Latest news from the UO

  • Knight Campus launches affiliation program to support faculty

    First published in Around the O on April 16th. Faculty members from different academic disciplines now have the opportunity to become involved with the Knight Campus through the new Faculty Affiliation Program. The Knight Campus already has established a host of programming open to the UO community, and the general UO community will be able to take advantage of a world-class facility once opened in late Spring 2020. The goal of the Faculty Affiliation Program is to create deeper faculty engagement and build on the impact of Knight Campus programs and opportunities for collaboration. The program will provide resources and organized events to support faculty members across campus and facilitate multidisciplinary teams from faculty members with overlapping or complimentary skills and interests.  The Knight Campus Affiliation Program offers two distinct memberships for UO faculty members whose primary appointment is outside the Knight Campus. Knight Campus associates are tenure-related faculty members and faculty members in the research professor classification with primary appointments outside the Knight Campus who are integrally involved with Knight Campus activities and programs. Associate members will have access to many of the research and innovation opportunities afforded to those with tenure in the Knight Campus. Knight Campus affiliates are UO faculty members of all ranks with a primary appointment outside of the Knight Campus who would like to be kept abreast of activities and programs offered by the Knight Campus through direct communication and who wish to be included as affiliated members on the Knight Campus website. Membership proposals will be reviewed quarterly for affiliates and semi-annually for associates. Appointments are for three years and are renewable. Faculty members and scholars across academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Interested faculty members should apply online by Friday, May 31. Applicants will receive notification by the beginning of July on the status of application review.    https://around.uoregon.edu/content/knight-campus-launches-affiliation-program-support-faculty

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  • Calling all Ducks: Advocates needed for UO lobby day in Salem

    First published in Around the O, UO students, alumni, faculty and staff will visit the state Capitol on May 8 to advocate for higher education funding, and Duck supporters are encouraged to sign up and take part in the event. Advocates will join campus leaders, including UO President Michael H. Schill and student body President Maria Alejandra Gallegos-Chacôn, to meet with lawmakers and make the case for the funding necessary to keep tuition increases as low as possible. Other priorities include investing in new services and programs that reduce debt, improving graduation rates, and expanding career connections. A new video explains the role of advocates at UO Day at the Capitol. “Oregonians believe that having a college degree is important to succeed later on in life, but rising student debt threatens the path to prosperity that higher education has always represented,” said Libby Batlan, associate vice president for state and community affairs. “Increasing state funding for public universities and financial aid are, without question, the biggest factors to keep tuition increases low and ensuring that all students can graduate with the skills they need to get a job.”  As the university faces significant financial challenges and is in the process of cutting $11.6 million from its operating budget, additional state investment of at least $120 million would allow tuition increases to stay below 5 percent for the next two years. Investment of an additional $186 million above current levels would create new and enhanced opportunities for financial aid for underserved student populations, academic and career advising, diversity initiatives and other wraparound services that lead to a positive college experience. The proposed budget from the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means targets the Public University Support Fund at $777.4 million, which is an increase of $40.5 million over the 2017-19 biennium. The fund is split across all seven public universities. At that funding level, the UO would be forced to consider tuition increases in the double digits on top of cuts that will affect students and employees. “The Legislature is considering historic new investments in public education this session as well as new corporate tax increases to pay for it,” Schill said. “My job, and the job of UO advocates, is to ensure that lawmakers know that without an investment in higher education, they are not truly making progress for students and for Oregon’s economy.” In addition to advocate visits with legislators, the lobby day will include orientation and training opportunities, photos with the Duck, viewing House and Senate chamber sessions and performances by UO musical groups. Transportation from Eugene can be requested when signing up. An orientation video provides additional information about the role of participants. “We know from experience that it’s students and faculty who truly make the difference,” said Ivan Chen, external vice president for the Associated Students of the UO. “We need as many people as possible to come to Salem on May 8th to advocate for our future.” All are welcome and encouraged to participate. Registration is required to attend, which can be completed online in addition to viewing a training video. UO Day at the Capitol is coordinated by UO Government and Community Relations in conjunction with the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, UO Alumni Association and the UO Student Alumni Association.   Link: https://around.uoregon.edu/content/calling-all-ducks-advocates-needed-uo-lobby-day-salem/?utm_source=UOnews&fbclid=IwAR27Eq7fIhHArbyq4H39qwvPz4zEubFgOCMrTBoL7Ohyqginu2RJF7ZCNCE   

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  • Oregon Legislature reaches first bill deadline

    The 2019 Oregon Legislature reached its first bill deadline on Tuesday, April 9. All measures had to be voted out of their first committees in order to stay “alive.” For example, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee must have moved to the floor for a vote of the full chamber, to the Rules Committee, or to the Joint Ways & Means Committee in order to remain active in the legislative process. Lawmakers are tackling big policy and budget challenges, including: Climate change: Still under debate, HB 2020 would establish a new cap-and-trade marketplace in Oregon, set a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and reduce it over time. It would also charge large polluters — including utilities, fuel importers and industrial facilities — for each ton of greenhouse gas they emit, though some entities would receive breaks. Amendments abound on this measure. Rent control: SB 608 limits rent increases and bars no-cause evictions after a tenant's first year in a building. The bill was signed by Governor Brown earlier this session. Workplace harassment: SB 726 would create new protections for employees who experience harassment or assault in the work place. The Title IX protections: In the wake of the U.S. Department of Education releasing its notice of proposed rulemaking late last year making changes to Title IX regulations, Oregon lawmakers introduced HB 3415. The bill would codify that universities must adopt written policies concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that occur both on and off campus, ensure relevant training is provided, and more. Credit transfer: SB 730 continues the state’s work on collegiate credit transfer and the creation of unified statewide transfer agreements (USTAs) that are reflected in current law as a result of the passage of HB 2998 in 2017. Dual credit: SB 800 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to develop standards for approving partnerships to provide dual credit programs. The University of Oregon’s key legislative priorities all continue to move through the process successfully. SB 949 provides $350,000 of new funding to support the UO’s prison education program. The program offers a horizon-broadening experience for “outside” students and invaluable skill-development and credit-bearing course opportunities for “inside” students, helping to reduce recidivism rates overall. SB 949 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 949’s public hearing. SB 255 would provide $500,000 in one-time state funding for the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology to purchase a new boat for research and teaching. This measure is led by legislators who represent Oregon’s coastal region. SB 255 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 255’s public hearing. SB 739 would provide $2.5 million to expand the UO’s College of Education’s Oregon Research Schools Network (ORSN) to more school districts throughout the state. The program embeds UO faculty into high schools for five years to work with teachers and students to improve high school graduation rates and student success with the newest pedagogy and resources. SB 739 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 739’s public hearing. HB 2594 would create a $300,000 state matching fund for the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), which is part of the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. The matching fund would help smaller, more rural cities partner with SCYP to help them solve public policy challenges and provide more students with experiential learning opportunities. HB 2594 moved out of the House Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Future legislative deadlines: May 15: Last state revenue forecast before final budget decisionsMay 24: Second chamber work session deadline (AKA lots more bills die)June 30: Constitutional Sine Die

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  • University presents budget options to Ways & Means

    The University of Oregon, along with the six other public universities, made their case on March 28 to the Legislature’s key budget-writers about why investment in operating funding for college students is critical to a bright future for Oregon. The universities’ presentation focused on the student experience; gaining admission to, paying for, and graduating from college in 2019. We worked to highlight for lawmakers the stark differences between the financial realities of higher education today versus 20 or 30 years ago when many of them were in school. In 1976, for example, annual tuition and fees at a four-year, public university was just more than $1,200 a year. Today, that’s approximately what a student would pay each month for a one bedroom apartment in an urban area like Portland. Universities highlighted the dramatic increase in institutional tuition remissions in the wake of lagging state investment. We talked about programs like Pathway Oregon that help Pell-eligible students pay for school, but made sure to note that that didn’t account for the full cost of earning a college degree that includes room and board, transportation, books, and food. Student, staff, and trustee representatives from all seven campuses walked the Education Subcommittee through how various investment levels in the Public University Support Fund would impact student debt levels, support services, research, and graduation rates on every campus. Specifically, we’re talking about four scenarios: +$40.5 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $777.4 million in 2019-21) The funding level that the State of Oregon has targeted as what public universities need to continue “current services.” Unfortunately, it does not include key cost drivers faced by institutions, including bargained compensation packages and other employee benefits that impact the universities’ ability to keep tuition low and not make further cuts to workforce or services.  +$120 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $856.9 million in 2019-21) The funding level public universities have calculated would keep tuition increases at or below five percent for the next two years.  +$186 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $922.9 million in 2019-21) The funding level recommended by the Higher Education Coordination Commission necessary to advance the state’s educational attainment goals.  +$263 million  the PUSF (total state investment of $1 billion in 2019-21) The optimal funding level for students and public universities to keep tuition increases below three percent for the next two years and make significant new investments in advising, financial aid, wraparound wellbeing services, and academic quality.

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  • Joint Committee on Student Success releases first draft of revenue and expenditure plan

    On April 4, the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) released the first conceptual amendments to House Bill 2019. The JCSS toured the state over the last year examining needs and solutions to fix Oregon’s lagging K-12 graduation rate and improve student outcomes. HB 2019 will create the Fund for Student Success. Within that fund, the bill allocates a yet-to-be-determined increased amount to the State School Fund. Remaining moneys will be allocated to: Early Learning Account – 20% School Improvement Account – 50% Statewide Initiatives Account – 30%. Click here for details on the conceptual amendments. The Joint Committee also released potential options for raising revenue to pay for new investments in Oregon’s public education system. Specifically, the joint committee released three options for a new corporate tax called a Commercial Activities Tax. Click here for details.

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  • Congress is working on the FY20 budget but many obstacles remain

    The process for developing the federal budget for FY20 is in full swing. The Trump Administration submitted its request to Congress last month which included deep cuts to key programs. Members of Congress are circulating “Dear Colleague” letters in support of their funding priorities. A plethora of interests from across all sectors are engaged in fly-ins and advocacy days, typical for this time of year. But the biggest hurdle to an orderly budget process remains. Congress must agree to raise the budget expenditure caps mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to avoid across-the-board cuts, also known as sequestration. A coalition of interests is asking Congress to develop a two-year agreement to raise the caps for FY20 and FY21 and allow for additional resources for discretionary spending. On Tuesday April 9, House Democrats abandoned a floor vote on H.R. 2021, the “Investing for the People Act of 2019,” after progressive Democrats opposed the defense spending figure. The measure would have raised non-defense discretionary spending to $631 billion for FY20, a 5.7 percent increase above FY19, and defense spending to $664 billion for FY20, a 2.6 percent increase over FY19.  The House did pass a resolution establishing an overall limit of $1.3 trillion for defense and non-defense funding, which is nearly the same level as FY19. This opens the door for the House Appropriations Committee to continue crafting FY20 spending bills and begin marking up measures in the weeks ahead.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) intend to launch budget negotiations at the staff level. They reportedly intend to negotiate a two-year deal to raise the caps and avoid $126 billion in automatic budget cuts. The administration has stated that they do not support raising the budget caps, but according to the Washington Post McConnell has said Pelosi and President Trump “both support trying to reach an agreement on a new spending pact for both the Pentagon and domestic programs.” Source: AAU and APLU reports  

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  • Dear Colleague round-up: Oregon delegation supports research budgets

    First published on the UO government and community relations website, members of the Oregon delegation routinely support funding for student aid and federal research agencies. Evidence of that support comes in the form of “Dear Colleague” letters, one of many tools used by members of Congress to advance budget and policy priorities. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are again leading advocacy for funding for the Institute of Education Science, a top priority for University of Oregon advocacy given activity by College of Education faculty with this program. Congresswoman Bonamici’s Dear Colleague letter included 40 members of the US House as signers. She and her colleagues called for an appropriation of $670 million for the agency, restoring it to pre-sequestration levels. ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning system, is a priority for west coast policymakers and stakeholders across all levels of government and sectors of the economy. Members of the Oregon delegation have joined with colleagues to again support funding by the U.S. Geological Survey for ShakeAlert. Earlier this week, UO faculty joined with their counterparts from the University of Washington, UC-Berkeley, and Caltech in a fly-in to share updates about the implementation of ShakeAlert. In March, university staff worked with House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott and Congressman Peter DeFazio to request continued funding for the National Center for Campus Public Safety through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Largely at the behest of members of the coalition Disaster Resilient Universities, 27 members of Congress joined Reps. Scott and DeFazio to support continuing the center as a clearinghouse and resource for risk managers and other university personnel concerned about continuity of campus operations. The university coordinates its advocacy for student aid and research with the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Top advocacy priorities include federal student aid programs, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, Title VI international programs, and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as other specialized priorities.  

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  • Prison program would get a boost from pending legislation

    First published in Around the O, a University of Oregon program that brings classrooms into the state’s prisons would be expanded under a bill now before the Oregon Legislature. The Prison Education Program got its start in 2007 when UO professor Steve Shankman taught a course at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Since then, hundreds of UO students and more than 1,000 incarcerated people have taken classes and participated in other UO activities inside five of Oregon’s prisons.   Senate Bill 949 would provide $350,000 of new funding to support the program in such efforts and allow further expansion. In testimony before the Senate Education Committee last week, philosophy and sociology student Julie Williams-Reyes shared how going inside a prison to take a class with 13 campus-based students and 13 incarcerated students inspired her to engage more actively in issues of social justice and was the determining influence in choosing her career path. Many students have gone on to work in organizations such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America and Sustainable City Year. Graduates have spoken of their experiences in a prison class as stepping stones in their careers as lawyers, teachers, doctors and professionals in various nonprofit sectors. Geography professor Shaul Cohen, director of the program, told legislators that it has broad support on campus, with the UO Board of Trustees, the UO Foundation, campus leaders and many deans offering support. He also said the program has support from the Associated Students of the UO, one of only a few student governments in the country that have invested in such educational opportunities.  Cohen also expressed appreciation for the Oregon Department of Correction’s help in making classes, lectures, workshops and common readings inside the prisons possible. At the Senate hearing, program coordinator Katie Dwyer spoke of working with incarcerated students and noted that education allows people to build self-esteem, become involved in positive programming while incarcerated and be more equipped to re-enter the community. “Incarcerated students sometimes come to us with a strong sense that they will be unable to do the work and uncertain as to how the instructors and the University of Oregon students will see them,” Dwyer said. “They speak to this experience as a transformative one, both for their sense of their academic competence, but more broadly for their self-esteem, their sense of potential impact they can have on the community. Many people have spoken of this as a turning point in their lives, in their full lives, and also of their experience as inmates in Oregon.” Last June, state Sen. Lew Frederick attended a UO graduation at the Oregon State Penitentiary and last week told the Education Committee he was deeply moved by what he witnessed. “One graduate was participating in the ceremony two or three days after he was released from prison,” Frederick saod. “It had taken him quite a bit, but he had done the work. It was a palpable joy that you could see on his face and with his family and the people who came to see him.” Sen. Michael Dembrow attended a UO class at the Oregon State Correctional Institution and testified to the power of the teaching model and bringing people together in discussion. “I think we all know that it does us no good to have individuals coming out of incarceration and not be prepared to be fully functioning and contributing members of society, but that doesn’t happen just by itself,” he said. “We need to be working hard to remove barriers that formerly incarcerated people meet as they re-enter and take steps to make sure that they are ready to re-enter, and one of the best ways to do that is through successful prison education programs such as the UO’s program.”\ https://around.uoregon.edu/content/prison-program-would-get-boost-pending-legislation?utm_source=ato04-09-19&utm_campaign=workplace  

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  • Cutting-edge device gives the UO a leg up in technology race

    First published in Around the O on April 24th 2019. A new multi-million-dollar research tool that will let UO scientists and students jump ahead of the technology curve is now being installed in a campus lab. The plasma focused ion beam instrument, known as the Thermo Scientific Helios Hydra DualBeam, is only the fourth instrument of its kind in the world and the first to be housed at a university or service center in North America. It is similar to a scanning electron microscope but also uses beams of ions rather than electrons to image, etch and analyze materials at nanometer scales. The acquisition was made possible through a new strategic collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific. The relationship promises to further position the UO as a key research and testing site, both for UO researchers and industrial clients who will lease time on the instrument. “It’s a real win-win-win that will greatly benefit the university, our faculty doing cutting-edge research and our students training for high-tech careers using the world’s most advanced tools and technologies available,” said David Conover, vice president for research and innovation. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Thermo Fisher Scientific to ensure that our research facilities stay ahead of the technology curve.” As part of the collaboration with Thermo Fisher, the UO will pilot a new instrument acquisition model that could help keep its research facilities at the forefront of science for years to come. The UO will work with Thermo Fisher’s Material Science division to ensure the Helios Hydra DualBeam stays cutting-edge throughout its time on campus. As new product features are developed, they will be added to the instrument. In turn, UO researchers will provide early feedback on featured applications to help shape future capabilities and functions for use within academic and industry labs. Even as workers were still unpacking 7-foot-tall wooden crates that housed the instrument during shipping and using a heavy-duty ceiling crane to lower pieces of the tool down a flight of stairs to the Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon, where the Helios Hydra will be located, Kurt Langworthy, director of the center, had already received inquiries from UO researchers and industrial clients interested in renting time on the machine. The instrument should be operational by the end of the month. “This will strengthen our position as a top-tier research facility, enabling internal researchers and external partners to investigate materials at scales that are more than 10 times our current limit,” Langworthy said. “Once word gets out that we have this instrument, we will be pretty busy.” The Helios Hydra will offer new efficiencies for materials science researchers seeking to discover and design new materials and analyze their properties and structure. But it will also serve other kinds of researchers, including biologists who could use the tool for so-called “connectomics” projects that involve mapping neural connections in the brain. The advanced materials center, one of the UO’s core research facilities, offers high-tech services to researchers, companies and universities. The collaboration builds on a long history and growing relationship between the UO and Thermo Fisher Scientific, which includes research collaborations, instrument acquisitions, in-kind gifts and opportunities for students. “DualBeam technology is widely used for sample preparation and 3D materials characterization, and the collaboration with the University of Oregon focuses on bringing this technology to a new level of performance,” said Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager, materials science, at Thermo Fisher. “In addition to finding the best ion beam match for a variety of samples and materials, it could lead to the ability to characterize previously difficult samples, such as those that contain carbon,” she said. “In addition, we plan to gain new insights and create best practices to optimize sample throughput and quality in the various DualBeam applications, helping researchers publish potentially groundbreaking results.” The strategic collaboration with Thermo Fisher and addition of the Helios Hydra will also benefit UO students training for high-tech careers in programs like the advanced materials analysis and characterization master’s degree program, a chemistry program facilitated through the center’s labs, and the Master’s Industrial Internship Program, housed in the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. Thermo Fisher has been a prominent partner in the internship program for nearly 20 years, with 89 students starting their careers at the company. In 2017, Thermo Fisher provided funding to the internship program in support of its diversity and inclusion efforts. The master’s program trains students for careers in industry and government labs. It couples industry relevant hands-on coursework with nine-month paid internships in industry, giving students practical experience to springboard their careers. “Many of our students intern with Thermo Fisher Scientific and go on to have careers there,” said Stacey York, director of the Master’s Industrial Internship Program. “Some even return to the UO to earn doctorates, bringing their learning and experience from internships back to the university.” Ultimately, Langworthy said, the new partnership will streamline ways to align UO research and industry with the resources offered by Thermo Fisher’s business network. As the new collaboration progresses, the UO will look for more opportunities for large-scale collaborations with Thermo Fisher. “There is a lot of potential for ongoing partnerships, new discoveries and new ways to attract outside investment for research and sponsorships,” Langworthy said. “We are excited to see what the future holds.”   https://around.uoregon.edu/content/cutting-edge-device-gives-uo-leg-technology-race

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