SOU board receives Nason award

SOU board receives national Nason award for exceptional leadership

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University has been selected to receive the 2019-20 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership, given by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) – the premier organization representing higher education governing boards.

The Nason Award, established in 1992, is presented in partnership with TIAA to higher education governing boards that demonstrate exceptional leadership and initiative.

This year’s honoree, SOU, was chosen from among more than 30 nominations illustrating the critical work of boards from both public and private institutions, statewide systems and institutionally related foundations.

“The Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University is thrilled to be recognized for our accomplishments since 2015 when the board was created,” said Lyn Hennion, SOU Board Chair. “We share this award with all of the bright students at SOU who motivate our work and all of the dedicated employees at SOU, whose everyday efforts have contributed to this tremendous honor.

“I am deeply proud of the collaborative work our board has undertaken with our campus, our community, and our state, to advance higher education in Southern Oregon and for our Great State of Oregon.”

In less than five years, the SOU Board of Trustees has exhibited courageous leadership to advance the institution and the enduring value of higher education. During a major period of transition and a statewide higher education governance transition, the newly-formed SOU board hired a new president and revitalized community relationships.

It also collaborated with the university’s administration on a broad and inclusive strategic planning committee to adopt a new mission and create and implement a transformative strategic plan. SOU’s strategic plan aims to transform curriculum and pedagogy; addresses demographic shifts; supports sustainability and the university’s ecological bioregion; focuses on creativity and innovation; aims to create a truly diverse and inclusive campus; and highlights regional economic, cultural, and social development.

“During this time in higher education when nationwide, regional universities are facing unprecedented challenges, the SOU Board is just getting started,” Hennion said. “We look forward to building on this momentum to ensure an even brighter future for SOU.”

SOU is one of six institutions receiving this year’s Nason Award. Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees, Arizona State University Enterprise Partners Board of Directors, Loyola Marymount University Board of Trustees, McDaniel College Board of Trustees, and Parker University Board of Trustees also are honorees.

“The AGB Nason Award recognizes boards that demonstrate exemplary and courageous leadership to advance student success and institutional vitality,” said Henry Stoever, the president and CEO of AGB. “We congratulate Southern Oregon University and look forward to honoring them before their peers at our national conference.”

The SOU Board of Trustees will be honored at AGB’s 2020 National Conference on Trusteeship in Washington, D.C., on April 5-7.  AGB also will present the award to SOU’s Board of Trustees on April 21, at the next regular meeting of the SOU Board.

The Nason award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. Learn more about AGB’s Nason Award at


SOU's Lock-In event for criminology students is Friday

19th annual “Lock-In” brings police to teach at SOU

SOU’s Criminology and Criminal Justice students will get plenty of hands-on training when representatives from a variety of local law enforcement agencies will be on campus to present workshops at a “Lock-In” event on Friday (Feb. 28).

The 19th annual Lock-In will draw on the expertise of agencies including the Ashland and Medford police departments, Oregon State Police, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County District Attorney’s Office and the Army National Guard. They will be on campus to raise awareness on criminal justice issues and host a variety of learning scenarios, which will run from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and from 3:35 to 6 p.m.

A large police presence will be visible primarily in and around Taylor Hall and the Stevenson Union. Sessions will be held in the Rogue River Room, where officers will present workshops on topics such as gunshot and traumatic injury control, active shooter scenarios, K9 demonstrations, crime scene investigations, explosives units and more.

Simulation notices will be posted on the buildings, along the perimeter of the area and in each room where a simulation is held.

The Lock-In provides opportunities for networking and camaraderie, along with practical training. To sign up students can pay a $10 fee or can get 1 credit by enrolling in the 1/2 day class CCJ 199.

Those with additional questions may contact criminology professor Tiffany L Morey.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU Digital Cinema launches Crew Experience

SOU Digital Cinema program launches “The Crew Experience”

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Digital Cinema program has launched its new “Crew Experience” initiative with a crowdfunding campaign through the SOU Foundation on IndieGoGo. The campaign had raised more than a third of its $6,000 goal in less than 24 hours.

Crew Experience is the benchmark project of juniors and seniors in SOU’s Digital Cinema bachelor’s degree program. Students earn 12 upper-division credits in a 10-week production immersion –leaving the classroom behind to learn on location in a professional filmmaking environment, under the supervision of faculty and industry mentors.

This year’s Crew Experience project will be “Eight and Sand,” a short film set partly in a fictional family-run theme park called Train Town. The film – a story of two half-sisters trying to honor their mother’s dying wish – will be submitted to various film festivals.

The one-of-a-kind Crew Experience immersion training will prepare students for “below-the-line jobs” – or production work – in the film and television industry. It is the only such academic program in the Pacific Northwest.

“The fact that this exists here – in southern Oregon, in a smaller school – is fantastic,” said Randy Cordray, a veteran television producer whose credits include “The Office,” in a recent interview with SOU’s The Siskiyou student newspaper.

Students in the Digital Cinema program’s Entrepreneurial Producing class have launched the crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo themselves, in cooperation with the SOU Foundation. Crowdfunding for independent cinema is considered an essential professional skill. All contributions to the campaign are considered tax-deductible donations in support of SOU’s educational mission.

Digital Cinema students will use money raised in the campaign to cast union-represented talent, secure filming locations and pay for props, set dressing and wardrobe. It will also be used to buy digital storage space, feed the cast and crew, score and license music for the film, and send the completed project to film festivals.

The Crew Experience is designed to emulate, as closely as possible, a large-scale professional production.

SOU’s Digital Cinema program offers a world-class film school education at an affordable price and with no portfolio requirement for admission. The program is hands-on, student-centered and focused on cultivating career pathways for students. “Moviemaker” magazine has named Ashland a “best place to live and work as a moviemaker” for seven consecutive years.

For more information about Crew Experience: contact Andrew Gay, an associate professor at SOU and coordinator of the Digital Cinema program, at (541) 552-6669 or


SOU is designated as military friendly

SOU added to Military Friendly School list by VIQTORY

SOU has been designated a Military Friendly School by Viqtory, a veteran-ownd marketing company that connects the military community to civilian employers, and educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Viqtory’s Military Friendly awards are given to schools, nonprofits and companies that meet their data-driven assessments and take their proprietary survey. The difficulty of the survey increases each year due to improved methodology, criteria and weightings. This year’s list includes 695 colleges, universities and trade schools that exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience or spouses.

“This designation places SOU on the lists that our transitioning service members will see as they leave service,” said Kevin Stevens, director of the university’s Veterans Resource Center. “It reflects positively on the university community as well as our greater community, as places that veterans, military and their families can achieve academic and personal success.”

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 was also the first Oregon university to adopt the Military Order of the Purple Heart proclamation on Nov. 27, 2019. President Linda Schott pledged the university’s support to military veterans and placed SOU on the Purple Heart Trail, a symbolic system of roads, highways, monuments and cities that give tribute to those awarded the Purple Heart.

“(The military-friendly designation) is a great step forward for the university,” Stevens said. “This shows that we meet the minimum standards for the military-friendly designation, however, my plan is for SOU to continue to rise in the rankings as one of the top military-friendly universities for students in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the country.” 

Higher ranking designations include Bronze, Silver, Gold and the coveted Top Ten awards.

SOU’s Military Friendly Rating breakdown rates the university in six areas: academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and assistance, graduation and career, and military student support and retention.

The 2020-­2021 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU President Linda Schott to discuss uncertainty in higher ed

SOU president to discuss higher ed “uncertainty” in campus lecture

Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott will lead a discussion of uncertainty in higher education as the university’s Campus Theme lecture series continues this week.

President Schott’s talk – “Uncertainty: The Only Certainty for Higher Education” – will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the SOU Art Building’s Meese Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Her presentation is the fourth in this year’s Campus Theme lecture series, which is examining uncertainty in a variety of fields.

President Schott’s discussion will outline some of the uncertainties facing higher education in an age where change is constant.

With technology advancing at an exponential rate, she has advocated making SOU “Oregon’s university for the future” by focusing on the human skills that set us apart from technology – such as creativity, communication, cultural understanding and ethical decision-making.

She has encouraged faculty and staff at SOU to be explore and participate in the evolution of learning technologies. She has taken steps to include adult learners and non-traditional students in the academic mix at SOU to offset the nationwide demographic decline of traditional college-age students.

President Schott has also encouraged belt-tightening measures, pursuit of innovative revenue-producing programs and a re-examination of Oregon’s higher education funding model in response to the continued uncertainty of state support for public universities.

President Schott received her bachelor’s degree in history and German from Baylor University, and her master’s degree in history and doctorate in history and humanities, both from Stanford University. She taught at three Texas universities and held administrative positions in Michigan and Colorado before taking her first presidential post in 2012 at University of Maine at Presque Isle.

She is midway through her fourth year as president of SOU, focused on preparing students for the opportunities and uncertainties that lie ahead, and providing them with tools to lead successful lives of purpose.

The common premise for this year’s Campus Theme lectures is “uncertainty.” The first lecture in the series was by Stanley Crawford, who talked about his legal fight against a large garlic importing company. The second lecture was by Cailin O’Connor, who discussed the spread of misinformation and the inherent uncertainty of our beliefs. The third lecture, by SOU French professor Marianne Golding, followed the uncertain journey of three young Jewish refugees from Germany and Czechoslovakia and the women who helped them escape from German-occupied France.

SOU bachelor of fine arts cohort "the Frenzies"

Entire cohort of SOU bachelor of fine arts students perform in L.A. and gain internships

The 2019 cohort for Southern Oregon University’s bachelor of fine arts in performance program will get more than degrees after completing their requirements last month. All 16 members of the BFA program performed a thesis showcase in December, first on the SOU campus and then at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, California.

And all 16 have secured internships at either the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

“Performing our thesis showcase in L.A. was a peek into the work it takes to put on your own show and let people see it,” said Taya Dixon, one of the actors who participated in the performance. “I now feel better prepared to produce my own art in a place like L.A., which makes me excited and more at ease to jump into the professional world.”

Jackie Apodaca, the head of performance for SOU’s Theatre’ program, redesigned the BFA-performance program’s thesis requirement several years ago. In place of a thesis paper, students now work collaboratively to create an industry-style acting showcase for a local audience.

This year, Apodaca led the senior BFA cohort – who call themselves the “Frenzies” – on the trip to Southern California, where they performed for friends, family, alumni and industry guests. 

In addition to booking the performance at Miles Memorial Playhouse, Apodaca was able to help the Frenzies find local internships and fellowships with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. Both have close relationships with the SOU Theatre program.

“We often place every BFA student in a professional internship upon graduation,” Apodaca said. “It’s exciting to know our graduates are consistently going straight into the profession. This success distinguishes us from many regional undergraduate programs that offer, frankly, less for more.”

The BFA is a pre-professional degree with a declared area of emphasis in either performance, design, technology or management/direction. Admission into the BFA program is through audition, interview, and/or portfolio presentation, and requires two years in residence and acceptance into an undergraduate theatre major. For more information about audition/interview guidelines and dates, you can contact the Theatre Office.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to work for a professional theatre company right out of college,” said Annie Murrell, another member of the Frenzies. “Especially one with as renowned a reputation as the Cabaret. I feel prepared for life as a working actor in a way I never could have without receiving a formal education in theatre and performance.”

The full 2019 BFA cohort – the Frenzies – are Austin Ewing, Quinci Lytle-Freeman, Hunter Sims-Douglas, Wren Eustis, Taya Dixon, Bucanan Howard, Lauren Taylor, Carlos-Zenen Trujillo, Galen James-Heskett, Annie Murrell, Sam Campbell, Rachel Routh, Angela Hernandez, Sean Boulton, Meghan Nealon and Corey Renfree.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Nonprofit management MBA students at SOU graduate with skills that nonprofit employers seek

SOU’s MBA for nonprofit management ranks among nation’s best

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s MBA program with a concentration in nonprofit management has been ranked among the best such programs in the U.S. by a student-focused online guide.

The website rated SOU’s nonprofit management MBA at No. 10 on its list of the best 25 programs in the nation. The website also lists the SOU program as its “Best in the Northwest” selection.

“We evaluated each program based on reputation, outcomes, flexibility, faculty and cost, then calculated an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each,” the Seattle-based website said. “Our top picks for the best online MBA in nonprofit management programs are a good value, well-respected and customizable.” evaluated 171 nonprofit management MBA programs based on factors including student engagement, potential return on investment and a combination of third-party evaluations. The website’s 2020 research guide, which is based on its assessments of 1,604 accredited colleges and universities, ranks dozens of academic programs – including 55 types of business degrees or certificates, 10 of which are MBA programs with various concentrations.

SOU offers on-campus MBA programs with concentrations on finance, accounting, information analysis and decision-making, business analytics, marketing, human resources and nonprofit management. The university also offers entirely online MBA programs with concentrations on accounting, business analytics, marketing, finance, healthcare administration and general business practices.

A certificate program in nonprofit management is offered as an on-campus or online program at SOU, for either undergraduate or graduate students. It does not require co-enrollment in a degree program – in fact, it’s one of three certificate programs at the university that can be completed without a bachelor’s degree and whose students can qualify for financial aid. The other two are SOU’s certificate in wine business and its certificate in management of human resources. bills itself as an unbiased college research platform – it doesn’t accept advertising. The website identifies top degree programs and also provides information about financial aid, internships and study strategies. Its program rankings take into account curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation and post-graduate employment.


SOU Percussion Ensemble members

SOU percussion groups to perform at prominent NYC music festival

Two percussion groups affiliated with Southern Oregon University will be featured this spring at the inaugural “Long Play” music festival – a three-day event at various New York City venues, produced by the renowned contemporary music organization Bang on a Can.

Left Edge Percussion, a contemporary percussion group in residence at SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts, and the SOU Percussion Ensemble, a student group at OCA, both have accepted invitations to perform at the May 1-3 festival in Brooklyn.

They are among nearly 50 groups that have been announced so far for the Long Play festival, with additional acts expected to be added next month. Performances are planned for at least 10 locations ranging from the opulent BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to The Plaza at 300 Ashland, an outdoor venue in downtown Brooklyn.

Left Edge Percussion, an ensemble of graduate students in SOU’s master of music performance program, is led by SOU music professor Terry Longshore. The group and its members regularly collaborate with artists of various media and are featured at festivals and events worldwide.

The SOU Percussion Ensemble, directed by Longshore and made up of students in the university’s music program, perform often on campus and elsewhere.

“Our students will perform along a star-studded cast of performers and composers at the festival, and worthy of note, we are the only university ensemble being featured at this festival,” Longshore said. “All of the other performers and composers are world-renowned professionals.”

The two SOU groups will perform “Strange and Sacred Noise” by composer and Pulitzer Prize for Music awardee John Luther Adams, who uses his music to describe the natural world and his concerns for its health. They will also perform “Ricefall” by Michael Pisaro, director of the Composition and Experimental Sound program at the California Institute of the Arts.

Bang on a Can was founded in 1987 by lauded contemporary composers Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon. Lang and Wolfe have each been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Gordon is the composer of “Natural History,” which premiered with a 2016 performance at Crater Lake by the Britt Festival Orchestra with Steiger Butte Drum, members of the SOU Percussion Ensemble and various SOU music faculty and students.

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