Latest news from the UO

  • U.S. Senate introduces universal telehealth legislation

    August 7, 2020 05:40 pm On August 4, 2020, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act. The Act provides “temporary licensing reciprocity for all practitioners or professionals, including those who treat both physical and mental health conditions, in all states for all types of services (in-person and telehealth) during the COVID-19 response and for future national emergencies.” See Senator Murphy’s press release here. The University of Oregon has endorsed the bill, as the proposed temporary licensure would allow students to access campus mental health resources from anywhere in the U.S. That flexibility is needed for students who take classes remotely due to the pandemic. Under current law, each state licenses professionals and, in some cases, has reciprocity with other states to recognize another state’s standards. On August 5, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and fellow governors in Washington, Colorado, and Nevada announced that they will work together on telehealth issues. The UO Counseling Center COVID-19 update webpage indicates that students in Oregon, Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington have access to teletherapy services. For more information about options for mental health support, call the Counseling Center at 541-346-3227.

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  • UO ranks No. 10 in Gilman Scholars with highest number ever

    First published in Around the O on July 27th.  With 25 Ducks receiving the prestigious Gilman Scholarship this year, the University of Oregon is ranked 10th in the nation for the study abroad award and has the largest number of Gilman recipients in university history. In addition, the UO has six alternates, and one of the scholarship recipients was chosen for the new Gilman-McCain Scholarship. With a total of 59 UO applicants, the university’s success rate this year was 42 percent. “It's something we are really proud of since this is a huge accomplishment, and it shows the academic strength and international engagement of our students, said anthropology professor Josh Snodgrass, who directs the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “It also shows how we are supporting our students who are in most in need of support since this scholarship only goes to students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding.” The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards up to $5,000 for undergraduate students to study abroad. The scholarship is available to students who are currently receiving the Pell Grant, while the new Gilman-McCain Scholarship is available to dependents of active-duty military. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all recipients are given the option of changing or deferring their program to a later date. Recipients can use the award for travel-based programs beginning January 2021. Recipients can also use the award in summer or fall 2020 to participate in virtual programs, such as the #NoPassportNeeded program at the UO.  The UO Division of Global Engagement, which hosts the Global Education Oregon study abroad office, serves the UO community and 30 partner institutions. It offers more than 200 programs in 90 countries, with the option to study or intern while abroad.   “The UO is immensely proud of our 25 students who competed against top national talent to earn Gilman Scholarships,” said Dennis Galvan, dean and vice provost for global engagement. “These prestigious federal awards help defray the costs of enriching education abroad programs for students of color and from underrepresented groups. They earned UO a rank of 10th in the U.S. in Gilman awards, not factoring in university size.” Gilman recipient and Portland native Anna Mills, who is studying public relations and ethnic studies with a minor in creative writing, had planned to participate in a service-oriented program, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice in Bolivia. Her program was canceled due to COVID-19, but she will use her award when it returns next summer. “Receiving this scholarship helps me achieve a lifelong goal and passion for going abroad and applying the knowledge I learn to my everyday life,” she said. “I believe UO was ranked as the No. 10 school in the nation for Gilman recipients because it has normalized that studying abroad is achievable and something everyone should experience if they can. The support and resources are amazing.” Another Gilman Scholarship recipient, Yulissa Garcia, a senior majoring in international studies with a concentration in diplomacy and international relations and minoring in legal studies, said her success is due to the hard work and the motivation instilled in her through her family. “Receiving the Gilman Scholarship means that I will be able to literally and figuratively afford to take a step forward in my studies,” she said. ”But for my family, it means that I am able to demonstrate that hard work does pay off. I come from a family of immigrants who have endured hard labor for most of their lives, and they are my motivation to continue working hard for all the opportunities I encounter.” Galvan emphasizes the importance of accessible global education for all students, no matter their background, especially given the current focus on racial injustice in America.  “At a time when the University of Oregon, the state of Oregon, the U.S. and the world are grappling, again, with issues of racial justice, Gilman Scholarships in this remarkable number are powerful,” he said. “The more students of every color who get to know the world and the younger that Americans learn to see the peculiarity and brutality of our own racial history, the clearer it will be to see the world with new eyes and a fresh perspective.” Subject to UO travel approval, students can apply for travel-based study abroad programs leaving as early as fall 2020. The programs exceed the current standards for health and safety in education abroad. As early as January 2021, Gilman recipients can use their scholarship towards a UO study abroad program. The UO Gilman Scholarship recipients are: Kevin Aleman: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey University Exchange, Mexico. Jennifer Beltran: GlobalWorks Argentina. Sierra Burke: Hanyang University Exchange. Yacki Carrasco-Vivar: Dankook University Exchange. Jeanie Chen: Nagoya University Exchange. Celeste Concha: Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice in Bolivia. Katee Early: global economics in London with internship. Yulissa Garcia, human rights and peace studies in the Balkans. Laila Golrangi: Curtin University Exchange. Lily Hamilton: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey University Exchange, Mexico. Collin Hurley-Kemp: intensive Italian language in Lecce, Italy. Tyra Judge: global health, development, and service learning in Accra, Ghana. Lena Karam: Copenhagen Business School Exchange. Cheyenne Klamath-Williamson: sustainable development and social change in Jaipur, India. Mia LaRiccia: summer accelerated Chinese language in Tainan, Taiwan. Mariella Mandujano: gender, race and class in London. Angelica Mejia: GlobalWorks Ecuador. Anna Mills, indigenous rights and environmental justice in Bolivia. Ciera Nguyen: GlobalWorks in Vietnam. Tay Sikruttamart: urban design in Barcelona, Spain. idija Sovulj: refugees, health and humanitarian action in Amman, Jordan. Edna Ventura: GlobalWorks South Korea. Katey Williams: French immersion in Angers. Luke Wu: Waseda University Exchange. Madison Zbinden: Copenhagen.  —By Kavita Battan, Division of Global Engagement Student Life

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  • FY2021 House appropriations bills include funding for ShakeAlert, IES

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed ten of its twelve appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021.  These bills were passed in two packages, known as a “mini-bus” instead of an omnibus. The federal fiscal year begins October 1. On July 24, 2020, the House passed H.R. 7608, a $259.5 billion package consisting of four bills that fund federal departments including Commerce, State, Agriculture, Interior, and Veterans Affairs through September 2021. See the H.R 7608 Fact Sheet for a quick overview on what is included. The Trump administration released a statement in opposition to the H.R. 7608 minibus. Included in the minibus under the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is funding for the ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning (EEW) system. The House Appropriations Committee recommended $25.7 million for continued development and expansion of ShakeAlert, and encouraged USGS to continue collaborating with California, Oregon, and Washington in advancing the program.   One week later, on July 31, 2020, the House passed H.R. 7617, a six-bill package funding the federal departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Treasury Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development through September 2021 for a total of $1.3 trillion. The H.R. 7617 Fact Sheet includes a comparable overview. The Trump administration similarly opposed the H.R. 7617 minibus in a statement. Included in the minibus under the Department of Education is $630.5 million in funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Notably, the bill includes a $2 million increase for the National Center for Special Education Research to $58.5 million. While the FY21 funding constitutes a $7 million overall increase for IES from the previous fiscal year’s funding, it falls short of the APLU’s $670 million request. Two remaining appropriations bills have yet to be considered on the floor: funding Homeland Security and the Legislative Branch itself. For additional resources, see the APLU's detailed analyses of bills of interest to APLU institutions, the APLU priorities chart, and the AAU funding priorities tables.

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  • U.S. Senate introduces Phase IV COVID relief package

    July 31, 2020 10:39 am On July 27, US Senate Republicans released the much-anticipated phase IV for COVID relief. The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections, and Schools (HEALS) Act is made up eight separate bills, the package addresses a range of policy and funding issues. Some of the most relevant provisions that impact the University of Oregon and other universities include: $29.1 billion in support of higher education institutions, with allocations to each institution based on formulas related to the full-time equivalent enrollments of students receiving the federal Pell grant. The allocation counts 90 percent Pell students and 10 percent non-Pell students; the CARES Act counted 75 percent Pell/25 percent non-Pell. The US House-passed HEROES Act uses a head count approach. The legislation provides significant flexibility to institutions in use of funds and does not require a designated percentage for emergency grants to students. As a condition of receiving funding, HEALS requires states to maintain their overall support to institutions of higher education and need-based financial aid in FY20 and FY21 at least at proportional levels to state funding based on FY19 The bill provides $10.1 billion in supplemental appropriations to the National Institutes of Health for research relief, however, broad support for other research agencies is not included. The bill continues a harmful trend of excluding state entities from eligibility for tax benefits, including: No fix for the paid leave tax credit.  An enhanced employee retention tax credit that increases the reimbursement rate but continues to exclude state entities.  A new “safe and healthy workplace tax credit” to cover expenses such as testing and PPE that excludes state entities. The bill includes no support for state and local governments. The bill includes additional funds for testing.

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  • Friends of IES urge Congress to fund the research workforce in next pandemic relief bill

    July 28, 2020 10:20 am On July 21, the University of Oregon signed onto a letter urging congressional leaders to include funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the next COVID relief and stimulus funding package. The letter, signed by 21 members of the Friends of IES, including the UO and other research universities that are among the most productive IES-funded entities, asked Congress to include the $200 million for IES in the fourth emergency COVID relief bill. The bipartisan Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (HR 7308) includes a recommended authorization for these funds. A Senate companion bill was introduced last week. This funding would allow federal agencies to provide relief and flexibility for faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who have had their research disrupted by school closures. The funding would additionally ensure the continued collection of education statistics essential to monitoring the educational impacts of COVID-19 and support the development of evidence-based resources for educators and families facing an expected elongated period of continued distance learning into the upcoming school year. The letter stated “as the nation continues to grapple with the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding for IES included in the RISE Act will be helpful in informing further response to the pandemic, as well as provide relief for IES grantees who develop and test education programs to improve educational outcomes.” Higher education associations and universities have been requesting federal funding of the research workforce to prevent layoffs and lost productivity throughout the pandemic. The UO and research universities and organizations have been highly involved in these efforts: 

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  • Government walks back rule change on international students

    First posted on Around the O on July 14, 2020. The Trump administration has abandoned a plan that would have limited the ability of international students to study in the U.S., just days after the University of Oregon and 19 other schools filed a federal lawsuit challenging the move. The reversal helped resolve another suit, filed earlier by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and seeking a preliminary injunction to block the change. The agreement reinstates an earlier policy in which the administration allowed international students to remain in the country when classes are moved entirely online to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Multiple lawsuits were filed after the administration rescinded that policy and said international students could not come to or remain in the U.S. if universities held all classes online. The UO was the lead plaintiff in one of those lawsuits, which was filed Monday, July 13, in U.S. District Court in Eugene. The suit sought a temporary restraining order against the proposed rule, issued on July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security. The nationwide rule would have subjected students studying in the U.S. on educational visas to deportation should their studies pivot to remote-based instruction as a public health protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The suit challenged the federal agency’s action as arbitrary and capricious, alleging it was issued without even the most minimal attempt to address its consequences to hundreds of thousands of students and the thousands of colleges and universities that educate them. The Trump administration announced the shift earlier this month in a reversal of previous temporary guidance that had allowed international students’ education to not be disrupted by online education during the pandemic. The new rules would have forced international students to return to their home countries within 15 days if they are enrolled solely in classes taught online.

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  • UO experts submit recommendations on preparing for next pandemic to Senate HELP Committee

    On June 9, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released a white paper, entitled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic.”  The chairman called for feedback from the public on the five recommendations outlined in the paper. The area of focus are 1) tests, treatments, and vaccines; 2) disease surveillance; 3) stockpiles, distribution, and surges; 4) public health capabilities; and 5) coordination of federal agencies during a public health emergency. Researchers at the University of Oregon responded to this call. Several of the submittals emphasized the role of universities as part of preparations for the next pandemic. Public health capabilities and agency coordination: To improve state and local capacity to respond and improve coordination of federal agencies during a public health emergency, UO Chief Resilience Officer and Associate Vice President for Safety and Risk Services André Le Duc and Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) Robert Parker, alongside the IPRE’s Co-Director of Research Benjamin Clark, provided their expertise to Congress. As the founder of the Disaster Resilient Universities® (DRU) Network, Le Duc submitted a letter conveying the contributions of the nation’s institutions of higher education (IHEs) in emergency management at the local, state, and federal level. As a leader in the development of community and organizational resilience, Le Duc brought together the DRU Network and the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) in 2015 to conduct the first national needs assessment of emergency management programs at IHEs in the United States. The assessment produced five recommendations, which Le Duc urged Congress to adopt. For Le Duc, “[t]his interdisciplinary approach to campus risk management, public safety, and emergency preparedness is simple and effective; it leverages our key asset, our people, by connecting and unifying knowledge, skills, and technical assistance to address ever-changing vulnerabilities at universities and colleges.” Through their work with the IPRE, Parker and Clark wrote a letter encouraging Congress to support a number of programs and policies to assist the country in a more rapid recovery and a more resilient future, including massive investments in testing and tracing and investments in coordination of the economic recovery by increasing support for regional resiliency coordination bodies, regional business recovery centers, Economic Development Administration (EDA) university centers for economic development, and AmeriCorps.

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  • UO leads suit to block ICE international student rules

    Update: The guidance was rescinded by the federal government on July 14. The University of Oregon is the lead plaintiff in a coalition of 20 of the top institutions in the West in a suit asking the federal courts to prevent the government from revoking visas of international students whose studies will be entirely online in the fall. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene on Monday, July 13, seeks a temporary restraining order against the proposed rule issued on July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security. The nationwide rule would subject students studying in the U.S. on educational visas to deportation should their studies pivot to remote-based instruction as a public health protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. The suit challenges the federal agency’s action as arbitrary and capricious, alleging it was issued without even the most minimal attempt to address its consequences to hundreds of thousands of students and the thousands of colleges and universities that educate them. The coalition joins Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California system and Johns Hopkins University, which have also filed litigation to block the action. The coalition in University of Oregon v. Department of Homeland Security is represented by Gibson Dunn, and Crutcher, the legal team that successfully defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the United States Supreme Court in a decision issued last month. UO President Michael H. Schill said he hopes the courts will move quickly to block the action and provide more certainty to international students who face disruption, financial harm and incredible stress. “This new guidance is cruel, unfair and misguided,” Schill said. “It targets one population for sudden exclusion if a university makes decisions for safety to move instruction online. It has no sound justification in health or educational policy. Unless blocked by the courts, it will cause devastating disruption to the educational and research experience of University of Oregon international students already in the United States, as well as those looking to come to the UO.” The Trump administration announced the new guidance earlier this month in a reversal of previous temporary guidance that has allowed international students’ education to not be disrupted by online education during the pandemic. The new rules would force international students to return to their home countries within 15 days if they are enrolled solely in classes taught online. “The government’s reckless and arbitrary action not only harms these students, but also robs institutions of higher education of the autonomy and flexibility to adapt models of instruction to meet the urgent needs posed by a global pandemic,” members of the coalition said in a written statement. In the suit, UO Dean and Vice Provost for Global Engagement Dennis Galvan provided a declaration outlining how the “significant, immediate, and irreparable negative impacts on University of Oregon students and the University of Oregon as an institution” would suffer if the government adopts the ICE rules. Galvan said he has already heard from many international students experiencing extraordinary stress. That comes on top of the shared pressure of the pandemic and global efforts to grapple, again, with racial justice. “International students are vital to our success in research, teaching, and building diverse and inclusive communities,” Galvan wrote. “Whether they are studying in-person or remotely, international students provide a significant source of diversity to our community and global connections that are valuable to everyone. We are pursuing this case because all international students studying in this country deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation.” The UO had 1,871 international undergraduate and graduate students at the institution last year. International students also make up a portion of graduate students who also contribute to teaching and research at the university. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation spoke out against the guidance and urged the UO to support international students. In a statement, GTFF local 3544 said it welcomes the role the UO is taking. “This change to SEVP is fueled by xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment with complete disregard for the sacrifices many international students make to study in the U.S.,” the statement said. “International students make irreplaceable contributions to UO’s academic community through their participation in classroom discussions, their original and groundbreaking research and publications, and their work in the classroom as instructors. Our community is enriched by their presence every day.” Since the federal government announced the intent to create new ICE rules, the UO has been working with the Oregon congressional delegation and national associations of higher education to reverse the ICE guidance. To date, five of Oregon’s seven members of Congress have signed letters to Homeland Security asking that the guidance be reversed. The UO also has joined with other institutions of higher education in asking congressional leaders to codify the flexibility granted in March if government does not withdraw its guidance. The universities in the coalition are the University of Southern California, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Santa Clara University, Scripps College, Seattle University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College of California, University of Arizona, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco and University of Utah. —By Jennifer Winters, University Communications

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  • Grant will bring online science lessons to elementary students

    First published in Around the O on July 6, 2020. UO researchers will develop and evaluate a web-based science curriculum for elementary school students to supplement their in-class science learning as part of a project financed by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Project ESCOLAR, for Effective Scholastic Curriculum for Online Learning and Academic Results, will create and test online, multimedia lessons for grades three through five. The lessons will align with national standards for what upper elementary students are expected to know about science. “The goal of ESCOLAR is to deliver an online program that students can use to learn and apply science efficiently and effectively,” said Fatima Terrazas Arellanes, a research assistant professor in the UO College of Education. “Our units will be designed for the classroom and for remote learning, with students guided by teachers or parents.” Project ESCOLAR is guided by principal investigators Terrazas Arellanes and Alejandro Gallard of Southern Georgia University. Their team includes a research methodologist, science curriculum developers, a content editor, programmers, graphic designers and an external evaluator. The project builds on the research team’s previously successful online science curriculum for middle school students. The ESCOLAR approach offers students more than a digital textbook; it incorporates interactive tools and authentic science projects that have been shown to enhance and support student learning. “With the new funding, we will be able to adapt, evaluate and refine nine online science units to improve academic achievement of students studying science in upper elementary school, especially those who may struggle, such as English language learners or students with learning disabilities,” Terrazas Arellanes said.

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