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Intel ‘futurist’ to speak Oct. 28 at Oregon State University

News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:09am
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Brian David Johnson, the futurist at Intel Corp., will speak at Oregon State University Oct. 28.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Brian David Johnson, the ‘futurist’ at Intel Corp., will speak at Oregon State University Oct. 28 as part of the College of Business Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series.

As Intel’s futurist, Johnson’s charge is to develop a 10- to 15-year vision for the future of technology. His work, called futurecasting, uses ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing.

In his lecture, “Humanity in the Machine: What Comes after Greed?” Johnson will explore the relationship between humanity and technology, and look at how technology reflects the mission and values of the societies that create it.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695.

College of Business Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, jenn.casey@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator accepting applications

News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:27pm
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The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program will begin its next cohort in January, and is now seeking participants.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program is seeking participants for its next cohort, which begins in January 2015 and runs for five months.

Applications from innovative and high-growth traded sector companies that produce goods and services used outside the region are encouraged. Eligibility information can be found on the website.

The program offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, connect with industry professionals, gain access to OSU venture development funds, and work with an advisory team to accelerate company development.

“We are taking advantage of the many resources available for clients, and thanks to the accelerator our business is now ready to take off,” said client Stan Baker, with Baker Seed Technologies. “The accelerator is a proven springboard to success.”

The five-month curriculum uses a proven methodology to guide emerging enterprises from infancy to independence, officials say. More information and an application is available on the website, at www.oregonstate.edu/accelerator, and applications will be followed by an interview with the co-directors and a formal presentation to the entrance committee.

Oregon State University Advantage Source: 

Betty Nickerson, 541-368-5205

Categories: Research news

Widely recognized OSU toxicologist dies, will receive Discovery Award

News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:23pm
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George Bailey, a toxicologist and international expert on carcinogenesis and cancer prevention, died at age 73.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – George Bailey, an Oregon State University toxicologist, died on Monday, Oct. 20, just one month before he was to receive the 2014 Discovery Award presented by the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon Health & Science University.

Bailey, a distinguished professor emeritus in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, was an international expert on carcinogenesis and cancer prevention through dietary agents. He died at age 73 following a serious illness.

On Nov. 12, Bailey will be honored posthumously with the Discovery Award. Made to a leading medical researcher in Oregon, it recognizes an investigator who has made significant, original contributions to health-related research. In its citation, the organization noted that Bailey’s research “has the potential to dramatically limit colon and liver cancer rates in many regions of the world.”

This is the third consecutive year that an OSU scientist has received the Discovery Award.

Bailey, who also was a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU, did pioneering work on aflatoxins, a common cause of liver cancer that kills millions of people in China and Africa. He has studied chlorophyll as an inexpensive way to reduce DNA damage caused by aflatoxins, and also indole-3-carbinol for the prevention of breast cancer.

As a toxicologist, Bailey helped develop the use of rainbow trout in biomedical research to study carcinogens and cancer. Serving for 17 years as director of OSU’s Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center, he used trout to help revolutionize the study of cancer risk, especially the dose level of carcinogens that can ultimately lead to cancer.

“Dr. Bailey retired from OSU after decades of outstanding research, instructional and service contributions to OSU,” said Craig Marcus, professor and head of the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. “His productive career focused on understanding the mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis, its modulation by dietary and environmental factors, and the development of cancer preventive agents.”

Bailey received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969, and had been on the OSU faculty for 35 years. In his career he published more than 150 papers in scientific journals and won several awards, including the prestigious Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology in 2001.

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Craig Marcus, 541-737-1808

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George Bailey

Categories: Research news

Oregon State University to offer religious studies degree program

News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:41am
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The religious studies degree at Oregon State will emphasize religious literacy, helping students understand how religion shapes the world and affects society.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – More than 20 years after the religious studies degree program was eliminated, Oregon State University is bringing it back. OSU students will be able to declare religious studies as a major beginning with the upcoming winter term.

The religious studies degree will emphasize religious literacy, helping students understand how religion shapes the world and affects society, said Amy Koehlinger, an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU.

“Religion is one of the most powerful social, economic and political forces in the world,” she said. “Given how fast globalization is occurring, religious literacy is becoming more and more important.”

Religious studies is the study of religion in an academic setting, with an emphasis on skills such as critical thinking, discernment, deliberation, responsibility, courage and civility. The program will emphasize how religion is used to make sense of the world, in good ways and in bad, Koehlinger said.

“A religious studies major gives students the opportunity to have a deep understanding of religion as a powerful social force,” she said. “Students are trained to think critically and neutrally, and with a lot of subtlety about religion.”

The religious studies program is housed in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion, but faculty members from throughout the College of Liberal Arts will teach courses for the new degree, Koehlinger said. The interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion will include courses in history, philosophy, anthropology, art, literature and film.

One area of emphasis is on the religions of Southeast Asia, including Budhhism, Hinduism and Islam. Associate Professor Stuart Sarbacker is an expert on the religions of India and Associate Professor Hung-Yok Ip is an expert on China.

Another area of emphasis is on religion and ethics as they relate to sexuality, friendship, forgiveness, end-of-life issues, the environment and medicine, said Courtney Campbell, the Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture at OSU.

The new program is well-suited to students who are interested in working internationally, in business, international relations or other fields; it’s also a good choice for students interested in graduate school in law, medicine or politics, Koehlinger said.

Students can earn a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of science or an honors bachelor of arts or science degree in religious studies. A minor in religious studies is also available. The new degrees were approved by the OSU Board of Trustees over the summer, with final approval from the state Higher Education Coordinating Committee, Campbell said.

The 2014 Ideas Matter lecture series sponsored by the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture will help showcase and celebrate the new major. The lecture series, titled “Healings and Hurtings: Religion, Self and the Body,” will focus on the connection between religion and the body.

Lectures are scheduled for Oct. 27, Nov. 5, Nov. 10 and Nov. 18. All events are free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Journey Room in the Memorial Union on the OSU campus in Corvallis. For a full listing of speakers and topics, visit http://bit.ly/ZtmVYj.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Amy Koehlinger, 541-737-3433 or amy.koehlinger@oregonstate.edu; Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196 or ccampbell@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Board hears report on student policies, sexual misconduct, OSU programs

News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 1:18pm
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The OSU Board of Trustees on Friday heard a report outlining extensive efforts by the university to improve success for students while in school and following graduation.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday heard a report outlining extensive efforts by the university to improve success for students while in school and following graduation.

Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs, told the board that OSU is an increasingly diverse university and that pressures on students today require a vast array of programs focused on the “whole of student life: cultural, social intellectual, physical and emotional.”

Brubaker-Cole said Oregon State is emphasizing student learning and programs in and outside of traditional classrooms with the goal of providing students skills and knowledge to succeed in school, life and career.

Oregon State has expanded such efforts with programs such as a first-year experience initiative that requires freshmen students to live on campus and participate in expanded advising, community building and orientation programs. Brubaker-Cole said OSU is also increasing its efforts within student health and wellness; experiential learning; diversity training, student cultural resource centers; involvement in clubs and organizations; and community relations within the neighborhoods near OSU’s Corvallis campus.

Brubaker-Cole also outlined OSU policies and programs associated with student housing, conduct and student life assistance.

The board of trustees also heard a report on Title IX and the increased focus on addressing sexual misconduct at Oregon State – and learned that OSU is not immune to this growing national concern.

Angelo Gomez, executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, outlined a suite of university resources and expanding initiatives, including specialized training for responders and investigators, mandatory education programs for new students, training for employees, the hiring of new investigative and other staff and others.

Reports of sexual misconduct and harassment to the university rose significantly during the 2013-14 academic year. Part of the increase stems from educational programs that encourage students and faculty to report incidents – and makes it easier for them to do so, Gomez pointed out.  He said the number of incidents is troublesome and mirrors national trends.

An estimated 19 percent of women nationwide report being the victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in college.

“Every case will be addressed,” Gomez said. “All incoming students and new employees will receive sexual violence and alcohol awareness and prevention education. Our prevention and education efforts will be enhanced and intensified, and we will dedicate more resources to response and prevention.”

The board also approved OSU President Edward J. Ray’s agenda for 2014-15, priorities which he said are based on a recent update of the university’s strategic plan. Ray pointed to three university-wide goals in that plan:

  • Provide a transformative educational experience for all learners;
  • Demonstrate leadership in research, scholarship, and creativity, while enhancing pre-eminence in the three signature areas of distinction – advancing the science of sustainable Earth ecosystems; improving human health and wellness; and promoting economic growth and social progress;
  • Strengthen OSU’s impact and reach throughout the state and beyond.

Ray said other priorities for the upcoming year include working toward raising first-year retention and graduation rates; diversifying faculty, staff and student populations; advancing the development of the four-year campus at OSU-Cascades and the Marine Studies Campus in Newport; and developing a proposal for deferred maintenance on campus, including disability access.

The board also approved a new compensation package for Ray, which includes a 9 percent raise in total salary from $485,082 to $528,739 annually. Approximately 56 percent of Ray’s salary is paid by the university and the balance by the OSU Foundation, a private non-profit organization that raises funds to support the university’s mission.

The board approved a resolution to accept on behalf of the university a gift of five parcels of timber property located in Washington County outside of Forest Grove. The property, which is a gift from the estate of Marion Matteson in memory of his mother, Rubie P. Matteson, was valued at $2.12 million during a December 2013 appraisal.

Board members also heard an overview report by Vice President of Research Ron Adams on the university’s research enterprise and participated with a number of university faculty and researchers in a tour of agricultural research facilities and the university’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.

Generic OSU Source: 

 Steve Clark, 541-541-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

A child’s poor decision-making skills can predict later behavior problems, research shows

News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:02am
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Children who show poor decision-making skills may be more likely to experience difficulties that have the potential to lead to high-risk health behavior in their teen years.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Children who show poor decision-making skills at age 10 or 11 may be more likely to experience interpersonal and behavioral difficulties that have the potential to lead to high-risk health behavior in their teen years, according to a new study from Oregon State University psychology professor.

“These findings suggest that less-refined decision skills early in life could potentially be a harbinger for problem behavior in the future,” said Joshua Weller, an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

However, if poor decision-making patterns can be identified while children are still young, parents, educators and health professionals may have an opportunity to intervene and help those children enhance these skills, said Weller, who studies individual differences in decision-making.

“This research underscores that decision-making is a skill and it can be taught,” he said. “The earlier you teach these skills, the potential for improving outcomes increases.”

His findings were published recently in the “Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.” Co-authors are Maxwell Moholy of Idaho State University and Elaine Bossard and Irwin P. Levin of the University of Iowa. The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The researchers wanted to better understand how pre-adolescent children’s decision-making skills predicted later behavior. To do so, they conducted follow-up assessments with children who had participated in a previous decision-making study.

About 100 children, ages 10 and 11, participated in the original study, where they answered questions that helped assess their decision-making skills. They were evaluated based on how they perceived the risks of a decision, their ability to use appropriate decision-making rules and whether their confidence about a decision matched their actual knowledge on a subject.

For the new study, researchers invited the original study participants - now 12 and 13 years old - and their parents back for a follow-up. In all, 76 children ages participated in the second study, which included a behavior assessment that was completed by both the parent and the child.

The behavior assessment included questions about emotional difficulties, conduct issues such as fighting or lying and problems with peers. Those kinds of behavioral issues are often linked to risky health behavior for teens, including substance abuse or high-risk sexual activity, Weller said.

Researchers compared each child’s scores from the initial decision-making assessment to the child’s and their parent’s behavioral reports. They found that children who scored worse on the initial decision-making assessment were more likely to have behavioral problems two years later.

“Previous studies of decision-making were retrospective,” Weller said. “To our knowledge, this is the first research to suggest how decision-making competence is associated with future outcomes.”

The research provides new understanding about the possible links between decision-making and high-risk behavior, Weller said. It also underscores the value of teaching decision-making and related skills such as goal-setting to youths. Some interventions have demonstrated promise in helping children learn to make better decisions, he said.

In another recent study, Weller and colleagues studied the decision-making tendencies of at-risk adolescent girls who had participated in an intervention program designed to reduce substance abuse and other risky behavior. The program emphasized self-regulation, goal-setting and anger management.

The study found that girls who received the intervention in fifth-grade demonstrated better decision-making skills when they were in high school than their at-risk peers who did not participate in the intervention program.

“Most people can benefit from decision-making training. Will it always lead to the outcome you wanted? No,” Weller said. “However, it boils down to the quality of your decision-making process.”

That is something that parents and other adults can help children learn. For instance, a parent can talk about difficult decisions with a child. By exploring multiple points of view or showing other people’s perspectives on the issue, the child learns to consider different perspectives, he said.

“Following a good process when making decisions can lead to more favorable outcomes over time,” Weller said. “Focus on the quality of the decision process, rather than the outcome.”

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Joshua Weller, 541-737-1358, Joshua.weller@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Former OSU forestry dean Hal Salwasser dies at 69

News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 1:13pm
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Former OSU forestry dean Hal Salwasser died at his home in Corvallis Wednesday night (Oct. 15) at the age of 69.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Harold J. “Hal” Salwasser, former dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, died at his home in Corvallis Wednesday night (Oct. 15) of apparent natural causes. He was 69 years old.

Salwasser had been an active member of the forestry faculty since stepping down as dean in 2012 after 12 years leading the college. He had planned to retire from Oregon State at the end of December.

“Hal was a wonderful colleague, a respected forester and an engaged Corvallis community member,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “His work leading the College of Forestry grew the university’s essential contributions in teaching and research concerning the world’s forests, watersheds, natural areas and the wood products industry.”

Salwasser guided the OSU College of Forestry through a period of immense transition in forest policies and management nationally and globally. He led efforts to maintain forest production while incorporating new concerns about biodiversity, climate change, wildfire, stream health protection, and other issues.

As dean, Salwasser oversaw a forestry program that is more than 120 years old and is consistently ranked as one of the best forestry programs in the country. Today the OSU College of Forestry has an annual budget of some $25 million, with more than a thousand undergraduate and graduate students and an internationally recognized faculty.

Salwasser also directed the Forest Research Laboratory at OSU, which spans a broad range of disciplines, while incorporating social, economic and policy aspects of forests.

Before coming to Oregon State, Salwasser was the chief executive officer of the Pacific Southwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. There he supervised the natural resources research and development of Forest Service activities in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. He previously was regional forester for the northern region of the U.S. Forest Service, which included Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas.

The Salwasser family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Hal Salwasser Fellowship Fund through the OSU Foundation.

Plans for a celebration of life will be announced later.

 

College of Forestry Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu;

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Hal Salwasser

Categories: Research news

OSU campaign celebration to feature N.Y. Times columnist

News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 9:39am
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Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times will be the keynote speaker during a celebration of OSU's billion-dollar campaign.

CORVALLIS, Ore.: Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times will be the keynote speaker at an event on Friday, Oct. 31, celebrating the success of Oregon State University’s billion-dollar campaign.

The public is invited to this free celebration, which will be held at the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus beginning at 4 p.m.

A seasoned journalist and native of Yamhill, Oregon, Kristof has traveled the major roads and minor byways of China, India, South Asia and Africa, offering a compassionate glimpse into global health, poverty and gender in the developing world.

He and his wife Sheryl Wudunn co-authored the best-selling “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which inspired a four-hour PBS series of the same name. In their new book, “A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity,” they look around the world at people who are working to make it a better place, and show readers the numerous ways this work can be supported.

Kristof’s remarks will conclude an hour-long multimedia showcase of the impact of The Campaign for OSU on students, Oregon and the world. Publicly launched in October 2007, the campaign has raised more than $1.096 billion to support university priorities. To date, more than 105,000 donors to the campaign have:

  • Created more than 600 new scholarships and fellowship funds – a 30 percent increase – with gifts for student support exceeding $180 million;
  • Contributed more than $100 million to help attract and retain leading professors and researchers, including funding for 77 of Oregon State’s 124 endowed faculty positions;
  • Supported the construction or renovation of more than two dozen campus facilities, including Austin Hall in the College of Business, the Linus Pauling Science Center, new cultural centers, and the OSU Basketball Center. Bonding support from the state was critical to many of these projects.

"In his world travels, Nicholas Kristof has seen incredible examples of people who are transforming lives and creating opportunity,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “Though on a different level, that’s what’s happening at Oregon State University, with the help of our growing philanthropic community. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome one of Oregon’s native sons to our campus to celebrate our progress over the last decade and look together to the future.

“The contribution this university makes to our state and to our world is extraordinary and this campaign has expanded future opportunities tremendously.”

Several additional activities are planned on campus for Oct. 31, which is part of Homecoming week. The grand opening celebration for Austin Hall, the new home of the College of Business, will take place at 1:30 p.m. A full schedule of Homecoming events, including lectures, open houses and a Thursday evening Lights Parade and Block Party, is available at osualum.com/homecoming.

OSU Foundation Source: 

Molly Brown, 541-737-3602, molly.brown@oregonstate.edu

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Nicholas Kristof

Categories: Research news

OSU’s Lubchenco honored for science communication efforts

News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 9:05am
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Jane Lubchenco has received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication.

SAN FRANCISCO - Climate One at The Commonwealth Club today announced that Jane Lubchenco, the University Distinguished Professor and Advisor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University and former NOAA administrator, will receive the fourth annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication.

The $10,000 award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a broad public in a clear and compelling fashion. It was established in memory of Stephen H. Schneider, a pioneer in the field of climatology.

“Throughout her distinguished career, Jane Lubchenco has been that rare combination: an outstanding environmental scientist and an outspoken champion of scientific engagement and communication with policy-makers, the media, and the public,” said Cristine Russell, a science journalist and one of the jurors making the award selection.

“She co-founded three important organizations dedicated to improving science communication and the health of the world’s oceans.”

Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and marine ecologist in the OSU College of Science whose research interests include biodiversity, climate change, sustainable use of oceans and the planet, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. She recently served for four years as the administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As an advocate for effective science communication to non-technical audiences, Lubchenco founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in 1998, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea in 1999, and Climate Central in 2007.

During her tenure with NOAA, Lubchenco helped lead the nation through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 770 tornadoes, 70 Atlantic hurricanes, six major floods, three tsunamis, historic drought and wildfires, prolonged heat waves and record snowfalls and blizzards.

She launched a “Weather Ready Nation” initiative to improve responses to extreme water and weather events, oversaw the most comprehensive National Climate Assessment ever, and led programs to forbid politicization of science or interference with scientists communicating with the news media.

College of Science Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Riki Rafner, 415-597-6712

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Jane Lubchenco

Categories: Research news

OSU Press publishes new book by Portland author Brian Doyle

News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 10:36am
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The OSU Press has published a new book by Portland author Brian Doyle titled "Children and Other Wild Animals."

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Award-winning Portland author Brian Doyle has written a new book that explores encounters with astounding animals and humans through a series of short vignettes that feature sons and daughters, inebriated robins, Charles Darwin and roasting squirrels, among others.

His book, “Children and Other Wild Animals,” has been published by the Oregon State University Press. It is available in bookstores, or may be ordered online at www.osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/children-and-other-wild-animals, or by calling 1-800-426-3797.

Doyle will read from his new book on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at OSU’s Valley Library Rotunda. The reading, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. The event kicks off the 2014-15 OSU Presss Authors Across Oregon reading series. For more information on the series, visit www.osupress.oregonstate.edu/AuthorsAcrossOregon

Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author more than books, including “Mink River, “The Plover” and “The Grail,” with its lengthy but descriptive subtitle, “A year rambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world” (OSU Press, 2006). His essays have been published in Best American Essays and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies.

“Children and Other Wild Animals” combines previously unpublished works with vignettes that have appeared in Orion, The Sun, Utne Reader, and other publications. Doyle’s trademark, quirky prose has been described as “at once lyrical, daring and refreshing; his essays are poignant but not pap, sharp but not sermons, and revelatory at every turn.”

One essay in the new book is “The Creature Beyond the Mountain,” which won the John Burroughs Award for outstanding nature essay. It is, Doyle says, his tribute to all things “sturgeonness.”

Sometimes you want to see the forest and not the trees. Sometimes you find yourself starving for what’s true, and not about a person but about all people. This is how religion and fascism were born, but it’s also why music is the greatest of arts, and why stories matter, and why we all cannot help staring at fires and great waters.”

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Marty Brown, 541-737-3866; marty.brown@oregonstate.edu

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Brian Doyle

Categories: Research news

Study: Could sleeper sharks be preying on protected Steller sea lions?

News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 9:58am
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Pacific sleeper sharks, a slow-moving species thought of as primarily a scavenger or predator of fish, may be preying on something larger – protected Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Pacific sleeper sharks, a large, slow-moving species thought of as primarily a scavenger or predator of fish, may be preying on something a bit larger – protected Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska.

A new study found the first indirect evidence that this cold-blooded shark that can grow to a length of more than 20 feet – longer than a great white shark – may be an opportunistic predator of juvenile Steller sea lions.

Results of the study have just been published in the journal Fishery Bulletin. The findings are important, scientists say, because of management implications for the protected Steller sea lions.

For the past decade, Markus Horning of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University has led a project in collaboration with Jo-Ann Mellish of the Alaska SeaLife Center to deploy specially designed “life history transmitters” into the abdomens of juvenile Steller sea lions. These buoyant archival tags record data on temperature, light and other properties during the sea lions’ lives and after the animals die the tags float to the surface or fall out ashore and transmit data to researchers via satellite.

From 2005-11, Horning and his colleagues implanted tags into 36 juvenile Steller sea lions and over a period of several years, 17 of the sea lions died. Fifteen transmitters sent data indicating the sea lions had been killed by predation.

“The tags sense light and air to which they are suddenly exposed, and record rapid temperature change,” said Horning, who is in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “That is an indication that the tag has been ripped out of the body, though we don’t know what the predator is that did this.

“At least three of the deaths were different,” he added. “They recorded abrupt temperature drops, but the tags were still dark and still surrounded by tissue. We surmise that the sea lions were consumed by a cold-blooded predator because the recorded temperatures aligned with the deep waters of the Gulf of Alaska and not the surface waters.

“We know the predator was not a killer whale, for example, because the temperatures would be much higher since they are warm-blooded animals.” Data collected from the transmitters recorded temperatures of 5-8 degrees Celsius.

That leaves a few other suspects, Horning said. However, two known predators of sea lions – great white sharks and salmon sharks – have counter-current heat exchanges in their bodies that make them partially warm-blooded and the tags would have reflected higher temperatures.

By process of elimination, Horning suspects sleeper sharks.

The Oregon State pinniped specialist acknowledges that the evidence for sleeper sharks is indirect and not definitive, thus he is planning to study them more closely beginning in 2015. The number of sleeper sharks killed in Alaska as bycatch ranges from 3,000 to 15,000 annually, indicating there are large numbers of the shark out there. The sleeper sharks caught up in the nets are usually comparatively small; larger sharks are big enough to tear the fishing gear and are rarely landed.

“If sleeper sharks are involved in predation, it creates something of a dilemma,” said Horning, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore. “In recent years, groundfish harvests in the Gulf of Alaska have been limited in some regions to reduce the potential competition for fish that would be preferred food for Steller sea lions.

“By limiting fishing, however, you may be reducing the bycatch that helps keep a possible limit on a potential predator of the sea lions,” he added. “The implication could be profound, and the net effect of such management actions could be the opposite of what was intended.”

Other studies have found remains of Steller sea lions and other marine mammals in the stomachs of sleeper sharks, but those could have been the result of scavenging instead of predation, Horning pointed out.

The western distinct population of Steller sea lions has declined to about 20 percent of the levels they were at prior to 1975.

Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Markus Horning, 541-867-0270, markus.horning@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Oregon Hatchery Research Center to host open house, festival

News - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:10pm
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The Oregon Hatchery Research Center will hold its annual Fall Creek Festival on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CORVALLIS, Ore – The Oregon Hatchery Research Center will hold its annual Fall Creek Festival on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The center, which is jointly operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, is located 13 miles west of Alsea on Highway 34. The event is free and open to the public.

The center is an important research site for studying similarities and differences between hatchery-raised and wild salmon and steelhead. It is located on Fall Creek, a tributary of the Alsea River.

“There has been a strong run of salmon this year throughout the Northwest, and festival participants should have an opportunity to view a number of fish,” said David Noakes, a professor of fisheries at OSU and science director for the center.

A free lunch will be provided during the festival, which also includes a number of children’s activities and workshops. Workshops begin at both 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., with topics including fish printing, water color painting, wire wrap jewelry-making, salmon cycle jewelry, bird house building, and stamping.

Registration for the festival is required since space is limited. Call 541-487-5512, or email oregonhatchery.researchcenter@state.or.us

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

David Noakes, 541-737-1953, david.noakes@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Scientists discover carbonate rocks are unrecognized methane sink

News - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:23pm
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Rocky assemblages known as authigenic carbonates in many oceans contain methane-eating microbes that constitute a previously unknown "sink" for this potent greenhouse gas.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Since the first undersea methane seep was discovered 30 years ago, scientists have meticulously analyzed and measured how microbes in the seafloor sediments consume the greenhouse gas methane as part of understanding how the Earth works.

The sediment-based microbes form an important methane “sink,” preventing much of the chemical from reaching the atmosphere and contributing to greenhouse gas accumulation. As a byproduct of this process, the microbes create a type of rock known as authigenic carbonate, which while interesting to scientists was not thought to be involved in the processing of methane.

That is no longer the case. A team of scientists has discovered that these authigenic carbonate rocks also contain vast amounts of active microbes that take up methane. The results of their study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, were reported today in the journal Nature Communications.

“No one had really examined these rocks as living habitats before,” noted Andrew Thurber, an Oregon State University marine ecologist and co-author on the paper. “It was just assumed that they were inactive. In previous studies, we had seen remnants of microbes in the rocks – DNA and lipids – but we thought they were relics of past activity. We didn’t know they were active.

“This goes to show how the global methane process is still rather poorly understood,” Thurber added.

Lead author Jeffrey Marlow of the California Institute of Technology and his colleagues studied samples from authigenic compounds off the coasts of the Pacific Northwest (Hydrate Ridge), northern California (Eel River Basin) and central America (the Costa Rica margin). The rocks range in size and distribution from small pebbles to carbonate “pavement” stretching dozens of square miles.

“Methane-derived carbonates represent a large volume within many seep systems and finding active methane-consuming archaea and bacteria in the interior of these carbonate rocks extends the known habitat for methane-consuming microorganisms beyond the relatively thin layer of sediment that may overlay a carbonate mound,” said Marlow, a geobiology graduate student in the lab of Victoria Orphan of Caltech.

These assemblages are also found in the Gulf of Mexico as well as off Chile, New Zealand, Africa, Europe – “and pretty much every ocean basin in the world,” noted Thurber, an assistant professor (senior research) in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

The study is important, scientists say, because the rock-based microbes potentially may consume a huge amount of methane. The microbes were less active than those found in the sediment, but were more abundant – and the areas they inhabit are extensive, making their importance potential enormous. Studies have found that approximately 3-6 percent of the methane in the atmosphere is from marine sources – and this number is so low due to microbes in the ocean sediments consuming some 60-90 percent of the methane that would otherwise escape.

Now those ratios will have to be re-examined to determine how much of the methane sink can be attributed to microbes in rocks versus those in sediments. The distinction is important, the researchers say, because it is an unrecognized sink for a potentially very important greenhouse gas.

“We found that these carbonate rocks located in areas of active methane seeps are themselves more active,” Thurber said. “Rocks located in comparatively inactive regions had little microbial activity. However, they can quickly activate when methane becomes available.

“In some ways, these rocks are like armies waiting in the wings to be called upon when needed to absorb methane.”

The ocean contains vast amounts of methane, which has long been a concern to scientists. Marine reservoirs of methane are estimated to total more than 455 gigatons and may be as much as 10,000 gigatons carbon in methane. A gigaton is approximate 1.1 billion tons.

By contrast, all of the planet’s gas and oil deposits are thought to total about 200-300 gigatons of carbon.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Andrew Thurber, 541-737-4500, athurber@coas.oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Coast conference to explore marine issues

News - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 8:46am
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The State of the Coast conference on Oct. 25 in Florence will explore a range of issues related to Oregon's marine environment.

FLORENCE, Ore. – The State of the Coast conference will be held in Florence on Oct. 25, a program designed to bring coastal citizens, business leaders and local government representatives together with scientists and students to explore the current and future state of Oregon’s marine environment.

The day-long event will be at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St. It is open to the public, and registration fees are $35 for general admission, $25 for students. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and sessions start at 9 a.m. Lunch is included.

Built on a rich, 10-year history as the Heceta Head Coastal Conference, the 2014 State of the Coast is now being organized by Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University. It features a keynote address by Paul Greenberg, the James Beard Award-winning author of the best-selling "Four Fish” and "American Catch" books about seafood and ocean sustainability.

The program includes talks and panel discussions about new marine research, a report on sea star wasting syndrome, coastal seafood cooking demonstrations and a debate featuring OSU fisheries and wildlife students considering the question "Should Oregon promote wave and wind energy in our coastal waters?"

Attendees will have a chance to learn about some of the graduate and undergraduate ocean and coastal research going on at OSU and elsewhere, and talk informally with the young scientists.  More information and registration is available online at http://www.stateofthecoast.com/

Oregon Sea Grant Media Contact:  Pat Kight Source: 

Flaxen Conway, 541-737-1339

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Wave energy testing device

Categories: Research news

Photographer and conceptual artist John Hilliard to speak at OSU

News - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:03am
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British photographer and conceptual artist John Hilliard will speak about his work on Tuesday, Oct. 28, on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – British photographer and conceptual artist John Hilliard will speak about his work on Tuesday, Oct. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.

His talk, “A Catalogue of Errors,” is free and open to the public. Hilliard’s appearance is part of the Visual Artists and Scholars lecture series sponsored by the School of Arts and Communication in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU.

Since the 1960s, Hilliard has been making photographic works that question the nature of photographic representation. A pioneer of conceptual photography, Hilliard will speak about his photographic practice and the nature of photographic representation and its failings.

“I have sought to conduct a critical interrogation of photography as a representational medium, but also to disclose and celebrate its specificity,” Hilliard has said of his work. “Many of its perceived failings (blurred or unfocused images, for example) might equally be considered as unique assets. Indeed, through a catalogue of errors one may yet arrive at one's correct destination.”

Hilliard has shown his work in numerous galleries and museums worldwide. From 1968 to 2010, he taught in various art departments, including the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London, where he is an emeritus professor in fine art.

The Visual Artists and Scholars lecture series brings world-renowned artists and scholars to campus to interact with students in the art department so they can learn what is required of a professional artist or scholar.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Julia Bradshaw, Julia.bradshaw@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

OSU’s first free, massive course attracts thousands worldwide

News - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:03am
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More than 3,187 students from around the world have enrolled in Oregon State University’s first massive open online course, or MOOC.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – More than 3,187 students from around the world have enrolled in Oregon State University’s first massive open online course, or MOOC.

The free, eight-week course, Supporting English Language Learners under New Standards, is offered in partnership with Stanford University and is funded by the Oregon Department of Education. The enrollment exceeds the expectations of the course developers and instructors.

“We can tell from the feedback that the course is addressing a real need educators have, providing opportunities to learn more about supporting English language learners,” said Karen Thompson, one of the course’s three instructors and an assistant professor in Oregon State’s College of Education.

Although it is particularly relevant to K-12 educators in the 11-state ELPA21 consortium, the class has attracted learners from most states in America and participants from Vietnam, Syria, Ecuador, Spain, Brazil, Ukraine, Libya and other countries. Participants work in teams to gather and analyze language samples from their students.

Oregon State Ecampus is also a partner in the MOOC and has provided multimedia and support services for the course. Educators can still register online.

Generic OSU Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988

Categories: Research news

Lomónaco to direct Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory

News - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 9:49am
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Pedro Lomónaco, an expert in coastal and maritime engineering, has been named the director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Pedro Lomónaco, an expert in coastal and maritime engineering, has been named the director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University.

Lomónaco, previously the director of a marine research facility at the University of Cantabria in Spain, has co-authored more than 60 publications on wave generation and propagation, the stability of coastal and submarine structures, the behavior of floating structures and other topics.

The Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, a part of the OSU College of Engineering, is a key research facility for coastal and ocean engineering research, including its internationally recognized programs of tsunami research and coastal hazard mitigation.

“The laboratory is immersed in a new and challenging era where the academic community, industry and the general public demands outstanding solutions and testing of multi-hazard events on our coasts, the development of marine renewable energy devices and education of our future researchers and engineers,” Lomónaco said.

Lomónaco earned his doctorate at the University of Cantabria, and for seven years directed its Hydraulics, Coast and Ocean Laboratory. He has also worked and executed experiments at several other leading coastal engineering laboratories in North America and Europe.

With a wide range of K-12 outreach programs and community open houses, the OSU laboratory plays an important role in helping the general public understand and prepare for coastal hazards; study the impacts of waves, storm, erosion and tsunami events; and provides science to help inform public policy, both regionally and nationally. It also operates a Mini Tsunami Wave Flume traveling exhibit that was featured at the National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Scientists and engineers from many nations travel to Oregon to make use of the facility, which is one of the largest and most technically advanced laboratories for coastal research in the world.

College of Engineering Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Pedro Lomónaco, 541-737-2875

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Pedro Lomónaco



Tsunami wave basin

Categories: Research news

Grant to enhance minority participation in STEM disciplines

News - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 4:38pm
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A five-year, $3.44 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help improve STEM education at OSU and other collaborating universities.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A collaboration of five universities in the Pacific Northwest has received a five-year, $3.44 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Participants in the program include Oregon State University, Portland State University, Boise State University, the University of Washington and Washington State University. Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Education, helped develop this collaboration. Called the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM, the initiative has been quite successful in recruiting more minority students and assisting them in completing their degrees, officials say.

In the first five-year grant at OSU, the goal was to double the number of under-represented minority students who graduated in a STEM discipline – which would have been 154 graduates in June, 2014. They significantly exceeded that, with 196 degrees awarded. This program provides financial, academic, social and professional support to help students achieve their academic and professional goals.

“Changing demographics in Oregon make it critical to graduate a greater number of minority students in STEM disciplines to fill positions in industry and academia,” said Ellen Momsen, co-principal investigator of this program at OSU, and director of its Women and Minorities in Engineering program.

“Our industry partners are enthusiastic about the increase in the diversity of our College of Engineering graduates,” Momsen said. “This is essential to improve the lives of all the people in our state.”

About 47 percent of the 3,043 under-represented minority students at OSU are now majoring in STEM disciplines at OSU, Momsen said. Many of them are taking advantage of programs such as a two-week “bridge” program for freshmen and a two-day leadership academy. A significant number also later become involved as undergraduates in original scientific research.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Ellen Momsen, 541-737-9699

Categories: Research news

Educated community no protection against a poor diet for children

News - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 3:09pm
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Poor diets can affect even students from a highly educated community with easy access to quality food, a new OSU study suggests.

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of elementary school children in a highly educated community in the Pacific Northwest found that about three fourths of the students had vitamin D levels that were either insufficient or deficient, and they also lacked an adequate intake of other important nutrients.

The findings, reported recently in the Journal of Extension by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, make it clear that nutritional deficiencies can be profound even in communities with a very knowledgeable population and easy access to high quality, affordable food.

Many other studies have found similar concerns in areas with low socioeconomic status, poor food availability, and lower levels of education. This research identified significant nutritional problems in Corvallis, Ore., a university town with many grocery stores, a free bus transit system and some of the highest educational levels in the nation. In Corvallis, 26 percent of residents have completed a graduate degree, which is more than double the national average.

As students grew from younger children into adolescents, the problems only got worse, the research showed. The trend continued toward a diet focused on simple carbohydrates, and low both in fiber and important micronutrients.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that health and dietary concerns cut across all populations, including comparatively well-educated or affluent groups,” said Gerd Bobe, an assistant professor with the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and member of the Healthy Youth Program at the Linus Pauling Institute.

“This research also showed nutritional status and dietary choices are getting worse as students become teenagers,” Bobe said. “The foundation for lifelong health is laid in childhood, and puberty is a critical time for growth, brain and bone development. It’s a really bad time to have a bad diet. Since Corvallis is a very educated community with many health-conscious individuals, this is an illustration of just how widespread these problems are.”

The study focused some of its attention on vitamin D, taking blood samples from 71 students at four public elementary schools in Corvallis. They found about 8 percent of students were outright deficient in this vitamin, and about 69 percent were “insufficient,” defined as a level that’s less than ideal for optimal health.

Vitamin D is important for immune function; brain, muscle and bone development and health; and prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer. It is often found to be deficient in many temperate zones where people don’t get adequate sun exposure.

The study examined children in two age groups, 5-8 years old and 9-11 years. The older children had even lower vitamin D levels that the younger group, correlated to a lower consumption of dairy products.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggested that educational or outreach programs to improve nutrition understanding are needed in a broad cross section of society, not just low-income or underserved groups.

“Studies show that children and adults both learn best when all their senses are involved, through something like cooking classes combined with nutrition education,” said Simone Frei, manager of the Healthy Youth Program at the Linus Pauling Institute.

“In our classes, youth and families learn about eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and reducing processed foods,” Frei said. “This is even more effective when combined with growing and harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden.”

This program, among other initiatives, operates a “Chefs in the Garden” summer camp, and data show that 65 percent of participating children increased their vegetable consumption after the camp experience.

Among the other findings of the study:

  • Most of the children reported a diet insufficient in fiber and essential fatty acids;
  • Nearly all children consumed less potassium and more sodium than recommended, a health habit that ultimately can be associated with higher levels of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer;
  • Only a single child in the entire study group reported a diet that would provide adequate intake of vitamin E, which is important for neurological development, cognition and anemia prevention.

As a result of the study, educational programs were developed by the Healthy Youth Program at OSU, some of which are available online at http://bit.ly/1ukBNnT

Linus Pauling Institute Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Gerd Bobe, 541-737-1898

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Learning to garden



A healthy feast

Categories: Research news

OSU president outlines a decade of accomplishments, new challenges for future

News - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 2:32pm
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In an annual address to the Faculty Senate, President Edward Ray cited a decade of unprecedented growth and accomplishment, and new challenges facing OSU in the future.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In an annual address to the Faculty Senate at Oregon State University, OSU President Edward J. Ray reviewed what he called the “extraordinary” successes of the past 10 years, explored a range of financial and student issues, and cited major challenges and opportunities facing both OSU and the future of higher education.

While the United States was recovering from what’s been called the “Great Recession,” OSU boosted enrollment by 37 percent, raised nearly $1.1 billion in the most successful university fund raising campaign in state history, added and modernized an unprecedented number of campus structures and facilities, hit record levels of research funding and significantly expanded both the diversity and high-achieving status of its student body.

“The changes at Oregon State University affected over the last 10 years are nothing short of extraordinary,” Ray said in his address. “Our faculty, staff and students remain the lifeblood of this community, and without their talents and work, we simply would not have realized the positive change we see around us.”

Ray pointed to the expansion of Oregon State’s Ecampus distance education program, the creation of a Marine Studies Campus in Newport, and the planned growth of the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend as the primary future opportunities for student enrollment growth. He retained his commitment to a target of 28,000 students on the Corvallis campus and pledged steady additions of tenure-track faculty to boost both educational and research opportunities.

But he also warned that just celebrating the past will not address the challenges of the future.

“The natural inclination to stick with what has worked in the past, to not mess with success, is very powerful,” Ray said. “History is replete with examples of nations, governments, institutions and businesses that lost dominant positions because they failed to recognize the forces of change around them, that made business as usual a recipe for failure.”

To help deal with those changes, Ray noted that OSU will be managed by its own Board of Trustees for the first time in 80 years.

He suggested that over the next 10 years, OSU should launch its second comprehensive fundraising campaign, with goals of raising twice the total raised in this campaign and double the level of annual giving. And he said that possible slowdowns in federal research funding might be addressed with more funds from private industry partners, as may be possible through the university’s OSU Advantage program which targets university collaboration with industry..

Among other changes, accomplishments and challenges that Ray highlighted:

  • High achieving students from Oregon with a grade point averages of 3.75 or higher this year will make up 44 percent of Oregon State’s entering freshman class. Meanwhile, U.S. minority students will make up 20.6 percent of OSU’s enrollment and international students, 13.1 percent.
  • Key factors, made possible by faculty and staff collaboration, that allowed OSU’s stability and strategic focus during a time of national economic stress included elimination of 26 low-enrollment majors and consolidation of 62 colleges, schools, departments and programs into 42.
  • The Campaign for OSU helped create an additional 77 endowed faculty positions, more than 600 new scholarships and fellowships, and facilitated 30 major construction projects valued at more than $727 million.
  • OSU funding for research reached $285 million in fiscal year 2014, industry investments have grown by 50 percent over the past five years and licensing revenue from OSU inventions grew by 120 percent.
  • With currently anticipated levels of state support, the university will provide 3 percent faculty merit raises and hire 30-40 new faculty members in each of the next several years.
  • New initiatives have been implemented to improve first-year retention and six-year graduation rates for all students, such as a live-on campus policy, better academic advising, small-group peer mentoring, enhanced cultural centers and other activities.

OSU should both recognize its successes and acknowledge that the challenges of the near future will be different from those of the past decade, Ray said.

“Even as we celebrate the success of the Campaign for OSU, we should remember our role as stewards of this great university,” he said. “The extraordinary accomplishments we celebrate are the foundation for future greatness only if we sustain our momentum.”

Generic OSU Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808

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Ed Ray





New classroom



New cultural center

Categories: Research news

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