SOU Bee Campus pollinator habitat

SOU earns renewal as Bee Campus USA

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University – which became the original Bee Campus USA three years ago – has been notified that its certification has been renewed for 2019 following a rigorous application process.

Colleges and universities are certified based on various criteria as “bee campuses” by the Bee City USA organization, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. SOU collaborated with Bee City USA to develop guidelines for the Bee Campus certification in 2015, after being inspired by two early adopters of the Bee City designation – Ashland and neighboring Talent.

There are now 70 colleges and universities nationwide that have earned Bee Campus USA certification, including four others in Oregon: Lane Community College, Portland Community College, Portland State University and University of Oregon.

Phyllis Stiles, the founder and “pollinator champion” of Bee City USA, congratulated SOU on its successful renewal and thanked the university for its leadership role in the effort to preserve bees and other beneficial insects.

“Most importantly, you continue to inspire your campus and community to take care of the pollinators that play a vital role in sustaining our planet,” Stiles said.

SOU was also named the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college last summer by the Sierra Club, as part of its annual “Cool Schools” rankings.

Measures taken at the university to help bees survive and thrive include a student-maintained pollinator-friendly garden, two other native pollinator-friendly beds, herbicide-free wildlife areas and creation of a Bee Campus USA subcommittee of SOU’s Sustainability Council.

Colleges and universities may apply to become certified Bee Campuses after first forming leadership committees made up of faculty, staff and students. Those selected as Bee Campuses must commit to development of habitat plans, hosting of awareness events, development of courses or workshops that support pollinators, sponsorship and tracking of service-learning projects for students, posting of educational signs and maintaining a pollinator-related web presence.

They must also apply each year for renewal of their certification.

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Harry Fuller birding in Klamath Basin

Author, birder Harry Fuller hosted at SOU by Friends of Hannon Library

(Ashland, Ore.) — Natural history author Harry Fuller, whose work includes books on birding and owls, will discuss the Klamath Basin and its birds in a presentation on Thursday, May 9, that is part of the Friends of Hannon Library Speaker Series for the 2018-19 academic year.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Southern Oregon University library’s Meese Room (#305).

Fuller will explain why the Klamath Basin is such a rich birding location, and how one of the nation’s first wildlife refuges was designated in that area. He has been leading bird trips and teaching birding classes since the 1990s. Annual trips that Fuller leads include trips in Oregon and Washington for the Klamath Bird Observatory, Road Scholar and Golden Gate Audubon.

Before retirement, Fuller managed TV and internet newsrooms in both San Francisco and London. He has lived in Oregon since 2007.

His natural history books include “Freeway Birding” and “Great Gray Owls in California, Oregon and Washington.”

The Oregon State University Press will publish a book of Fuller’s essays next year about Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, titled “Edge of Awe.” It will include his essay on common nighthawks that are seen at the Malheur refuge in abundance.

Fuller’s birding journal can be accessed online at atowhee.blog.

Friends of Hannon Library was established in 1974 by a group of SOU librarians, faculty members and interested citizens to raise money and enrich the library’s collections. The organization sponsors a lecture series each year – this year bringing a total of six speakers to campus for talks on a variety of literary topics.

Those who are visiting campus to attend Thursday’s event can park free in any SOU lot by entering the special code FHL1904 in the lot’s parking meter.

Those who need disability accommodations to participate in the event, may contact DOU’s Disability Resources office at (541) 552-6213. For more information on the event, contact Hannon Library staff at libraryevents@sou.edu or (541) 552-6816.

Campus Expo plans were developed at SOU's Churchill Hall

SOU Campus Expo 2.0 to offer glimpses of higher education future

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is wrapping up the second installment of a research exercise it calls “peering into the future of higher education,” and will share its findings with the community in a Campus Expo event on Friday.

The expo, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room, will feature presentations on seven topics that may help SOU in the implementation of its Strategic Plan – a blueprint for the university’s future.

The expo is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the general public. Refreshments will be served.

“As we completed our strategic planning, I promised that our plan would be dynamic – not one that would sit on a shelf and collect dust,” SOU President Linda Schott said when she announced the current round of research to campus.

“As the (implementation) work has proceeded, it has become clear that we need to do additional thinking about some of the ideas and issues in the plan,” she said.

Seven 10-minute reports at Friday’s expo will cover higher education trends and projections in the areas of financial stability, institutional collaborations, upper division education, general education, generating certifiably creative graduates, increasing learner satisfaction and success, and achieving lives of purpose.

About 80 faculty and staff members volunteered to split into seven “professional learning communities” and research those topics over the past two months, and will offer their findings at the Campus Expo. Audience members will then have an opportunity to discuss each presentation with others seated at their tables.

President Schott introduced the concept of professional learning communities two years ago to set the stage for SOU’s year-long strategic planning process. Seven groups formed at that time examined optimum learning spaces, who future students may be, how people best learn, how students are taught before arriving on campus, how advances in technology will change teaching, how to prepare graduates for jobs that don’t yet exist and how higher education will be sustained in the future.

The findings from that round of faculty-staff research helped to define the university’s new vision, mission and values, and the “strategic directions” that are now being implemented. Information from the current studies will help to maintain, focus and expand the implementation process.

White papers from both the 2017 professional learning communities and the groups that conducted this year’s research will be available following Friday’s expo on the university’s strategic planning website.

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China's Cangdong village, where many Chinese migrants originated (photo courtesy of Stanford University)

SOU archaeologists participate in study of Chinese migrants’ homeland

(Ashland, Ore.) — Three members of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) have participated in a three-year, international project to investigate everyday lives of 19th century Chinese migrants both in the U.S. and their Chinese homeland.

The Cangdong Village Project – which was confidential until this month – was led by Stanford University and involved researchers from at least seven U.S. universities and one in China.

“This important project marks the first-ever archaeological study of its kind, and we are so excited that SOU was able to play a role in this milestone transnational research project,” said SOU research archeologist Chelsea Rose, who served as a crew chief.

Her work on the project involved multiple trips over the past couple years to Cangdong village in southern China’s Pearl River Delta region – part of a five-county area that was home to most of the Chinese who migrated to the U.S. during the 19th century.

Rose serves as a research faculty member in the SOU Laboratory of Anthropology, where her focus is on archaeology of the American West – particularly the dispersal of an early Chinese migrant population in Oregon. She has been involved in the Stanford-based Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, which led to the Cangdong project.

She was joined on the Cangdong project by fellow SOULA employees Katie Johnson-Noggle, who served as the project’s cartographer and graphic designer, and Tyler Davis, who worked as a field researcher.

The project examined the practices of Cangdong Village residents during about a 50-year period in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Migrants from the area left to escape violence and economic hardship, and arrived in the American West to work in mines and railroads. They established flourishing Chinatowns throughout the region until many were forced to flee again by anti-Chinese violence and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Researchers at Cangdong village found a variety of Chinese ceramic bowls, some of which matched bowl types that have been found at railroad camp sites in the U.S. They also excavated British-made ceramic plates and American-made medicine bottles and clothing from the migration period.

Rose and other researchers have excavated sites where Chinese migrants lived and worked in Oregon and elsewhere in the U.S. West, but the areas from which they migrated had not been studied until Stanford initiated the international research effort. Stanford University was established with much of the wealth that Leland Stanford earned helping to oversee construction of the western half of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

A total of 27 archaeologists, anthropologists and others are listed as team members for the Cangdong Village Project. Participating institutions include SOU, Stanford, China’s Wuyi University, University of New Orleans, University of Massachusetts at Boston, San Francisco State University, Humboldt State University and Durham University.

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Kim Stafford, Oregon poet laureate

Oregon’s poet laureate to speak at SOU Friends of Hannon Library event

(Ashland, Ore.) — Kim Stafford, Oregon’s poet laureate, will read and discuss his work in an SOU presentation on Thursday, April 18, that is part of the Friends of Hannon Library Speaker Series for the 2018-19 academic year.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the library’s Meese Room (#305).

Stafford is an associate professor at Portland’s Lewis & Clark College, and is founding director of the school’s Northwest Writing Institute. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed him last May to a two-year term as Oregon’s ninth poet laureate – “an ambassador of poetry across the state.”

His father, William Stafford, served as Oregon’s fourth poet laureate from 1975 to 1990.

Kim Stafford grew up on Oregon, Iowa, Indiana, California and Alaska as his parents taught in various locations. He received his doctorate in medieval literature from the University of Oregon and has been a member of the Lewis & Clark faculty since 1979.

Stafford has wrtten a dozen books of poetry and prose. His most recent book, “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do,” examines his brother’s death by suicide and his family’s struggle to cope with and live beyond the tragedy.

Stafford’s 1986 book, “Having Everything Right,” won a Western States Book Awards citation. His work has also been recognized with creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Governor’s Arts Award contributing to Oregon’s literary culture.

Friends of Hannon Library was established in 1974 by a group of SOU librarians, faculty members and interested citizens to raise money and enrich the library’s collections. The organization sponsors a lecture series each year – this year bringing a total of six speakers to campus for talks on a variety of literary topics.

Those who are visiting campus to attend Thursday’s event can park free in any SOU lot by entering the special code FHL1903 in the lot’s parking meter.

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Ashland wildfire smoke

SOU Research Center smoke survey shows mixed views

(Ashland, Ore.) — Most tourists who visited southern Oregon during the smoky summers of 2017 and 2018 plan to return for future trips, but a majority will modify their plans to account for the possibility of more smoke, according to a new survey by the Southern Oregon University Research Center (SOURCE).

SOURCE’s 39-page “Southern Oregon Visitor Smoke Survey” is one of two reports that were combined by Travel Southern Oregon to create the booklet, “Southern Oregon Wildfire and Visitor Perception Study.” The SOURCE survey was emailed to 8,449 people who visited southern Oregon during the summers of 2017 or 2018, and 1,905 completed the questionnaire – a response rate of 22.5 percent.

“We at SOURCE are very excited about our survey results,” said Eva Skuratowicz, director of the independent, self-supporting research arm of SOU. “We believe that it is the first rigorous, methodologically sound research about southern Oregon visitor behavior and wildfires (and) smoke from wildfires.”

Both the SOURCE study and the second report – a focus-group study with visitors from Portland and San Francisco, conducted by a Portland business consulting firm – were funded in part by a grant from the Oregon governor’s office and administered by the travel bureau.

Travel Southern Oregon’s findings were presented last week to Oregon’s congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., and will also be shared with state legislators.

Smoke from last summer’s wildfire season resulted in 26 canceled or impacted outdoor performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and $2 million in lost revenue. Visits to Crater Lake National Park dropped by 14 percent in July and August, compared to previous summers, and a wide variety of business owners reported lost sales that were attributed to the smoke.

The SOURCE smoke survey sampled the perceptions of visitors to two geographic regions in southern Oregon: Medford/Ashland; and an area encompassing the Klamath Basin, Middle and Upper Rogue River, and the Umpqua Valley. The regional reports produced similar patterns of results.

About 85 percent of those who visited either of the areas intend to return for future visits to southern Oregon, but about 72 percent said they would take into account wildfire smoke in deciding when to visit. A majority of those said they will not visit when there are wildfires or smoke in the region, and several said they would consider visiting in seasons other than summer.

A total of 541 respondents in the smoke survey chose to answer a final, open-ended question that asked for any other relevant comments. Of those, 144 did not consider wildfire smoke to be a deal-breaker when deciding whether to visit the area again.

“We saw two plays at the Bowmer theater but chose not to see the plays at Ashland High School,” said one respondent who came to Ashland to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

“We did enjoy some lovely meals in local restaurants and shopped a little, but could not fly fish, ride bikes or hike as we usually do,” the same person wrote. “We usually visit every-other year and love the area. We have been coming to Ashland for 40 years and anticipate coming back.”

However, 91 of those who answered the final question considered the smoke a significant problem and said they would travel elsewhere or alter their southern Oregon itineraries because of wildfire concerns.

“I know you can’t control fires, but they made for an unpleasant portion of our trip,” one person said. “I did, however, enjoy my visit to the southern Oregon coast.”

Another respondent planned to “move our visits earlier in July – trying to plan around possible smoke.”

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SOU Digital Cinema in studio

HECC gives green light for launch of Digital Cinema degree at SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission gave final approval today for a new Digital Cinema degree program that will begin this fall at Southern Oregon University and prepare students for careers in film and other forms of visual media.

Members of the HECC, whose approval is needed for all new degree programs at the state’s seven public universities, OK’d the SOU program (https://sou.edu/academics/digital-cinema/) without discussion. It had previously been reviewed and endorsed by both the SOU Board of Trustees and the state universities’ provosts council.

“We’re excited to finally offer a major for the students out there who are looking for a ‘film school’ education,” said Andrew Gay, the program coordinator and associate professor of digital cinema at SOU.

“But we also know that today’s student filmmakers need to be prepared for all kinds of visual storytelling careers that go beyond the traditional ‘film school’ format,” he said. “Here at SOU, students will get that immersion in both worlds — in traditional filmmaking and in new digital worlds like streaming television and virtual reality.”

The new major will build upon the success of the existing Digital Cinema concentration within SOU’s Communication major, while introducing several new courses and immersive experiences for student filmmakers – including required coursework related to innovation.

The program’s centerpiece is a new, 12-credit spring immersion called “The Crew Experience,” in which student filmmakers will spend an entire term learning on location, collaborating under the supervision of experienced professionals on the sets of a significant film projects. Students will apply and interview for their crew positions based on the experiences, skill levels and portfolios of work they have developed in preceding classes.

No other film or media program in the Pacific Northwest offers such an experiential approach to professional production training.

Curriculum for the new program was designed with input from an advisory council of current and former students, film and media industry professionals, and experienced educators in the field. It was designed with both state and regional employment trends in mind.

“Economic diversification is key to the health and wealth of southern Oregon, and the media production sector is a promising target for growth in this region, based on existing assets and infrastructure,” said State Sen. Jeff Golden, who served on the new program’s advisory council.

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SOU-Universidad de Guanajuato agreement signed

SOU and Universidad de Guanajuato pledge to build upon 50-year friendship

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University and the Universidad de Guanajuato officially renewed a friendship that has been built over the past 50 years when the institutions’ leaders pledged Monday to broaden their collaboration over the next half-century.

SOU-UG presidents sign agreement“Today’s agreement is to reaffirm our commitment to the exchange of students and faculty,” SOU President Linda Schott said at the ceremonial re-signing of a memorandum of understanding between the schools. “Our goal for this 50th anniversary celebration is to build an even firmer relationship.”

Delegations from the city of Guanajuato and its namesake university are in Ashland this week for a series of events to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Ashland-Guanajuato sister city and sister university relationships. President Schott and other SOU leaders hosted their Universidad de Guanajuato counterparts for breakfast on Monday, then toured a “unity” themed exhibit at the SOU Art Building before reassembling for the signing ceremony.

UG Rector General Luis Felipe Guerrero Agripino – the equivalent of president at a U.S. university – said he hopes to honor the two universities’ history of cooperation by expanding upon it.

“Imagine, 50 years ago we didn’t have the technology and all the ways we have to communicate now,” he said. “So there is no excuse. The best way to celebrate the 50th anniversary is to commit even more to the relationship we have.”

More than 1,000 students, faculty members and others have participated in exchange programs between the two universities and the cities of Ashland and Guanajuato, and some families from the Mexican city have been involved for three generations.

Beatriz Navarro-Parada, the Mexican consulate general for Oregon and southwest Washington, attended Monday’s ceremony and pledged the support of her office in any future collaborations.

“Please count on the consulate to help with your relationship,” she said. “We will work together.”

The 50th anniversary celebration will continue with events including an invitation-only reception and concert for the Guanajuato delegation on Tuesday night at the SOU Music Recital Hall, and a free, public lecture series on Thursday morning in the SOU Art Building’s Meese Auditorium.

President Schott and a small delegation from SOU visited Guanajuato a year and a half ago, and a larger group from Ashland and the university will continue the 50th anniversary celebration in the central Mexican city from May 27 to 31.

Guerrero Agripino, the UG rector general, joked on Monday that the two universities’ relationship is so solid that they sometimes mirror each other.

“On the visit we had, when we hosted Dr. Schott (in Guanajuato), we had rain. This is to prove to you that we are very well aligned,” he said, motioning toward a window in the Hannon Library and a downpour outside. “We can create the same conditions.”

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SOU Spring Powwow 2018

SOU Native American Student Union’s spring powwow returns to campus

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’sNative American Student Union and Native American Programs will share their culture with campus and the community at the 27th annual Spring Powwow on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14 at SOU’s Lithia Motors Pavilion.

The event will return to the SOU campus this year, after being held for the past few years at Phoenix High School.

The spring powwow is expected to attract hundreds of participants and spectators through the weekend, providing a glimpse of Native American culture.

The event will feature displays and demonstrations that include drumming, dancing and cultural sharing from tribes throughout the Northwest. Dancers will perform and Native American arts and crafts will be available.

The grand entry ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and at noon on Sunday.

The family-friendly powwow is free and open to the public. No alcohol or drugs will be permitted. Lithia Motors Pavilion, located just south of the university’s football stadium, features a 1,400-seat gymnasium.

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Ashland mural in Guanajuato

Ashland, SOU mark 50 years of Guanajuato “sister” relationships

(Ashland, Ore.) — Delegations from Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Universidad de Guanajuato will visit Ashland and Southern Oregon University in April to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their sister city and sister university relationships.

The celebration will include a formal renewal of the partnerships between the cities and universities, and is seen as an opportunity to recommit to the ideals that inspired the relationships in 1969.

“I hope each of us will see this 50-year anniversary as a waypoint at which we can pause, reassess and re-energize before continuing our journey together,” SOU President Linda Schott said in a statement to celebration participants. “Let’s contemplate the future, how our partnership relates to our changing world and what steps we should consider to keep our efforts fresh and relevant.”

On the university side, the multi-day celebration will be highlighted by an invitation-only reception and “gala concert” at the SOU Music Recital Hall on the evening of Tuesday, April 9. The concert will feature four new commissioned works from faculty at Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, along with a composition by Javier Gonzalez Compean from Guanajuato.

Other university events involving the delegation from Guanajuato include breakfast, ceremonial re-signing of the sister university memorandum of understanding and an SOU campus tour on Monday, April 8. Universidad de Guanajuato Rector Luis Felipe Guerrero Agripino, who has a particular interest in crime prevention, will meet with faculty from SOU’s psychology and criminology departments.

Activities on Wednesday, April 10, include professional development opportunities for SOU faculty and members of the Guanajuato delegation, on the topics of transforming teaching and becoming universities for the future. There will also be an event at the International Peace Flame at SOU’s Thalden Pavilion.

The cooperative link between the two cities and the two universities is unique. Guanajuato is closer in size to Eugene than to Ashland, and Universidad de Guanajuato – which is larger than any university in Oregon – has sister university relationships with more than 300 other institutions worldwide.

But the Ashland-Guanajuato relationships – between both the cities and universities – were the first for each entity. More than 1,000 students, faculty members and others have participated in exchange programs and some families have been involved for three generations. More than 80 marriages have united partners from Ashland and Guanajuato.

In addition to the university activities, Guanajuato business, city government and community representatives will have the opportunity to explore and experience various elements and amenities of Ashland. Delegates from the Mexican city will see a performance of “Hairspray” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and will celebrate the relationship with breakfasts, lunches and dinners hosted by churches, local organizations and service clubs.

The Ashland Chamber & Travel Ashland is sponsoring events at venues including the Ashland Art Center, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, Thalden Pavilion, Brickroom, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards and Mt. Ashland. The events will showcase Ashland’s economy and amenities, and some of the themes that unite Ashland and Guanajuato.

The City of Ashland has planned specific events and tours for Guanajuato’s official city delegation. The Amigo Club, a key partner in the friendship, is coordinating volunteer host families and has a large role in planning for the visit.

“Whenever I consider the sister city relationship between Ashland and Guanajuato, it warms my heart to think of all the friendships that have been built over the years,” said Sandra Slattery, executive director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. “Of course, the educational student exchange was the cornerstone for the creation of the relationship, but it truly expanded through the 50 years with the ‘people-to-people’ connections that were formed … even marriages!

“It’s been an honor, as the Chamber, to be coordinating and facilitating the steering committee for the celebration welcoming over 50 Guanajuato citizens to Ashland. May we welcome them with open arms as we work for future strengthened relationships and new partnerships to create peace and friendship in our world.”

Delegations from the city of Ashland and SOU will also participate in 50th anniversary festivities in Guanajuato from May 27 to 31.

The celebration will stretch into the summer as Ashland observes the anniversary as the theme for its 4th of July parade.

Individuals, businesses and organizations who have worked together on the celebration include the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, City of Ashland, Southern Oregon University, Amigo Club of Ashland, Ashland Art Center, Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, Ashland Fire & Rescue, Ashland Parks & Recreation, Ashland Police Department, Ashland School District, Ashland Springs Hotel, Barbara Tricarico, Brickroom, El Tapatio, Gathering Glass Studio, Grizzly Peak Winery, host families, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, Karen & Allen Drescher, La Clinica, Lloyd M. Haines, Martolli’s Restaurant, Mt. Ashland, Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church, Platt Anderson Cellars, Rogue Valley Peace Choir, Rogue Valley Roasting Co., Rotary Clubs of Ashland, ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, Southern Oregon Printing, Temple Emek Shalom, Travel Ashland and Weisinger Family Winery.

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