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in International Business from University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. Card is a member of the boards of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Options for Helping, Resources and Assistance (OHRA). She received the prestigious American Association of University Women’s award for the Outstanding Woman Student in Economics while a student at SOU.

Hala Schepmann joined the SOU faculty in 2001 and recently served as chair of Chemistry and Physics, navigating the department through the COVID-19 pandemic and leading the creation of an endowed summer research program for students and faculty.  She has also served in SOU leadership roles including president of the faculty association and co-founder and leader of a university alliance that supports underrepresented faculty groups. Schepmann co-leads the National Science Foundation ASCEND project that focuses on supporting the advancement of women STEM faculty nationwide.  Her most recent effort – a project of NSF GRANTED (Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity) – seeks to transform research enterprises at primarily undergraduate, emerging research institutions. Schepmann specializes in organic chemistry and spectroscopy and her research interests include drug discovery and development of inclusive teaching strategies. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, her master’s degree in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of California, Berkely, and her doctorate in bioorganic chemistry from Rice University.

Julissa Taitano is a graduate student in the SOU School of Education’s Master of Science in Education program, with a concentration in higher education leadership. She has served as a student leader in many positions, including as a member of the SOU women’s wrestling team, and as a student representative and former student body vice president in the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University. She currently serves as chair of the Student Fee Budget Committee, which works to determine students’ “incidental fees” and other charges that can affect the university for many years. Taitano, as an aspiring educator, recognizes a systemic need for higher education institutions to embrace the urgency of being a catalyst for change. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education, with a minor in philosophy at SOU.

Garima Sharma is a junior in the SOU Honors College, with double majors in healthcare administration and pre-nursing, and minors in ethics and health promotion. She currently serves as chief justice for the ASSOU, where she looks at governing documents and helps establish rules for the student government to follow. Sharma has embraced leadership roles across campus, including service as president of the Black Student Union and work in the Social Justice & Equity Center. She has also been a resident assistant in University Housing for the past two years.

SOU was granted authority by the state to form its own independent Board of Trustees beginning July 1, 2015, following the legislature’s dissolution of the Oregon University System and State Board of Higher Education. SOU’s board is responsible for governance and oversight of the university.

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SOU completes first phase of core information system upgrade

SOU successfully shifts to innovative core information system

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has successfully completed the first phase of its transition to a cutting-edge core information system – a process that most of Oregon’s colleges and universities, and many other government entities, are expected to duplicate in the coming years.

SOU is switching its primary operational software from a platform that was developed more than 30 years ago – and is still in use by most higher education institutions across the country – to the modern platform Workday. The move is expected to eventually save the university more than $750,000 in recurring, annual costs and improve the user experiences of both students and employees.

The first phase of the transition, which has been in the works for two years, has focused on employee-based elements of the platform: finance, payroll and human resources. Those elements of Workday “went live” at SOU on a limited basis in mid-December, and the transition was completed in January – including processing of the month’s payroll.

“This is a monumentally complex shift, and some entities that have gone before us have reported a pretty chaotic process,” SOU President Rick Bailey said. “We have had employees from various departments across our campus who have worked as a team on this project since mid-2022. Their selfless efforts have been focused and deliberate, and the results so far are outstanding – they are continuing to correct a handful of minor glitches, but there have been no breakdowns or reports of deep-seated issues.

“A change to operational software may not seem especially thrilling or energizing, but this is truly a transformational move for SOU. This is a key moment in the repositioning of this university, from a culture of scarcity to one of opportunity.  We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone on our SOU team who bent over backward to make this possible for all of us.”

SOU’s team for its Core Information System Replacement (CISR) project has worked on the transition with the company Alchemy, a vendor that specializes in helping colleges and universities implement various functions of the Workday system.

The transition from an outdated core information system to Workday will enable employees to juggle fewer systems and see modernized and automated workflows, improved analytics and better security. It includes a shift for all employees – including faculty and student employees – to electronic time entry, leave requests and reimbursement procedures, and many other processes are being modernized and streamlined.

The next phase of  Workday implementation – the student module – will begin this spring and is expected to last another two and a half years. The new platform will affect how students view and register for courses, and will provide tools for them to create academic plans, manage financial aid and complete other functions throughout their academic careers. Most functions will be accessible on Workday’s mobile app.

Workday also will become the primary application through which the registrar will schedule and manage courses, and where faculty members and advisers will view and edit students’ transcripts and course progress.

SOU leaders intend to eventually leverage the university’s experience in implementing Workday to serve as a model – and potentially as a mentor – for other universities that shift to the platform. Several other institutions in Oregon and elsewhere have indicated they plan eventual transitions to Workday – Portland Community College and Oregon State University have already signed contracts – and are closely monitoring SOU’s progress.

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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 Institute for Applied Sustainability faculty and staff

SOU Institute for Applied Sustainability celebrates with Innovation Fund kickoff

Southern Oregon University’s Institute for Applied Sustainability is stepping into its second year with the official launch of its IAS Innovation Fund and recognition of the institute’s many first-year accomplishments. The Innovation Fund, which provides micro-grants for forward-thinking projects by SOU faculty and staff, is an example of the IAS commitment to creative and collaborative solutions at SOU and within the community.

Innovation Fund micro-grants foster sustainability and serve as strategic investments, laying the groundwork for broader funding opportunities and supporting initiatives that contribute to the long-term success of SOU sustainability efforts.

The impact of the Innovation Fund is already evident in recent projects that have received funding:

  • Recology Artist in Residency p With the creative support of project lead Michael Parker, an SOU sculpture professor, this project helps students learn about transforming waste into art. The award-winning initiative encourages artists to use materials found at the dump, promoting sustainability and waste awareness. The resulting artworks enrich the community and shed light on hidden waste processes.
  • DMC lighting project. This project takes a holistic approach to sustainability in overhauling lighting in the Digital Media Center studio, offering efficiency gains and cost savings for the university. It also enhances student education by providing exposure to industry-standard technology. The effort was spearheaded by Brandon Givens with support from the DMC, Sustainability Office and Oregon Center for the Arts.
  • Carbon value research project. The project, led by Environmental Science, Policy and Sustainability professor John Gutrich, models the economic value of forest carbon for management strategies in the Pacific Northwest. It will foster collaboration between SOU’s ESPS program, the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Long-Term Ecological Research Program and the Department of Forest, Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University.
  • Bee research. Joy McEwen, coauthor of “Raising Resilient Bees,” has joined the team at The Farm at SOU to pioneer research on the impact of bees on soil production and quality. The research project is kicking off just in time for the groundbreaking of The Farm’s pollinator gardens this winter.

The SOU Institute for Applied Sustainability was created in fall 2022 as part of an historic, $12 million gift to SOU from Lithia Motors and its GreenCars division. The two largest elements of the gift are a $5 million scholarship fund and $4 million to establish the Institute for Applied Sustainability, which collaborates with Lithia on projects including a sustainability conference, an academic credential in corporate sustainability and a national sustainability demonstration site.

Learn more about the Institute for Applied Sustainability and its Innovation Fund.

“The inaugural year of the IAS has further exemplified Southern Oregon University’s commitment to sustainability,” said Becs Walker, SOU’s director of sustainability and associate director of the Institute for Applied Sustainability. “The IAS is building capacity for projects, internships and collaboration with businesses and organizations to provide our students with experience and learning in an area that is critical for the future.”

The IAS is celebrating both the accomplishments of its first year and the dedication of its faculty fellows: Pavlina McGrady, an associate professor of business; Bret Anderson, an associate professor and chair of history, economics and politics; Jessica Piekielek, a professor and chair of sociology and anthropology; and Chris Lucas, an assistant professor of digital cinema. The faculty fellows have helped build the institute’s foundation while pursuing projects within the IAS such as Digital Leaders Active in Disaster, Sustainable Tourism Training and SOU Collaborative Sustainability Archives.

“Kira Welch, the new full-time coordinator, will enhance the IAS’s capacity to engage in leadership, scholarship and teaching in the broad field of sustainability, both on- and off-campus,” said Vincent Smith, director of SOU’s School of Science and Business, and director of the IAS. “Our 2023-24 projects include on-campus sustainable landscape upgrades, regional partnerships, a global exchange program, faculty research and student internships.”

SOU and other local organizations sponsor MLK, Jr. celebration

Southern Oregon MLK, Jr., Celebration on Jan. 15 in Ashland

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will join several other local organizations in sponsoring this year’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Celebration for southern Oregon from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, at the historic Ashland Armory and in downtown Ashland. All community members are invited to participate in the event, which is free and open to the public.

The festivities will honor Dr. King’s legacy, and the diverse and vibrant southern Oregon community. This year’s theme is “We Choose Love! Now more than ever, the DREAM must continue.”

The event’s keynote speech will be delivered by D.L. Richardson, a civil rights scholar, educator and longtime host of the local MLK celebration.

This year’s event will also include messages from Rogue Valley faith leaders, spoken word presentations by area students and performances by the Ashland School District Middle School Choir, the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, BASE Youth Dancers and The Friends of Bishop Mayfield Band, who will perform a tribute to the beloved local blues legend.

There will be a slideshow presentation on the importance of the Civil Rights Movement, as the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act is celebrated, 60 years later.

In keeping with long-time tradition, participants in the MLK celebration will march from the Ashland Armory to the downtown Plaza to hear Dr. King’s original “I have a Dream” speech, and a performance by the Kirby Shaw Singers.

Seating for the Ashland Armory portion of the family event will be limited, and available on a first-come basis. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., and sign language interpretation will be provided for the live event and an online simulcast at SOMLK.org.

While the event is free, donations are welcome and everyone is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the SOU Food Pantry.

Sponsors and participating organizations, in addition to SOU, include the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Travel Ashland, City of Ashland, Ashland School District, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland Food Co-Op, Black Southern Oregon Alliance and Black Alliance for Social Empowerment..

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SOU President's Medal, highest award, goes to three retired faculty members

SOU’s highest award to go to three retired faculty members

(Ashland, Ore.) — SOU President Rick Bailey will present three retired faculty members with the highest recognition of service to the university during a celebration from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union.

The SOU President’s Medal will be awarded to poet Lawson Fusao Inada, artist Betty LaDuke and linguist “Señora Chela” Grace Tapp Kocks.

“These three extraordinary scholars and teachers served our university and our students with brilliance for a combined 99 years, and also distinguished themselves as significant innovators in their individual fields of study,” President Bailey said in an announcement to campus. “Each has earned the deepest respect and gratitude of our campus community, and has made a lasting impression on our world.”

Inada joined the SOU faculty in 1966 and taught until 2002. He is a third-generation Japanese American, and the betrayal that he felt when his family was confined in internment camps during World War II shaped much of the poetry that would lead him to prominence. His four published collections of poetry included winners of the Oregon Book Award and the American Book Award, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, was named Oregon’s poet laureate in 2006 and his words are inscribed in stone at the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland. Inada received a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Oregon.

LaDuke arrived at SOU in 1964 and taught until 1996. She was the second woman art teacher when she joined the SOU faculty and was the only woman in the Art Department for 18 years. She has traveled the world for more than 65 years, sketching, painting and telling stories through her art of people linked to the land and community, during peace and war – from civil rights struggles in the 1960s and 1970s, to recent works focused on farms and farmworkers. She received the Oregon Governor’s Award in the Arts in 1993 and the National Art Education Association’s Ziegfield Award for distinguished international leadership in 1996. The National Museum of Eritrea dedicated a gallery to her paintings in 2017. LaDuke received a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in printmaking, both from California State University, Los Angeles

“Señora Chela” came to SOU in 1966 to teach Spanish and French, and soon became the university’s cornerstone of multicultural outreach. She directed SOU’s international shows for 25 years, serving as a conduit between the university and the Rogue Valley’s Hispanic community. She is the architect of both a 54-year sister city relationship between Ashland and the Mexican city of Guanajuato, and SOU’s Amistad exchange program with the Universidad de Guanajuato. More than 750 students have participated in the exchange program since 1969, and hundreds of Ashland and Guanajuato residents have visited their sister cities. She was named an emeritus member of the SOU faculty in 1997. She received a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University, Greeley, and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The SOU President’s Medal, established in 1984, is the university’s highest tribute and is awarded as often as once per year to one or more community members who are distinguished by their actions and contributions. It has previously been presented to 59 individuals and organizations, most recently in August 2022 to Mexican politician and SOU alumnus Juan Carlos Romero Hicks and his wife, Frances “Faffie” Siekman Romero.

Recipients of the medal are recognized for their exemplary service to the university and community, and for demonstrating compassion, integrity, generosity, leadership and courage. The SOU president determines when and to whom the award is presented.

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Fall term enrollment continues rebound at SOU

SOU fall enrollment expands on recent upturn

(Ashland, Ore.) — Fall term admission numbers suggest the continuation of a strong rebound in enrollment at Southern Oregon University, led by the institution’s largest freshman class since 2018. The number of new freshmen at SOU increased this fall by 15.1% compared to a year ago, while the number of incoming transfer students is up by 10.6%.

Overall, student headcount for the traditional yardstick at the fourth week of fall term is 162 higher than that of last fall – a 3.4% gain to a total of 4,889. The increases among freshmen and transfers account for 84 and 30 students, respectively.

“These numbers tell me that prospective students and their families are hearing our message,” SOU President Rick Bailey said. “We offer remarkable academic and student experience opportunities in an environment that is second to none, with a heart-centered approach from faculty and staff who are unparalleled in their commitment to helping students achieve their educational goals. It’s a perfect recipe.

“Our scholarship and financial aid programs, and our dedicated admissions staff, bring our broad spectrum of educational programs within reach of all who wish to take this transformative, positive step.”

SOU experienced a double-digit percentage decline in enrollment during the years following the COVID-19 pandemic and regional wildfires of September 2020. The university’s turnaround began with small increases in headcount for both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years, and has picked up momentum with encouraging overall numbers this fall.

Headcount is expected to settle at a year-over-year increase of about 2% by the end of fall term, while full-time equivalent figures – a more accurate reflection of students’ total credit hours – is projected to end the term about 1% higher than those of fall 2022. That would mark the first uptick in full-time equivalent enrollment in several years.

Student retention plays a significant role in this fall’s positive enrollment picture. Last year’s freshman cohort returned this year at a rate of 66.3%, compared to 65.6% for the previous cohort, while total undergraduate retention is at 78% this fall, compared to 76.2% in 2022.

Another positive note comes from SOU’s Advanced Southern Credit, a dual-enrollment program with local high schools, which is showing an increase of about 7% this fall.

“Our university has faced recent obstacles that are common among public universities across the country, along with others that are particular to our state and even our region,” said Matt Stillman, Ph.D., SOU’s registrar and assistant vice president for enrollment management.

“We have taken a leading role in adapting, innovating and getting back on track to serve our communities and prepare our students for purposeful, rewarding lives.”

SOU’s enrollment has been negatively affected in recent years by not only the pandemic and the southern Oregon wildfires of three years ago, but also by factors such as changing attitudes toward higher education and a long-anticipated national decline in the traditional, college-age demographic.

The university has responded with investments to modernized enrollment management efforts and increase its pool of prospective students, and with groundbreaking initiatives to establish intergovernmental agreements with school districts across the state of Oregon and transfer agreements with several community colleges in Oregon and California.

Under the intergovernmental agreements, school districts share their students’ basic directory information with SOU, which then promotes college attendance and provides timely enrollment guidance. The arrangement improves  college access, especially among traditionally underserved students.

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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.

Hybrid pickup trucks added to SOU vehicle fleet

SOU takes steps in sustainable vehicle use

Two recent developments have boosted hybrid and electric vehicle use at SOU: the addition of two gasoline-electric hybrid pickup trucks to the university’s fleet of vehicles, and the completion of two new, dual electric vehicle charging stations to serve residents of Student and Family Housing.

The new hybrid Ford Maverick trucks have replaced a pair of conventional Ford Ranger pickups that were due to be rotated out of SOU’s vehicle fleet. The hybrids were considered the most sustainable pickup trucks currently available, and so far are averaging 38 combined miles per gallon – an improvement of about 75 percent over the 10 miles per gallon average of the earlier pickups.

The university is also in the process of procuring an electric vehicle for its fleet.

The two new EV charging stations are Level 2 dual-port chargers and are intended only for residents of Student and Family Housing, who should contact University Housing to receive a driver code to use the chargers – which are Enel X Juice Box stations, and are operated via the Enel X app. Level 2 stations charge electric vehicles at a rate that translates to about 18 to 28 miles of range per hour, so an average EV can be fully charged in about eight hours.

The total of four new charging ports bring SOU’s total number of EV ports to 16 – six dual-port stations on campus already are in operation. The Student and Family Housing charging stations were funded by the student “Green Tag Fee” – an assessment of $14 per student each term, approved in a student vote several years ago to promote sustainability projects.

SOU has plans to continue expanding its EV charging infrastructure, with two more Enel X Juice Box dual-port stations planned for installation near Central Hall within the next six months. Another four dual-port stations will be added as part of a solar project in the parking lot adjacent to The Hawk Dining Commons, which is funded by the Oregon Department of Energy and federal appropriations.

The university conducted an EV charging survey last spring, and aims to strategically plan and identify optimal locations for charging stations as the demand for electric vehicle charging increases on campus. The intent is to accommodate the distinct charging needs of students, employees and visitors to campus.

SOU core information system transition to begin in December

SOU two months from core information system transition

Southern Oregon University is just two months from its Dec. 16 “go-live” date for the first phase of Workday, the new operational software platform that is expected to eventually save the university more than $750,000 in recurring, annual costs – and improve user experiences and modernize processes for both students and employees. The first phase is focused on employee-based elements of the platform: finance, payroll and human resources.

Employees from various departments across campus who are members of SOU’s Core Information System Replacement (CISR) project team have been working for more than a year with the university’s implementation vendor, Alchemy, to prepare for December’s launch. Alchemy specializes in helping colleges and universities implement the various functions of the Workday system.

Workday will ultimately replace the outdated core information system currently used by SOU and most other universities throughout the U.S. The transition to Workday will enable employees to juggle fewer systems and see modernized and automated workflows, improved analytics and better security. It will include a shift for all employees – including faculty and student employees – to electronic time entry, leave requests and reimbursement procedures, and many other processes will be modernized and streamlined.

The next phase of  Workday implementation – the student module – will begin after the employee module is fully in place, and is expected to last another two years. The new platform will affect how students view and register for courses, and will provide tools for them to create academic plans, manage financial aid and complete other functions throughout their academic careers. Most functions will be accessible on Workday’s mobile app. Workday also will become the primary portal through which the registrar will schedule and manage courses, and where faculty members and advisers will view and edit students’ transcripts and course progress.

Highlights from SOU’s first phase of Workday implementation include:

  • End-to-end testing in August and September. The CISR team evaluated more than 1,600 test scenarios, meticulously inspecting the newly built system for defects and errors. Ninety-five percent of the test scenarios passed, in large part due to team members’ extra efforts.
  • Parallel payroll testing has begun. This is a phase where SOU’s payroll team is running prior payrolls from earlier this year through Workday to compare them against what was paid to employees through Banner. This testing has just begun, but initial results appear strong. There will be two full months of this testing, using two different pay periods to ensure that payroll will be as accurate as possible when the university goes live.

Looking ahead
The CISR Project Team will continue over the next two months to address defects, test the system as updates are made and test payroll. Workday “User Readiness Review” sessions are scheduled for the week of Oct. 23. These sessions will provide a select group of SOU employees temporary access to Workday to complete daily activities in the system, helping the CISR team to understand the user experience and tailor the university’s training materials. Workday training will be made available in early November with both virtual and in-person options. Sign-up will open on Monday, Oct. 23, on the CISR Project Training page. 

Communication
The project team is still working to determine the best channel(s) for providing SOU employees with the information needed to use the system for daily activities when the first phase goes live. For now, employees are encouraged to visit the CISR Project Website often to view project updates and other important information about the Workday transition.

SOU intends to leverage its experience in implementing Workday to serve as a model – and potentially as a mentor – for other universities that shift to the platform. Several other institutions in Oregon and elsewhere have indicated they plan eventual transitions to Workday and are closely monitoring SOU’s progress.

OLLI Abroad production coming soon

All Aboard for “OLLI Abroad!”

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SOU invites the southern Oregon community to enjoy a new original musical comedy: “OLLI Abroad!”

Audiences will find their hearts warming to tunes like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and their toes tapping to the likes of “Fascinating Rhythm” plus many more in performances from Nov.1 through Nov. 5. The production is a fundraiser that offers a wonderful time at the theater, community and a great way to support OLLI at SOU.

The 90-minute show sets sail with intrepid OLLI cast members boarding the S.S. Socrates to take classes, have fun and broaden their horizons. What follows is a bit of everything – shipboard entertainment, a double love story and intrigue, as nefarious billionaire Ronald Bedminster plots a hostile takeover of OLLI. Fortunately, the day is saved and no one – including OLLI – is lost at sea.

Tickets can be purchased online now. Don’t delay, as seating is limited, and tickets for this voyage are going fast. Tickets range from $35 to $50. Performances will be held at the Ashland Bellview Grange, at 1050 Tolman Creek Road in Ashland.

SOU’s is among the largest of 125 OLLI programs on college and university campuses across the U.S., with close to 1,700 members at the university’s Ashland and Medford campuses. The SOU program, like others around the country, provides a variety of in-person and online noncredit courses and outdoor activities geared toward adults 50 or better who seek “learning for the joy of learning.” OLLI at SOU invites adults to come for the classes and stay for the connections.

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.