UO State Affairs News

  • Legislative Session Reports: Week 7 update; co-chair’s budget released

    Legislative Session Reports: Week 7 update; co-chair’s budget released Week seven of the Oregon legislative session ended with some important budget news. The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means released their recommended budget for the 2019-2021 biennium. This budget, based on all current revenues projected to come into state coffers and the economic forecast, had some good news and bad news for public higher education. The good news: Overall operating funding for public universities increased by $40.5 million from the base version of the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which had kept funding completely flat for universities. Additionally, the co-chairs directed the Subcommittee on Education to review appropriate funding levels for the Sports Lottery program and all Public University State Programs. Sports Lottery was zero-ed out in the Governor’s budget. The UO receives about $1 million each biennium from that program to fund scholarships for student athletes and graduate students. The UO’s State Programs include the Labor Education Research Center, the law school’s Clinical Legal Education program, the Dispute Resolution program, and the TallWood Design Institute. Additionally, there are State Programs that all universities benefit from, including the Engineering & Technology Sustaining Fund, which funds research, innovation, and workforce development. The UO received $1,134,500 in FY19 from this program, which was eliminated in the Governor’s base budget. As the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact gets up and running and the UO continues to advance its research portfolio, we expect to continue to receive more funding from the ETSF, which is distributed through a formula. The bad news: Despite a $40.5 million increase, this funding is not nearly enough to protect students from too-high tuition increases and cuts to the University’s workforce, programs, and services. Oregon’s seven public universities need a collective $120 million increase in operating funds (which would bring the total to $857 million—still below pre-recession funding levels) in order to keep tuition increases for resident undergraduate students to less than 5%. Because of the way the state’s funding formula is set up, the UO would receive an increase of just about $200,000 in operating funds at the co-chair’s budget. Don’t forget that the Joint Committee on Ways & Means is taking their show on the road (literally) and traveling to Coos Bay, Pendleton, Redmond, and Portland over the next three weekends to hear directly from the public about the budget. If you can attend one of these hearings to testify in support of higher education funding or hold signs supporting universities and colleges, click here for more information. In other news: Aside from budget news, the Capitol was busy this week. Wednesday was a solemn day with the state funeral for Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who passed away of brain cancer last week. We are grateful to Secretary Richardson for his decades of service to the people of Oregon. The Legislature continues to debate important public policy that would impact the UO, including: Accelerated credit (SB 800) Campus safety Regulation of athlete agents (SB 686) Regional Accelerator Innovation Networks and a state matching fund for federal research grants universities’ apply for (SB 418 & HB 5524) Common Applications (SB 624) Hazing policies at universities (HB 2519) Funding for veteran’s services on college campuses (SB 35) And more!

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  • Bill would help cities take part in UO sustainability program

    First published in Around the O on March 8th 2019. A bill making its way through the Oregon Legislature would help more cities take part in the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program by creating a new state matching fund. House Bill 2594 would put $300,000 in the fund to help cities, particularly smaller communities in rural areas of the state, that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in the sustainability program. Sustainable City Year pairs cities with students and faculty members in the College of Design, College of Business, School of Journalism and Communication, School of Law, and the College of Arts and Sciences for a large-scale, intensive, year-long partnership to tangibly move forward on paths toward a more sustainable future. “Many Oregon communities, especially those in rural areas, could benefit from a partnership with SCYP but cannot fully afford to participate,” said Marc Schlossberg, professor of city and regional planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Institute. “SCYP partners must meet several standards, including buy-in from local political leadership and staff, interest in a range of community improvement issues, and having financial skin in the game.” The House Education Committee held its first public hearing on the bill Feb. 25. Committee members will now decide whether to hold a work session on the bill before sending it to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which reviews all budget requests. The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Julie Fahey, a Eugene Democrat, and Marty Wilde, a Democrat representing portions of Lane and Douglas counties.   The Sustainable City Year Program “directly connects students and cities, allowing students to learn and cities to improve,” Wilde said during the public hearing. “Students study the city and find ways it can improve in terms of sustainability. Cities benefit from the added capacity and new perspective. Students benefit from the real-world experience they can apply beyond college.” Each year, the program works in a different community and matches community-identified project ideas with up to 35 university courses, more than 20 faculty members and 500 students across more than 12 disciplines giving 40,000 hours of effort. Developed in 2009, the model has been adopted by more than 25 other universities across the United States and is being disseminated globally with the help of the United Nations. To date, the Sustainable City Year Program has worked with the cities of Gresham, Salem, Springfield, Medford, Redmond and Albany. Last year it piloted two new expansions of its model, including partnering with Portland transit agency TriMet on its proposed 12-mile Southwest Corridor light rail project and with a smaller Oregon city, La Pine. “We were very impressed by the both the quantity and quality of the work produced,” said Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa. “Student recommendations have subsequently been incorporated into plans for our parks system and the Albany waterfront, the parks and recreation department’s business practices, community engagement objectives and other city activities. By increasing our capacity and bringing in fresh ideas, student efforts helped save the city money and make more informed decisions about some of Albany’s significant challenges.”   https://around.uoregon.edu/content/bill-would-help-cities-take-part-uo-sustainability-program

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  • 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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  • Reports from week five of the legislative session

    Reports from week five of the legislative session The Oregon Legislature is only five weeks into its session, but bills are moving and lawmakers are taking up an array of issues from affordable housing to climate change. In the last couple weeks, we’ve had lots of University of Oregon students, faculty, and staff at the Capitol engaging on policy bills and advocating for increased operating funding to keep college affordable. Below are some highlights from the session in week five: The Joint Committee on Ways & Means, which consists of the Legislature’s key budget writers, announced their road show dates. The “road show” is when legislators tour the state with the goal of listening to Oregonians about what to include in the state’s budget for the 2019-21 biennium.   If one of these hearings is near where you live, we need YOU to attend. Even if you don’t sign up to testify, it’s important to have people hold signs and offer a strong show of support for higher education.   The four dates and locations are listed below: Coos Bay: Saturday, March 9 – Marshfield High School, Auditorium, 972 Ingersoll Ave. (1:00-3:00 pm) Pendleton: Friday, March 15 – Blue Mountain Community College, Pioneer Hall, Bob Clapp Theatre, 2411 NW Carden Ave. (5:30-7:30 pm) Redmond: Saturday, March 16 – Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, Three Sisters Conference and Convention Center (South Sister), 3800 SW Airport Way (2:00-4:00 pm) Portland: Thursday, March 21 – Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, MAHB 104 Auditorium, 5514 N. Albina Ave. (5:30-7:30 pm)   Jason Younker, Assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President on Sovereignty and Government to Government Relations, came to the Capitol to testify in support of Senate Bill 312, which would allow Native American students who graduated from an Oregon high school to qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of if they are from a tribe outside of the state.   HB 2641 had its first public hearing in the House Education Committee, which would provide funding for RAIN Eugene. RAIN is a business incubator started in 2015 and is housed in downtown Eugene at the 942 Olive building—the UO’s facility that provides space for entrepreneurship, start-ups, research and more.   On President’s Day, thousands of students, faculty, staff, and other advocates rallied in Salem to tell legislators they needed to fully fund Oregon’s public education system—from early childhood through college.  

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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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  • Oregon legislative session week three: New partnerships with UO academic programs

    Oregon legislative session week three: New partnerships with UO academic programs The University of Oregon is focused on finding new ways for the state to partner with academic programs that contribute to community impact, research, and economic activity. The UO is synonymous with Eugene, but did you know that Ducks have a presence in all 36 counties in Oregon? We make in an impact in schools, local governments, businesses, transportation infrastructure, and more in communities statewide. This session, we’re shedding more light on innovative initiatives and community service programs and asking lawmakers to make modest investments in their work. Bringing the Sustainable City Year Program to More Oregon Communities (HB 2594) The University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) is an innovative model for bridging the gap between universities and communities. It advances local redevelopment efforts, provides applied education for students, and develops the next generation Oregon’s workforce. Each year, SCYP works in a different community and matches community-identified project ideas with up to 35 university courses, 20+ faculty, and 500 students across more than 12 disciplines giving more than 40,000 hours of effort. Students add capacity, fresh thinking, and the political space for communities to think and act anew. To date, SCYP has worked in partnership with the cities of Gresham, Salem, Springfield, Medford, Redmond, and Albany. This past year, SCYP piloted two new expansions of its model, including partnering with a transit agency, TriMet and its proposed 12-mile Southwest Corridor light rail project, and with a smaller Oregon city, La Pine. We are asking the State of Oregon to appropriate $300,000 as a state matching fund for SCYP so that it can expand help more Oregon cities—both urban and rural. A more stable, predictable state appropriation will allow diverse Oregon communities. Read more about the Sustainable City Year Program here. A New Boat at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (SB 255) The University of Oregon’s 90-year-old Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) in Charleston, Oregon conducts research on marine organisms and ecosystems from the spectacular Oregon coast to the very deepest parts of the ocean, while offering educational experiences to students. Our undergraduate marine biology major, the only one in Oregon, is ranked among the best degree programs in North America. OIMB’s 42-foot research vessel, Pluteus, was built for teaching in 1973 and used for most of its life in the relatively calm nearshore waters of the tropical Atlantic. The old engines and electrical systems have reached the end of their useful life. Moreover, the vessel is too small to carry most of our classes for trips outside the bay. Vessels suitable for research and teaching are designed and fabricated in Oregon for use in the local fishing industry. An example is the fishing vessel. We are asking the State of Oregon to invest $500,000 to purchase a new boat. Read more about OIMB here. Making Prison Education a Reality for More Oregon Inmates (awaiting bill number to be assigned) The University of Oregon’s Prison Education Program (PEP) provides unparalleled learning opportunities and credit-bearing courses for campus-based and incarcerated students at the post-secondary level. The PEP draws upon UO faculty, staff, students and volunteers to design and implement a range of courses and other activities at the Oregon State Penitentiary, the Oregon State Correctional Institution, the Columbia River Correctional Institution and at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution.  Many studies show that educational opportunities improve the likelihood of successful re-entry and reduce recidivism, and our program fully reflects that pattern. We are asking the State of Oregon to invest $350,000 each biennium in PEP to stabilize instructional and administrative needs and allow for expanded services to more students and inmates. Read more about the UO’s Prison Education Program here. Expanding the Oregon Research Schools Network (SB 739) Based on the Agricultural Extension model, the Oregon Research Schools Network (ORSN), from the College of Education at the University of Oregon, extends service, instruction and research statewide by placing experts in the field to help improve the academic and career outcomes for Oregon’s youth. UO is currently in a unique five-year pilot project, in partnerships across Oregon, with North Eugene High School (4J), Roosevelt High School (PPS), Pendleton High School (PSD #16R) and Coquille High School (CSD #8). SB 739 will allow ORSN to geographically expand across Oregon within its five-year pilot by serving an additional six high schools identified as high need, highly impacted, and geographically diverse. ORSN holds strong promise for creating an improvement model to increase K-12 performance statewide. This pilot will be expanded and evaluated, over a five-year period, to assess its impact on diverse high school graduation rates, better participation in and completion of post-secondary education. Build Out of ShakeAlert and AlertWildfire Multi-hazard Sensor Network The Governor’s Recommended Budget allocates $12 million to fully build out a multi-hazard sensor network for earthquake early warning and wildfire prevention, monitoring, and mitigation by 2023. The UO works with other West Coast states and universities to bring this technology to the public through the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and UO faculty and technicians operate the network in coordination with the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal agencies.

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  • Two weeks in, the Oregon legislative session is underway

    Two weeks in, the Oregon legislative session is underway As week two of the Oregon legislative session comes to a close, Oregon’s state capitol building is busy with legislators, citizens, and lobbyists working on public policy and budgets. As organizations, legislative staff members and others worked to review the more than 1,400 bills that were initially introduced, the seven public universities have identified approximately 530 bills that could impact the UO. The UO’s top funding priority is to secure a minimum of $120 million increase over 2017-19 legislatively adopted budget for the Public University Support Fund (PUSF). This will allow the university to keep tuition increases at or below 5% for the next two years. We are also advocating for investments above 120 million that could be used to improve academic advising, enhance financial aid, and reduce student debt. We’re working closely with students, faculty, staff, community colleges, and business partners to make the case to lawmakers on increased funding in this session’s budget  is critical for college access and affordability. Higher education policy bills The universities evaluate and engage in policy measures on various topics. Here is a snapshot of key bills which could directly impact the UO if they are passed: Requiring community colleges and public universities to establish textbook affordability plans (HB 2213) Expanding tuition equity eligibility to more students (HB 2507) Requiring community colleges and universities to adopt—if they have not already—a written policy on hazing as well as reporting annually to Higher Education Coordinating Commission on hazing incidents, including to high school graduates of Chemawa Indian School (HB 2519, SB 312, SB 263) Providing funding for Title IX enforcement and compliance, sexual harassment prevention and gender discrimination prevention (HB 2562) Making permanent the campus veteran resources grant program (SB 35) Requiring universities to provide credit to each student who receives grade of four or higher on International Baccalaureate (IB) exam (SB 160) Making changes to entrepreneurial ecosystem programs like RAIN Eugene, whose purpose is commercialization of university-based research (SB 418) Requiring contractors with universities to employ apprentices and establish plans for outreach, recruitment and retention of women and minority individuals (SB 455) Various bills related to accelerated credit programs and credit transfer policy from community colleges to public universities It’s expected that the Legislature will also consider bills related to implementing a state-run paid family leave program, state protections to Title IX, regulation of campus safety officers, and more. Other UO highlights in the capitol since the start of session The House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee has heard from UO representatives. On January 24t universities participated in an informational presentation on the Oregon Campus Resilience Consortium and their recommendation to create a Higher Education Safety and Resilience Council. Presenters included Andre LeDuc, the UO’s Chief Resilience Officer. To view the PowerPoint presentation from the hearing, click here and to view the hearing click here. On January 29 Michael Thomas, the UO’s Veterans Programs Coordinator, testified on the value and impact of the Campus Veterans Grant Program, which the Legislature approved last session and is administered by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. Funding for the program was only approved for a single biennium, so the Legislature must renew it this session. The UO received $54,000 last year to fund a part-time staff person in the veteran’s services office and expand support programs and services. View Michael’s testimony here. What’s next? In the coming weeks, we expect to see an informational hearing about the Oregon Business Development Department’s $10 million request for a University Innovation Research Fund. The program would increase university competitiveness for federal research awards, leverage federal funding and increase the number of Oregon researchers in the areas of applied research and development, technology demonstration, and deployment. Stay tuned to the GCR Blog for more updates from your government relations team in Salem.

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  • Opinion: Lawmakers must consider our entire education system to increase opportunities for Oregonians

    First published at Oregonlive.com on January 28th, 2019.  By Michael H. Schill, Maria A. Gallegos-Chacon, Louie Vidmar and Chris Sinclair Schill is president of University of Oregon; Gallegos-Chacon is president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon; Vidmar and Chris Sinclair are presidents of unions representing staff, faculty and administrators. State lawmakers begin the 2019 legislative session with a clear choice that will profoundly affect the future of Oregon. Will they support access to higher education by investing in our public colleges and universities? Or, by failing to meaningfully support students, will they allow soaring tuition and debt to slam the door on students and families? It is not hyperbole to say that the state’s future depends on ensuring that all Oregonians have access to an affordable, accessible and financially-stable education system. The surest path to future success is by obtaining a college education. Today’s undergraduates are the next generation of Oregon leaders, parents, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, artists, scientists, farmers, architects, journalists, engineers, small business owners and more. Yet some policy makers seem content to maintain current levels of higher education funding or leave it completely out of conversations about revenue reform, which is needed to adequately support the entire education system. Without new dollars, Oregon’s community colleges and universities will be forced to consider double-digit tuition increases that would deny opportunity to students who need it the most. Flat funding also would lead to painful budget cuts and the loss of hundreds -- and potentially thousands -- of jobs. Some Oregonians hear a message coming from Salem that sounds as if lawmakers plan to ignore tens of thousands of college and university students who represent our collective future. We hope that is unintentional and will quickly be corrected. Over the past 20 years, the state has shifted the cost of paying for higher education on to Oregon’s students. In the 1990's, public support provided about two-thirds of the cost of a four-year degree for each resident student. Today, that ratio has largely been reversed, with students and families picking up the difference through higher tuition rates. Even with increases over the last few years in state dollars, public support for higher education in Oregon remains below pre-recession levels and ranks among the lowest in the nation on a per capita basis. Oregon cannot afford to fall further behind. Oregon’s colleges and universities have been clear that without at least $120 million for public universities and $77 million for community colleges, every institution across the state will face budget shortfalls that will have to be closed with a mix of tuition increases and budget cuts. Flat funding will close the door of opportunity for students across Oregon and will hurt the economy. The reverberations will touch students, families and communities in every corner of the state. With an eye toward the future and an unwavering focus on supporting students, now is the time for lawmakers to commit to investing in every child in Oregon. That means funding Oregon’s entire education system -- K-12, community colleges, and four-year public colleges and universities -- regardless of whether it is within the existing budget or with revenue from proposed new taxes. As leaders of the University of Oregon -- representing students, staff, faculty and administration -- we stand unified and ready to help lawmakers as they set to tackle these tough challenges in the coming months. Our students deserve as much and Oregon’s future depends on it. Michael H. Schill is president of the University of Oregon; Maria A. Gallegos-Chacon is president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon; Louie Vidmar is president of SEIU Local 085; and Chris Sinclair is president of United Academics.   From <https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2019/01/opinion-lawmakers-must-consider-our-entire-education-system-to-increase-opportunities-for-oregonians.html>  

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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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  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown aims $12 million for earthquake early warning system

    First published on December 19th, 2018 By Eugene Register-Guard; online@oregonian.com SALEM – Every second of warning matters when a major earthquake is about to rumble. Seconds provide enough time for school children to shelter under desks, traffic to clear from bridges and fire departments to raise their garage doors, said University of Oregon Prof. Doug Toomey. That's why he and other researchers around the West have been working on setting up an earthquake early warning system. The looming danger of a massive magnitude 9 Cascadia subduction zone earthquake off the Oregon Coast adds urgency to their work. "For the public it's going to give them advance warning of strong shaking so they can take protective action," Toomey said. "In the case of a Cascadia earthquake, they'll get tens of seconds to many tens of seconds of early warning here in Eugene, and so they can duck, cover and hold. Studies show that when people are caught unaware in earthquakes, they panic and that leads to more casualties than necessary." The goal is to have the statewide early earthquake warning system up and operational by 2023, according Gov. Kate Brown's office. Early warning would come over a network of microwave towers passing data collected by an array of seismometers and GPS sensors, which would detect the first ripples of earthquakes. The state also could use the system to warn of wildfires, Toomey said. The same microwave towers also could pass images from high-definition cameras scanning forests for puffs of smoke. Brown included $12 million for an earthquake early warning system in her proposed budget this fall. Bonds would fund the system, so Oregon lawmakers likely won't vote on it until summer. "When the next Cascadia subduction zone earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest, Oregon will face the greatest challenge of our lifetimes," Brown said in a statement. "Oregon's buildings, transportation network, utilities, and population are underprepared for such an event, and we must accelerate our preparations. That is why funding for an earthquake early warning system in my budget is so critical." The early warning system would be responding to earthquakes rather than predicting them. Scientists can't accurately predict earthquakes — yet. But researchers have learned that the initial waves of an earthquake move rapidly with little shaking. Depending on the magnitude of the earthquake and the distance of a sensor from where the temblor begins, the initial ripples might give seconds to minutes of advance warning before the damaging waves arrive. Spring Break Quake of 1993 was literally a wake-up call At 5:34 a.m. on March 25, 1993, one of the stronger earthquakes to hit the area in years jolted residents from Salem to Portland awake. How that scientific data will go from research computers to the public and emergency agencies is still being worked out. Toomey said the early warning system might trigger cell phone alerts and community sirens. Mexico and Japan created early warning systems after massive quakes struck, including a magnitude 8 earthquake in Mexico City in 1985 and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, in 1995. "These other countries have had them for decades," Toomey said. "It's a proven science. It's proven effective." Two plates of the Earth's crust meet under the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles off the Oregon Coast. One of the plates is sliding under the other — the Cascadia subduction zone — building up pressure that scientists say will eventually release in the form of a massive earthquake, potentially one of the most powerful earthquakes every recorded. There's a 25 to 40 percent chance of a magnitude 9 earthquake in the next 50 years, Toomey said. So the race is on to be prepared. Oregon's early warning earthquake system would be part of ShakeAlert, a system covering the West Coast. The system would be built upon an existing network of sensors operated by the UO, the University of Washington, University of California, Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology. Specifically, the $12 million would cover the cost of completing Oregon's network of more than 100 sensors, Toomey said. The entire ShakeAlert system across the West Coast will cost $28 million annually to maintain, which he said the U.S. Geological Survey is set to pay. "We have to be over 75 percent complete before we can start providing alerts to the public," Toomey said. "We're about 50 percent complete right now in the state and that's why the governor's budget is important. It would allow us to complete that network." Shaking in the Cascadia earthquake might last as long as five minutes, said Leland O'Discoll, ShakeAlert project manager and a seismic field technician at the UO. So being able to brace for the earthquake will be invaluable. How to react to the early warning of a pending earthquake will depend on what someone is doing at the time, but the general advice from experts is to duck, cover and hold: drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk and then hold on until the shaking stops. An earthquake early warning system reduces losses in the moment, O'Discoll said, and accelerates recovery after the event because damage is reduced. Setting up such a system would signal a shift in how Oregonians respond to a major natural disaster. The response would begin before the earthquake strikes, said Linda Cook, emergency manager for Lane County. An alert would allow factories to shut down and trains to slow down, potentially using automated systems. "Granted, it's only seconds to minutes of advance warning," Cook said, "but seconds to minutes can make a big difference." Florence on the Oregon Coast sits in harm's way of a Cascadia earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Like Cook, Megan Messmer, a project manager for Florence, said advance warning would be valuable. She said it would lower the effects of secondary disasters triggered by an earthquake. Toomey said that a common misconception about a Cascadia earthquake is that coastal cities would be immediately rocked by shaking. But the temblor would likely begin on the far southern end, off California, or the northern end, off Canada. With ShakeAlert, a city such as Florence near the center of the subduction zone might have as much as a couple of minutes of warning when the major earthquake strikes. "Any work that the state does to help move us forward (with a warning system) will be helpful in those types of disasters," she said, "Because we as an individual city don't have those resources or even ability to do that large scale or technical of a project." – Dylan Darling | Eugene Register-Guard

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