SOU emeritus professor Joseph Smith passed away Jan. 5

Retired SOU business professor Joseph Smith passes away at age 98

Emeritus professor Joseph Raymond Smith, who taught business at SOU for 26 years, passed away on Jan. 5 at age 98.

Smith joined the faculty in 1964 of what was then Southern Oregon College. He taught courses in accounting and taxation until his retirement as an emeritus professor in 1990.

Smith was born in Magrath, Alberta, Canada in 1921, and graduated from high school in Salt Lake City, Utah before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He graduated first in his class at the communication school and served as an electronics instructor, earning the rank of sergeant.

He volunteered for Mormon missionary work after the war in southern Brazil, then married his first wife, Alice Zemp, and earned his master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University. He and his growing family relocated to Hawaii, where he was one of the original faculty members at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laie, Oahu, chairing the Division of Business.

He was a driving force behind the creation and founding of the Polynesian Cultural Center while in Hawaii, and served as a bishop of the Laie ward.

Smith received his doctorate in business from Colorado State College and relocated his family to Ashland in 1964 to join the Southern Oregon College faculty. He married Carolina Maria Timor in 1982.

Smith engaged in various commercial enterprises – both brick-and-mortar and online – in addition to his teaching. His business pursuits ranged from carpentry and textiles to education and tax consulting – he earned the status of an IRS enrolled agent. He was an accomplished carpenter and took great pleasure in the activities of rural life.

Smith is survived by his spouse, Carolina Smith; his children Gordon (Linda) Smith, Kent Smith, Jorae (Mark) Scofield, Loretta Backstrom, Raymond (Georgina) Smith, Shari Griffin and Yazmine (Mike) Arringtion; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great grandchildren.

Funeral and memorial services are being arranged by Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home in Ashland. Visit the funeral home’s website for viewing, memorial service and burial information. Flowers and condolences can be delivered to Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home at 1811 Ashland Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520. Alternatively, memorial donations can be sent to the Dr. Joseph R. Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Marianne Golding (pictured with Dan Morris) will offer a Campus Theme lecture

“Uncertainty” series tackles incomplete accounts of three Jewish WWII refugees

Southern Oregon University French professor and Summer Language Institute director Marianne Golding will present a “Campus Theme” lecture this month on World War II France.

The free lecture, which is part of SOU’s Campus Theme lecture series, will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Hannon Library’s Meese Room. It follows the uncertain journey of three young Jewish refugees from Germany and Czechoslovakia and the women who helped them escape from German-occupied France.

Each year’s Campus Theme lectures examine a common premise, and this year it’s “uncertainty.” The first lecture in the series was by Stanley Crawford, who talked about his legal fight against a large garlic importing company. The second lecture was by Cailin O’Connor, who discussed the spread of misinformation and the inherent uncertainty of our beliefs.

Golding’s lecture will touch upon uncertainty by examining some of the errors found in personal and official archives and biographies. An American Sign Language interpreter will translate the lecture.

“(Holocaust survivors) who were never able to share their stories, because it was too painful to share them or because they died before they were ready to do so, one has to rely on a mixture of historical facts, which are sometimes erroneous or incomplete, and other people’s memories, which can also be erroneous or incomplete,” Golding said.

The lecture is especially important and personal for Golding. One of the three survivors she will talk about is her father.

“I loved my father dearly and felt guilty that I hadn’t tried to find more about his past while he was alive,” she said. “I feel I am honoring him with the research I am doing now, and also understanding so much more the reasons why he behaved the way he did, why he couldn’t share emotions or talk about his childhood – like so many other war refugees.”

Golding grew up outside of Paris before receiving her doctorate in French Literature from UCLA. She became a French language professor at SOU 1998, and teaches beginning through advanced French courses. She is particularly interested in autobiographies, feminist literature, and French-speaking literature, culture and film. She has authored the second edition of “The Graded French Reader” and various articles and conference presentations.

She has also been the director of SOU’s Summer Language Institute since 2014. The Summer Language Institute offers French teachers a masters degree in teaching French. The program takes three summers to complete and is held in Angers, France.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU's alternative spring break trips include a service opportunity in California's John Muir Woods

SOU students to tackle homelessness and environment issues for spring break

The deadline to apply online for either of two Raider Alternative Break trips this spring is Jan. 18. The trips – one to Arizona and the other to Marin County, California – will coincide with SOU’s spring break, March 21 through 29.. 

Raider Alternative Breaks focuses on inspiring students to be active citizens. Through short-term service learning experiences, students explore various themes and issues. The topics are examined through readings, media, discussions, group reflection, direct experience and dialogue with partners and community members. Students can also earn academic credit for their service by registering for the spring term class Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN) 399 – a pass, no-pass option that can be worth two to four credits.

One of this year’s spring break trips – to East Mesa, Arizona – is called “Basic Needs,” and will involve providing help with housing and food insecurity. The eight-student RAB group will volunteer with House of Refuge, a non-profit organization that provides transitional housing and support services to families in crisis; and United Food Bank, an East Valley-based provider of food for the needy.

The second trip is “Into the Woods,” a forest conservation and recreation opportunity in the Muir Woods National Monument north of San Francisco. The 10-student spring break class will travel across the Golden Gate Bridge to volunteer on a variety of conservation and recreation enhancement projects, including the maintenance and clean-up of trails, boardwalks, habitats, beaches and historic sites.

The RAB Spring 2020 Application and Information form includes more detailed information on each experience and explains participant expectations and commitments.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Philosopher Cailin O'Connor to speak at SOU

Philosopher to lecture at SOU on misinformation and false beliefs

Cailin O’Connor – mathematician, philosopher, author, evolutionary game theorist and associate professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California, Irvine – will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Room 151 of the Southern Oregon University Science Building.

O’Connor’s free lecture is part of SOU’s “Campus Theme” lecture series. Each year’s lectures follow a theme, and this year it’s “uncertainty.” The first lecture in the series was by Stanley Crawford, who talked about his legal fight against a large garlic importing company. To continue with the theme, O’Connor will discuss the spread of misinformation and the inherent uncertainty of our beliefs.

That topic is also the focus of O’Connor’s 2018 book, “The Misinformation Age,” in which she and co-author James Owen Weatherall use models of social networks to show the social spread of false beliefs. O’Connor also wrote the 2019 book, “The Origins of Unfairness – a monograph on social categories’ influence over cooperation and the distribution of resources.

“The Misinformation Age” was selected last January for both the New York Times’ Editor’s Choice Reading List and Scientific American’s Recommended Reading List.

O’Connor has been a member of the UC-Irvine faculty since 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree in visual and environmental studies from Harvard College in 2006 and her doctorate from UC-Irvine in 2013.

SOU faculty members are asked to encourage their students to attend Campus Theme presentations.

The themed lectures are presented by the Oregon Center for the Arts in partnership with the Office of the Provost and the Division of Humanities and Culture.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, who will visit SOU for Friday's town hall meeting

U.S. senator to visit SOU for town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon will be on the Southern Oregon University campus on Friday for what promises to be a wide-ranging town hall meeting as he seeks input on “what we need to do to strengthen our state and our nation.”

The SOU event, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room, is part of Merkley’s ongoing town hall tour of Oregon’s 36 counties. SOU students and employees are encouraged to attend Friday’s meeting, which is apparently the first SOU visit by a U.S. senator since October 2015 – when both Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden came to the SOU campus to discuss student debt.

Merkley’s staff said he would have preferred to visit when school is in session, but the upcoming impeachment trial and other senate business in Washington, D.C., have limited his Oregon schedule. His Friday event was scheduled by Merkley’s staff, rather than by any group at the university.

All southern Oregon residents are invited to attend the town hall meeting. Free parking is available in SOU’s Mountain Street parking lot.

More information about Merkley’s town hall schedule and issues he is currently addressing is available on his website.

Merkley was the first in his family to attend college, earning his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University and his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. He worked as a national security analyst before returning to Oregon to serve as executive director of the Habitat for Humanity office in Portland.

He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1998, became speaker of the house in 2007 and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008. He was reelected in 2014 and is running for reelection to a third term in 2020.

SOU community asked to help higher education survey

SOU community members encouraged to help in state higher education planning

All members of the SOU community have been asked to help set the stage for a statewide strategic plan on postsecondary education by completing an online survey from Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Respondents from throughout the state will be asked for their views on the future of postsecondary education in Oregon; the state’s educational goals, public investment and accountability; and priorities such as student success, equity, affordability and impacts on both communities and the economy. The survey – which takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete – is hosted by the HECC and Portland’s Coraggio Group strategic consulting firm.

The online study, which must be completed in one session, will remain open only through Dec. 24.

Results will provide a baseline as the HECC begins development of a new strategic plan to improve educational outcomes and guide the future of higher education and training programs in Oregon. Focus groups, interviews and other online tools will also be used to gauge public attitudes, perceptions and preferences.

The HECC is actively seeking input from existing and prospective students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators, community leaders and policymakers. Participation by SOU employees and students will ensure that the university’s perspectives are well-represented.

The HECC – a board of volunteer commissioners – advises the governor and legislature on Oregon’s postsecondary education policies and funding. It makes budget recommendations and sets funding allocations for the state’s 17 community colleges and seven public universities.

Britt Hall at SOU

SOU offices relocated for Britt Hall renovation

SOU departments that occupy space at Britt Hall are being temporarily relocated, primarily to accommodate seismic and mechanical upgrades to the building. The OHSU nursing program is also investing in a complete renovation and modernization of its simulation labs, classrooms and support areas in Britt’s lower level.

Abatement and some demolition work will begin in February, with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2022 for the entire project.

Affected departments are in the process of being relocated to other accommodations around campus:

  • The Service Center moved Dec. 2-5 to the first and second floors of Susanne Homes west wing; contracting, purchasing, student employment, university travel, support specialist functions and paycheck distribution services will be provided at the new location.
  • The Service Center accounting unit will remain in Britt Hall until it joins Business Services at Room 154 of Churchill Hall on Jan. 2
  • OHSU nursing moved Dec. 2-6 to Cascade Hall; services transferred to the new location Dec. 9
  • The academic Department of Communication is moving Dec. 16-19 to a modular facility east of the Digital Media Center on Webster Street; services are transferring to the new location Dec. 23
  • The Admissions Department is moving Dec. 23-24 to the Stevenson Union Access Center, below the SOU Bookstore; services are transferring to the new location Dec. 30
  • The Enrollment Services Center is moving Jan. 20-24 to the Computer Services East Building; services are transferring to the new location Jan. 27

Signage and a map will be posted outside Britt Hall to help direct traffic to the new locations of the various offices.

Britt Hall was the second building on campus – following Churchill –when it was built in 1937.

Use of RVTD bus passes is on the rise at SOU

Use of RVTD bus passes on the rise at SOU

Southern Oregon University’s free and discounted bus passes for the Rogue Valley Transportation District have seen a sharp increase in 2019, even as student enrollment has plateaued.

“Both students and employees have seen a notable upswing between fall 2018 and fall 2019,” said Daniel Kelly, student coordinator for the Transportation Options program. “The most dramatic increases are that student sales have risen by 37 percent and employee ridership has spiked by 73 percent, even though both populations have shrunk.”

RVTD bus passes are $15 per term for students – 90% off the usual cost – and are billed to students’ accounts, so immediate payment is not required. Directions to sign up for student bus passes are under “Bus Options” on the Transportation Options web page.

Term-by-term bus passes for staff and faculty are offered at no charge. Application instructions and more information are available on the SOU Service Center web page.

The reasons for SOU’s bus ridership spike are multifaceted, Kelly said.

“RVTD has been doing a lot in the past year to expand their services … better quality of service combined with a heightened desire to use personal vehicles less just naturally leads people to use public transit more,” he said. “We’ve also pushed our efforts to get people aware of the student bus passes at the beginning of the term, and even before school starts for the year.”

The expense and other issues with parking on campus could also be factors in the increased bus use, Kelly said.

“It only makes sense for the university and for students to find cheaper solutions to commuting, which is something that everyone has to deal with,” he said.

The Transportation Options program provides information, encouragement and incentives for members of the SOU community to use alternative transportation. Kelly works with environmental and community engagement coordinator Jill Smedstad, RVTD Transportation Demand Management Planner Edem Gomez and fellow student coordinator Danni Keys, who will take on Kelly’s duties after he graduates.

Kelly and Keys have used tactics including events in the Stevenson Union and informational brochures to increase awareness of the bus passes and other alternative transportation options.

“The SOU bus pass program is just one that we advertise, along with the Rogue Bike Share, SOU’s bike shop and the statewide ride-sharing and trip-planning tool, ‘Get There Oregon,’” Kelly said.

RVTD is the public transportation provider for Medford, Ashland, Central Point, Talent, Phoenix, White City, and Jacksonville, with bus routes that run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Survey will gauge broadband service

SOU community members asked to participate in broadband survey

Oregon’s economic development agency wants to know if you’re well-connected. Business Oregon, through its Oregon State Broadband Office, is conducting a survey through Dec. 15 to evaluate internet access in various areas of the state and help plan for future network expansions.

Individuals, businesses, organizations and state agencies or institutions such as SOU have been encouraged to participate in the statewide survey to determine the reach and effectiveness of Oregon’s broadband services – whether DSL, fiber-optic, cable or satellite. The economic development agency is working to ensure that all households, businesses and organizations in Oregon have reliable access to internet services that allow them to be competitive with their counterparts in other states and countries.

Results of the survey will help direct public policy regarding what has been referred to as Oregon’s digital divide – the haves and have-nots of broadband service – and set recommendations for state funding to address any shortcomings.

“Broadband not only provides the essential capabilities we need for our personal and business needs, but without it our communities risk falling behind economically, making it harder to keep and attract people and businesses and jobs,” the state’s broadband office said in an email announcing the survey.

The Oregon Broadband Office was established last December by an executive order from Gov. Kate Brown that placed the office under the authority of Business Oregon. Its purpose is to promote access to internet services statewide, improving Oregon’s economy and quality of life.

The office coordinates with the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council to develop an internet service map of the state, develop investment strategies and advocate for solutions where problems exist.

Smaller plates avoid food waste

SOU awarded grant for novel approach to reducing food waste

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has been awarded a $7,512 grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to try a logical means of reducing food waste on campus: use smaller plates.

The grant pays to replace 10.5-inch plates with nine-inch plates at The Hawk student dining commons.

SOU’s grant application explains that “studies have shown a reduction in plate size can lead to a reduction in food waste as patrons eat the portions allotted on the smaller plate. Larger plates tend toward food waste as patrons take more food than the individual can consume in one sitting.”

Drew Gilliland, director of SOU’s Department of Facilities, Management and Planning, said that any money left over from the dish replacement will be used to “purchase additional smaller plates and purchase marketing materials to encourage healthy eating.”

SOU’s grant application was submitted last year by then-sustainability and recycling manager Roxane Beigel-Coryell, who has since left the university for a similar position in southern California. The plates were replaced in mid-September, before fall term classes began, so first-year students attending SOU won’t have noticed a change.

The grant requires that food waste measurements be recorded this year to determine the effectiveness of the reduced plate size. Gilliland said early indications are promising.

“It’s my observation that there is already less food waste and we want to continue to reduce that,” he said. “Publishing the results of the study will hopefully encourage our students to discuss food consumption.

“We plan on using the study as part of a marketing program to encourage mindfulness around our consumption and its impact on the greater environment.”

He pointed out that the discarded 10.5-inch plates weren’t thrown away.

“(The larger plates) will be used for special events and other events where food is provided,” Gilliland said. “We may also consider donating any excess to a non-profit.”

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer