UO Federal Affairs News

  • Report: UO boosts the state economy by more than $1 billion

    First published in Around the O. From money brought in by students, visitors and research grants to spending on employment, supplies and construction, the UO remains an economic engine not just in Lane County but statewide, a new report shows. The university’s estimated economic footprint in Oregon was $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2017-18, according to UO economist Tim Duy, who has been producing the study for the university since 2010. That figure captures the total amount of economic activity associated with the university, which ripples outward to shape the state’s economy. However, what’s also notable is the share of economic activity generated from money that flows into Oregon from outside the state through university activities, such as federal research grants and spending by students and visitors from outside Oregon, spending that wouldn’t happen without the UO. Seen through that lens, spending by the university, students and visitors, combined with construction spending, had an economic impact of $1.2 billion. Of that, an estimated $781 million came from outside the state, injecting 15,387 jobs with $577 million in payroll into the state’s economy. Absent the influx of resources from out of state, the UO would essentially be recirculating Oregonians’ money within Oregon. While there is a benefit to that, the influx of money from beyond Oregon’s borders has a greater effect. “The University of Oregon acts as a trade-sector firm in our economy, drawing in revenue from outside the state in the form of tuition and research grants. This funding substantially contributes to the Oregon economy,” said Duy, who also is senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum. Looking at the university using a narrower definition of economic impact, the UO spent $561 million related to students and grants that came from outside its borders, generating an economic impact of $1.1 billion, including $438 million in pay associated with 11,794 jobs. Student spending After the economic boost generated by the university itself, new economic activity generated by student spending represents the second-largest contribution to the university’s effect on Oregon’s economy. Students spent $261 million on rent, food, books and supplies, and other goods; roughly half of that came from out-of-state students. That out-of-state spending generated an economic impact of $226 million statewide in the past fiscal year and supported 2,243 jobs that paid $55 million to workers. Boosted by an academic reputation that extends beyond Oregon, enrollment of nonresident students rose from 47.7 percent to 49.1 percent as the percentage of total tuition and fees from nonresidents students hit 67 percent. “A larger percentage of nonresident students boosts the economic impact of the University of Oregon because it represents a larger draw of resources from out of state,” Duy wrote in his study. Construction spending Perhaps the most visible element of the university’s economic benefit can be found high in the sky with the construction cranes that have popped up around campus in recent years. It’s been said the number of construction cranes that dot a city’s skyline represent a barometer of an area’s economic health. Using that measure, the UO is in fine shape. At times over the past year, cranes could be found on construction sites for Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, Hayward Field and, more recently, University Health Center renovations. In all, construction spending generated an economic impact of $196 million in 2017-18, with $72 million in payroll that supported 1,537 jobs. Welcome to Oregon Thanks to campus tours, commencement ceremonies, athletic events, concerts and conferences, the UO also gives a healthy boost to Oregon’s tourism industry. One only has to look on the edges of campus to see the number of lodging establishments and eateries that seek to house and nourish the many people who have the UO campus as their destination. Spending by visitors equaled $27 million, generating an economic impact of $51 million with 475 jobs and earnings of $15 million. But the university’s benefits to the economic health of Lane County and Oregon extends beyond dollars and cents, Duy added. “I think it is important to remember that the amount of spending associated with the university is really just one of the ways that we contribute to the local economy,” he said. “For example, the traditional consistency of that spending across the business cycle also helps stabilize the local economy, and that stability in turn should increase the willingness of firms to expand in the region.” Duy is author of the University of Oregon Statewide Economic Indicators, Regional Economic Indicators and the Central Oregon Business Index. He has published in the Journal of Economics and Business and is also a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and the State Debt Policy Advisory Commission. He also produces the monthly UO Index of Economic Indicators, which tracks state and regional prosperity. Duy’s economic impact study is one of several tools the university uses to measure the UO’s contributions to state and regional economies. The Oregon Impact interactive map demonstrates the fiscal and community impacts of the university on the state by geographic and legislative districts. The map is a collaborative effort between Campus GIS and Mapping, Institutional Research, and Government and Community Relations. —By Jim Murez, University Communications

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  • Interactive map shows UO’s impact across the state

    Oregon Impact 2019 map has new look, links that tell the story of the UO’s impact across the state The Oregon Impact 2019 interactive map tells the story of the University of Oregon’s impact in every Oregon county and legislative and congressional district.  This tool is now updated with a new look as well as links to the impact in communities across the state by the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program. The Oregon Impact map is a collaboration between the UO Campus GIS & Mapping team, the Office of Institutional Research, the Institute for Policy, Research and Engagement, and Government and Community Relations. The site allows users to see fiscal and community impacts of the UO by clicking on an interactive map. By clicking on a specific county, state legislative districts or federal congressional district, users can view the area’s current UO student enrollment, student aid distribution, number of alumni, vendor and employee expenditures, PathwayOregon recipients, and RARE placements in the last five years.

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  • UO’s Urbanism Next leads stakeholder briefing in Washington

    First published in Around the O on February 1st 2019. Autonomous vehicles will have wide-ranging impacts on the form and function of cities, including significant changes to urban design, transportation and municipal governance, members from the UO’s Urbanism Next program explained during a recent bipartisan forum in Washington, D.C. “Autonomous vehicles are not a transportation issue, they are an everything issue,” architecture professor and Urbanism Next Director Nico Larco said at the briefing. “We need to have everyone involved, including those interested in housing, community development and economic development. This is going to affect all of us.” The briefing, last month at the Library of Congress, is regularly convened by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois. It brings together practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders on transportation policies and practices, especially in metropolitan areas. “Transformational changes in the transportation sector require new ways for governments of all levels to pay for infrastructure,” said Rebecca Lewis, a professor in the UO School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, who serves as research director for Urbanism Next. “Less parking means less revenue, but empty seats in cars and curb drop-off zones could be new revenue opportunities.” Larco and Lewis also led a discussion about the potential role of legislators and federal authorities to help cities purposefully direct any disruptive changes that have already begun. Blumenauer and Davis joined Larco and Lewis in speaking to a room of around 100. Blumenauer hosted a congressional briefing featuring Larco in June. “Portlanders continue to lead the way as we usher in the 21st century of transportation,” said Blumenauer. “Nico, Rebecca and the entire Urbanism Next team are doing critically important work to prepare cities for changes in automation, sharing and e-commerce. I look forward to continuing to work with them to promote more livable and equitable communities.” Urbanism Next is a center created by faculty members in UO’s Sustainable Cities Initiative and UO Portland, with support from the UO Presidential Fund and UO Portland. The center provides information, applied research and direct assistance to municipalities on the effects of emerging and fast-developing technologies that matter for cities, such as autonomous vehicles, small-footprint modes of transportation such as scooters and bikes, e-commerce, and the sharing economy. UO faculty members were also in Washington, D.C. to participate and present at in the annual Transportation Research Board meeting, a program of the National Academies of Sciences. Larco and Lewis were joined at the conference by UO professors Marc Schlossberg and Anne Brown. “The presentation in Washington demonstrated that the production of new knowledge isn’t enough,” said Schlossberg, professor in the UO School of Planning, Public Policy and Management and co-director of the UO’s Sustainable Cities Initiative. “Getting that knowledge into the hands of people who can put it into practice is equally critical.” Working with Blumenauer, Urbanism Next is proposing a national clearinghouse, where stakeholders and city planners can find comprehensive, organized and vetted research on the effects of emerging technologies on cities, including design of transportation systems and neighborhoods, as well as impacts on real estate, municipal finance, and issues of equity, health and the environment. Blumenauer noted that U.S. Rep. DeFazio, a Democrat who represents Oregon’s Fourth District, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is a partner in the effort to establish a clearinghouse to collect, conduct and fund research on the influences of highly automated vehicles on land use, design, transportation, real estate and municipal budgets and for other purposes. —By Rachael Nelson, University Communications

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  • Students, faculty feel effects of government shutdown

    First published on the dailyemerald.com on January 26th. While the longest partial government shutdown affected federal workers across the country, including IRS workers and FBI agents, some functions at the University of Oregon were hindered as well. Betsy Boyd, the University of Oregon associate vice president for federal affairs, said that while the government has been shut down a number of times in the past few decades, the latest shutdown was unique. “There’s never been a shutdown like this one,” Boyd said. “Granted it is a partial government shutdown so it does not affect all parts of the federal government, but the length, the lack of urgency about resolving it, the uncertainty about a path forward, all of that makes it atypical in my experience.” The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, 2018 over funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall, ended last Friday when Trump signed a bill that would keep the government open until Feb. 15. According to the New York Times, Trump will keep negotiating with Congress for funding a border wall. Boyd said the biggest impact of the shutdown on the university was the effect on individual students, like those whose family members didn’t receive paychecks. “I remain concerned about students whose families may not have applied for financial aid because they’ve been government employees and may now be facing cash constraints,” she said. “I hope that students in that position are talking to financial aid or student affairs because there are folks that want to help them.” Although there is a temporary reprieve, a few areas of the university have been impacted by the shutdown, and some impacts could have lingering effects. Research proposals left waiting About 80 percent of research funding granted to UO faculty comes from federal sources, according to the latest data from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation. While some agencies that fund UO research, like the Department of Education, remained open, others, like the National Science Foundation, were closed during the shutdown. This meant that researchers who proposed projects to those agencies during the shutdown had to wait to communicate with the agency and wait for their proposals to be reviewed, said Cassandra Moseley, senior associate vice president for Research and Innovation. This delay becomes especially problematic for researchers when their proposals are time-sensitive. Moseley gave an example of Forest Service efforts: “In the Forest Service right now, they’re not doing any prescribed fire or pile burning. If they miss those windows, which are usually a couple weeks a year, they’re going to wait until next year,” Moseley said. “There is a lot in the federal government that is going to wait until next year.” However, Boyd said many of UO’s researchers are reimbursed for their expenditures, so it’s not always as disruptive to research. “I think our university, because of the composition of our research program, which is especially oriented to the National Institute of Health and Institute of Education Sciences, is dealing with fewer research impacts than other institutions.” Financial aid The Department of Education, which oversees Federal Student Aid, was still open during the shutdown, said Jim Brooks, director of Student Aid and Scholarships. Difficulties did come up for some students, Brooks said, when trying to verify information for their FAFSA with other federal agencies that are closed during the shutdown. Brooks said that most of those issues were resolved when the department changed the process for verifying that information in early January of this year. Since the Department of Education is currently funded by the government, student aid payments are still being distributed, both Brooks and Boyd said. The number of students whose financial aid at UO was impacted is much smaller than at some other schools, Brooks said, because most students had submitted their FAFSA information in the fall prior to the shutdown. Brooks said other schools where more students come to campus in the winter are facing more challenges. But some individual UO students who may need documents from the IRS for their financial aid are encountering challenges, Boyd said. The financial aid office is working with those students on a case-by-case basis, she said. Brooks, who was interviewed by the Emerald before Congress and the president struck a temporary deal, estimated that the shutdown would create more difficulties for financial aid if it continued through late February, when the university begins to inform new students of their financial aid awards. “Where that might get tricky is if this shutdown goes on too much longer,” Brooks said. “I don’t think anybody anticipates the shutdown going that long, but I don’t think anyone anticipated them going as long as they’ve gone right now.” SNAP food benefits Individuals who are enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receive monthly benefits to buy groceries. Funds are usually distributed on or after the first of the month; however, benefits for February were released early on Friday, Jan. 18 due to the shutdown. “It is very important to carefully budget your food benefits through February,” Dawn Myers, SNAP program manager, wrote in a letter to those enrolled in the program. According to the Student Sustainability Center’s website, many students who are on work-study programs or who receive other aid are also eligible for SNAP benefits. While the funding for food security programs remains at least through February, there are a number of other programs through the university that can support students facing food insecurity. The Student Sustainability Center works with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and the Department of Human Services to enroll students in food assistance programs and offers a variety of other support. More information can be found at dos.uoregon.edu/food. DeFazio addresses impact on community members and military personnel A bill was passed in September 2018 to ensure that military branches under the Department of Defense would have secure funding through at least September 2019. Despite passing the bill, members of the Coast Guard that are considered essential have been required to work without pay through the shutdown because they fall under the Department of Homeland Security. According to the Student Veterans Center, about 450 people at UO have self-identified as being a member of the military or are military-affiliated. Congressman Peter DeFazio held a town hall meeting on Saturday to hear from members of the community on how the shutdown has affected them. Though the government is now open, DeFazio said, “It’s not over yet.” DeFazio commented on how a wall would not be the best way to spend money for border security. He said more funding should be spent on better technology and hiring more personnel to protect borders. He also noted that the Coast Guard, which was working without pay during the shutdown, intercepts more drugs than Customs and Border Protection at the southern border. Maria Kalnbach, the nontraditional and veteran student engagement and success coordinator at UO, said her son, a Coast Guardsman, has been impacted by the shutdown. Her husband is a retired Coast Guardsman as well, and she says she hasn’t seen an impact like this before. “It’s hard as a mom to worry about your son. Just knowing that he’s struggling to figure out how he’s going to be able to pay the rent next month and how that’s all going to work out,” said Kalnbach. While her son was on leave a few weeks ago, she said she stocked him up on groceries and helped him get a car payment delayed until he had the money to pay it. Many community organizations like churches and food banks have offered to help unpaid servicemen and women. Kalnbach said that any students facing concerns because of the shutdown can reach out to her to brainstorm and seek out resources for assistance. “The bottom line is it’s a relief that we have three weeks when people will be paid and the government will begin to have people back in their positions but it’s by no means over,” Boyd said. “So from a university standpoint, we’re continuing to pay very close attention to this. I think students or anyone that’s affected should know that their elected officials want to hear from them.” Kalnbach can be reached by email at mariak@uoregon.edu and by phone at 541-346-1160. Emily Goodykoontz contributed reporting to this story.

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  • Gen Z entrepreneurs view higher education as vital to their startups

    First published on theconversation.com Today’s college students – dubbed Generation Z – are beginning to make their mark on the workplace with a distinctly unconventional and often irreverent approach to problem-solving. In my day-to-day interactions with our students, I find that this group doesn’t only ask “Why?” they ask “How can I fix that?” And their curiosity, independence, energy and assertiveness are transforming the entrepreneurial space. These post-millennials are less like the bumbling geeks from the cast of the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley” and more in the spirit of a focused problem-solver like a young MacGyver, who would rather invent and innovate as a means to learning and discovery. What’s energizing to a university president like me is watching this transformation take place as more and more undergraduates are partnering with public institutions and fueling the next wave of ingenuity. Entrepreneurship 101 A 2011 survey by Gallup found 77 percent of students in grades 5 through 12 said they want to be their own boss and 45 percent planned to start their own business. Today, many of those students are now in college. For example, when I first met Hunter Swisher as an undergraduate plant pathology student at Penn State, he was busy turning scientific turfgrass research that he learned about in class into a commercial product and startup company. The turf of the White Course at Penn State is tended to by Phospholutions. Penn State, Author provided Swisher saw commercial potential in his professor’s research and worked closely with him to transfer that knowledge into a possible viable product. Swisher connected with the university’s startup incubator and vast alumni network, put in the work, and became a CEO of his own small business before he walked across the stage at commencement in 2016. Today, his company Phospholutions has five employees and counting and their treatment is being used on more than 50 golf courses in 10 states. Swisher is not alone in pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams while still in college. He is just one of many entrepreneurs starting their own companies by leveraging resources at their colleges and universities. Penn State, Indiana University, University of North Carolina, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan, Ohio State and other leading public institutions all have thriving entrepreneurial centers that are available to all students, as well as community members and businesses. Penn State alone has opened 21 entrepreneurial spaces across Pennsylvania, and in just two years, we’ve engaged with more than 4,500 students. Moving scientific discoveries into a breakthrough business opportunity is powering economic growth and creating jobs. Consider that nationally – in 2017 alone – the Association of University Technology Managers reported: $68.2 billion in research expenditures 1,080 startups formed 24,998 invention disclosures 15,335 new U.S. patent applications filed 7,849 licenses and options executed 755 new products created Undergraduate students at public universities are fueling this trend Traditionally, higher education has focused their investment on faculty entrepreneurs, hoping to find a breakthrough like the next Gatorade (University of Florida) or Lyrica (Northwestern University). Since universities don’t own the rights to undergraduate intellectual property, there has been less incentive to support these efforts. Until now. While we universities are taking a risk on students without a guaranteed immediate return on investment, we think the potential outcomes – for example in alumni support and building our local economies – are worth it. With their minds set on this entrepreneurial future, a common narrative has emerged that students are skipping college to start their own businesses. In reality, 8 in 10 students believe college is important to achieving their career goals. Sixty-three percent of those same students – all between the ages of 16 and 19 – said they want to learn about entrepreneurship in college, including how to start a business. Land-grant and public institutions are contributing the practical education that can contribute to economic growth and development. Indeed, generally speaking talent-driven innovation was identified as the most important factor by the Deloitte-U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Through skills training and engaged entrepreneurial experiences, students are realizing the profound impact they can have by solving a problem as well as overcoming obstacles, failures and flops – all under the umbrella of university guidance and resource support. Innovation is inspiring and a wise investment Research and education have always opened doors that benefit the nation we serve. Today, public colleges and universities are well-positioned to transform our economy and infuse it with innovation and energy. As chair of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU) newly formed Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE), I’m working with universities and our government partners to identify key areas crucial to maximizing the impact of public research universities. By the end of this year, tens of millions of Generation Zers will enter the workforce. The challenge for higher education will be how to help the world of business to better harness the many talents, energy and inquisitiveness that Generation Zers bring to the table. The many partnerships that universities have formed with entrepreneurial students serve as an important first step toward this goal. Editor’s note: this piece has been updated to reflect accurately Phospholutions’ current commercial agreements.

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  • UO physicist cheers passage of National Quantum Initiative

    First published in Around the O on December 27th. The University of Oregon stands to have a role in the development of quantum information science after President Donald Trump signed the National Quantum Initiative Act last week. The $1.2 billion initiative, which moved forward with input from the UO, promises to revolutionize everything from computing to navigation to encryption. “We applaud the passage of this critical initiative and thank everyone who supported our UO quantum group as we advanced this bill and as we move forward to great things,” said Michael Raymer, a Philip H. Knight Professor in the Department of Physics. In particular, Raymer praised UO Provost Jayanth Banavar; David Conover, vice president for research and innovation; and Andrew Marcus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, for their support in the process. Raymer and physicist Christopher Monroe of the University of Maryland co-authored the original proposals for a National Quantum Initiative. The measure, HR 6227, was signed into law by the president after the Senate gave its unanimous consent. The House of Representatives had earlier approved it by a vote of 348-11. Over five years, the funding will support federal efforts to boost investment in quantum information science and support a quantum-smart workforce. The act also creates a National Quantum Coordination Office, calls for the development of a strategic plan and establishes an advisory committee to the White House on quantum computing issues. The UO is well-positioned for a key role in the initiative. In October, Raymer and two colleagues, chemistry professor Andy Marcus and physics professor Brian Smith, received a $997,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue studies in quantum science. The UO quantum group plans to team with scientists at other universities on a proposal to create a research center, Raymer said. Additionally, he added, the UO and institutions like it can play important roles in training the next-generation workforce in quantum information science and technology.

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  • National Quantum Initiative Act heads to President for signature

    The National Quantum Initiative Act, legislation based on a proposal co-authored by UO Physics Professor Michael Raymer, has passed the House and Senate and is expected to be signed by the President.  The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics, photonics and quantum science and technology. Michael Raymer and University of Maryland physicist Christopher Monroe authored the proposal that is the basis for federal legislation first introduced July 2018. The legislation will accelerate quantum research and development at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and authorizes robust funding for these agencies.  In the media release from the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), Ed White, Chair of the NPI Steering Committee and Vice President Test, Assembly, and Packaging for AIM Photonics, said, “The Congress has acted in a bipartisan way to move our nation’s quantum technology policy forward. This critical legislation creates the comprehensive quantum technology policy our country needs to transition this exciting research from the laboratory to the marketplace. We applaud lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate for their commitment to seeing this legislation through and look forward to working with Administration officials on its implementation.” This isn’t the first time Professor Michael Raymer’s work has been recognized by a member of Congress. In October 2017 U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) recognized Raymer’s work on the National Quantum Initiative during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. In February Raymer hosted a visit by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, another Oregon Democrat and UO alumnus, to share groundbreaking photonics and quantum physics research being done by UO faculty members. 

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  • Local teachers increase equity in computer science HRVHS offers new computer science courses for all students

    First published on Hoodrivernews.com on Friday, December 7th. At Hood River Valley High School, Amy Foley and Kathryn Davis each teach a new elective class called Exploring Computer Science (ECS). It’s designed to help increase equity and create opportunities for students who may have had no prior exposure to computers. “I think it’s a really good class because everyone’s starting at the same level, especially for our school because no one has had (class) experience with computer science. So everyone in our class is at ground zero, and no one feels like you’re left behind,” said Grace, one of the students in Foley’s class. Dec. 3 marked the kickoff of Computer Science Education Week in Oregon, an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science, said a press release. Foley and Davis lead by example in this rural area of the state. Today, students are journaling, mapping-out storyboards and will begin writing HTML for their website projects, which they will create from scratch. Students are able to design a website based on their personal interests, but they won’t be using any template shortcuts so that they can learn the basics of how to write HTML, the computer language used to create the layout and appearance of websites. “I enjoyed how simple it was to understand HTML and CSS. I thought it would be complicated,” said Isaac, a student in Davis’ class. Another student, Alexandra, said, “I thought a class like this could prepare me for the future when I might want to create a website or know about programming. I could do a lot of things for myself instead of having to hire someone, and know what I’m doing.” The ECS class evens out the playing field, helping students without prior knowledge gain the computer fundamentals they need in a fun, relatable way while preparing them to succeed in whatever career path they choose, said a press release. The class is required in some of Oregon’s high schools and is offered as an elective at Hood River Valley High School. While the course is designed for all genders, looking around the classroom, one sees many girls (about a third are girls in Foley’s and a fourth in Davis’ classes), more so than in other rural areas of Oregon where they have a harder time recruiting girls for CS classes. “Traditionally, women and students of color have not been represented in ways that are proportional to school demographics,” said Jill Hubbard, CS for Oregon co-leader and president of the Oregon Computer Science Teachers’ Association. Foley said of her class, “I have a lot of female students who are really enjoying the camaraderie that has developed in the ECS classroom amongst themselves. They are excited to learn together and feel comfortable expressing themselves through projects that combine their computational thinking skills and creativity.” About 32 percent of Foley’s and 41 percent of Davis’ classes consist of minority students. When asked if she would recommend the class to other Latinas like herself, or other women of color, student Aileen said, “Yes, yes, take it! I feel like it’s not what it seems like; it’s a lot more fun. I want to do computer engineering or some type of engineering, so I find this class super helpful.” Both teachers are part of a network of school districts across the state participating in CS for Oregon, a joint university project between Portland State University, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, Cascades. According to a press release, they are committed to broadening participation in computer science by providing a welcoming and inclusive environment that is equitable, rigorous and engaging. These learning experiences are designed for all students across Oregon’s rural and urban areas, preparing them to participate actively in a digital world and economy. “Computer science is now essential knowledge to participate fully in society, and yet participation in Advanced Placement CS shows CS is the most segregated discipline by race and gender of all AP subjects in Oregon,” said James Hook, CS for Oregon co-leader and associate dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at PSU. “We have been teaching computer science in high school in Oregon for over 50 years, but more through the lens of enrichment for some, rather than essential knowledge for all,” he said. “ECS brings best practices in inclusive pedagogy and teacher professional development to the CS classroom.” Using a $1 million National Science Foundation grant award, CS for Oregon trained its first group of ECS teachers in 2018, a curriculum co-developed by Dr. Joanna Goode, CS for Oregon lead researcher and professor at University of Oregon. Partnering with 16 of Oregon’s school districts in 2018, the program will expand in 2019. “My classroom contains all rural students, (many) females, students in the racial minority, as well as students with disabilities. All students have a path to success with this curriculum, and it is easy to differentiate for learners at different levels,” said Davis.

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  • Gifts to new scholarship fund put Dreamers on path to graduation

    First published in Around the O on November 21st, 2018. For the cost of five lattes, anyone can help build a scholarship fund for Dreamers, UO students with Deferred Action Childhood Arrival status and those whose presence in the U.S. is undocumented. All it takes is a quick visit to DuckFunder for Dreamers. What’s more, all gifts also count toward matching a $75,000 challenge grant. The need is urgent, said Rosa Chavez, associate director of the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence. “One student who would be eligible for this new scholarship was working nearly full time as a freshman,” she said. “By sophomore year, the stress of trying to keep up with classes while working swing shift became too much. They haven’t been back this fall.” Keith Swayne, a 1962 economics graduate, made the gift to launch the Dreamers Scholarships. “These young Dreamers deserve access to an education so they can reach their potential as contributors to our great country, as have those who have come before them,” said the 1962 economics graduate. “We are a country of immigrants. That is at the core of who we are.” It’s common for Dreamers with work permits to hold down as many as three jobs during summers to pay for their next year’s tuition, but that doesn’t cover other expenses, said Justine Carpenter, director of multicultural and identity-based support services. “I know a student who can afford to take only one course each term,” Carpenter said. “It will be a very long road at that rate, but she is determined to succeed.” People from as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Massachusetts already have given more than $4,500 in the online drive, which aims to raise $10,000 by 10:59 p.m. Dec. 24. Many contributors note that their gift honors a friend or family member. The DuckFunder campaign kicks off the larger effort to complete the $75,000 match by June 30, 2019. To pitch in, contact Sally Dougherty, College of Arts and Sciences development director, at 541-346-3903 or sallyd@uoregon.edu. The Dreamers Scholarships are part of a university investment to ensure that all students have access to support and programming to help them be successful at the UO. This academic year President Michael H. Schill dedicated funding for staff and faculty support for the Dreamers Working Group to provide training for Dreamer allies. The UO has nearly 200 Dreamer allies who have taken daylong trainings to better understand Dreamer student needs and experiences. Those wishing to become an ally or who would like to get in touch with an ally or the Dreamers Working Group, send a message to UOdreamers@uoregon.edu. Additional resources for Dreamers and their families are available at  https://www.uoregon.edu/dreamers —By Melody Ward Leslie, University Communications

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  • 2019 State Legislative Agenda

    During the 2019 legislative session, the University, in partnership with students, faculty and staff, will pursue a legislative agenda that aims to ensure affordability, access, and success for students; deliver an excellent educational experience in an inclusive and diverse environment; and invest in faculty members to improve quality and promote academic research and innovation. Access, affordability, and completion for Oregon students Increase operating funding for Oregon public universities by at least $120 million for the 2019-21 biennium to keep tuition increases for resident, undergraduate students at UO at or below 5% for the next two years. Increase funding for state programs, which include UO’s Engineering & Technology Sustaining Funds, Labor Education Research Center, TallWood Design Institute, dispute resolution programs, Clinical Legal Education, and other signature research centers. Increase investment in the Oregon Opportunity Grant, the state’s only need-based aid program. Protect and expand funding for Sports Equity Scholarships through the Oregon Lottery, which helps UO meet Title IX requirements to equitably fund women’s athletics and provide graduate scholarships. Invest in facilities that produce high-demand degrees and discovery All seven public universities request the allocation of $65 million for capital improvement and renewal for maintenance of existing buildings and ensuring that students have safe and appropriate environments in which to learn and live. $54 million in state-backed bonds for the renovation of Huestis Hall, a 45-year old structure that is the teaching and research hub for biological sciences at the UO. It serves 3,000 students each year. It has urgent seismic vulnerabilities and accessibility and safety deficiencies. The project will eliminate nearly $19 million of deferred maintenance and protect many of the UO’s K-12 pipeline and summer STEM programs for girls and low-income students. Academic excellence and ingenuity Create a state matching fund for the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), which embeds UO students and faculty members within an Oregon city, county, special district, or tribe for an entire academic year. Students work on partner-identified projects to provide ideas for real solutions to community challenges. Many communities—especially those in more rural areas—want to participate but cannot afford it.  A matching fund would allow more Oregonians to be served. Through a one-time investment purchase a new ship for the UO’s Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, which will add teaching and research capacity on Oregon’s Coast. The UO will match the state’s investment through philanthropic gifts. Investment in the UO’s prison education programming, Inside Out, which operates in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Corrections to bring credit-bearing courses to approximately 300 inmates each year. Programs like these help reduce recidivism rates in Oregon and broaden the student experience. Support Governor Brown’s ‘Resilience 2025’ proposal that will fund the full build out of ShakeAlert by 2023. ShakeAlert is the earthquake early warning and wildfire monitoring seismic sensor network operated through the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, of which UO is an active member with other West Coast universities. Partnerships for Economic Transformation Support investments in research and discovery, including grant funding and other innovative policies or funding initiatives that leverage Oregon’s industry strengths and workforce needs with the UO’s academic portfolio.

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