OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of education

OSU research funds reach second consecutive record of $336 million

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University research funding reached $336 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30 – a second consecutive year of record-breaking growth and an increase of more than 60 percent over the past decade.

In 2006, the university garnered $209 million from state, federal and private-sector sources. Since then, OSU has received research revenues totaling more than $3 billion. In the last year, Oregon State researchers brought in $27 million more from all sources than they did in 2015, a 15 percent increase in competitive federal grants and an overall 9 percent increase.

OSU accounts for more research funding than nearly all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined.

“Our researchers deserve all the credit for this amazing accomplishment,” said Cynthia Sagers, Oregon State vice president for research. “They have stepped up to the challenge of securing research funds that support our programs and our students, and create an impact on Oregon, the nation and the world.”

Through salaries, student stipends and expenditures, Oregon State research generates an annual societal and economic impact of about $762 million in the state and globally, based on an assessment conducted in 2015 by ECONorthwest.

Ongoing projects funded last year include:

  • Shannon Lipscomb at OSU-Cascades in Bend, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, is leading a four-year, $1.5 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to train teachers to work with children exposed to trauma such as abuse, neglect, parental mental illness or parental substance abuse.
  • With grants totaling $227,000 from the Simons Foundation, Angelicque White and Laurie Juranek in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, are collaborating with scientists from the University of Washington, MIT, the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California on a research project in the remote North Pacific Ocean. Preliminary results suggest that changes in the ratios of nitrogen, carbon and other nutrients lead to distinct shifts in microorganisms, affecting climate and the growth of plants and animals that live in the sea.
  • With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Army, Joseph Beckman, distinguished professor in the Linus Pauling Institute and the College of Science, is developing a potential ALS treatment cased on copper ASTM. He has demonstrated that this compound in mice can halt the progression of what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • With a $1.4 million grant from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, the College of Engineering has been developing improvements to plastic injection molding processes and investigating the use of biopigments for digital printing on fabric. The aim in both initiatives is to increase manufacturing competitiveness by reducing waste and boosting energy efficiency.

 OSU researchers undertook projects to study and manage forests, coastal waters and other natural resources; to protect human health by identifying new treatments for infectious diseases; and to support communities and businesses by solving problems in food, energy and water systems.

Scientists are developing new ways to deliver education in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — and tracking the performance of students learning English as a second language.

Success, Sagers added, is due in part to collaborations among researchers across disciplines in areas such as robotics, marine sciences and information technologies.

“Working with people outside one’s own field can lead to real advances in knowledge and innovation,” Sagers said. “We’re seeing progress in unmanned aerial systems for agriculture, forestry and infrastructure inspections, in genetic testing to understand disease and improve food security, and in software for environmental monitoring and crop improvements.”

Research results are finding their way into businesses, fueling economic growth. For example, two newly formed companies — Agility Robotics and e-MSion, Inc. — have grown out of OSU labs with help from the Oregon State University Advantage program and RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network.

Agility Robotics is developing the second generation of a bi-pedal robot with funding from the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. E-MSion is driven by an advance in mass spectrometry, a workhorse technology in research labs worldwide. The company aims to transform this high-end research tool into an easy-to-use appliance and hire 20 to 30 employees within five years.

Among funds received in 2016 were the following:

  • $5.3 million from the Agricultural Research Foundation for projects to enhance the productivity and sustainability of food and ornamental crops across the state
  • $2.8 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, focusing on undersea eruptions, fisheries and acoustic techniques for monitoring marine mammals and other animals
  • $1.2 million for the Long Term Ecological Research program at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, emphasizing environmental responses to climate change
  • $3 million for design and bid preparation for two to three new regional class coastal research vessels
  • $1 million from Oregon BEST for 17 sustainability projects in wood science, engineering and agriculture
  • 11 NSF CAREER Awards to jumpstart research programs by young researchers in engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry and statistics
  • 35 grants over $1 million, for projects ranging from biomass fuels for the Northwest and plant genetics to changing Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean conditions, aquaculture, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, STEM education and health risks of air pollution

Funds provided by federal agencies increased over what was received in 2015 from the Department of Commerce, up 72 percent; Department of Energy, up 69 percent; Department of Defense, up 39 percent; and Department of Health and Human Services, up 30 percent. Total federal funding grew from $185 million last year to more than $212 million in 2016.

State appropriations for land grant funding — money that supports work in agriculture, wood products, engineering and other fields —increased by $7 million, from $61 million in 2015 to $68 million in 2016. Funds are being used to hire experts to work with farmers, ranchers and others on issues from water quality and disease control to food safety and value-added manufacturing.

Story By: 
Source: 

Cynthia Sagers, 541-737-0664

cynthia.sagers@oregonstate.edu

Multimedia Downloads
Multimedia: 

shipprofile
New research vessel

 

Robert Tanguay

Zebrafish research


ATRIAS, a two-legged robot created at Oregon State University, ambles down the sideline at Reser Stadium, home of Beaver football. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)
Bipedal robot

 

YouTube video

https://youtu.be/q8TCAClYais 

 

High resolution downloadable video:

http://bit.ly/2c4Ta7b

Two OSU buildings selected for 2013 DeMuro Award

CORVALLIS, Ore.— The Hallie Ford Center and Joyce Collin Furman Hall at Oregon State University have been selected to receive the 2013 DeMuro Award for Excellence in Preservation, Reuse and Community Revitalization by Restore Oregon.

The Hallie Ford Center is being recognized as an outstanding example of compatible infill development within a historic district. Furman Hall is being recognized for the extraordinary complexity, creativity, design and craftsmanship of its historic rehabilitation.

They are among seven Oregon buildings to be honored with the award this year. The awards were presented at a banquet Wednesday in Portland, which included a guest presentation by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

The DeMuro Award honors extraordinary historic rehabilitation projects and compatible infill development across Oregon – residential and commercial, urban and rural, private and public. The award is named in honor of Art DeMuro whose redevelopment of historic properties such as the White Stag Block set the standard for quality, creativity, persistence, and business acumen.

“Hallie Ford wanted to inspire people to use the resources they have to make the world a better place,” said Richard Settersten, Hallie E. Ford endowed director. “This principle not only drives the work we do, but is also reflected in the intentional design and beauty of the building we now call home."

According to Restore Oregon, the Hallie Ford Center is an outstanding example of compatible infill development that harmonizes beautifully with its neighbors. “It makes a distinct statement that’s of its time, yet is complementary in scale, massing, proportion, and materials, enhancing the story of the historic district,” Restore Oregon staff noted.

The Hallie Ford building houses the Hallie E. Ford Center for Children and Families. Made possible by a gift from late Oregon philanthropist Hallie Ford, the center opened Sept. 8, 2011, and is home to interdisciplinary, collaborative research from the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Furman Hall, which was originally built in 1902 and recently restored, was honored by Restore Oregon for being rescued from a deteriorating and dangerous state. Seismically unsound and wrapped in netting to protect pedestrians from crumbling sandstone, Furman Hall was structurally rebuilt, its interior redesigned, and sandstone façade replaced in kind.

"Furman Hall is destined to become one of the icons of the OSU campus,” said Larry Flick, dean of the College of Education. “Descriptions of the mapping of the original stone shapes to the newly quarried stone, delights visitors, parents, and students.  It is not unusual to look out my window and see a passerby photographing the building. The DeMuro Award is an honor for FFA and OSU in a highly successful collaboration to restore a proud part of OSU heritage."

Education Hall, originally built in 1902, re-opened as Joyce Collin Furman Hall in January 2012, following a complete renovation. An iconic structure at the campus’ east entrance, the renovated building blends historic charm with high-tech touches. The exterior seismic upgrades were funded by the state, and the interior renovations were made possible by private donors, including a $2 million gift from William A. Furman through the Joyce N. Furman Memorial Trust.

 

For more information: http://restoreoregon.org/demuro-award/

Story By: 
Source: 

Larry Flick
541-737-3664;

Richard Settersten
541-737-8902

Multimedia Downloads
Multimedia: 

Hallie Ford Center edhall

Lacking other meaningful data, university faculty devise their own teaching evaluation systems

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In the fast-growing and job-rich disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, improving instruction at the college level is critical to keeping students engaged in these fields.

But filling in bubbles on institutionalized end-of-term teacher evaluation questionnaires, a standard practice at many large research universities, often fails to produce timely and meaningful data for improving instruction, according to a new study from Oregon State University that explores how faculty are evaluating their teaching practice.

The researchers found that faculty teaching in the STEM disciplines at large research universities are devising their own systems to collect instructional data from their classrooms and using that data to inform their teaching.

Instructors are using quantitative data about their students’ classroom performance as well as qualitative data such as student feedback from mid-term surveys or informal conversations, said Jana Bouwma-Gearhart, an associate professor of science and mathematics education at OSU and lead author of the study.

 “Some faculty have really created these elaborate data and analysis systems, even though they are not yet required to,” said Bouwma-Gearhart, who also serves as an associate dean in OSU’s College of Education. “They are using these systems to talk about their instruction and to help inform decisions about programs and curriculum.”

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Higher Education Management. The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

As universities continue to look at ways to improve student success, there is a growing emphasis in higher education for teaching faculty to be good educators who spend time developing and improving their skills in response to valid and reliable data. This may be particularly critical to retaining students in the STEM fields because students who struggle often opt to leave these disciplines altogether, Bouwma-Gearhart said.

In large enrollment universities –those with 15,000 or more students enrolled - many undergraduate courses in the STEM disciplines are taught by full- time educators who would likely be considered experts in that discipline.

However, Bouwma-Gearhart and colleagues found that instructors who teach these courses often lack access to structured or formal opportunities to reflect on meaningful data about their teaching beyond the typical end-of-term evaluations – the results of which often arrive too late; are too vague; and have too little student participation to be of much use.

Bouwma-Gearhart and co-author Matthew T. Hora, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, interviewed 59 STEM faculty and 20 administrators at large research universities. They wanted to know whether teaching faculty were using data to inform their teaching, and, if so, what kinds of data. They also wanted to better understand how educators are using data while in their classrooms.

“We found that faculty are gathering and responding to data, often using their own systems, and they are sometimes using it to advance their teaching in ways that go beyond what is required of them,” Bouwma-Gearhart said

Given the push from policymakers and education leaders toward more data-driven decision-making, documenting and understanding these real-world practices could ultimately lead to the design of more systematic data collection that is useful and helpful for faculty as well as administrators, she said.

 “People for the most part buy into the idea that data is good and that decision-making based on data is good,” Bouwma-Gearhart said. “But we also see that faculty need flexibility with respect to what kind of data is useful and how the data is used. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work when it comes to data to inform teaching practices.”

Bouwma-Gearhart said additional research is needed to better understand what motivates some faculty, more than others, to use data to inform their teaching practice. She is currently studying what factors may induce organizational changes related to instructional data use and teaching practice within departments, programs or institutions.

“We found that there is no lack of STEM faculty caring about their teaching or saying that data is ultimately relevant to evaluate and inform their teaching,” Bouwma-Gearhart said. “There is a rich conversation and effort underway. The question is how do we engage more faculty in meaningful conversations?”

Story By: 
Source: 

Jana Bouwma-Gearhart, 541-737-2206, Jana.Bouwma-Gearhart@oregonstate.edu

OSU, Beaverton School District develop new hybrid teacher licensure program

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A partnership between Oregon State University and the Beaverton School District will allow future teachers a unique opportunity to instruct K-5 students in the classroom through a new type of hybrid teacher licensure program. 

The masters of arts in teaching, or M.A.T. degree, with an option in “clinically based elementary program,” is a two-year, full-time master’s degree program that begins this fall. It will immediately immerse students in the classroom, where they will co-teach and work side-by-side with experienced Beaverton School District educators.

Frequently referred to as “Teach for Beaverton,” the program provides students the opportunity to actively engage with a cohort of peers while learning from faculty in the OSU College of Education. The program blends in-person classes with online course work, delivered by Oregon State Ecampus, a national leader in distance education.

“The program provides a powerful opportunity for future teachers,” said Matt Nyman, program coordinator and instructor. “They will benefit from the expertise of OSU College of Education faculty through course work, and the wisdom of practice from expert Beaverton School District teachers during two years of work in classrooms.”

Students who graduate from the program could enter the workforce with an advanced set of skills at a time when there is an increased demand for teaching professionals with master’s degrees in the Pacific Northwest, educators say.

The program’s collaborative learning environment enables students to hold a part-time job in the district during the first year and earn a salary while leading a classroom during the second and final year.

To meet the state and nationwide need for more teachers from underrepresented groups, the in-person portion of the program is based in Beaverton – near Portland, and one of the state’s most diverse cities with more than 90 languages spoken in area schools. It is designed for those who bring a rich diversity of cultures to their classrooms.

“We believe every student, regardless of background, deserves a great education every day of every year,” said Sue Robertson, chief human resource officer in the Beaverton School District. “And the key to a great education is a great teacher. We can make this a reality by fully supporting and preparing teachers to meet the needs of all students during their very first year of teaching.”

The curriculum of the 52-credit program include culturally literate education, teaching for social justice, and science and math topics. Specific course work includes teaching students with special needs, classroom management and K-5 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) integration.

Visit the Ecampus website for more information.

Media Contact: 

Heather Turner, 541-737-3297

Source: 

Matt Nyman, 541-737-1811

matt.nyman@oregonstate.edu

New grant will support OSU study of English learners with disabilities

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has won a $400,000 grant to study how best to assist students who are English learners and also have disabilities, continuing the work of the Oregon English Learner Alliance.

The three-year grant comes from the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation, which supports high-quality educational research projects that are focused on improving education.

Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Education, will lead the project in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education.

The alliance was established in 2012 in an effort to improve educational outcomes for Oregon’s English language learners. It’s part of a larger effort by the Oregon Department of Education to improve educational outcomes for students learning English.

Students who do not speak English proficiently when they enter school are considered English language learners. The number of English language learners in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last 20 years and now makes up about 10 percent of the state’s kindergarten- through 12th-grade population.

When students are able to demonstrate proficiency in English, they are no longer considered English language learners and are reclassified as English proficient students. It takes most Oregon students between four and seven years to demonstrate the English proficiency necessary to be reclassified. Of the students who have not been reclassified by middle school, about 30 percent qualify for special education services, Thompson said.

“That has implications for English learner education as well as for special education services, which are often quite separate,” Thompson said. “Ultimately we hope to partner with districts to design and pilot new tools for this group of students.”

The Spencer Foundation grant is the second major grant the alliance has received for its work. The funding will allow researchers to conduct more in-depth research on students who are English learners and also have disabilities.

“One of our overarching goals is to build strong partnerships with school districts and through our work, influence both policy and practice for English learners in Oregon,” Thompson said. “Special education is an area that provides opportunity to do that. We will also continue to work in other areas, both through the alliance and through other efforts underway at OSU.”

For example, Thompson and other college faculty are starting a dual language program to prepare teachers to teach content in two languages.

With the latest grant, one of the questions researchers will explore is whether English learners who qualify for special education services should be evaluated for reclassification in the same manner as their peers who do not qualify for special education.

“If a student has acquired language skills that are comparable to a native English speaker with a similar disability, should they still be considered English language learners?” Thompson asked.  

Research in other areas affecting English learners also is possible with the new grant, Thompson said. The alliance hopes to recruit school districts as partners in the effort and several have agreed to participate so far, she said.

Story By: 
Source: 

Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988, Karen.Thompson@oregonstate.edu

Language literacy in kindergarten important for success in learning English

CORVALLIS, Ore. –  English learners are more likely to become proficient English speakers if they enter kindergarten with a strong initial grasp of academic language literacy, either in their primary language or in English, a new analysis from Oregon State University has found.

“This study shows that building literacy skills, in English or the child’s native language, prior to kindergarten can be helpful,” said Karen Thompson, an assistant professor of cultural and linguistic diversity in OSU’s College of Education. “Having those academic language skills – the kind of language used in school to retell a story or explain a math problem – is likely going to set them on a path to success.”

The new study, published recently in the journal Educational Policy, is part of an emerging body of research examining the role that language reclassification plays in a student’s education. 

For the study, Thompson reviewed nine years of student data from the Los Angeles Unified School District to better understand how long it takes students to develop English proficiency. The findings could provide new insight as educators re-shape education policy around the language reclassification process, Thompson said.

About one in five children in the United States speak a language other than English at home, and about half of them are not yet considered proficient in English. Students who do not speak English proficiently when they enter school are considered English learners.

When English learners master the language, they are “reclassified” and no longer receive specific services to support their language development. Prior research has found that it takes roughly four to seven years for most students to master a second language.

Students who do not master English in that typical window, generally by the upper elementary grades, are less likely to ever do so. Those who do not master the language and remain English learners tend to score lower on academic tests and graduate high school at lower rates than their native-English speaking peers.

About 25 percent of students do not master English after nine years in school, Thompson found. Of those students, nearly a third are in special education programs. The finding indicates that reclassification rules may need to be adjusted for special education students, so there is a reasonable and sensible plan for them to meet language requirements, Thompson said.

“If a special education student’s language has developed to a point that is comparable to an English speaking student with the same disability, let’s take that into account,” Thompson said.

The research also showed boys, native Spanish speakers and students whose parents had lower levels of education were less likely to be reclassified than their peers. And reclassification varied dramatically based on a child’s initial language skills, in their native language and in English. 

The findings highlight a pressing need for new curriculum and professional development for teachers to help students, and English learners in particular, to develop their academic language skills, Thompson said.

Under federal education policy, states must set, and try to meet, targets to ensure that students are becoming proficient in English. There is no uniform standard for determining proficiency and with transitions to new assessments in many states, including Oregon, policymakers are in the midst of changing the criteria for determining whether a student has become proficient.

Understanding how long English mastery actually takes, and factors that influence it, can help states establish appropriate and realistic targets, Thompson said.

“These targets need to be grounded in what’s possible,” she said.  

Story By: 
Source: 

Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988, Karen.thompson@oregonstate.edu

Oregon State research reaches record, exceeds $308 million

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University research funding reached $308.9 million, its highest level ever, in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A near doubling of revenues from licensing patented technologies and an 8.5 percent increase in competitive federal funding fueled OSU research on a range of projects including advanced ocean-going research vessels, the health impacts of pollution and sustainable materials for high-speed computing.

“This is a phenomenal achievement. I've seen how OSU research is solving global problems and providing innovations that mean economic growth for Oregon and the nation,” said Cynthia Sagers, OSU’s vice president for research who undertook her duties on August 31. “OSU’s research performance in the last year is amazing, given that federal funds are so restricted right now.”

The overall economic and societal impact of OSU’s research enterprise exceeds $670 million, based on an analysis of OSU’s research contributions to the state and global economy that followed a recent economic study of OSU’s fiscal impact conducted by ECONorthwest.

Technology licensing almost doubled in the last year alone, from just under $6 million in 2014 to more than $10 million this year. Leading investments from business and industry were patented Oregon State innovations in agriculture, advanced materials and nuclear technologies.

OSU researchers exceeded the previous record of $288 million, which the university achieved in 2010. Although federal agencies provided the bulk of funding, most of the growth in OSU research revenues over the past five years stems from nonprofit organizations and industry.

Since 2010, total private-sector funding from sponsored contracts, research cooperatives and other sources has risen 60 percent — from $25 million to more than $40 million in 2015. Oregon State conducts research with multinationals such as HP, Nike and Boeing as well as with local firms such as Benchmade Knife of Oregon City, Sheldon Manufacturing of Cornelius and NuScale Power of Corvallis.

By contrast, federal research grants in 2015 were only 0.2 percent higher than those received in 2010, a year in which American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds gave university research a one-time shot in the arm across the country. According to the National Science Foundation, federal agency obligations for research have dropped from a high of $36 billion in 2009 to $29 billion in 2013, the last year for which cumulative figures are available. The Department of Health and Human Services accounted for more than half of that spending.

“We’ve worked hard to diversify our research portfolio,” said Ron Adams, who retired as interim vice president for research at the end of August. “But it’s remarkable that our researchers have succeeded in competing for an increase in federal funding. This speaks to the success of our strategic initiatives and our focus on clusters of excellence.”

Economic impact stems in part from new businesses launched this year through the Oregon State University Advantage program. Among them are:

  •  OnBoard Dynamics, a Bend company designing a natural-gas powered vehicle engine that can be fueled from home
  •  Valliscor, a Corvallis company that manufactures ultra-pure chemicals
  • eChemion, a Corvallis company that develops and markets technology to extend battery life

Altogether, 15 new companies have received mentoring assistance from Oregon State’s Advantage Accelerator program, part of the state-funded Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN. Six new companies are working with the Advantage program this fall.

Additional economic impact stems from the employment of students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty. According to the OSU Research Office, about a quarter of OSU undergraduates participate in research projects, many with stipends paid by grant funds. In addition, grants support a total of 843 graduate research positions and 165 post-doctoral researchers.

The College of Agricultural Sciences received the largest share of research grants at Oregon State with $49.4 million last year, followed by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at $39 million and the College of Engineering at $37 million. The College of Science saw a 170 percent increase in research funding to $26.7 million, its largest total ever and the biggest rise among OSU colleges. Among the largest grants received in FY15 were:

  •  $8 million from the NSF to the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (College of Science) for new high-speed information technologies
  •  $4 million from the Department of Energy to reduce barriers to the deployment of ocean energy systems (College of Engineering)
  •  $4 million from US Agency for International Development to the AquaFish Innovation Lab (College of Agricultural Sciences) for global food security
  •  $3.5 million from the USDA for experiential learning to reduce obesity (College of Public Health and Human Sciences)
  •  $2.3 million from the NSF for the ocean observing initiative (College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences)
  •  $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education for school readiness in early childhood (OSU Cascades)

 

Editor’s Note: FY15 research totals for OSU colleges and OSU-Cascades are posted online.

College of Agricultural Sciences: http://agsci.oregonstate.edu/story/osu%E2%80%99s-college-agricultural-sciences-receives-494-million-research-grants 

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/features/funding/

College of Education: http://education.oregonstate.edu/research-and-outreach 

College of Engineering:  http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/fy15-research-funding-highlights

College of Forestry: http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/research/college-forestry-receives-near-record-grant-awards-fy-2015

College of Liberal Arts: http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/cla-research/2015-research-summary

College of Pharmacy: http://pharmacy.oregonstate.edu/grant_information

College of Public Health and Human Sciences: http://health.oregonstate.edu/research 

College of Science: http://impact.oregonstate.edu/2015/08/record-year-for-research-funding/

College of Veterinary Medicine: http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/research-highlights

OSU-Cascades: http://osucascades.edu/research-and-scholarship 

Story By: 
Source: 

Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research, 541-737-0664; Rich Holdren on OSU research trends, 541-737-8390; Brian Wall on business spinoffs and commercialization, 541-737-9058

Multimedia Downloads
Multimedia: 

Surface chemistry research

Masters students at OSU worked to improve the performance of thin-film transistors used in liquid crystal displays. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

OOI mooring

The Oregon shelf surface mooring is lowered to the water using the R/V Oceanus ship's crane. (photo courtesy of Oregon State University). Wave Energy

The Ocean Sentinel, a wave energy testing device, rides gentle swells near Newport, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University) Hernandez3-2

An undergraduate student at the Autonomous Juarez University of Tabasco, Mexico, is working with cage culture of cichlids in an educational partnership with the AquaFish collaborative Support Program. (Photo: Tiffany Woods)

OSU’s first free, massive course attracts thousands worldwide

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.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988

Grant to enhance minority participation in STEM disciplines

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.

Story By: 
Source: 

Ellen Momsen, 541-737-9699

OSU receives federal grant to study academic outcomes of Oregon’s English learners

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has won a grant of nearly $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to investigate what happens to Oregon students who begin school as English language learners.

Researchers will use the grant to examine the academic performance of current and former English language learners and determine how best to support their academic achievement, said Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Education, who will lead the study.

“Being able to see, over a long period of time, how a student is doing is very important,” Thompson said. “Some students might need ongoing assistance even after they are considered proficient in English, while others might achieve at very high levels.”

Students who do not speak English proficiently when they enter school are considered English language learners. When students master the language, they are no longer considered English language learners and are reclassified as English proficient students.

Some states continue to monitor former English language learners throughout their school careers, but until recently, Oregon has only monitored them for two years, as required by the federal government, Thompson said.

The grant, from the education department’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, will give investigators the opportunity to assess the longer-term academic success of students who enter school as English language learners, including graduation rates, she said. Researchers will also collect and analyze data about how current and former English language learners are faring in different types of programs, including dual-language programs, which have greatly expanded in Oregon schools in recent years, Thompson said.

The grant runs from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2016. The Oregon Department of Education and WestEd, a nonprofit education research agency, are partnering with OSU on the project. David Bautista, an assistant superintendent at the Oregon Department of Education, will serve as co-principal investigator.

The three agencies have established the Oregon English Learner Alliance in an effort to improve educational outcomes for Oregon’s English language learners. The alliance is part of a larger effort by the Oregon Department of Education to improve educational outcomes for students learning English.

The number of English language learners in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last 20 years and now makes up about 10 percent of the state’s kindergarten- through 12th-grade population. The number of reclassified students also has grown, making it more important than ever to understand how those students do in school once they’re no longer receiving extra help to learn English, Thompson said.

If researchers identify areas where current and former English language learners do well, they want to examine practices in those classrooms or schools and share the best of them with other educators, Thompson said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This work will be supported by U.S. Department of Education grant number R305H140072. The amount of federal funding is $399,928, the non-federal funding for the project is $29,009 and the project’s total funding is $428,937. Of the total funding, 93 percent is federal and 7 percent is non-federal.

Story By: 
Source: 

Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988, Karen.Thompson@oregonstate.edu