Mock homicide crime scene tape

SOU criminology and computer science students to solve (mock) homicide

Students from Southern Oregon University’s Criminology and Criminal Justice, Computer Science and Theatre departments will work together this week to create and manage something rather horrific – a homicide crime scene.

The exercise will be a cross between a first responder scenario and the Clue board game (think Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum). Four groups from the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department’s crime scene analysis class (CCJ 321) and the Computer Science Department’s computer forensics class (CS 346) will take as long as an hour each to process the mock crime scene and determine if the evidence points to a particular suspect.

Students from SOU’s Theatre Department, meanwhile, will put their skills to use by playing roles and providing realistic-looking blood and wound “evidence” for the homicide scene.

It will all play out for three-plus hours beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the Greensprings D residence hall.

The mock crime scene is being led by Tiffany Morey, a senior instructor in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department and a former lieutenant with the North Las Vegas Police Department. She often stages realistic experiences for her students, including “shoot/don’t shoot” drills that offer a taste of the split-second decision-making that’s required of police officers.

More than 40 SOU students will use Tuesday’s mock crime scene to test everything they’ve learned in their computer forensics and criminal investigation classes. Each of the four groups will have opportunities to interview witnesses, collect evidence, analyze blood spatters, test for gunshots and process technical evidence.

Each group will finish by filling out a crime scene packet, which asks them to analyze all their evidence “to present to the district attorney” – and to explain who commited the murder.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Smaller plates avoid food waste

SOU awarded grant for novel approach to reducing food waste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Dylann Loverro to join SOU Board of Trustees

SOU Honors College student joins university’s Board of Trustees

(Ashland, Ore.) — Dylann Loverro, a Southern Oregon University Honors College student who has held various positions on campus, has been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the university’s Board of Trustees.

Loverro succeeds Shanztyn Nihipali, who graduated in June, as the university’s student member for the 15-person board. Her two-year appointment is a voting position.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of my university’s governing board,” Loverro said. “I look forward to supporting the strategies and vision that will increase student success and the great work happening at SOU.”

Loverro, who is working toward a 2021 bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies, is currently chief justice of the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University (ASSOU) and student representative on the Faculty Senate’s University Assessment Committee. She has also served as the international senator and vice speaker of the Student Senate.

She completed the Leadership Fellows Program during her freshman year at SOU, has participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Colorado and next spring will lead a Raider Alternative Weekend trip.

“We are pleased to welcome Dylann to SOU’s Board of Trustees,” said Lyn Hennion, the board’s chair. “She is a very involved and high-achieving student, and her voice will be a welcomed addition to the board.

“The board also thanks its retiring trustee, Shanztyn Nihipali, for his years of dedicated service to the board and his alma mater – SOU. We wish Shanztyn the best in all of his future endeavors.”

Loverro is from Ellensburg, Washington, where her mother is an associate professor of psychology and her father is chair of the Department of Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership at Central Washington University.

She is fluent in French, and studied abroad in Lyon, France, during the 2017-18 academic year. During her senior year of high school, she served on the bipartisan Youth Advisory Board to former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington’s 8th Congressional District.

Loverro intends to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees after completing her undergraduate studies at SOU. She hopes for a career with the U.S. State Department, the United Nations or another international organization.

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SOU to adopt Purple Heart proclamation

SOU president to sign Purple Heart proclamation

Southern Oregon University will become the first Oregon university to adopt the Military Order of the Purple Heart proclamation during a formal ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 27, pledging the university’s support to military veterans and placing SOU on the “Purple Heart Trail.”

The Purple Heart is the United States’ oldest military award that is still issued – awarded to any member of the armed forces who is physically harmed or killed in action. The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a U.S. nonprofit organization made up of military veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart.

“(This proclamation) is a way to show appreciation and support for those who have earned the Purple Heart in service to our country,” said Kevin Stevens, coordinator of SOU’s Veterans Resource Center. “It also correlates with the core values and mission of our university.”

More than 200 SOU students each year are considered military-affiliated. Most of them are veterans or dependents, while many others serve as cadets in the Army ROTC program. SOU also offers a Military Science Program that serves nearly 150 students per term, and various campus organizations are dedicated to helping veterans – including the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans’ Student Union.

SOU President Linda Schott will sign the proclamation on behalf of the university at 10 a.m. on Nov. 27, in SOU’s Veterans Resource Office – Room 301 of the Stevenson Union. The proclamation encourages SOU students and others to “show their appreciation for the sacrifices the Purple Heart recipients have made in defending our freedoms, to acknowledge their courage, and to show them the honor and support they have earned.”

The proclamation will also induct SOU into the Purple Heart Trail, a symbolic system of roads, highways, monuments and cities that give tribute to those awarded the Purple Heart. These locations have special signage to denote their participation in the trail.

While SOU is the first university in Oregon to make the declaration and become a part of the Purple Heart Trail, the trail includes 21 cities in Oregon, as well as Grant and Jackson counties.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Stanley Crawford to lecture on garlic battle

SOU guest to lecture on garlic, international companies and uncertainty

(Ashland, Ore.) — Stanley Crawford – garlic farmer, author and focus of the Netflix documentary “Garlic Breath” – will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13, in SOU’s Meese Auditorium (Room 101 of the Art Building).

Crawford’s free lecture will lead off the university’s 12th annual “Campus Theme” lecture series. Each year’s lectures follow a theme, with past series including “Ignorance and Wisdom,” “Truth” and “Shapes of Curiosity.” This year’s theme is “Uncertainty.”

Crawford is an author who moved to Dixon, New Mexico in 1970, where he and his wife Rosemary started their garlic farm, El Bosque Farm. There, he wrote “A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm” along with other essays and novels.

Crawford started a legal battle in the fall of 2014, when he petitioned the US Department of Commerce to look into Chinese garlic importer Harmoni International Spice, which Crawford claimed was exploiting an anti-dumping loophole. The fight between Crawford and Harmoni continues, but his account of the case has been told both through his upcoming book “The Garlic Papers: A Small Garlic Farm in the Age of Global Vampires,” and in the episode “Garlic Breath” of Netflix’s six-part documentary series “Rotten.”

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

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

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

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JPR's Paul Westhelle receives public radio award

JPR director receives national innovation award for public radio

(Ashland, Ore.) — Paul Westhelle, the executive director of Jefferson Public Radio at Southern Oregon University, has been awarded this year’s Madison Hodges Innovator Award for Public Radio Advancement by the nonprofit organization University Station Alliance.

Westhelle was recognized for strengthening JPR’s market position and finances, and overseeing its move last year into state-of-the-art facilities adjacent to the SOU Theater Building. The University Station Alliance, which serves as a link between public broadcast stations and the higher education institutions that sponsor them, is made up of about 50 broadcast organizations nationwide.

Westhelle receives public radio innovation award“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of Southern Oregon University and one of the most loyal and supportive public radio audiences in the nation,” Westhelle said. “JPR is blessed with a university licensee that truly understands the civic engagement opportunities and public service potential of operating an NPR affiliate.

“JPR is also blessed with an audience that stands with us time and time again to support our work at levels that far exceed national benchmarks – JPR is special, thanks to our listeners.”

The innovator award is named in honor of Madison Hodges, a longtime manager and advocate of public radio stations in Florida who died in 2014 while battling bone cancer. The award recognizes success and the courage to advance the mission of public broadcasting.

In honoring Westhelle, the University Station Alliance noted that JPR is one of the nation’s largest multi-state regional, rural broadcast organizations, with 23 stations and 36 translators serving an area with more than a million residents.

The organization said that Westhelle, “with only modest resources to tap,” has built relationships with the university, its foundation, listeners and the communities served by JPR.

“Paul’s success belies the common belief that public radio can only survive, much less thrive, in large population centers with strong economic underpinnings,” the Alliance said. “He has also made the case that public radio makes great sense in a university setting.”

The innovator award was presented to Westhelle at last month’s Public Radio Super Regional Conference in New Orleans. He received a plaque and a check for $1,500.

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Javier del Rio

SOU to present Distinguished Alumni Awards

(Ashland, Ore.) — An arts graduate with a 30-year career as a museum curator and a regional education leader who has championed the underrepresented will be honored Friday when Southern Oregon University presents its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards during a luncheon on campus.

Bruce Guenther, who earned a bachelor’s degree in applied design from SOU in 1971, will receive this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni whose personal and professional achievements have significantly benefited humankind and brought distinction to Southern Oregon University.

Javier del Rio, currently the assistant superintendent for business and human resources at the Phoenix-Talent School District, will be recognized with the Excellence in Education Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from SOU in 1994 and a master’s degree in education in 2005.

Bruce Guenther

Bruce Guenther

Guenther grew up in Medford and came to what was then Southern Oregon College in the late 1960s to study art and participate in the honors program. He found his career path when he landed a National Endowment for the Arts curatorial internship at the Portland Art Museum after graduation. Guenther served in curator roles at the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Orange County Museum of Art in California. He returned to the Portland Art Museum as chief curator in 2000 and oversaw two major expansions before retiring in 2014.

Del Rio, who came to SOU as an exchange student from Spain, went to work for MCI Telecommunications in Los Angeles after earning his bachelor’s degree. He discovered his calling a few years later when he began teaching under an emergency credential in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He earned his teaching license from Cal State, Northridge, while he worked and then returned to SOU for his master’s degree. He has served in a variety of roles in the Phoenix-Talent School District and as principal in the Medford School District. At each stop in his education career, del Rio has advocated for underprivileged and underrepresented children, and those for whom English is a second language.

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Students learn about excellence and innovation in sustainability at SOU

SOU receives national “Excellence and Innovation Award” for sustainability

(Ashland, Ore.) — The American Association of State Colleges and Universities recognized Southern Oregon University today as this year’s recipient of the organization’s Excellence and Innovation Award for comprehensive sustainability and sustainable development.

The AASCU program, now in its sixth year, honored member institutions for excellence and innovation in 2019 by announcing award recipients in each of eight categories. SOU and the other winning colleges and universities will receive their awards this month at AASCU’s annual meeting.

AASCU recognized SOU for developing “a comprehensive and impactful sustainability program by collaborating across operations, academics and engagement.” The higher education organization noted that SOU has achieved energy savings of 121,000 kilowatt hours annually, an increase in campus solar electricity generation of 319 percent in the past five years and reductions in drive-alone trips of 24 percent for students and 15 percent for employees. SOU is the nation’s first university to offset 100 percent of its water use with Water Restoration Certificates purchased by student government.

“We are all very well aware of our commitment to sustainability and the natural environment, but it is gratifying to be recognized by an organization with the stature of the AASCU,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “This is not the finish line. Our students, faculty members and others on campus will continue to achieve, innovate and lead in the field of sustainability – just as we do in many other areas that benefit our students, our region and the world.”

Other institutions recognized with this year’s Excellence and Innovation Awards are California State University-Bakersfield, for excellence in teacher education; California State University-Fresno, for civic learning and community engagement; Columbus State University (Georgia), for international education; Oakland University (Michigan), for leadership development and diversity; State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, for regional and economic development; Northwest Missouri State University, for student success and college completion; and Millersville University of Pennsylvania, for innovative sustainability projects.

“Each year, I am inspired by how AASCU institutions move the bar to serve their students and advance the economic and cultural development of their communities,” AASCU President Mildred García said. “These Excellence and Innovation Award winners truly demonstrate how our members serve as ‘stewards of place,’ prioritizing student success and leaving a lasting impact on their regions.”

AASCU said all of the winning programs had top-level administrative support, connected with their institutions’ mission and strategic agenda, contributed to significant institutional improvements or programming, were grounded in research and incorporated best practices.

SOU has received numerous awards and recognitions for its sustainability practices in recent years. The university received an honorable mention two years ago at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit and won the national Best Case Study sustainability award in 2015 from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) for collaborating with Bee City USA to establish a Bee Campus USA designation. SOU has been named a Tree Campus USA for three straight years, was named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and a year ago was named the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college by the Sierra Club, as part of its “Cool Schools” rankings.

SOU’s Lithia Motors Pavilion and adjoining Student Recreation Center earned LEED Gold certification this year from the U.S. Green Building Council – the fifth SOU facility to earn a LEED designation. The RCC-SOU Higher Education Center in Medford earned a LEED Platinum certification, the Green Building Council’s highest sustainability rating, and the McLaughlin and Shasta residence halls, and The Hawk dining facility, all have been certified as LEED Gold.

Roxane Beigel-Coryell, who served as SOU’s sustainability and recycling manager for the past several years, left the university in July to take a similar position at California State University, Channel Islands. A new sustainability and recycling manager is expected to be announced later this month and begin work at SOU on Nov. 8.

SOU President Linda Schott and Board of Trustees member Sheila Clough will receive the university’s  Excellence and Innovation Award at the Oct. 27 opening session of AASCU’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Real food – sustainable, human and socially equitable

SOU exceeding expectations in Real Food Challenge

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University joined universities across the country last year in working toward sustainable food practices by participating in the Real Food Challenge. Now that a year has passed, statistics show that SOU is exceeding expectations.

SOU joined more than 40 U.S. universities and four university systems by joining the Real Food Challenge, a student-founded activist organization dedicated to supporting and creating ecologically sustainable, human and socially equitable food systems.

When President Linda Schott signed the “SOU Real Food Campus Commitment,” she pledged that at least 20 percent of SOU’s food budget would be Real Food – created through sustainable, human and equitable systems – by 2023.

SOU also committed to establishing a transparent reporting system and filing annual progress reports to evaluate where the SOU Real Food Challenge team should focus. The data of the first year’s budget was recently released, which has been organized by category and color-coded for easy comparison.

Bar graph of SOU's real food by category

The bar graph shows percentages of SOU’s overall food budget by categories (in brown), and the percentage of the overall food budget that Real Food accounts for in each category (green). For instance, produce makes up 13.1 percent of the overall food budget, and the produce that qualifies as Real Food accounts for 3.2 percent of the overall budget. The Real Food percentages from all of the categories add up to 9.4 percent of the university’s overall food budget – nearly halfway to the university’s goal of 20 percent by 2023.

Pie chart of real food at SOU, across all categories

All of that progress was made in a single year of the five-year challenge, and even more changes have been made to how the school purchases coffee, produce and grocery items since this data was collected.

By the end of the spring term 2020, SOU’s Real Food Challenge team will be able to compare the changes they’ve made across multiple years to see how quickly they’re reaching the 20 percent goal. The Real Food Challenge team’s student leaders, Jamie Talarico and Jessica Zuzack, can be reached via their email for questions about the program.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU's Alison Burke receives Fulbright scholarship

SOU criminology professor awarded Fulbright scholarship to teach in Bosnia

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University criminology and criminal justice professor Alison Burke has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to lecture and teach a course on women and crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Burke will serve at the University of Sarajevo during the current 2019-20 academic year. She received a four-month teaching assignment that will begin in February.

Fulbrights are among the most prestigious scholarships in academia, and Burke’s award is the third for an SOU faculty member in three years. Erik Palmer, an associate professor of communication at SOU, is currently teaching and conducting research as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Ghana. Theatre arts professor Eric Levin was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in Ireland during the 2017-18 academic year.

“It is a huge honor for me to participate in the Fulbright program and collaborate with colleagues at the University of Sarajevo,” Burke said. “Living and working in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be a phenomenal learning experience and I look forward to returning to SOU with new international connections, deeper cultural appreciation and a fresh perspective I can share with my students.”

Burke, who has been an SOU faculty member for 11 years, served in a variety of juvenile justice positions before earning her doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and shifting her career to higher education.

Her research interests include gender and juvenile justice, and delinquency prevention. She teaches four courses – Introduction to Criminology, Theories of Criminal Behavior, Crime Control Theories and Policies, and Juvenile Delinquency – and a seminar series that includes a segment on women and crime.

Burke earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico and her master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has also studied at England’s Oxford University.

Her work has appeared in publications including the International Journal of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Journal of Active Learning in Higher Education and the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. She has authored the books “Gender and Justice: An Examination of Policy and Practice Regarding Judicial Waiver,” published in 2009 by VDM Publishing; and “Teaching Introduction to Criminology,” published this year by Cognella Press.

Burke is SOU’s 18th Fulbright scholar. The university’s first Fulbright scholarship was awarded to Economics Professor Byron Brown for the 1986-87 academic year, which he spent lecturing on economics at Karl Marx University in Budapest, Hungary.

Fulbright scholarships are part of a merit-based, international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was founded by former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright and has awarded scholarships each year since 1948. It currently offers about 8,000 grants annually for graduate study, research, lecturing and teaching in more than 160 participating countries.

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