geriatrician to speak at SOU

Leading geriatrician to address SOU audience

(Ashland, Ore.) — Dr. Louise Aronson – a leading geriatrician, writer and educator – will lecture on “Aging, Ageism and the Future of Elderhood” in a Jan. 10 event presented via Zoom by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University in partnership with SOU’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Aronson is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine and Reimagining Life.” Her SOU lecture will begin at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10, and will be available at https://sou.zoom.us/j/81261161853. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The presentation is intended to challenge how people think about aging and will include suggestions for how both individuals and organizations can improve aging and the lives of older people. Aronson says that aging and old age have changed dramatically in recent decades, but that not all changes have been for the better. For example, she points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the resilience of older people and the importance of social connections, but also has demonstrated the ageism that is built into key social structures.

Aronson is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco. She has received the Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine, the California Homecare Physician of the Year award and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year award. She currently leads the AGE SELF CARE program and serves as an advisor to the state of California on COVID-19 in elders and eldercare settings, in addition to her clinical practice and teaching.

Her website points out that Aronson was born at the same medical center where she now works – “a fact that sometimes leads her to comment that she hasn’t gone very far in life, just down 15 floors and over a building or two.”

She has written for the New York Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, JAMA, Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, and has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, TODAY, CBS This Morning, NBC News and the New Yorker.

-SOU-

SOU receives ODVA Veteran Grant

SOU receives ODVA Campus Veteran Grant Award

The Social Justice and Equity Center (SJEC) Veterans & Military Families at Southern Oregon University has been awarded a $58,163 grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) to help improve outcomes for student veterans at the university. This is the second consecutive year that SOU has secured the Campus Veteran Grant Award and the first as the SJEC Veterans & Military Families (VMF) program, which was formerly known as the Veterans Resource Center.

SOU is one of 15 Oregon universities and community colleges to receive the one-year veterans resource grants, which range this year from $11,040 to $58,635. A total of $600,000 was awarded.

The Campus Veteran Grant Award will enable the VMF program at SOU to amplify its existing campus programs focused on supporting veterans and military family members. The grant highlights three pillars: successful transition from military service to college life, success in college and completion of educational goals; and the transition from college to the workforce and community.

Kelly Fitzpatrick, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, said that education can be “a critical gateway for many veterans to transition out of the military into a successful civilian career.”

Jesse S. Watson, Ph.D., SOU’s equity coordinator for Veterans & Military Families, said the new grant award will be used to create a two-pronged cultural competence training course for incoming students and for staff and faculty; provide funding for orientation and outreach; hire a graduate assistant; and add new programs to support the university’s veterans and military families.

“I am thankful for the work of my predecessor, Kevin Stevens, who secured the first CVRC grant for our veteran community,” Watson said. “The initial funding has strengthened the infrastructure of the Veterans & Military Families spaces, providing a foundation for future programmatic growth.”

A Veterans Affairs committee evaluated the proposal of each college and university that applied for the grants, approving some projects and declining others. Other institutions receiving the Veterans Resource grants are the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University and Western Oregon University, and Blue Mountain, Central Oregon, Chemeketa, Clackamas, Klamath, Lane, Linn-Benton, Mount Hood, Rogue and Southwestern Oregon community colleges.

For more information about VMF programs, please visit: www.sou.edu/veterans.

Vaccination clinic on SOU campus

COVID, flu vaccination offered on SOU campus

A free vaccination clinic for SOU employees and family members seeking either flu shots or COVID-19 boosters will be held next Thursday, Dec. 16, in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union. Face coverings will be required.

Those interested in receiving any of the vaccinations at next week’s clinic are asked to complete this questionnaire by Wednesday, Dec. 8, to help organizers assess interest and ensure adequate supplies and staffing at the event.

COVID vaccinations and boosters from both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will be available, with no insurance coverage required, for those over age 18 who can show their COVID-19 vaccination cards. The Pfizer vaccine will not be available.

Flu shots will be offered to all who are age 3 or older and have insurance cards from Providence Choice, Providence Statewide or Kaiser. Moda and other forms of health insurance will not be accepted.

The clinic is a collaborative effort of SOU’s Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety departments, and Wellness 2000, a corporate wellness vendor in Medford. SOU continues to urge students, employees and their families to be cautious in social interactions and to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety, particularly with the omicron variant emerging quickly across the U.S. and the flu season building.

For those unable to attend the Dec. 16 clinic, another option for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters is a drive-through clinic at the Jackson County Expo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and from noon to 6 p.m. each Monday through Thursday. No appointment is needed, vaccinations are free and the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available. Flu shots are not available at the Expo.

SOU and Klamath Tribes sign MOU

SOU, Klamath Tribes sign memorandum

Southern Oregon University and the Klamath Tribes agreed this week to formalize their joint commitment to educational opportunities and access for members of the Klamath and other Native American tribes, and to offer programs that enable all students to appreciate the cultural and economic contributions of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes.

Leadership teams from SOU and the Klamath Tribes met virtually for a ceremonial signing of a memorandum of understanding that links the two entities, and recognizes their mutual educational interests. SOU President Linda Schott and Don Gentry, chair of the Klamath Tribal Council, thanked each other and members of their organizations for identifying overlapping interests and outlining responsibilities.

The memorandum recognizes that “both entities share a common purpose of helping people better themselves through education, research, economic development and other forms of personal growth, and work diligently to make their respective communities prosperous with multiple opportunities for their students and citizens.”

SOU agreed to match as many as five educational scholarships from the Klamath Tribes for its tribal members, each worth as much as $3,600 per academic year.

“This will help increase local student attendance at SOU and help prepare the future cadre of professional, career-focused individuals for the continued development of Klamath County, the Klamath Tribes and the local community,” the MOU said.

It calls upon both the university and the Klamath Tribes to work with Native American students to meet their academic, financial, cultural and personal needs, and lays out some specific measures to increase the representation of Indigenous cultures. For instance, SOU will continue to provide course content on the history and contributions of the Klamath Tribes, through the Native American Studies class, “The Nine Tribes of Oregon.” The Klamath Tribes will invite participants in the class to visit Chiloquin to engage with tribal leaders, program staff and experts in culture and language.

The university will also recruit more Klamath students to Konaway Nika Tillicum, its eight-day residential program held each summer for Native American youth. SOU will work with the Klamath Tribes to plan and carry out an annual Native American student recruitment day and will continue to support programs such as its Native American Student Union.

President Schott, who is retiring at the end of the year, told Gentry that she will send him a blanket to commemorate the memorandum of understanding. Gentry in turn said he will send gifts to Schott on behalf of the tribe.

Both pointed out that incoming SOU President Rick Bailey has a strong record of collaboration with Native American tribes in New Mexico, and is expected to continue to work for close relationships with Oregon’s tribes.

Veterans & Military Families honors vets

SOU Veterans & Military Families recognizes veterans

The SJEC Veterans & Military Families at Southern Oregon University held events during the week of Nov. 8 to recognize veterans and provide awareness to local resources that support veterans and military families. One hundred and sixty U.S. flags were placed outside the Stevenson Union to represent the approximately 160 SOU community members (students, staff and faculty) that have self-identified as U.S. veterans.

Events for the week of Veterans Day included presentations by the White City VA M2VA and Whole Health Teams and a panel of SOU Veteran staff and faculty. There was also a display table in the lobby of the Stevenson Union that provided information about the holiday, a “Giving Thanks to Veterans” station with blank thank you cards for veterans and information about mental health services.

“This Veterans Day is my first at SOU, contemplating my naval service and transition back to civilian sectors,” said Jesse S. Watson, Ph.D., the equity coordinator for SOU’s Veterans & Military Families. “Those transitions are difficult for a host of reasons, as a veteran and first-generation college student, I have found a community here at SOU that is working hard to support veterans and military families.”

The VMF has recently closed out the 2020 grant awarded from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help improve outcomes for student veterans at the university. It marked the first time that SOU had secured the Campus Veteran Resource Center (CVRC) Grant, and the SJEC Veterans & Military Families (VMF) area (formerly known as the Veterans Resource Center) has submitted an application for the 2021-22 ODVA CVRC Grant.

Watson said he is “excited about the potential for programmatic growth and developing a robust network of support for veterans and military family members that extends across the Rogue Valley.”

For more information, please visit: sou.edu/veterans

Student loan debt to be discussed at AAUW session

SOU’s Kristen Gast to examine student loan issues in AAUW program

Here are two frightening numbers. Right now around 43.2 million borrowers in the United States hold about $1.73 trillion in outstanding student loans. The scale of those loans – and the growing share of borrowers who fail to repay – will be huge challenges for society and for individual borrowers, especially women.

The Ashland Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will host a public discussion of “The Student Debt Crisis: Unequal Impacts on Women,” on Sat., Nov. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, via Zoom. The guest speaker is SOU Financial Aid Director Kristen Gast. She joined the university in 2017 and oversees all programs involving scholarships, grants, loans, work study, summer aid and veterans aid.

To register for Saturday’s free session, visit the AAUW Ashland website https://ashland-or.aauw.net.

Gast has worked in financial aid for 15 years, starting as Federal Work Study student in the aid office at her undergraduate school, Austin Peay State University. She continued her career in the community college systems in Georgia and Wyoming, then moved to the university system. A member of the Oregon Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and a U.S. Navy Veteran. Gast is also a competitive women’s bodybuilder.

“Women begin their careers earning less – and owing more – than men do, and that sets them up for a lifetime of greater economic insecurity,” the AAUW national website said. “It makes it harder for them to build an emergency fund, make a down payment on a home, start a business, save for retirement and do all the things necessary to be on sound financial footing.”

AAUW is a nationwide network of more than 170,000 members and supporters, 1,000 branches and 800 college and university partners. It is the nation’s leading voice in advancing gender equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research.

The Ashland Branch is a community of like-minded people who work to influence public policy, improve educational opportunities, award scholarships to students at Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College, and offer lifelong learning opportunities.

Richard J. Bailey, Jr., is SOU's next president

Richard J. Bailey, Jr., named president of Southern Oregon University

(Ashland, Ore.) — Richard J. Bailey, Jr., Ph.D., has been appointed as the next president of Southern Oregon University following an extensive national search and a unanimous vote today by the SOU Board of Trustees. Bailey has served as president of Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) in Espanola since October 2016, following a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

His presidency at SOU will begin Jan. 15.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Rick Bailey as the next president of SOU,” said Daniel Santos, chair of the SOU board and of the Presidential Search Committee. “Following our nationwide search, and out of a deep pool of competitive applicants, Dr. Bailey’s interactions with the SOU community as well as his range of leadership, service and accomplishments across sectors is nothing short of remarkable.”

Bailey holds a doctorate in government from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in international affairs from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Under Bailey’s leadership and with a focus on student success, NNMC increased its enrollment by over 20 percent, cut its student loan default rate by more than 50 percent and more than doubled its student graduation rate – all without an increase in tuition rates.

He also brokered an NNMC partnership for the construction of a 1.5 megawatt solar array, which will lower utility costs for the college for the next 30 years. In 2020, Bailey led the creation of the Northern New Mexico College Eagle Corporation (the first of its kind in the history of the college), allowing the institution to partner with business entities for the purpose of diversifying the college’s revenue streams.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next president of Southern Oregon University,” Bailey said. “With a 150-year history, SOU is a vital regional institution and its best days are yet to come. I am honored to be entrusted to lead SOU forward, particularly given the tremendous opportunities available to us.

“Our world has changed over the past two years and I am convinced SOU will be on the leading edge of ushering higher education into its next phase. I look forward to being of service to SOU’s impressive faculty and staff to empower the students and communities we are fortunate to support.”

Prior to his presidency at Northern New Mexico College, Bailey served as associate professor of strategy and security studies at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He was the school’s first-ever dean of students.

He served as a military liaison and defense trade analyst at the U.S. State Department after completing his doctorate in 2006. He later served as chief air operations officer at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Joint Force Command Brunssum, in The Netherlands, where he oversaw air operations efforts for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. Bailey retired from the Air Force as a colonel and command pilot.

“It became apparent throughout the search and selection process that Dr. Bailey’s innovative and entrepreneurial accomplishments, leadership style, strategy expertise and optimistic vision for what is possible at SOU, can propel the university’s bright future, ” Santos said.

Santos credited the success of the search to hard work by the diverse, 18-member search committee and the thoughtful participation of hundreds of people from across campus and the surrounding communities. The presidential search committee included students, faculty, staff, community members, another Oregon university president and SOU trustees.

Bailey will succeed Linda Schott, Ph.D., who is retiring in December and has served as president of SOU since August 2016.

“The board is grateful to Dr. Schott for her dedication to SOU and her presidential leadership, which have helped advance the university,” Santos said.

-SOU-

Students from American Samoa celebrated “Lotu Tamaiti”

American Samoa tradition of Lotu Tamaiti celebrated at SOU

It’s not unusual to meet students at SOU who are here – far away from home, hundreds and thousands of miles away from their parents and siblings, and life that they’ve known for 17 years or more. But to meet over 30 students who are all here from American Samoa, a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, is one of the ways that SOU stands out.

American Samoa students at SOU

photos courtesy of Cherstin Lyon

On Sunday, Oct. 17, a group of our students from American Samoa got together to celebrate an annual cultural tradition that most of them grew up with: “Lotu Tamaiti” (low-too tah-my-tee), also known as “White Sunday” or “Children’s Sunday.” People of Samoan background all over the world dress up in white on a specific Sunday of each year and celebrate their children by giving them a platform to dance, sing and recite memory verses, and then shower them with candy leis and gifts.

There’s a saying from an unknown source, “You can take the boy from the island, but not the island from the boy,” and our students from American Samoa demonstrated just that. They brought this very special cultural tradition with them to SOU, and it was unforgettable.

gifts for the celebrationThe music of the Lotu Tamaiti celebration was energetic and kept all of those who were watching engaged from the beginning of the event to the very end. SOU participated in the tradition of gift-giving by offering a mesh-styled SOU bag with an SOU sweater to each of the students who attended the event.

Those who were able to join the students included Soteria Galo from Admissions; Cherstin Lyon, Ph.D., from the SOU Honors College; Carrie Vath, Ph.D., the university’s dean of students; Maj. Mark Timmons from SOU’s ROTC program; and Neil Woolf, Ph.D., the vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. The guests were grateful to have been part of the heart-felt event.

The students were not able to share this event campus-wide to give others a chance to attend and participate in-person, but they did share their celebration live on Facebook with their friends and family, both in American Samoa and all over the world.

(Story by Soteria Galo, admissions counselor, SOU Office of Admissions)

Interviews with presidential finalists wrapping up

Interviews of SOU presidential finalists wrapping up

Four of the five finalists to become SOU’s next president have visited campus – including two over the past week – with one more candidate scheduled to visit later this week. All of the candidates are visiting for two days of interviews and presentations with various constituent groups and community members.

Curtis Bridgeman, Ph.D. and J.D., currently the Roderick and Carol Wendt Professor of Business Law at the Willamette University College of Law, was on the SOU campus Oct. 21 and 22; and Junius Gonzales, M.D. and MBA, currently provost and vice president for academic affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences at New York Institute of Technology was at SOU Monday and today.

The last of the finalists to visit SOU – this Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 27 and 28 – will be Richard J. Bailey, Jr., Ph.D., the president of Northern New Mexico College.

“We are hoping that not only our campus community, but the entire SOU community and its partners throughout the Rogue Valley will get involved in this process and see these candidates,” said Danny Santos, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees and of the Presidential Search Committee. “We will be seeking valuable feedback from all who engage in these two-day visits, and that input will be very important in the board’s decision-making process.”

Bridgeman held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his current role at Willamette, including dean of that university’s College of Law from 2013 to 2020; associate dean for academic affairs from 2011 to 2013 at the Florida State University College of Law; and a professor of law at Florida State from 2004 to 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Huntsville and received his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy, and his law degree, from Vanderbilt University.

Gonzales also held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his current role at NYIT. He served in roles including senior vice president for academic affairs and interim president at the University of North Carolina; as provost and vice president for academic affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso; and as founding dean and tenured professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his master’s degree in business administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Bailey’s other positions in higher education teaching and administration, prior to his role with Northern New Mexico College, include being the first-ever dean of students at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air University in Alabama, and an associate professor of strategy and security studies at the university’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his master’s degree in International Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis, and his doctorate in government from Georgetown University.

The first finalist to visit SOU, on Oct. 14 and 15, was Chris Gilmer, Ph.D., the president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg; he was followed on Oct. 18 and 19 by Brock Tessman, Ph.D., the deputy commissioner of higher education for 16 campuses that comprise the Montana University System. Gilmer’s and Tessman’s educational backgrounds and roles in higher education were detailed in an SOU News story last week.

An 18-member Presidential Search Committee – a diverse group made up of members of SOU’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, local community members and an Oregon university president – recommended the five finalists after receiving more than 100 applications for the position.

SOU students and employees, and members of the community, have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the finalists during an open forum and Q&A session at 3:15 p.m. in Room 151 of the Science Building on the first day of each candidate’s campus visit. Day two of the schedule also includes an opportunity for community members to interact with candidates – an 8:30 a.m. session at the Higher Education Center in Medford.

More information about the finalists, their schedules and links to recordings of their open forum presentations are available on the presidential search website.

Finalists to be SOU's next president are being interviewed

Interviews of SOU presidential finalists are underway

The first two of five finalists to become SOU’s next president have visited campus over the past week, with the three remaining finalists scheduled to visit later this week and next. All of the candidates are visiting for two days of interviews and presentations with various constituent groups and community members.

Chris Gilmer, Ph.D., currently the president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, was on the SOU campus on Oct 14 and 15; and Brock Tessman, Ph.D., currently the deputy commissioner of higher education for 16 campuses that comprise the Montana University System, was at SOU on Monday and today. The other candidates – whose names will be announced a day before their respective visits – will come to SOU on Oct. 21-22, Oct. 25-26 and Oct. 27-28.

“We are hoping that not only our campus community, but the entire SOU community and its partners throughout the Rogue Valley will get involved in this process and see these candidates,” said Danny Santos, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees and of the search committee.“ We will be seeking valuable feedback from all who engage in these two-day visits, and that input will be very important in the board’s decision-making process.”

An 18-member Presidential Search Committee – a diverse group made up of members of SOU’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, local community members and an Oregon university president – recommended the five finalists after receiving more than 100 applications for the position.

Gilmer held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his role at WVU-Parkersburg, including executive director/chief operating officer of Alcorn State University’s Vicksburg Campus, vice president for academic and sponsored programs at a nonprofit agency, and vice president for academic affairs at Adams State University. He holds a doctorate in English from University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree in English from Mississippi College, a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from University of Southern Mississippi and an associate degree in liberal arts from East Central Community College.

Tessman also held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his role with the Montana University System, including professor of political science and dean of the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana in Missoula; and as a tenured professor at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brown University and received both his master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

SOU students and employees, and members of the community, have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the finalists during an open forum and Q&A session at 3:15 p.m. in Room 151 of the Science Building on the first day of each candidate’s campus visit. Day two of the schedule also includes an opportunity for community members to interact with candidates – an 8:30 a.m. session at the Higher Education Center in Medford.

More information about the finalists, their schedules and links to recordings of their open forum presentations are available on the presidential search website.