SOU students-Churchill Hall-retention

SOU’s “Retention Summit” aimed at seeing students through to graduation

The campus community is invited to participate in a “Retention Summit” at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room, to examine what’s being done – and what other steps might be taken – to encourage students to remain at SOU through graduation.

Participants in Thursday’s summit will hear reports on current student retention efforts, data and benchmarking, and on the university’s new Navigate platform – an application created by the Education Advisory Board (EAB) to improve the student experience.

Those at the event will then break into small groups and discuss other potential means of improving retention, such as engaging and supporting students, and addressing their academic needs.

SOU President Linda Schott also hosted an “Enrollment Summit” in November to discuss this academic year’s enrollment dip among incoming SOU students and how it might be addressed. The president and SOU’s enrollment and admissions staff have followed up with several steps to ensure that this year’s decline will not be repeated.

The university overcame state and national trends toward lower enrollments a year ago with gains in both total headcount and full-time equivalent students. Early projections for the 2019-20 academic year suggest that SOU may rebound with another year of gains, if current application trends continue.

Steady enrollment growth helps the university counteract some of the effects of decreased state support. The higher education budget currently being discussed among Oregon legislators would fund the state’s seven public universities well below current service levels and would likely require large tuition increases or significant program cuts.

Zaretta Hammond-culturally responsive teaching-SOU

Author of “Culturally Responsive Teaching” to give SOU campus theme talk

Zaretta Hammond, the San Francisco-area author of “Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain,” will discuss how teachers can support underserved students in an April 10 presentation that’s part of SOU’s 2018-19 campus theme of “Ignorance and Wisdom.”

Hammond notes that student populations across the country are progressively growing more racially and linguistically diverse. She will discuss having a real impact on learning by being more responsive to students’ differences.

Her talk will touch on igniting intellectual creativity and accelerating learning by incorporating the latest findings from cognitive neuroscience and the principles of culturally responsive teaching that she lays out in her 2014 book.

The event will be from 4:30 to 630 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union. It is co-sponsored by the SOU Provost’s Office, School of Education and Division of Humanities and Culture; the Ashland, Medford and Central Point school districts; and the Southern Oregon Mentor Consortium.

Hammond, now a national education consultant, is a former high school and college expository writing instructor. She is passionate about the interconnections of equity, literacy and culturally responsive teaching. She blogs at and calls herself “a former writing teacher turned equity freedom fighter.”

She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from New York University and a master’s degree in secondary English education with a concentration in writing instruction at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The 11th year of SOU’s Campus Theme features a variety of presentations that explore the concepts of “Ignorance and Wisdom,” and the relationships between the two.

The university adopts a theme each year for a series of lectures and discussions. Last year’s was “Truth,” and the previous year was “Shapes of Curiosity.” The series, presented by SOU’s Arts and Humanities Council, creates opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in intellectually stimulating conversations.

SOU faculty members are asked to encourage their students to attend and participate in the Campus Theme presentations.

SOU food drive-food pantry

Governor’s Food Drive fills the shelves at SOU Student Food Pantry

The SOU community contributed non-perishable food and payroll deductions equivalent to a total of 8,022 meals during this year’s Governor’s Food Drive, which directly benefits the university’s Student Food Pantry and those who rely on it.

The university’s payroll deductions are down somewhat this year, but donations to the Student Food Pantry hit a record high with 1,809 pounds of nonperishable food. Collections bins at all buildings on campus accounted for 1,580 pounds of donated food, and a benefit concert sponsored by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU drew another 229 pounds.

The Governor’s Food Drive draws donations each February from state government and public university employees throughout Oregon, to support the Oregon Food Bank Network. SOU arranged for its food donations to go directly to its Student Food Pantry, which provides SOU students who are in need with as many as 10 items of nonperishable food or hygiene supplies each week.

Prizes were awarded this year for those who participated in either the payroll deductions or food donations portion of the drive.

Associate Registrar Katrina Simpson won a drawing for all of those who signed up for payroll deductions, and will receive two tickets to the Chamber Music Concerts, an affiliate organization of the SOU Foundation.

Employees of Churchill Hall – which collected almost 215 pounds of food in its collection barrels, the most of any building on campus – will be treated to coffee and snacks by SOU Dining and A’viands. Central Hall finished in a close second place, with 202 pounds of food collected.

Free employee tickets to OCA events

Latest benefit for SOU employees: free tickets to OCA events

Employees at Southern Oregon University recently gained another perk: free tickets to all music and theatre productions by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU.

OCA officials met in December and decided that free tickets to in-house shows should be extended to all SOU faculty and staff, as a benefit to employees and to encourage support for the university’s performing arts programs. An updated policy that took effect Jan. 7 allows SOU employees to receive two free tickets per production in the Mainstage Theater and Music Recital Hall, and one free ticket per production in the Black Box Theater.

SOU students also qualify for the free ticket policy, which applies to all OCA-produced theater and musical group performances. The new policy does not cover shows featuring performers from outside the university.

SOU faculty and staff, after receiving their free tickets, can still purchase as many as four tickets at $10 each for SOU plays.

All free and reduced-price tickets can be acquired from the OCA box office at 491 S. Mountain Ave., in Ashland. Faculty and staff must verify their employment status by showing their ID cards or through the SOU directory.

Before the ticket policy was updated in January, complimentary tickets were offered to all students, faculty and staff affiliated with the OCA, but not to others at SOU.

Information about all upcoming performances at OCA facilities can be found on the events website or by calling the box office at (541) 552-6348.

Danny Santos-SOU Board of Trustees

Santos reappointed to SOU Board of Trustees

(Ashland, Ore.) — Daniel Santos – a Southern Oregon University alumnus and member of the university’s Board of Trustees – was notified today by Gov. Kate Brown today that he has been reappointed for a second four-year term on the SOU board.

Santos was appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate.

He is a retired associate dean for the Willamette University College of Law, where he oversaw student affairs and administration. He previously served in various capacities for four Oregon governors – Neil Goldschmidt, Barbara Roberts, John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski. His roles included service as Roberts’ legal counsel and Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision chair, and as a senior policy advisor for Kulongoski.

Santos earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology at SOU in 1975, then received his law degree from the Willamette University College of Law. He has remained involved in education throughout his career, serving as a founding member of Scholarships for Oregon Latinos, and in guiding roles with Willamette University’s Willamette Academy for students from underserved communities and the Leadership Council for Oregon Mentors.

He also currently serves on the boards of directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Mid-Valley Literacy Council.

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.

Eleven at-large trustees serve four-year terms, and one voting position each are reserved for an SOU student, a faculty and a non-faculty staff member – each of whom serve two-year terms.

Trustees are limited to serving two consecutive full terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.


French Dinner-reminder

SOU’s annual French Dinner nearly sold out

(Ashland, Ore.) — Those who haven’t bought tickets but are still hoping to attend the 23rd annual French Dinner of the Southern Oregon University French Club are being advised that there will likely be no tickets available at the door of the Feb. 28 event.

The five-course meal for students, employees and community members is nearly sold out – only a handful of advance tickets remain on sale at SOU’s Stevenson Union information booth. Tickets are $9 for students and university employees, and $13 for other community members.

The dinner, in the student union’s Rogue River Room, promotes French culture on campus and in the community. It is an annual project of the university’s French Club, with help from student union staff, and French and other international students. For the first time, SOU student-athletes are also helping with this year’s event.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and orders will be taken at 7 p.m. Dinner begins with soup, followed by a palate cleanser, quiche, salad and cheese, French bread, dessert and coffee or tea. Vegetarian options are available for the soup and quiche courses.

Wine donated by various Oregon wineries can be purchased at $3 per glass for those who are 21 and older.


Governor's Food Drive SOU

Governor’s Food Drive heads into home stretch at SOU

Just over a week remains in the annual Governor’s Food Drive, and SOU employees and students are encouraged to participate through food donations or payroll deductions.

The food drive, which runs through February, draws donations from state government and public university employees throughout Oregon to support the Oregon Food Bank Network. However, all food donated at SOU goes directly to the university’s Student Food Pantry, which provides food and other basic necessities to students who are in need.

Individual students and employees have stepped up to participate in the Governor’s Food Drive, as have various university departments and programs. SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts sponsored a benefit concert, “Feed the Body and Soul,” which raised more than $200 in cash donations and 200 pounds of items for the food drive last week.

All SOU employees have been provided red collection bags, which they can fill with donated items and then return to barrels located in buildings throughout campus. A reward of coffee and snacks will be provided by SOU Dining and A’viands to employees from the building that collects the most food.

Employees’ monetary donations can be made by signing up for monthly or one-time payroll deductions, and submitting the completed form to Michele Barlow in Human Resources. Those donations support food assistance programs at ACCESS, Jackson County’s community action agency.

All employees who sign up for payroll deductions are entered into drawings for various prizes.

Ashland Chamber board-several members not pictured

Ashland Chamber goes to bat for SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Ashland Chamber of Commerce acknowledged an integral relationship between the business community and Southern Oregon University when the chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously today to urge adequate state funding for SOU.

Board members approved a letter of support that asks Governor Kate Brown and members of the Oregon Legislature for funding sufficient to maintain current service levels at Oregon’s seven public universities and keep tuition increases at manageable levels. The resolution explains the crucial role of higher education in preparing a qualified workforce to drive the region’s economy.

“The Ashland Chamber of Commerce, currently representing over seven hundred businesses and organizations, has been deeply connected, supportive and involved as a strong community partner of Southern Oregon University for over a century,” said a first draft of the letter that was provided following the meeting by Sandra Slattery, the Chamber’s executive director.

The letter pointed out that SOU is Ashland’s largest employer, its faculty help to educate future business and community leaders, and decreased state funding will ultimately lead to a loss in state revenue as fewer students enroll, graduate and land well-paying jobs. The Chamber “encourages legislative financial support for the future of Oregon through increased funding for higher education,” the letter said.

SOU President Linda Schott was invited to address the Chamber of Commerce board, and said after the meeting that the group’s endorsement will be helpful in ongoing conversations with lawmakers.

“It is very encouraging for us to get this kind of support from Ashland’s business leaders,” the president said. “It recognizes that SOU is truly part our community’s fabric, and that our university plays a crucial role in the region’s economic well-being.”

Governor Brown has included $736.9 million per year for the public universities in her recommended budget – the same amount that was approved for the current biennium, which ends June 30. But funding at that level doesn’t account for increased costs to the universities that are beyond their control – including the PERS retirement system, employee health plans and statewide collective bargaining agreements.

The universities need $857 million in funding from the state to maintain current academic and student support programs, and to keep annual tuition increases at or below 5 percent.

As recently as 1990, state support for higher education in Oregon accounted for more than two-thirds of attendance costs and tuition covered most of the remainder. State support has since decreased to the point the proportion has flip-flopped: students and their families now bear about two-thirds of the cost through higher tuition rates, and the state’s share accounts for about a third.

The declining state support has occurred despite federal research that shows workers age 25 and older who have bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $61,400 per year, compared to $36,800 for their counterparts with only high school diplomas. Those with bachelor’s degrees also pay an average of $14,500 per year in taxes, compared to $7,600 for those with a high school education.


Polar Plunge is back on Saturday

Polar Plunge: SOU team to participate in Saturday’s Special Olympics fundraiser

SOU students, staff and faculty have the opportunity to brave icy waters and support local Special Olympics Oregon athletes with intellectual disabilities during the 2019 Polar Plunge event on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Medford’s Jackson Aquatic Center.

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a costume contest for the participants. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by the plunge – or plunges.

An SOU team, along with many other local supporters, will participate and support local special needs athletes.

Every student or participant who takes the icy “plunge” must raise $50 in support of the Special Olympics Oregon – half of which goes to local programs for Special Olympics athletes in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties. The money helps to provide training, equipment, uniforms, wellness programs and experiences of a lifetime for the athletes.

Organizers recommend plunging with a team of family, friends, co-workers or members of local organizations. SOU will be represented by an Oregon Center for the Arts team organized by student captain Jared Brown. Those who aren’t up for a plunge can still participate by pledging as little as $5 to the SOU team.

More information about the plunge is available on the event website, or by calling (541) 841-6875 or emailing Polar Plunge event manager Kim Andresen – who doubles as division manager for SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts – at

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge is the only pool-based plunge event in Oregon. It is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to help support local Special Olympics  athletes.

Every participant in the plunge will receive a commemorative t-shirt, hot soup and the opportunity to meet the Special Olympics athletes that will benefit from their plunges.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

tall cop substance abuse prevention

“Tall Cop” presents substance abuse awareness training at SOU

A police officer-turned-substance abuse awareness speaker presented a fairly imposing message during a recent workshop for SOU faculty and staff, and community members from various agencies.

Jermaine GallowayJermaine Galloway — a 6-foot-9 former Division I basketball player – presented his “Tall Cop Says Stop” training to help attendees recognize signs of drug and alcohol abuse.

The program, “High in Plain Sight,” was sponsored by SOU’s Student Health and Wellness Center and was held Jan. 31 in the Stevenson Union Arena. It focused on methods used to conceal alcohol and drug use, games and tendencies at youth parties, non-traditional alcoholic beverages such as fortified energy drinks and “alcopops,” and trends associated with a variety of drugs.

A total of 128 people attended the free SOU event, including faculty or staff from Campus Public Safety, Housing, the Student Health and Wellness Center, Student Support and Intervention, Disability Services, the Student Recreation Center and the Psychology and Criminology and Criminal Justice departments.

There were also Ashland and Medford police officers, parole and probation officers, child welfare caseworkers, CASA volunteers, Juvenile Justice officers and staff from the Maslow Project, Hearts With a Mission, the Medford School District, La Clinica, the Jackson County Citizen Review Board, Jackson County Mental Health and the U.S. Veterans Administration.

The Student Health and Wellness Center organizers said the responses from attendees were positive.

“Everything was well organized (and) the speaker was outstanding,” one commenter said.

“It was so informative and educational,” another said. “I am so happy you were able to bring him to campus.”

Galloway – a former Boise, Idaho police officer – has received various awards and recognitions for his alcohol and drug awareness work. His website said Galloway’s training sessions have reached more than 105,000 people.