Enrollment office exterior-Woolf

SOU hires vice president for enrollment management and student affairs

(Ashland, Ore.) —Neil Woolf – who has led enrollment efforts at higher education institutions in Wisconsin, Washington and Nevada – has been hired as Southern Oregon University’s new vice president for enrollment management and student affairs.

He will start work at SOU on Jan. 9.

Neil Woolf“I am very excited to join the team at Southern Oregon University,” Woolf said. “Under the direction of the Board of Trustees and President (Linda) Schott, I look forward to advancing the mission of the university and assisting students in achieving their success.”

In overseeing both the enrollment and student affairs functions of SOU, Woolf will seek to maintain a steady growth in enrollment through both recruitment efforts and retention of existing students. Programs under his watch include enrollment services, financial aid, the registrar’s office, student life, the university’s student resource centers and organizations, and the Stevenson Union.

Woolf is currently the chief enrollment officer and interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management for the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He previously served for five years as associate vice president for enrollment management at Eastern Washington University, and for 12 years in various enrollment management and student affairs positions at Nevada State College, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Utah.

“I was drawn to SOU because of its exceptional academic and student support programs, its commitment to inclusion and equity, and the beautiful surroundings,” he said. “My family and I can’t wait to start making SOU our home.”

In his current position, Woolf has led implementation of UWO’s strategic enrollment plan, improving recruitment by focusing on approaches including search engine optimization (SEO), communicating with prospective students by text and improved collaboration with other key offices. He was one of three finalists brought to SOU for interviews in late November and early December, and was offered the job after demonstrating his understanding of the university’s challenges and opportunities in maintaining enrollment growth.

“His expertise and successful track records in both enrollment management and student affairs make him the ideal person for our position,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “I look forward to working with him to further the goals of our strategic plan.”

Woolf received his bachelor’s degree in government from Eastern Washington University, his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He will succeed Blaine Steensland, who filled the position at SOU in an interim capacity last January through June, and has continued to work remotely and in a part-time role with the university since late summer. He retired in 2014 after 28 years in senior enrollment management and student affairs positions with the Penn State University system.

-SOU-

Dan Bulkley runs 100 meters at age 100

SOU Hall of Fame coach Dan Bulkley passes away at 101

Former SOU track and cross country coach Dan Bulkley, an Athletics Hall of Fame member who ran a ceremonial 100-meter dash at Raider Stadium a week after his 100th birthday, died Sunday night at Anna Maria Creekside assisted living in Medford. He was 101.

Bulkley coached track and cross country at SOU from 1950 until his retirement in 1979, with his teams winning several NAIA championships. He also coached tennis and skiing during his career at SOU, and was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989. He became a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1977.

He later became involved in masters track competitions and collected almost 500 medals for his accomplishments over a 30-year period.

Bulkley was also instrumental in the development of skiing at Mt. Ashland, and remained active in the local cross-country skiing community until a few years ago.

He was born in Thailand, where his father was a medical missionary and his mother was a teacher, and he went to school in India. He earned his bachelor’s and masters degrees at a college in Southern California, then taught and coached at the high school level before and after World War II – during which he served in the Office of Strategic Services intelligence agency.

Bulkley is survived by his wife, Marjorie. A memorial service will be planned for next spring, when more family members will be available to attend.

SOU-President Schott-higher education consortium

Southern Oregon’s four higher ed institutions announce consortium

The presidents of four public colleges and universities in southern Oregon joined forces today to create the Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium – an alliance aimed at streamlining students’ educational pathways and addressing the region’s specific workforce needs.

A memorandum of understanding signed by the presidents of Klamath Community College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University calls upon the consortium members to “promote innovative outreach and educational activities.” It specifically directs the institutions to share information, collaborate on complementary programming and facilities, and work cooperatively on professional training, technology and programming.

“Enhancement of the student pipeline and improvement of degree-completion metrics will be areas of particular emphasis,” the memorandum said.

The new consortium – first envisioned a year ago by the four presidents during a lunch meeting halfway between the Rogue Valley and Klamath Basin – will be announced during signing events at 10 a.m. today at KCC’s Founders Hall in Klamath Falls, and at 2 p.m. at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford.

The four presidents will discuss their interests in the collaboration during the Klamath Falls event, and will participate in a panel discussion at the Medford event. Randy Cox, executive director of the Klamath County Economic Development Agency, will speak at the Klamath Falls gathering. John Tapogna, president and partner of ECONorthwest, will discuss his organization’s recent report, “Oregon Talent Assessment,” as part of the Medford announcement.

The consortium is Oregon’s first regional coalition of colleges and universities. It is viewed as a pioneering step toward preparing southern Oregon’s students and workforce for a rapidly changing future.

“Statewide, we expect that most higher wage jobs openings in the next decade will require postsecondary education or training for job candidates to be competitive,” said Ben Cannon, executive director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. “Innovative local partnerships are absolutely critical to fostering meaningful on-ramps to opportunity and economic mobility. We look forward to working with the coalition on our common goals.”

Cannon commended the four presidents for “strategically joining together as a coalition to advance the specific pathways necessary for their regional communities to thrive.”

The consortium is expected to prompt discussion about what kinds of economic growth are needed in southern Oregon, what industries the institutions should help support or attract, and how higher education can best align to meet those needs.

“Together, our united effort can create pipelines for highly skilled graduates to enter the workforce and will attract new businesses that pay living-wage salaries,” said KCC President Roberto Gutierrez. “Southern Oregon will be stronger than ever before.”

The consortium also provides a unified voice for southern Oregon, and will advocate for the region’s priorities in conversations with state and federal lawmakers. Regional grants and other combined resources are likely outcomes of the partnership.

“What excites me most about this consortium is the ability of all four institutions to work together to build a regional college-going culture that will transform our economy, strengthen families, and inspire others to pursue their dreams,” said RCC President Cathy Kemper-Pelle.

The new consortium will be an exercise in the power and flexibility of partnerships. The institutions – which already have shared academic strengths in areas including business, sustainability and healthcare – are open to exploring cooperative programs in various areas that will best serve their region and state.

“Our students, industry and business partners, and our communities all benefit through our collective voice for southern Oregon – a vibrant consortium of action focused on education, workforce and regional economy,” said Oregon Institute of Technology President Nagi Naganathan.

The four colleges and universities have a long history of working together to meet the needs of students and employers. Together, the institutions enrolled 26,600 students in 2017-18, and conferred a total of 3,370 college or university degrees.

“We have done a very good job of working collaboratively in the past,” said SOU President Linda Schott. “We are poised now to use our history of cooperation as the jumping-off point for a future of seamless pathways, interwoven academics and collective strength.”

SOU-OLLI-Campbell Center

OLLI facilities at SOU in line for makeover

After 25 years, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) facilities at SOU are receiving new life.

OLLI’s program on the SOU campus operates from the Campbell Center – a pair of former World War II barracks with a courtyard between them, just west of the empty Cascade Complex. The old barracks have taken a beating, and for their 25th anniversary as OLLI’s home, the organization has launched a ReNEWall campaign to upgrade the facility with reconfigured classrooms and other refurbishing.

One classroom and the Campbell Center office were already renovated last year, making the classroom a preferred site for OLLI offerings. The addition of better lights, more comfortable chairs, and touchscreen technology helps make everything easier on OLLI’s older students.

Two more of the complex’s five classrooms are in line for remodeling next winter. But nearly $665,000 is needed for construction, technology and furnishings. More than $330,000 has been raised to date, and the balance is expected to be generated through grants and individual contributors. About a quarter of the cost, for infrastructure improvements, will be paid by SOU.

The OLLI facilities have a bit of a history. The barracks were originally part of Camp White, an Army training base and POW camp that transformed the Medford area during World War II. Hundreds of buildings were left behind after the war, and many were relocated all over southern Oregon.

The two that found their way to SOU were named for Phil Campbell, the university’s former facilities director, and have been used for a variety of purposes. The Campbell Center has been used at various times as dorms, married student housing, apartments, faculty housing, Elderhostel classrooms and SOU maintenance offices, and even now it is used during the summer by SOU Youth Programs.

OLLI member and wildlife artist Pam Haunschild is creating a black-and-white mural called the “Giving Garden” to measure fundraising for the Campbell Center’s renovation. The mural will be colored in as gifts are received. It will be hung in the new members’ lounge.

To learn more about the ReNEWall program or to make a contribution, call the OLLI office at (541) 552-6048 or email Lorraine Vail at lvail627@gmail.com.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

SOU-childcare

Childcare returns to SOU’s former Schneider Children’s Center site

(Ashland, Ore.) — Daycare will return to the Southern Oregon University Family Housing property at 1361 Quincy St., in Ashland, when Lil’ Rascals Preschool & Childcare Center opens at that location on Jan. 7.

SOU signed a lease agreement this week that will enable Lil’ Rascals – which operated in Ashland for 15 years until its building was sold in 2016 – to move into the space that was vacated this summer when the Schneider Children’s Center closed. Lil’ Rascals will also continue to operate at its current location at 839 E. Main St., in Medford.

“We feel that the Quincy Street location is a wonderful opportunity to fill the void for additional, quality childcare in the Ashland community,” Lil’ Rascals owner Angela Greene said. “We anticipate childcare spots to fill quickly. We encourage interested clients to call our Medford Center and get on the waiting list for Ashland, right away.”

Lil’ Rascals can be reached in Medford at (541) 773-1598. It also plans a sign-up day at the Quincy Street location in Ashland from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15.

SOU sought to find a community partner to lease the property and resume childcare operations at the site after the Schneider Children’s Center closed Aug. 31. The university’s leadership endorsed a working group’s recommendation to end SOU’s affiliation with the children’s center ­– which operated at the location for many years – because its business model was not sustainable.

The center operated as an auxiliary program at SOU, and was ineligible to receive funding from the university. But it did receive support from student fees until the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University voted in 2014 to shift to a smaller subsidy that would directly benefit SOU students in need of childcare.

Students voted a year later to reinstate some general funding to the Schneider center, and the Wilsonville-based Oregon Child Development Coalition stepped in as an operational and financial partner. Changes in the state’s supervision requirements for day care centers later made that arrangement unworkable, and the OCDC was unable to take over the operation when SOU cut its ties this summer.

Greene said Lil’ Rascals will operate its new Ashland facility with at least eight employees, and encouraged SOU students and others to apply. She said the center will also offer a 10 percent childcare discount to SOU students and employees.

Lil’ Rascals will try to accommodate the needs of former Schneider Child Center clients and its own customers from its previous Ashland location, Greene said. The center accepts state subsidies for low-income clients.

-SOU-

SOU-sustainability-carbon pricing

SOU president backs carbon pricing initiative

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott has joined about 50 other college and university presidents across the country in calling upon elected officials to address climate change and hold polluters accountable by enacting carbon pricing measures.

The “Put A Price On It” campaign is sponsored by Our Climate, a national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to advance effective climate policy. The group is tapping higher education leaders to help convince local, state and national decision-makers that greenhouse gas emissions can be effectively reduced through economic penalties.

“Sustainability and environmental responsibility are key parts of our identity at SOU,” President Schott said. “Our vision, mission and values refer to those principles, and one of our guiding ‘strategic directions’ establishes the goals of modeling and promoting sustainability, and integrating it into all that we do.

“This initiative provides us an opportunity to act on our institutional beliefs,” she said. “We are proud to stand up and be counted as a leader in the carbon pricing movement.”

Carbon pricing regulations require those who emit carbon dioxide to either pay a tax or buy permits based on the volume of their emissions. The policies make dirty energy less affordable, and encourage both energy conservation and use of sustainable energy sources.

Portland State University is the only other Oregon institution listed among the initiative’s backers.

SOU is one of 130 U.S. higher education institutions identified by the Our Climate organization as potential strategic partners in the carbon pricing campaign. President Schott signed the Our Climate endorsement letter after researching the campaign and consulting with the university’s sustainability team.

“This is something that fully aligns with SOU’s values and supports the goals outlined in our Climate Action Plan,” said Roxane Beigel-Coryell, the university’s sustainability and recycling coordinator. “Putting a price on carbon holds large greenhouse gas emitters accountable for their contribution to climate change. It provides incentive to implement climate solutions from the top down, instead of putting the responsibility solely on individuals.”

Carbon pricing policies have been implemented in more than 40 countries, provinces, states and other jurisdictions around the world. The World Bank has endorsed the practice as a means of compensating for direct and indirect costs of carbon emissions, ranging from crop loss and flood damage to heat-related medical costs.

“By making carbon-intensive industries pay a fair share of the costs of their pollution, we will have cleaner air and healthier communities, and prevent the most devastating effects of climate change,” said the Our Climate endorsement letter signed by President Schott and other higher education leaders.

-SOU-

SOU-naloxone training-opioid

SOU training session addresses opioid use locally

Members of the SOU campus community are invited to participate in a training session on Wednesday that may prepare them to save the life of a friend, colleague or student experiencing an opioid overdose.

Students from the Oregon Health & Science University nursing program at SOU are offering a Naloxone Project training session from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room. Participants will learn how to use naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses, and will receive free naloxone kits.

Anyone may attend, and admission is free.

“I sincerely wish that we had no need for this training at SOU – that the national opioid crisis could not reach our campus,” SOU President Linda Schott said Tuesday in a message to campus. “Tragically, that is not the case. We have lost students to overdoses, and there are others on our campus who are at risk.

“I encourage you to attend the naloxone training session,” she said. “You can be ready to save a life, if ever confronted with an overdose.”

Naloxone effectively treats overdoses by reversing opioid-caused depression to the central nervous system and respiratory system. It is safe, non-addictive and does not require a prescription.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that more than 26,000 opioid overdoses were reversed through the use of naloxone kits from 1996 to 2014.

President Schott pointed out that much work must be done nationally to address the opioid epidemic, but said those at the local level can do their part “by preparing … to help those who would otherwise become its victims.”

Wednesday’s training session is supported by the HIV Alliance and Max’s Mission, a local nonprofit that offers free naloxone and raises awareness of the danger of drug overdoses. It was created by the parents of Max Pinsky, a 25-year-old Ashland man who was lost to an overdose five years ago.

Those who have specific questions about opioid use and treatment options for those with addictions may contact the Student Health and Wellness Center for more information.

Cougar-earlier trail camera photo

SOU and city of Ashland respond to cougar sightings

Southern Oregon University and the city of Ashland are working with state and federal wildlife officials to ensure safety on the SOU campus and in the community following multiple cougar sightings and confrontations Sunday night and this morning.

The Ashland Police Department will respond promptly to future cougar sightings, with officers’ actions based on immediate danger to humans or domesticated animals. Factors may include whether the sightings occur at night or during the day, when the animals aren’t typically seen.

Students leaving SOU’s Hannon Library at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday reported seeing a cougar. Ashland Police and SOU Campus Public Safety officers responded and were able to scare away a small cougar they found just outside the library.

A larger cougar was then located outside the nearby Susanne Homes building, and it reacted menacingly to the officers’ attempts to scare it away. The Ashland Police officers got authorization from Chief Tighe O’Meara and fired a shot at the cougar after ensuring the shot would not endanger anyone. The cougar apparently was not hit and ran from the area. However, another resident reported being confronted by a cougar on the SOU campus at about 6:15 a.m. today.

“Our university and community have deep respect for the wildlife with which we share this beautiful region,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “We balance that respect with our obligation to provide a safe campus environment, and we are grateful to be addressing this safety concern in partnership with the city as well as state and federal partners.”

An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officer confirmed during a meeting today with city and university representatives that the actions of the cougar outside Susanne Homes on Sunday night justified the shot being fired by police. A trapper from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also attended the meeting and said traps could be set near confirmed cougar sighting areas, but results are not typically positive in urban areas.

The sightings Sunday night and this morning follow a rash of reports over the past week of cougars close to downtown Ashland, near the downtown fire station and the Safeway Store, and in Lithia Park. There have been multiple reports in recent weeks of deer being killed by cougars in Ashland’s neighborhoods.

Ashland Police and SOU’s Campus Public Safety recommend walking with other people and being aware of your surroundings when outdoors at night. If confronted by a cougar, make yourself look large, yell and back away slowly – but do not run.

SOU-Ashland-inclusion-pride parade

SOU president draws line on side of inclusion

SOU President Linda Schott reassured the campus community today that the university will not waver in its commitment to inclusion, equal rights and opportunities for all, despite recent discussions at the federal level regarding the definition of gender.

“We will always welcome, value, support and protect all students and prospective students – regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, immigration status, nationality, religious affiliation or political persuasion,” the president said. “That includes all who identify as transgender or non-binary.”

Recent news reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to establish a legal definition of gender under Title IX – the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination at educational institutions receiving federal funding. The department is pushing for a gender definition based narrowly on biological traits, reversing protections established over the past several years by courts and administrative rule-making.

Separately, the Department of Justice argued in a brief submitted this week to the U.S. Supreme Court that civil rights laws banning sex discrimination in the workplace do not extend to transgender people – again, based on the definition of “sex.”

President Schott said in a message to campus on Friday that inclusion and diversity are vital elements of the SOU identity, and the current debates “will not change who we are or the values that define us.”

“Our university steadfastly supports the rights of each member of our campus community – and the estimated 1.4 million Americans who recognize themselves as a gender other than the one that their biology indicates – to be valued as individuals with their own particular characteristics,” Schott said.

The standards of equity, inclusion and diversity are mentioned prominently throughout SOU’s new Vision, Mission and Values. One of the seven strategic directions that were identified in the university’s recent strategic planning process outlines the goals of replacing systemic barriers with equitable processes, establishing pathways that support the success of those from underrepresented backgrounds and preparing all learners – regardless of background, identity and position – to thrive in a diverse world.

“Whatever the eventual outcome may be at the federal level, I assure you that equity and inclusion will remain unassailable principles at SOU,” the president said. “Under any definition of gender, equal protection and equal rights will always apply to every student, prospective student and employee at this university.”

SOU-President-Schott-election

SOU president urges campus to vote in upcoming election

SOU President Linda Schott has asked all members of the campus community to “practice democracy” by casting their ballots in the Nov. 6 General Election.

“Consider what’s best for you, your community, your state and your country, and then vote,” the president said. “I won’t tell you what to think or how to vote, but I do hope you will do both conscientiously.”

Ballots have been mailed to Oregon voters, and the state’s Voters Pamphlet is available online. The deadline for voter registration has passed, but those who are unsure if they’re eligible to vote can check their status on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

Similar services are offered by other states, including California’s voter status-check site.

The SOU president reminded out-of-state students in today’s all-campus email that they should discard ballots from their original state if they have more recently registered to vote in Oregon. If they haven’t registered in Oregon, they can still legally vote in their home state. But it is illegal to vote in more than one state.

“Part of our mission at SOU is to prepare our learners to be responsible citizens, engaged at the local, state and federal levels,” Schott said. “If you are a student, your ballot is the final exam for this course on representative government. If you are an employee at the university, you have an opportunity to model good citizenship.”

She pointed out that democracy itself has withstood the test of time, weathering several difficult periods through more than 240 years of U.S. history.

“Sometimes our personal beliefs and preferences are validated,” Schott said. “Even on the occasions when they aren’t, we are able to come back in future elections and help nudge the course of history onto a track that’s more to our liking.

“Regardless of your political perspective, vital issues and pivotal races are on the line in this year’s election. Cast your ballot and participate in this wonderful gift of democracy!”