National award for SOULA for Chinese Diaspora Project

SOU Laboratory of Anthropology project receives prestigious national award

(Ashland, Ore.) – The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) has received a national Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for its Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project. The recognition is part of the AASLH Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.

The Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project is a multi-agency collaboration with the shared mission to promote research and education on Oregon’s early Chinese residents. The project partners include the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, the Malheur National Forest, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Historical Society and the Portland Chinatown Museum. Researchers use local history and public archaeology to challenge dated stereotypes and highlight the transnational lives of the Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans that helped establish the early infrastructure and economic industries of Oregon.

The project’s partners and affiliated OCDP Chinese American Advisory Committee share resources and expertise, conduct archaeological excavations, apply cutting-edge technology, model best practices and current scholarship, and aim to identify opportunities and overcome challenges in centering the history of the Chinese diaspora in Oregon.

The project will be hosting a number of public outreach events across the state this summer, including a public archaeology day at the Gin Lin Mining Trail in the Applegate Valley on Saturday, June 25, and a public archaeology day at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site on Saturday, July 16.

The AASLH Leadership in History Awards recognize 53 people, projects, exhibits and publications across the nation this year. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions and programs to make contributions in this arena.

The AASLH is a national nonprofit association that provides leadership and resources to help the history community thrive and make the past more meaningful for all people. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at (615) 320-3203, or visit the website.

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New degrees in Music Industry and Production

SOU offers new degree in Music Industry and Production for 2022-23

(Ashland, Oregon) The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University has launched its newest degrees – a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in Music Industry & Production Studies (MIPS).

“I am so thrilled to see MIPS take off,” said Derek Keller, Ph.D., assistant professor of music at SOU. “Imagine yourself as an ‘artist in residence,’ composing, producing, performing your own music and preparing for a career in the industry. The MIPS program is an incubator for musical creatives and entrepreneurs who seek an open, welcoming environment to prepare for a career in tomorrow’s music industry.”

The new degree program is a robust one that features course sequences in audio & music production, music theory, aural skills, piano proficiency, music industry, business, and economics. Certificates in Music Industry and Production, and Sound Design – and a micro-credential in Audio and Music Production – are also offered for individuals that do not wish to pursue the full degree.

“MIPS is a unique blend of academics, specialization in music and entrepreneurial development,” Keller said. “I want our graduates to be ready to meet the future with poise, critical thinking and cutting edge audio tools, and to be adaptable with both academic rigor and vocational skills. We also happen to be an AVID learning partner, one of only two in the state!”

AVID is the software developer of Pro Tools, the industry-standard audio/music production software, as well as Media Composer and Sibelius. Students put their developing knowledge and skills to work in the MIP Lab and the Control Room of the Music Recital Hall at SOU.

“Students produce their own and their colleagues’ music, manage and direct live events, and contribute to our social media outlets,” Keller said. “All of this leads to network building and work experience that is résumé worthy.”

The MIP program is already gaining attention both locally and within the music industry.

“I wish they had this curriculum when I was in school,” said Andy Osborn, Artists & Labels Operations Manager at Bandcamp.com, and a featured guest artist in one of the SOU Music Program’s music industry courses this year.

“It is so terrific that you are offering these new opportunities to students and providing the cutting-edge tools and training they need; I would love to help any way I can,” wrote Ryan Wines, CEO of Marmoset Music, an SOU Alum and member of the SOU Foundation Board.

MIP classes feature regular guest artists and presenters from all sectors of the music industry.

In MUSIX, MIPS’ flagship ensemble, students compose, rehearse, produce and perform their own music. This music is released and accessible through both public/live performance and regular media outlets.  MUSIX has already released two EPs, and will release its first full-length LP in fall 2022.

“Our next release event will be in Lithia Park,” Keller said. “MUSIX recent performances are available on the OCA YouTube page, on Spotify, Pandora, or Bandcamp, or follow MUSIX on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.”

“We want our students to have complete control over their creative work, learn the power of their copyright, create a network of professional colleagues and write, produce, teach, arrange compose for film/video/radio, work in merchandising/retail/promotions/social media, manage performance venues, etc. – the industry is vast,” Keller said. “You can land a successful career in music outside of pursuing rock stardom, or performing cover music.”

The new BA/BS in Music Industry & Production Studies is now available to prospective and current students. SOU features open enrollment with rolling admissions, which means that any student can enroll at any time and begin pursuing their degree path. To apply to SOU go to https://sou.edu/admissions/apply/

To assist students, SOU’s Music Program offers over $160,000 in music scholarships, and many opportunities for work study and student employment. For more information on scholarships go to: https://app.getacceptd.com/oca.

For more detailed information about the new degree programs, contact Keller at kellerd@sou.edu.

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Gilman Scholarship recipients

Two SOU students awarded prestigious Gilman Scholarships for study abroad

(Ashland, Ore.) — Two Southern Oregon University students have been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in the spring 2022 scholarship round to support their upcoming study abroad programs. The prestigious scholarships support U.S. undergraduates of limited financial means in pursuing study or internships in countries around the world.

Zion Blackburne of Rogue River, who is a digital cinema major with a minor in business administration, will study at Dankook University in South Korea. Tiana Gilliland of Grants Pass, who is double-majoring in business and healthcare administration, will study at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

The Gilman Scholarship Program, one of the largest scholarship programs for study abroad, is part of the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It has supported more than 34,000 Gilman scholars traveling to more than 155 countries since its inception in 2001.

“We know that studying abroad can have a significant positive impact on students’ academic and career journeys, but many students automatically write-off the opportunity as financially out-of-reach,” said Ariel Bloomer, education and abroad advisor for SOU. “I’m glad that programs like the Gilman scholarship exist to boost access to international education and help our students grow critical skills, like language, cultural agility and comparative analysis.”

Blackburne, an SOU senior, will participate this year in Dankook’s seven-week summer program, which provides a unique opportunity for students to gain professional skills and attend classes. He will lead Korean university students in conversational English lessons during the first three weeks, followed by a four-week academic program in which Blackburne will take Beginning Korean Language and Design Strategy and Planning courses. He will have opportunities outside the classroom to explore Korean culture through activities such as kimchi-making, K-pop dance class, Korean tradition knot art and a Buddhist temple stay.

SOU has a longstanding relationship with Dankook University that dates to an original “Institutional Friendship Pact” in 1970. The connection is celebrated in spaces on the SOU campus including the Stevenson Union’s Dankook Room, which features Korean art and mementos exchanged from visiting dignitaries over the years. Dankook University students visit Ashland on exchange during the academic year, while SOU students primarily participate in their English-taught program over the summer.

Gilliland will spend her entire sophomore year abroad through an SOU exchange with the University of Nottingham, where she will be based in the Department of Philosophy. She hopes to learn more about the United Kingdom’s publicly funded healthcare system, the National Health Service, and use her study of ethics as a foundation for a career in healthcare leadership. Traveling from Grants Pass to Nottingham, Gilliland plans to make the most of her UK experience by joining student societies around her interests – particularly the University of Nottingham Skydiving Club, the largest of its kind in the UK.

The exchange with Nottingham is one of the newest in SOU’s portfolio. Ashland welcomed its first two exchange students from Nottingham during the 2019-20 academic year. The University of Nottingham is one of the UK’s elite research universities, with approximately 40,000 students in a dynamic city in central England. Exchange students to SOU come from Nottingham’s multidisciplinary Department of American and Canadian Studies, and take courses such as American Legal History, U.S. Foreign Relations, Health Care Policy and American Indian Identities while living in Ashland.

The Gilman scholarship is named for the late U.S. Rep. Benjamin Gilman of New York, who received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002. “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views but adds an enriching social and cultural experience,” Gilman said. “It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

The Gilman scholarship is among the most competitive national programs for undergraduates seeking to fund their study or internship abroad experiences. Its scholarships are intended to make study abroad more accessible to outstanding and diverse American students who have high financial need and may not otherwise be able to fund an international, academic experience.

Applicants for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship must be undergraduates in good academic standing who receive a Federal Pell Grant as part of their financial aid package. Successful applicants receive as much as $5,000 to apply toward study abroad program costs.

Those who apply must identify a study abroad program that is the best fit for their academic, personal and professional goals, and complete a scholarship application that consists of three essays. Deadlines are in March and October of each year. For more information on eligibility and the application process, students can connect with the SOU Office of International Programs via email (studyaway@sou.edu).

Prior SOU Gilman scholars include Starlie Bertrand ‘22 of Ashland, who completed her bachelor of science in communication at the University of Calgary in Canada through National Student Exchange. While in Calgary, she took classes including Global Communications Governance, Communications History and Digital Rhetoric, and took advantage of her proximity to Banff National Park to spend plenty of time in the scenic Canadian Rockies. She hopes her experience abroad will help her launch an international career.

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SOU Research Center and city collaborate

SOU Research Center survey to help guide Ashland budget decisions

(Ashland, Ore.) — A survey that seeks to draw input from every Ashland household on city budget priorities is a collaborative project of the Ashland City Council, city staff and the Southern Oregon University Research Center (SOURCE). The survey will be distributed in early June to Ashland households that receive city utility services.

“The survey is an important joint effort between the city of Ashland and Southern Oregon University to reach out to the city’s residents,” Ashland City Manager Joe Lessard said. “The survey will give us information on the community’s service preferences going forward and help us understand how to balance them against the City’s funding resources.”

The survey will ask residents’ opinions on 14 budget-balancing scenarios (or “boxes”) that would reduce city spending and/or raise revenue through increases in fees. The object of each box – which will focus on various combinations of city departments or service areas – is to balance a projected $2 million-per-year, ongoing deficit in the city’s budget for the next biennium budget (the budgets for 2023-24 and 2024-25) by determining which services Ashland residents would be willing to have reduced or whether they would be willing to pay increased fees to maintain city spending.

The Ashland City Council and budget staff have been working with the university’s SOURCE office for the past several months to develop survey questions and explain the ramifications of each potential “box” of cuts and revenue proposals. The survey that is being sent to utility customers this month can be completed in just a few minutes and returned in the enclosed self-addressed envelope.

Staff from the SOURCE office at SOU will tabulate and statistically analyze responses to understand residents’ budget priorities and will report back to the city council.

SOURCE is affiliated with SOU, using students, university resources and the expertise of faculty to gather and evaluate research data. Clients for its surveys, program evaluations, implementation studies and economic analyses include government agencies, nonprofits and businesses.

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Trustees appointed to SOU board

Ten SOU trustees appointed and confirmed

(Ashland, Ore.) — Three new and seven continuing members have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University.

The new trustees are Brent Barry, superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District; SOU faculty member Andrew Gay; and SOU alumna Christina Medina, regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp.

“The Board of Trustees is truly excited to welcome aboard these exceptionally qualified individuals,” said Daniel P. Santos, the board’s chair. “Each will add a unique perspective and expertise to the university’s governing board. I appreciate Gov. Brown’s appointment and legislators’ confirmation of these community leaders, whose service will enable the university to continue to meet the needs of our students and the challenges of higher education.”

Returning to serve additional terms as trustees are Lyn Hennion and Bill Thorndike, who have served on the board since its inception; Sheila Clough, who was appointed to fill a vacancy and then completed a full, four-year term; Jonathon Bullock, Shaun Franks and Barry Thalden, who have completed their initial terms on the board; and Debra Fee Jing Lee, who was appointed last year to fill a board vacancy.

The terms of all of the new and reappointed trustees begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2026, except for that of faculty member Gay, whose term, by law, is two years.

Outgoing SOU faculty member Deborah Rosenberg and non-faculty staff member janelle wilson, as well as community members Paul Nicholson and Steve Vincent, are completing their service June 30 as members of the SOU Board of Trustees.

“I sincerely thank these trustees who have given SOU two full terms of service and are now retiring from our board,” Santos said. “We are a stronger SOU today because of their service, dedication, guidance and expertise.”

Continuing trustees are Santos, an SOU alumnus from Salem, and SOU student member Mimi Pieper. Non-faculty staff member Katherine Cable, a registration systems analyst at SOU, was appointed in February to the board’s SOU staff position and will begin her term July 1. One vacant seat on the SOU board will be filled at a later date.

Each of our trustees – new, continuing or retiring – demonstrate their outstanding commitment to SOU,” President Rick Bailey said. “These trustees all have essential roles in helping us to steer this beautiful ship. Under their watch, our university embraces opportunities, negotiates challenges and commits each day to excellent service to our students and community. We all look forward to moving the university forward under their leadership.”

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.

Trustees are gubernatorial appointees, subject to confirmation by the Oregon Senate. As many as 11 at-large trustees serve four-year terms and one position each is reserved for an SOU student, a faculty member and a non-faculty staff member, each of whom serve two-year terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.

New trustees

Brent Barry
Barry has served five years as superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District, and a total of 18 years in various roles with the district. He was named the Oregon Superintendent of the Year for 2022 by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). Barry was vice principal and athletic director at Phoenix High School, then principal at the district’s Orchard Hill Elementary and finally assistant superintendent for academics and student programs before being promoted to superintendent in 2017. He has also taught health and math in Prineville, Oregon City and Medford. He was born and raised in the Rogue Valley, attending Medford schools and then earning his bachelor’s degree at Linfield College and his Master of Education degree at SOU.  He currently serves on the boards of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA and Rogue Power Pack, and  is a member of the Bear Creek Valley Rotary Club.

Andrew Gay
Gay is an associate professor and chair of Communication, Media & Cinema at SOU, teaching digital cinema courses in storytelling, screenwriting, directing, producing, production management, film festival programming, career design and development, and short film production. He earned the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021. Gay is an active scholar and media artist, with a variety of recent academic and creative works to his credit. He is the former board president of Film Southern Oregon, sits on the board of the Oregon Media Production Association, is a programmer for the Ashland Independent Film Festival and serves on the Teaching Committee for EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media). He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy/religion from Flagler College, and both a bachelor of fine arts degree in film production and a master of fine arts degree in film and digital media from the University of Central Florida.

Christina Medina
Medina is the regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp for Jackson County and northern California’s Del Norte County, and is responsible for managing the accounts of significant customers and performing governmental affairs, economic development and community and stakeholder relations functions. She has served 20 years in the electric utility industry and is bilingual in Spanish. Medina earned her bachelor’s degree at SOU in innovation and leadership, with a minor in psychology. Her volunteer roles include service on the board of directors for Asante Hospital System, as an Oregon American Leadership Forum fellow, president of Remake Talent, co-convener of R3V Reimagine Rebuild Rogue Valley, co-chair of the Medford Vision Task Force, community advisory council member for Rogue Retreat and executive board member for the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

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College access agreement signed by SOU, Grants Pass schools

Grants Pass schools sign college access agreement with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Grants Pass School District and Southern Oregon University finalized an intergovernmental agreement on Friday that will make college admission information more widely available to students. The district will make basic contact information for Grants Pass  high school students available to SOU, which will promote college attendance and provide timely enrollment guidance – improving college access, especially for traditionally underserved students.

The arrangement is the third in a series of the rare agreements that SOU has negotiated over the past few weeks with southern Oregon school districts. The university signed identical pacts with the Medford and Ashland districts.

“These agreements illustrate our commitment to work in partnership with school districts throughout our region to make high school students aware of the opportunities that are available to them,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf. “Many students mistakenly believe that college is beyond their means. We want them to know that the life-changing benefits of a college education are accessible to virtually any student with the desire to achieve.”

Woolf said that communicating more efficiently with the region’s high school students – and encouraging more of them to attain their educational goals – will improve the prospects of students and communities throughout southern Oregon.

SOU President Rick Bailey said partnerships such as those with the local school districts lead to focused efforts on areas of mutual interest. “We all agree that helping people achieve their academic goals and become career-ready is good for the students, the schools, the university and the region,” Bailey said. “Relationship-building is the first step toward achieving the result that benefits us all. It is our intention to offer similar partnerships with every interested school district in the region and beyond.”

The Grants Pass school district will provide SOU with basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The agreement ensures that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their school not to disclose the information.

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Rating system give SOU gold

SOU achieves “Gold” in prestigious sustainability rating

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has jumped from a “Silver” to a “Gold” rating for campus-wide sustainability achievements, as measured by an evaluation system developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and used to grade colleges and universities worldwide.

Gold rating from AASHE“It is an honor for SOU to be recognized for its contributions to heal and preserve our environment,” SOU President Rick Bailey said. “Achieving the ‘Gold’ level is a huge accomplishment that reflects our commitment to sustainability.

“We still have several projects in the works or in development that I am convinced will make our university even more of a national model – and will lift us to this rating system’s very highest level,” Bailey said. “We are very grateful to Becs Walker and all of the staff members and students who lead us in these important efforts.”

Participants in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) can be recognized simply for reporting their sustainability achievements, or for rating at the organization’s bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels. STARS is used by more than 900 participating institutions in 40 countries, rating their sustainability efforts in five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

SOU first achieved the system’s silver level in 2017, and that rating was reaffirmed in 2019. The new gold rating takes into account the university’s ongoing efforts to attain its sustainability goals. STARS assesses environmental factors, along with social and economic considerations. SOU has demonstrated progress in many areas related to sustainability in achieving the gold rating, including governance of sustainability, health and wellbeing, protecting the environment, equity, social justice and community engagement.

SOU has completed eight new green building projects over the past three years, for instance, with four of them including new solar arrays. Three buildings on campus currently fall under the “net-zero” category, meaning they create more energy than they spend. President Bailey and the SOU team are also working to secure funding for solar projects that would eventually enable SOU to produce all of its own electricity, and potentially to sell excess power production.

“SOU’s gold STARS rating demonstrates leadership in sustainability across the SOU community,” said Becs Walker, SOU’s sustainability and recycling manager. “Sustainability is not just about doing something that has a positive impact – or negates an adverse impact – on the environment. It is about system change for the economy, society and the environment. We are continuing to challenge ourselves in building a better way of doing things here at SOU.”

The upgraded STARS rating from AASHE is the latest of many recognitions of the university’s sustainability efforts in recent years. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities recognized SOU in 2019 as the organization’s Excellence and Innovation Award recipient for comprehensive sustainability and sustainable development. The university also received an honorable mention that year at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit.

SOU was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA and has maintained that certification, has been named a Tree Campus USA for five consecutive years and has been recognized for the ninth year in a row as one of the nation’s top 30, “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities by Campus Pride – a nonprofit that supports and improves campus life for LGBTQ people on campuses nationwide.

AASHE is a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities work together to create and lead the way to a sustainable future. Its STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

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Esports event to preview new game

SOU Esports hosts community night and game preview

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Esports Hub at Southern Oregon University’s Student Recreation Center is hosting a community game night from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday to preview the unreleased alpha version of a local video game development company’s new product.

The event, a partnership with SunSpear Games of Medford, will feature the fantasy game “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre.” Developers from SunSpear will be on hand, along with representatives of the Cyber Center Esports Gaming Lounge in Phoenix and Funagain Games, a game store with locations in Ashland and Eugene.

There will be complimentary snacks, along with gaming equipment giveaways and a t-shirt raffle.

The Esports Hub, which features 12 top-end gaming stations, is located in the Student Recreation Center, at Wightman and Webster streets in Ashland. The facility is used for intercollegiate competitions, intramural gaming and open play for all SOU students and SRC members.

SOU is among the first institutions on the West Coast to offer both an academic program and a competitive team in Esports – a billion-dollar global enterprise. The university’s academic minor in esports management is one of just a handful that are offered nationally and its combination of programs positions students for future employment in the growing industry.

The “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre” video game features action among three planets surrounding the mythical “God-Star” Pyre. The SunSpear website describes it as “an action-packed battle strategy game” that puts players in the roles of god-like commanders who create alliances, command armies and conquer enemies. It has intuitive controls and enables team play.

SunSpear was formed as a collaboration of community design teams and gaming industry veterans, with the goal of building better Esports, according to the company’s LinkedIn profile. It has “co-crafted” games with other developers around the world has created its IMMORTAL game to combine “social, accessible, free-to-play design with the competitive excellence and visual clarity of Real Time Strategy genre.”

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New pathways to college access with agreement

Ashland district is second in a week to sign college access agreement with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Ashland School District and Southern Oregon University finalized an intergovernmental agreement on Thursday to make the basic contact information of Ashland high school students available to SOU – less than a week after the university and Medford School District completed an identical pact. The groundbreaking agreements enable SOU to promote college attendance and provide timely enrollment guidance that may improve access to college, particularly for traditionally underserved students.

“Agreements such as these are rare in the world of higher education, but we anticipate additional partnerships with other local school districts in the weeks ahead,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf. “Our hope is to open pathways to college that haven’t previously existed for many high school students in our area.”

SOU President Rick Bailey said that raising awareness of the steps that are necessary to attend college – and offering support for those who are interested – will raise the prospects of students, the university and communities throughout the region.

“This latest agreement illustrates our ongoing partnership with the Ashland School District, and our shared commitment to the educational needs of all students – including those who may not have family histories of college attendance,” President Bailey said. “I am a first-generation college student myself, so I am well aware of how helpful it is to have someone who can point out both opportunities and obstacles.”

Ashland School District Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove said the arrangement with SOU will help address questions that some students may not otherwise be able to answer.

“We are excited to give our students access to information on local post-secondary options, and to learn about how post-secondary education is both possible and a good fit for their career and life interests after high school,” Bogdanove said. “Students need to know that college is within reach.

“Having a local university like SOU is an exceptional opportunity,” he said. “When students register for high school, they can elect to participate, or not, in sharing directory information with third parties, including colleges. By participating, students and their families have the opportunity to learn more about the options available to them.”

The school district will provide SOU with basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The agreement ensures that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their school not to disclose the information.

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Medford School District enters agreement with SOU

Medford district, SOU sign agreement to increase college access

(Ashland, Ore.) — A new intergovernmental agreement between Southern Oregon University and the Medford School District (MSD) will be “a game-changer for college awareness and access,” providing the basic contact information of MSD high school students so the university can offer them timely enrollment guidance and opportunities.

“What this will do is allow us to promote college attendance to all of the Medford School District’s students,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf, who described arrangements of this type as rare.

“This will help with improving access to and awareness of college possibilities for all students,” Woolf said. “It will improve access to college for underrepresented students in a number of ways, and it’s a testament to the good working relationship the Medford School District and SOU have built together.”

Medford School District Superintendent Bret Champion said the goal of the new intergovernmental agreement is to give students in the district access to information that may help them discover life-changing academic pathways. The arrangement is intended to increase college attendance among Medford students.

“In the Medford School District, we have a shared vision: ALL are learning and learning is for ALL,” Champion said. “This partnership helps bring that shared vision to life for our students. SOU plays a key role in providing options for our students that are open and hopeful, in addition to guiding students to own their present and future. We are grateful for their partnership.”

SOU President Rick Bailey echoed the appreciation. “We are very excited about this new agreement, and are grateful to Superintendent Champion and his incredible team,” President Bailey said. “I am confident that this will become the new statewide role model for collaboration between public and higher education.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the school district will provide basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The document specifies that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their schools not to disclose the information.

The agreement says the school district and university recognize the importance of “seamless transitions from secondary to postsecondary institutions,” and both are “committed to improving the options for K-12 students to succeed in college and be career-ready.”

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