OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of liberal arts

New director named for OSU’s Center for Latino/Latina Studies and Engagement

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sociologist and immigration scholar Ronald Mize has been named the new director of Oregon State University’s Center for Latino/Latina Studies and Engagement (CL@SE).

Mize, formerly with Humboldt State University and Cornell University, conducts research focusing on the history of Mexican immigration to the United States, and how understanding immigration patterns are critical to often-contentious discussions on the subject.

Susana Rivera-Mills, associate dean in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, said that Mize is poised to carry on the dual mission of the center: to engage in research necessary to understand the social issues that Latinos in the region face, as well as work with community partners to create solutions.

"I'm thrilled to have Ron as the new CL@SE director,” Rivera-Mills said. “Not only are his skills and experience as a researcher an asset for the center, but he shares the vision, passion, and commitment to serving Latino communities and advancing community engagement with OSU.”

Mize will also serve as an associate professor in the School of Language, Culture and Society.

“My hope is that we solidify our connections with the Latino community in Oregon, and solidify Latino studies as an area of scholarly inquiry at Oregon State,” Mize said. “It’s mutually beneficial that we know our stakeholders better, and that the stakeholders look to us as a place where knowledge is created, validated, disseminated and relevant.”

In the past year, CL@SE has created partnerships with Casa Latinos of Benton County; PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union in Woodburn; its sister organization, the CAPACES Leadership Institute; and Centro Latino Americano in Eugene.

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Susana Rivera-Mills, 541-737-4586

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Ron Mize

Winter depression not as common as many think, OSU research shows

The study this article is based on can be found at: http://hdl.handle.net/1957/41955.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – New research suggests that getting depressed when it’s cold and dreary outside may not be as common as is often believed.

In a study recently published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers found that neither time of year nor weather conditions influenced depressive symptoms. However, lead author David Kerr of Oregon State University said this study does not negate the existence of clinically diagnosed seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, but instead shows that people may be overestimating the impact that seasons have on depression in the general population.

“It is clear from prior research that SAD exists,” Kerr said. “But our research suggests that what we often think of as the winter blues does not affect people nearly as much as we may think.”

Kerr, who is an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU, said the majority of studies of seasonal depression ask people to look back on their feelings over time.

“People are really good at remembering certain events and information,” he said. “But, unfortunately, we probably can’t accurately recall the timing of day-to-day emotions and symptoms across decades of our lives. These research methods are a problem.”

So Kerr and his colleagues tried a different approach. They analyzed data from a sample of 556 community participants in Iowa and 206 people in western Oregon. Participants completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms multiple times over a period of years. These data were then compared with local weather conditions, including sunlight intensity, during the time participants filled out the reports.

In one study, some 92 percent of Americans reported seasonal changes in mood and behavior, and 27% reported such changes were a problem. Yet the study suggests that people may be overestimating the impact of wintery skies.

“We found a very small effect during the winter months, but it was much more modest than would be expected if seasonal depression were as common as many people think it is,” said Columbia University researcher Jeff Shaman, a study co-author and a former OSU faculty member. “We were surprised. With a sample of nearly 800 people and very precise measures of the weather, we expected to see a larger effect.”

Kerr believes the public may have overestimated the power of the winter blues for a few reasons. These may include awareness of SAD, the high prevalence of depression in general, and a legitimate dislike of winter weather.

“We may not have as much fun, we can feel cooped up and we may be less active in the winter,” Kerr said. “But that’s not the same as long-lasting sadness, hopelessness, and problems with appetite and sleep – real signs of a clinical depression.”

According to Kerr, people who believe they have SAD should get help. He said clinical trials show cognitive behavior therapy, antidepressant medication, and light box therapy all can help relieve both depression and SAD.

“Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for depression, whether or not it is seasonal,” he said. “Cognitive behavior therapy stands out because it has been shown to keep SAD from returning the next year.”

Kerr is an expert on the development of depression and risky behavior in youth in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. He received a 2010 New Investigator Award from the Oregon Health and Science University Medical Research Foundation to conduct this research, which is building upon two ongoing studies that have been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers from OSU, Columbia University, the Oregon Social Learning Center, Iowa State University and the University of California, Davis contributed to this study.

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David Kerr, 541-737-1364

Hospice workers struggle on front lines of physician-assisted death laws

The study this story is based on is available in ScholarsArchive@OSU: http://bit.ly/130Fqi3

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Laws that allow physician-assisted death in the Pacific Northwest have provisions to protect the rights of patients, doctors and even the state, but don’t consider the professionals most often on the front lines of this divisive issue – hospice workers who provide end-of-life care.

The existing system, a new analysis concludes, has evolved into a multitude of different and contradictory perspectives among hospice organizations and workers, who historically have opposed physician-assisted death but now are the professionals taking care of most of the people who use it.

The study – titled “Dignity, Death and Dilemmas” - was just published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by researchers from Oregon State University, and outlines a complex system in which many well-intentioned caregivers struggle to organize their thoughts, beliefs and actions when dealing with a concept they traditionally oppose. It was based on an analysis of 33 hospice programs in Washington state.

When first proposed, it was feared by some that physician-assisted death might displace the palliative and supportive care offered by hospice. Now, in practice, between 85-95 percent of the people in Oregon and Washington who choose assisted death also use hospice – but the interplay they have with their caregivers can vary widely.

“It might seem a little surprising that most people who use physician-assisted death also use hospice,” said Courtney Campbell, the Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture in the OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion. “Some hospice workers were originally concerned this concept would make them unnecessary, but in fact the level of hospice usage has actually increased.”

Hospice is a national program in which trained professionals provide care to terminally ill patients, ensuring they get proper medical care, adequate pain control, are involved in decision-making and have other needs met in a home environment. They work with both the patient and family to help make death a natural and accepted part of life.

However, hastening or actually causing death is not an accepted part of the hospice philosophy, even though hospice programs acknowledge the right of patients to make that choice where it’s allowed by law. But balancing core beliefs, such as compassion and non-abandonment of a patient, with the new laws has been difficult at best for hospice professionals, Campbell said.

“About 75 percent of hospice organizations will not allow their workers to even be present when a fatal dose of medication is used,” Campbell said.

The reaction in hospice to physician-assisted death varies from one national organization to another, from one agency to another, from one worker to another. There is little consistency to many complex questions about how, whether, and when hospice workers will get involved as individuals they care for make this choice. Approaches can range from outright opposition to non-participation or non-interference.

In recent years it’s become even more difficult as assisted-death has become politicized, Campbell said. Even the words used in describing the serious issues involved are emotionally-charged and inherently contentious, the researchers noted in their report, making reference to legislation that embraced “ending life in a humane and dignified manner” while working its way around such topics as “suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing and homicide.”

Somewhat caught in the middle, and caring for the people who are affected by those laws, are the hospice workers with marginal guidance and conflicted reactions, researchers said.

“The conventional approach to the question of legalized physician-assisted death . . . has missed the issue of how the requirements of a new law are carried out by the primary caregiving institution, hospice care,” the researchers wrote in their report.

The OSU research offered no simple solutions to this issue, but rather outlined a broad list of questions that could form the basis for more informed discussions – either among hospice providers, the organizations they work for or the general public.

These includes such topics as the hospice mission, patient access to information, questions about legal options, how to discuss emotional or religious factors, response to specific patient requests, documentation of conversations, responsibility to the patient’s family, and many other issues.

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Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196

Fear of deportation not an issue for farmworkers who get care from community health centers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Migrant workers are more likely to receive medical care from community health centers in partnership with faith-based organizations, a new study shows, because fear of deportation is lower than they might face at other medical facilities.

The study was recently published online in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Daniel López-Cevallos, associate director of research at Oregon State University’s Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement, said this research points to the importance of health services being administered to migrant farmworkers by trusted institutions.

López-Cevallos, who is lead author of this study, is an expert on migrant farmworker health and has worked in public health projects with rural, indigenous, and low-income communities in Ecuador, and with Latino immigrants in Oregon.

“It has been assumed in most of the literature that fear of deportation is associated with use of health services, across the board,” he said. “There is a strong belief by many workers that they don’t want to touch the system because it might hurt their chances of someday becoming documented or jeopardize their children’s well-being.”

However, that fear wasn’t a factor with Oregon migrant workers in this study. The researchers interviewed 179 Mexican-origin indigenous and mestizo farmworkers who attended a community health center in the northern Willamette Valley. While the majority of workers – 87 percent – said they were afraid of deportation, this fear was not tied to their use of medical or dental care.

“So this fear of deportation exists, but in this particular community, it was not associated with use of medical services,” López-Cevallos said.

The researchers found two important factors influencing use of medical services – these workers were being served by a trusted community health organization that has served the area for decades, and those who attended a local church were more likely to use dental care.

“Some churches provide support to migrant farmworkers, which may include connecting them with needed dental care,” he said. “So we see that when services are offered by trusted institutions, such as a community health center or a faith-based organization, it can make all the difference.”

Despite the relative confidence migrant workers expressed about community health centers and churches, only 37 percent of the farmworkers surveyed had used medical care in the previous year, a number similar to national statistics on migrant workers. López-Cevallos believes many workers fear losing their jobs if they take time to see a doctor, and most don’t have health insurance.

Because of these barriers and others, it’s even more important to make sure safe, adequate health care is available to workers, he said, especially at times and locations that work best with fieldwork schedules.

“Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are an integral part of our food system, creating over $3 billion in economic activity annually, just in Oregon,” López-Cevallos said. “We get the benefit of their labor through our inexpensive food. It is in our best interest as a society to make sure that they, and their children, are healthy and cared for.”

Junghee Lee and William Donlan with Portland State University co-authored this study, which was funded by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation.

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Daniel López-Cevallos, 541-737-3850

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Harvesting potatoes
Historic photo of Mexican braceros harvesting potatoes on an Oregon farm in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections

Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” opens at OSU on Aug. 8

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Theatre’s popular Bard in the Quad series is back for its eighth summer of Shakespearean fare, with this year’s production showcasing the popular farce of mistaken identity and coincidence, “Comedy of Errors.”

Set in a wild, contemporary city inspired by the outlandish worlds depicted in “The Jersey Shore,” “The Sopranos,” and “The Godfather,” performances of “Comedy of Errors” run Aug. 8-11 and 15-18 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Quad on the OSU campus.

“Comedy of Errors” is a witty and physical comedy. As a young man, family patriarch and Syracuse native Aegeon and his beloved wife, Aemelia, bore twin sons and soon after adopt a second pair of twins – each pair of twins bearing the same name. After a series of tragedies, Aegeon is separated from his wife and two of his children. Years later, a series of bizarre coincidences leaves both sets of twins in the city of Ephesus, unknown to them or their family. Comedy occurs as the paths of strangers and friends cross throughout a day of confusion, fights, death threats, sex, love and discovery.

The cast features OSU students Irene Drage as Gallow, Richelle Jean-Bart as Balthazar, Chris Peterman as Dromio of Syracuse, Brittany Potter as Luciana, Sam Thompson as Solinus, Erin Wallerstein as Adriana, Joseph Workman as Antipholus of Syracuse, and Ricky Zipp as Nell. OSU Theatre alumni Arin Dooley (Angelo), Alex Johnston (Dromio of Ephesus), and Tucker Minnick (Courtesan) join the cast along with Corvallis community members Craig Currier (Aegeon), Ariel Ginsburg (Aemelia), and Jonathan Thompson (Antipholus of Ephesus).

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Tickets are available for online purchases now at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre or call the OSU Theatre box office at 541-737-2784.

This is an outdoor performance and no seating is provided. Patrons are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner and warm clothing or blankets. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m.

For questions regarding tickets, seating, and other accommodations, contact box office manager Bryanna Rainwater at 541-737-2784.

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Comedy of Errors

More Americans want government to stay out of international affairs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The number of Americans wanting their government to stay out of international affairs is higher than it has been since the Vietnam War, according to a new analysis.

In an article published this week in Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, Oregon State University historian Christopher McKnight Nichols notes that doubts about American involvement abroad are on the rise, up 10 percent in a decade. He connects current reluctance on the part of many Americans to get involved militarily and politically with foreign nations to a long-standing tradition in U.S. politics.

“Virtually all isolationists in the history of the United States have subscribed to some form of international engagement, whether that is economic, cultural, political or intellectual,” he said. “There is no such thing as a complete isolationist. What we do have is a rich history of Americans who have taken on isolationist or anti-interventionist beliefs at different times, and helped transform or influence the political system and policy.”

Nichols, an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at OSU, is an expert on isolationism, internationalism, and the history of U.S. roles in the world and military interventions abroad.

In his article, he links the “heyday” of American isolationism of the 1920s and 1930s to current events, including polls showing nearly 70 percent of Americans reject further U.S. efforts to intervene or to promote democracy abroad.

Nichols also wants to take back the term “isolationist” from its common stereotype of a conservative mindset that wants to wall off from the outside world. Famous figures, ranging from peace activist Jane Addams and racial reformer W.E.B. Du Bois to writer Mark Twain and former U.S. Sen. William Borah, a nationalist who opposed the League of Nations, have all favored anti-war and anti-imperialistic isolationist policies.

“They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and we can certainly trace this with the isolationist movement, which tended to attract people on both the far left and far right,” Nichols said. “Today we see that same sort of tendency with some young anti-war activists supporting someone like Ron Paul.”

Most of these type of isolationist sentiments can be traced to three “policy pillars” – expressed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe – in laying out the relationship between domestic and foreign commitments, types of diplomatic and military isolation, and debates over foreign policy cautiousness that have had a deep impact on U.S. foreign relations for more than a century.

“These are the touchstones for all foreign policy debate, then and since,” he said. “The key precepts were: no permanent alliances or binding foreign entanglements, peace and honest friendship with all nations, enhancing and protecting international commerce, heralding unilateral action, and asserting U.S. rights to hemispheric defense and a wide sphere of primary U.S. influence abroad.”

Nichols said that isolationism as a strain of thought that informs how American citizens and policymakers evaluate options abroad and sometimes sways policy cannot be overstated. Eight years ago there were far more troops on the ground overseas than today, and he said President Obama has shown a reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in places like Libya and Syria, causing some of his critics to call him a “neo-isolationist.”

“With President Obama, we are back to small-scale, multilateral interventions, more like those that we had in the Clinton era,” Nichols said. “During Clinton’s presidency, the U.S. deployed forces abroad approximately 80 times in foreign humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, but these were mostly conflicts with small troop footprints, or Special Forces, characterized by few American causalities.

“In the wake of the Iraq War, in light of the drawdown in Afghanistan, and given pressing economic and political concerns at home, the U.S. public is increasingly reluctant to sacrifice American lives or to materially support intervention and aid abroad.”

Nichols is the author of “Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age,” which traces the origins of isolationism back to the debates over U.S. imperialism at the end of the 19th century and its continuities over the next-half century.

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Dana Biggs hired as athletic bands director at Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Dana Biggs, assistant director of bands at the University of Colorado, has been hired as the new director of athletic bands at Oregon State University.

Biggs fills the vacancy left by Brad Townsend, who has accepted a position as athletic bands director at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Dana has a tremendous record of success at the collegiate level,” said Christopher Chapman, OSU director of bands. “His drill design and show concepts are innovative and exciting to collegiate football fans and students alike. His experience in the Pac-12 Conference has allowed him to watch the OSU band from afar and he is now excited to join our team.”

Biggs plans to move to Corvallis in July and hit the ground running, designing new pre-game and halftime shows for the Oregon State University Marching Band in time for the summer’s band camp and the fall football season.

Prior to his position in Colorado, he served as acting associate director of bands at the University of Kentucky and as assistant professor of music and director of bands at University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky.

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Christopher Chapman, 541-737-8829

Marion Rossi appointed associate dean of OSU’s College of Liberal Arts

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Marion Rossi, director of the School of Arts and Communication and associate professor of theater arts, has been appointed associate dean in Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts.

Rossi’s appointment comes on the heels of a $5 million gift dedicated to the arts that was given earlier this year by an anonymous donor – the largest for the arts Oregon State has ever received.

“Marion Rossi has a longstanding reputation as a leader in the arts community at Oregon State,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “As associate dean, he will not only continue to elevate the arts but will dedicate himself to enhancing every school in the college.”

As associate dean, Rossi will also focus on curricular innovations and alignment, as well as building the college’s connections and collaboration within the university.

“The arts, humanities and social sciences not only generate their own particularized knowledge, they shape our ways of understanding the human experience,” Rossi said. “I look forward to further engaging with colleagues around the university and creating new opportunities for our students.”

Rossi will replace associate dean Michael Oriard, who retires from Oregon State with 37 years of service on June 30.

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Larry Rodgers, 541-737-4581

Auditions for summer Bard in the Quad production to be held May 28-29

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Open auditions for Oregon State University Theatre’s popular summer outdoor event Bard in the Quad will take place Tuesday, May 28, and Wednesday, May 29, beginning at 6 p.m. at Withycombe Hall’s main stage, 30th and Campus Way, Corvallis.

This summer, Bard in the Quad will present Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.” This tale of comic misunderstanding, mistaken identity, and love lost and found will be transported to the wild world of the reality television show “Jersey Shore.”

Auditions are open to all OSU students, staff, and faculty and community members and will consist of cold readings and movement exercises. Performance dates for “Comedy of Errors” are Aug. 8-11 and Aug. 15-18. Rehearsals will begin on June 16. All cast members must be available to attend all rehearsals and productions.

A cast of 12 players is needed for the play.

For more information, go to http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre/auditions or contact director Elizabeth Helman at Elizabeth.helman@oregonstate.edu

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Robert Michael Pyle to appear at OSU for Campus Creature Census Celebration

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Master naturalist and author Robert Michael Pyle will be the featured guest at the Campus Creature Census Celebration, which will be held Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. in the International Living and Learning Center at Oregon State University.

The center is located at 1701 S.W. Western Blvd. in Corvallis.

Winning artwork and photography will be on display, and prose and poetry winners will share their entries at the event, which is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by OSU’s Spring Creek Project, the Campus Creature Census is an ongoing invitation to engage with all non-human creatures. According to Charles Goodrich, director of Spring Creek, the goal of the event is to create a catalog of person-to-person encounters with all the flora and fauna on campus, in prose or poetry, visual art or photography, or field guide-type entry.

Pyle is one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier lepidopterists and the author of award-winning books informed by his engagement with nature. His books include “Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land,” “Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide,” and his latest, “The Tangled Bank.”

For more information, go to http://springcreek.oregonstate.edu/

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Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198