Raider Up: President’s podcast, episode 2

Former state Supreme Court judge Virginia Linder and SOU employee Katherine Cable appointed as SOU trustees

SOU employee and retired state Supreme Court justice appointed to university board

(Ashland, Ore.) — Retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder and Katherine Cable, a registration systems analyst at Southern Oregon University, have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the university’s Board of Trustees. Both will begin their service to the board in July.

Linder will serve a four-year term and will succeed Megan Lightman, who left the board in June 2021. Cable will succeed janelle wilson, who has served as the SOU non-faculty staff member on the 15-member board since 2018. She will serve a two-year term.

“As a graduate of SOU, I have a deep fondness for the university and for southern Oregon,” said Linder, who earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at SOU in 1975.

“SOU is a vital asset to this region of our state,” she said. “I am honored by this appointment and look forward to engaging and contributing to the board’s work in meeting the needs of SOU’s students and the surrounding community.”

Cable has a bachelor’s degree in emerging media and digital arts from SOU and is working on a second bachelor’s degree in English.

“As a lifelong student, I’ve attended classes on many campuses in three states, and SOU is by far my favorite of them all,” Cable said. “I’m proud to call myself an alumna and staff member of this university, and I look forward to serving and doing my part to make SOU the best we can be.”

Linder received her law degree from the Willamette University School of Law in 1980, then practiced in various capacities with the Oregon Department of Justice until 1997, when she was appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. She served there until 2006, when she was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court, where she served through December 2015. She also served as an adjunct professor of law at Willamette Law from 1997 through 2006.

Linder, who lives in Salem, said she is proud of her work as a lawyer and judge that has helped to break barriers for women, the LGBTQ community and others who have been traditionally excluded or marginalized.

Cable came to SOU as an academic records coordinator in 2016 and is now the registration systems analyst supporting the registrar’s office with information technology and systems. Prior to her time at SOU, she worked as a lifeguard, fugitive investigator, Arabic linguist, U.S. Marine, emergency medical technician and network services engineer, among many other roles.

“The SOU Board of Trustees is pleased to welcome these trustees to the board in July,” said Daniel Santos, the board chair. “Their diverse expertise and insight will help advance the mission of SOU and the work of the board. We also thank Trustees Lightman and wilson for their tremendous contributions to the SOU Board.

“We are doubly lucky that Virginia and Katherine both have been appointed,” Santos said. “As alumni who both have remained engaged in this institution, I know their care for SOU will only strengthen our future work together.”

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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.

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.

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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.

Bobby Arellano elected Oregon Humanities chair

SOU creative arts professor elected chair of Oregon Humanities board

(Ashland, Ore.) — Robert Arellano, a professor in the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, was elected board chair for Oregon Humanities on Oct. 16. As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Oregon Humanities’ mission “connects people and communities through conversation, storytelling and participatory programs to inspire understanding and collaborative change.”

The nonprofit sponsors hundreds of community forums all over Oregon in an average year. Last year, the organization rapidly adapted its “Consider This” conversation series to a remote format called “Connect in Place,” drawing hundreds of online participants from across the state.

“In the summer of 2019, I got to moderate an in-person conversation at Grizzly Peak Winery for Oregon Humanities in partnership with SOU that brought Richard Blanco, President Obama’s inaugural poet laureate, to Ashland,” Arellano said. “Over 200 southern Oregonians came out to connect with this renowned poet and teacher.”

Bobby, as he’s known to his students and coworkers, will chair a board of 22 volunteer members for the next two years. Beginning in 2016, he served previous terms as chair of two Oregon Humanities subcommittees – programs and communications.

Arellano is a founding director of SOU’s Emerging Media and Digital Arts program, and teaches courses in design, production and writing. He has done pioneering work in electronic publishing, and has published graphic-novel editions and five other novels. He received both his bachelor’s degree and master of fine arts degree from Brown University.

“I would not have been able to take on a leadership role at Oregon Humanities without the unequivocal support of my division director, David Humphrey, and SOU Provost Sue Walsh, who have also both participated in events we’ve hosted here in the Rogue Valley,” Arellano said.

More ways to get involved with Oregon Humanities include free college-credit classes through the Humanity in Perspective program, summer youth courses and award-winning publications, podcasts, and video productions. The organization also offers free subscriptions to its Oregon Humanities Magazine.

“If there’s one thing you do to learn more about Oregon Humanities, take a minute to subscribe to our magazine,” Arellano said. “We publish stories and photos by people from right here in our community, and it’s delivered free, three times a year to anyone with an Oregon mailing address. It’s just one more benefit to being an Oregonian.”

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.

Toya Cooper is SOU's first-ever Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

SOU hires its first vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion

(Ashland, Ore.) — Toya Cooper, an attorney who has spent almost 20 years addressing diversity in higher education, has accepted an offer to become Southern Oregon University’s first vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion. She will start work with the university Nov. 15

“I think SOU is ready to engage the questions of equity, diversity and inclusion that this moment in our nation’s history brings to bear, and to model for students what it means to respond effectively to them,” Cooper said.

“I’m excited to learn more about the good EDI-related work already underway at SOU, the OSF, city council and chamber of commerce, and eager to discover what partnerships are to be had among us for the greatest positive impact.”

SOU has a long history of providing a welcoming atmosphere for all students and employees, and has had an equity, diversity and inclusion professional on its leadership team for many years. A decision was made to elevate the position to the vice president level after the most recent person in that role resigned a year and a half ago. A three-person group of SOU administrators has served as the university’s EDI Leadership Team during the interim.

“Our candidates for this new position at SOU were exceptional, and Toya rose to the top,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “She brings a wealth of experience to the job, along with a remarkable ability to collaborate and build teams. I am confident that all members of our campus community will be well-served by her efforts.”

Cooper most recently served for a year as director of equity, inclusion and compliance at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She previously worked for 18 years at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California – as special assistant to the president for legal affairs and associate director of multicultural programs during her first year, and then as college counsel and special assistant to the provost for diversity initiatives. She has authored and presented a variety of diversity trainings and talks.

She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Westmont College and her law degree from the Willamette University College of Law in Salem. She worked as a law clerk for the Marion County District Attorney’s office while in law school, and said she welcomes the opportunity for a return to Oregon.

“I called Salem home for three years,” Cooper said. “I was drawn by and fell in love with its natural beauty, which Ashland certainly does not lack.

“In addition to SOU’s mission, values and vision, that beauty certainly serves as a draw for me.”

SOU’s vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion will oversee fairness and equal opportunity efforts at all levels of campus, and will serve as the university’s point person on those matters throughout the region and the state. It is a key leadership position that works closely with the university president and serves on the president’s cabinet.

The interim Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team is made up of Kylan de Vries, an associate professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; Jonathan Chavez-Baez, Assistant Director for Latino/a/x Programs & Outreach; and Patricia Syquia McCarthy, a contracts administrative officer and risk manager in the SOU Service Center.

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SOU EcoAdventure students work on Bear Creek restoration

SOU’s EcoAdventure experience gets local in response to fire

(Ashland, Ore.) — Past versions of Southern Oregon University’s “EcoAdventure” courses have taken students to northern California’s Lassen and Yosemite national parks, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Costa Rica. But last year’s Almeda Fire brought a huge ecological test almost to SOU’s doorstep, and EcoAdventure faculty and students jumped on the opportunity to play a role in assessing and restoring a charred Bear Creek Greenway between Ashland and Medford.

Each year’s EcoAdventure courses are intended to connect students with real-world environmental issues and create an atmosphere of investigation and problem-solving.

“For the first few months after the Almeda fire, I was working at a local hotel that was housing victims of the fire,” said Ethan Robison, a student in last spring’s EcoAdventure fire restoration course through SOU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program. “Each of the 50 families staying there had their own journey towards recovery and I was proud to be a small part of that process.

“When I started at SOU and found out about this class, I saw it as an opportunity to learn about the impacts of the fire on our local ecosystem.”

The spring EcoAdventure class drew 18 students, and they chose Bear Creek restoration work as their service learning project. The course covered fire regimes and climate change in the Rogue Valley, the history of Bear Creek and the U.S. Clean Water Act, and a talk, tour and native planting day in Phoenix led by a the Rogue River Watershed Council.

A separate effort by four Environmental Science capstone students looked at Bear Creek water quality following the Almeda fire. Those students presented data to the EcoAdventure class about erosion, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and other measures of water quality.

Environmental Science and Policy instructor Leslie Eldridge, who taught the Bear Creek EcoAdventure course, said many of the students felt a sense of revival after experiencing or hearing extensively about the fire, and then studying both its environmental causes and the steps to remediation. The day of planting native species along the creek was especially powerful.

“It was a beautiful example of ecosystem reset and opportunity to bring Bear Creek and the Greenway to a new condition that may improve ecological health and social connectivity between Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Medford,” said Eldridge, who initiated the EcoAdventure water restoration course ­– the real-world element in a broader Environmental Science and Policy curriculum.

“The idea is to get students working hands-on and experiencing the environments and environmental challenges we discuss in our courses,” said Vincent Smith, an associate professor of environmental science and policy, and director of the Division of Business, Communication and the Environment.

“Certainly, we have theory-based courses in these areas including restoration ecology, environmental field methods, water resources and hydrology, but in each of these cases, the idea is to prepare students to address pressing needs,” Smith said. “The Bear Creek Greenway is an example of one of those pressing needs.”

Capstone students in Environmental Science and Policy – those who are nearing graduation – each choose a capstone project that is intended to pull together much of what they have learned in the program. Capstone advisor John Gutrich offered last year’s students a variety of options, ranging from bark beetle mitigation in the Ashland Watershed to impacts of climate change on LatinX communities of southern Oregon. Four of the students chose to focus on the Almeda fire’s impact on Bear Creek, and worked together to produce a series of reports on water quality issues that were then shared with the agencies spearheading restoration efforts.

Both the EcoAdventure courses and capstone projects vary from term to term, but Smith said it’s likely the Environmental Science and Policy program’s collaborations on the restoration of Bear Creek will continue.

“I can’t predict what students will select to work on next year, but I’d be surprised if at least one group doesn’t continue work on restoration work from the fire,” he said.

Robison, the student who was drawn to last spring’s EcoAdventure course after first working to help house victims of the fire, said the restoration element of the project was a healing experience.

“Essentially, I wanted to see some physical evidence of recovery from the fire, just to prove to myself that it was possible,” he said. “Seeing the effort people put into repairing the ecosystem after the devastation helped me look past some of the pain I had seen and internalized.”

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SOU emeritus professor Mike Rousell has a new book about surprise

Retired SOU professor examines surprise in new book

(Ashland, Ore.) — Mike Rousell, a psychologist and emeritus professor of education at SOU, has a new book that should surprise no one who has followed his career. “The Power of Surprise,” which will be released Sept. 15 by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, is the result of more than 30 years of researching life-altering events and the surprises that typically triggered them.

“One day, while pouring over my vast collection of transformative stories, looking for patterns, I experienced a revelation: A surprise sparked most of these events,” Rousell said. “Here’s the key: Moments that change us happen to us, not by us, during a surprise event.”

He cites the example of “Cindy,” a student who tended to be among the last to finish tests, and a librarian who complimented that slowness as “attentive deliberation that shows grit.”

“The comment surprised Cindy, giving her a burst of the motivator neurotransmitter dopamine and creating a window for belief formation,” Rousell said. “Now, when Cindy writes tests, her instincts prompt her to go slowly and feel proud because it confirms her grit.”

The new book – which can already be ordered on Amazon – examines the science of surprise, how it can result in spontaneous personal and societal changes, and how it is used strategically by comedians, magicians, filmmakers, writers and others. Rousell looks at how surprise can open the door for a change in belief even without conscious awareness and how it can be tapped to enrich lives, maximize influence and create positive mindsets.

He said the book is intended for a general audience – parents, teachers, coaches, supervisors, healthcare providers and others who may want to draw upon the positive influences of surprise.

Rousell said that surprise events produce a jolt of dopamine, a chemical that enables the transmission of signals among the brain’s nerve cells.

“I found that big surprises in our evolutionary past often indicated momentous opportunity or danger,” he said. “Thinking slowed reaction time. Those that stopped to think during critical moments often perished, along with the propensity to ponder when surprised. Evolution favored those who learned instantly. As a result, we developed a disposition to bypass thinking and learn instantly.”

Rousell was an associate professor of education at SOU for about 12 years before his retirement in March 2020. His previous publications include the 2007 book, “Sudden Influence: How Spontaneous Events Shape Our Lives.” A video of his 12-minute presentation about surprise at a 2019 TEDx Talks event in Salem drew thousands of views on YouTube.

He received his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alberta, and his master of education and doctorate from the University of Oregon. He taught elementary, middle and high school in Edmonton, Alberta, before joining the School of Education at SOU, and also has worked in private practice and school counseling as a certified psychologist.

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