SOU-Kathy Park-service excellence coin

Coin of the realm: SOU recognizes service excellence

SOU has borrowed from the somewhat mischievous military tradition of the “challenge coin” to recognize service excellence on campus and support the university’s Strategic Direction II: to become an employer of choice and create a culture of service excellence to all constituents.

“Service Excellence coins” have been presented to a total of 11 SOU employees over the past couple months – most recently and visibly, to Churchill Hall administrative assistant Kathy Park during last week’s meeting of the SOU Board of Trustees.

SOU-service coin“She’s a classic unsung hero – one of those many employees working hard, mostly behind the scenes – and she does a great job,” says Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Perkinson, who joined President Linda Schott and Board of Trustees Chair Lyn Hennion in surprising Kathy with the award.

“Giving her that round metal object – also known as a coin – is just a way of saying thanks.”

The origin of military challenge coins is a little hazy, but the Wikipedia version involves an American pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines in World War I, made his way to a French outpost and narrowly avoided execution as a spy by showing his unit’s medallion.

The military tradition of carrying specific unit medallions or coins grew. It started as a way to reinforce pride in the military unit, then morphed into a way for military commanders to recognize excellence. One member of a unit can also challenge another member to show his or her coin at any time.

Perkinson says the coins are being used by senior leaders at SOU to reward outstanding achievement, attitude or behavior, and to help build a culture of service excellence across campus. They are sometimes awarded privately, with a handshake and a thank-you, and sometimes more formally or publicly – as was the case at last week’s board meeting.

The face of the coins bear an SOU emblem and the back is inscribed with four of the elements that have been identified as critical in promoting service excellence at SOU: knowledge, teamwork, accountability and quality service.

Pollinator Friendly

Cool School: SOU named nation’s top pollinator-friendly campus

NEWS RELEASE

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University – which became the original Bee Campus USA three years ago – has been named the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college by the Sierra Club, as part of its annual “Cool Schools” rankings.

“Besides the fact that the campus boasts more than a dozen pollinator gardens, professors have taken students out to create bee habitats for the campus farm and to collect native flower seeds to sow the in arboretum,” the Sierra Club wrote of SOU.

The environmental group picked what it considered to be the top 14 schools out of 50 campuses across the country that have been certified for the Bee Campus USA list, administered by the Bee City USA organization. SOU topped a Sierra Club list that included both small and large institutions – including Georgia Tech (No. 2), University of Missouri, Columbia (No. 10), Auburn University (No. 11) and University of Central Florida (No. 14).

“Student engagement between the environmental science students and the Landscape Department at SOU has made it possible for us to change the culture surrounding the urban campus environment,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscaping superintendent.

“Where we once tended manicured lawns, we now tend pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat,” he said. “We are adapting to the changing climate by making the SOU campus landscape a resilient and safe place for pollinators and other forms of wildlife.”

SOU is now one of four Bee Campus USA schools in Oregon, but is the only one to make the Sierra Club list. The University of Oregon, Portland State University and Portland Community College are the state’s other Bee Campus USA institutions.

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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SOU Trustees

New slate of officers named for SOU board

NEWS BRIEF

(Ashland, Ore.) – Lyn Hennion, an original member of Southern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees, has been elected to serve as the board’s second-ever chair. Her term as chair began July 1 and will continue for a year.

Paul Nicholson, another trustee who has served since the board was empowered by the Oregon Legislature three years ago, will serve as vice chair for the coming year. Nicholson previously served as chair of the board’s Finance and Administration Committee for three years.

Trustee Bill Thorndike served as board chair since the board’s 2015 inception, and Hennion was the 2017-18 vice chair. Thorndike did not seek a fourth year in the lead position, but remains a member of the 15-person board.

The board chair and vice chair are elected by their fellow trustees. Hennion will appoint chairs to lead the board’s Finance and Administration Committee and Academic and Student Affairs Committee. As board chair, she also will lead the Executive and Audit Committee.

Five of the SOU trustees – Hennion, Nicholson and Thorndike, along with Les AuCoin and Steve Vincent – began their second full terms as members of the board on July 1. Sheila Clough was appointed to fill a board vacancy last year, and the Oregon Senate recently confirmed Gov. Kate Brown’s appointment of new board members Deborah Rosenberg, Jonathon Bullock, Megan Davis Lightman, Shaun Franks and Barry Thalden.

Other continuing trustees are Daniel Santos, Joanna Steinman and student Shanztyn Nihipali. President Linda Schott serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board.

For more information on trustees, visit governance.sou.edu/board-members.

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SOU Trustees Thorndike Slattery

Eleven trustees appointed to SOU Board

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) – Five new and six continuing members have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed Wednesday by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees.

The new trustees are SOU faculty member Deborah Rosenberg; Jonathon Bullock, executive director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy; organizational development consultant Megan Davis Lightman; SOU alumnus Shaun Franks, who works in the solar energy industry; and Barry Thalden, a retired architect and local philanthropist.

“The Board of Trustees is excited to welcome these fine Oregonians to SOU,” said Bill Thorndike, the board’s chairman. “The individual expertise of each will enhance and complement our board’s composition.

“We appreciate Gov. Brown’s appointment and legislators’ confirmation of these community leaders to our board,” Thorndike said. “Trustee service allows SOU to continue nimbly preparing for and responding to the changing landscape of higher education and the unique needs of our students.”

Returning to serve second terms as trustees are Thorndike, who has served as the board’s chair since its inception; fellow original board members Lyn Hennion, Les AuCoin, Paul Nicholson and Steve Vincent; and Sheila Clough, who was appointed last year to fill a board vacancy.

The terms of all new and reappointed trustees begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2022, except for that of the faculty member, Deborah Rosenberg, whose term is two years.

Outgoing SOU faculty member Dennis Slattery and community members April Sevcik, Teresa Sayre and Shea Washington are completing their service June 30 as members of the SOU Board of Trustees.

“I thank those trustees who are retiring from our board for their dedication and contributions to the good of the university,” Thorndike said. “SOU is stronger today because of their service.”

Continuing trustees are student Shanztyn Nihipali, SOU alumnus Daniel Santos of Salem and SOU staff member Joanna Steinman.

On behalf of the university, I would like to thank all of our trustees – whether new, continuing or retiring – for their commitments to serving SOU,” President Linda Schott said. “As we continue our journey of advancement at SOU, we recognize the essential role of our trustees in helping advance our higher education goals in the region and state.”

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.

Trustees are limited to serving two consecutive full terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.

New trustees

Deborah Rosenberg
Rosenberg is a professor who teaches costume design, costume construction, stage makeup and costume history in the SOU Theatre Department. She is the outgoing chair of the university’s Faculty Senate. Rosenberg served previously as costume designer and costume shop supervisor at Ithaca College in New York, and has designed costumes for the State University of New York at Brockport and at New York’s Niagara University. Her professional credits include costume designs for the Alley Theatre in Houston; the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass.; and Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Mass. Rosenberg holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Trent University in Ontario and a master of fine arts degree in costume design from North Carolina School of the Arts.

Jonathon Bullock
Bullock is executive director and co-founder of the Redmond Proficiency Academy, a Central Oregon charter school that emphasizes proficiency-based learning in a personalized environment. He served the Oregon Association of Student Councils as a counselor and motivational speaker, and is a past executive council member for the National Association of Student Councils. Bullock has also taught administrative and teacher preparation courses at Portland’s Lewis & Clark College and Concordia University. He received his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences from Oregon State University, his master’s degree in secondary education from Willamette University and his doctorate in learning assessment and system performance from the University of Oregon.

 

Megan Davis Lightman
Davis Lightman is the CEO and founder of The Davis Consulting Group, Inc., a Medford organizational development consulting firm for boards of directors and leadership teams nationwide. She has led the strategic transformations of various companies and non-profit organizations. She serves on the boards of directors of the Rogue Community College Foundation and the Chicago-based SmithBucklin management company, and serves on the Southern Oregon Leadership Council for the Oregon Community Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Tulane University and her master’s degree in organizational development from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.

 

Shaun Franks
Franks is a 2014 SOU alumnus who studied business, environmental studies and corporate sustainability. He studied renewable energy in Germany in 2011 through the SOU School of Business. As director of sustainability for student government a year later, he helped establish the SOU Green Fund, which invests student fees in local energy, water and campus sustainability projects – including three solar installations at SOU, the purchase of water offsets and creation of The Farm at SOU. Franks works in sales and marketing for True South Solar, an SOU alumni-owned local business in Ashland. He serves on the policy committee of the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association; is a founder and board treasurer of Rogue Climate, a local environmental nonprofit; and is chair of the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation’s grant-making committee.

Barry Thalden
Thalden and his wife, Kathryn, retired to Ashland in 2012, after he founded and guided the Las Vegas architectural firm Thalden Boyd Emery Architects for 43 years. The firm – which also had offices in St. Louis, Tulsa and Phoenix – specialized in designing resorts, casinos and other large-scale projects. Thalden is a retired member of the American Institute of Architects and was elected as a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects after serving as its national vice president. Since moving to Ashland six years ago, the Thaldens’ generosity has led to the flower basket program in downtown Ashland; murals outside the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and on Calle Guanajuato on the Ashland Plaza; and an Ashland-themed mural in Ashland’s Mexican sister city of Guanajuato. Their philanthropy is responsible for the new Thalden Pavilion at The Farm at SOU. Thalden received a double degree in architecture and engineering at the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in planning at the University of Michigan.

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SOU Depository Hannon Library

SOU’s Hannon Library celebrates 65 years as a free home for federal publications

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library will celebrate its 65th anniversary as a Federal Depository Library on Thursday, April 26, with a day of presentations, exhibits and an open reception. The festivities will run from 2 to 7:30 p.m.

Federal Depository Libraries are the backbone of a U.S. government program intended to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost. The U.S. government is the world’s largest publisher, and its materials are available in a variety of electronic and paper formats at more than 1,200 depository libraries in the U.S. and its territories.

SOU’s Hannon Library is one of 20 depository libraries in Oregon – 16 of them at colleges or universities. Hannon Library received the program’s Depository Library of the Year Award in 2004 for its digital collections of significant government publications about the unique Southern Oregon bioregion. Those collections will be featured in the anniversary celebration, along with displays addressing the importance of free access to government information, especially congressional information for student research.

Guest speakers at Thursday’s event will include SOU professors and students, a representative from the Bureau of Land Management and exhibiting artists from the BLM-sponsored Artist-in-Residence program in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Presentations and displays will highlight the history, geology, archaeology, biology and environmental education activities in the Cascade-Siskiyou bioregion. Speakers and exhibitors, in alphabetical order, include SOU faculty and staff members Jad D’Allura, Linda Hilligoss, Stewart Janes, Jeff LaLande, Dotty Ormes, Michael Parker, Chelsea Rose and Darlene Southworth; students Hope Braithwaite, Suphasiri Muttamara and Elizabeth Schyling; the BLM’s Christine Beekman; Ashland artist Mabrie Ormes; and Ashland photographer Matt Witt.

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SOU HECC Strategic Plan Mission

Oregon’s HECC praises SOU strategic planning work

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously approved Southern Oregon University’s new mission statement on Thursday, and its members described the university’s strategic planning work as “exemplary” and “energizing.”

A delegation from SOU including President Linda Schott was in Salem to present the university’s new vision, mission, values and strategic directions at the HECC meeting. SOU’s entire strategic planning effort won support, but commission members were required by state law only to evaluate and approve the mission statement (included below in its entirety).

“Our strategic plan is the roadmap that will guide SOU into a future filled with equal portions of uncertainty and opportunity,” President Schott said. “It defines not only who we are as members of a dynamic academic community, but who we strive to be and how we intend to achieve our goals.”

HECC member Sandy Rowe, who was editor of The Oregonian from 1993 to 2010, described SOU’s work as “outward facing – that is rare.”

“SOU has broken out of the pack,” she said.

Commission member Terry Cross, former executive director and current senior advisor to the National Indian Child Welfare Association, called the university’s mission statement “exemplary work.”

“I like the alignment with HECC,” he said. “You are helping us lead, helping us to be a better commission.”
HECC Chairman Neil Bryant, a Bend lawyer, acknowledged that he has been critical of SOU in the past but said the university “achieved focus” with its new mission statement.

President Schott, in a message to SOU students and employees on Thursday afternoon, thanked each person who has weighed in with feedback during the year-long strategic planning process, and especially those who have done the heavy lifting on the project.

“I am immensely grateful to all of you who have worked so many hours over the past year to visualize the future of our institution and craft the strategic plan that will help us realize our potential,” she said.

SOU’s new mission statement:
Southern Oregon University is a regionally-engaged learning community committed to being the educational provider of choice for learners throughout their lives.
We inspire curiosity and creativity, compel critical thinking, foster discovery, and cultivate bold ideas and actions.
We achieve student success, professional preparation, and civic engagement through service excellence, evolving technologies, and innovative curriculum.
We foster access, equity, inclusion and diversity in thought and practice.
We prepare our learners to be responsible, engaged citizens in our democracy.
We promote economic vitality, sustainability, cultural enrichment, and social well-being in our region, the state, the nation, and the world.”

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SOU Lithia Pavilion

Lithia Motors founders support athletics and academics at SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Ashland Oregon’s DeBoer family and their signature company, Lithia Motors, have been recognized for their generosity, which has made possible the completion of a new athletic pavilion at Southern Oregon University.

Lithia and the DeBoers pledged $1 million to the project – named Lithia Motors Pavilion – and another $1 million to fund scholarships for many of the student-athletes who will compete in the facility that is scheduled to open by the end of February. Several other donors are expected to give a total of $1 million in gifts for the construction project.

“The willing support of all these donors has transformed this project, and will have a lasting effect on our university,” SOU President Linda Schott said when the pavilion naming was announced last year. “The fund-raising did more than allow us to make ends meet; it enabled us to add dimension and texture to the project.”

Three generations of the DeBoer family have been among the most generous supporters of SOU. Lithia Motors – which was founded in 1946 by Walt DeBoer and incorporated in 1968 by his son, Sid – is one of Oregon’s two current Fortune 500 companies.

“We enthusiastically support the students, academic programs and athletics of Southern Oregon University,” Bryan DeBoer – Lithia’s president and CEO, and Sid’s son – said last year.

The new athletic pavilion received $22 million in bond funding from the state, but the need to demolish rather than salvage some portions of the previous athletic facility added $2 million to the project cost. The adjacent Student Recreation Center is separately funded by $17.7 million in fees that SOU students levied upon themselves.

The new pavilion’s competition gym will seat more than 1,400 fans for men’s and women’s basketball games and wrestling matches, and women’s volleyball games, along with various other athletic facilities. The Student Recreation Center will include a recreational gym, indoor running track, fitness center and climbing wall.

The combined 96,000-square-foot project is expected to receive a LEED Gold rating for sustainability.

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