outreach and engagement

OSU Libraries forms sister relationship with Nigerian university library

CORVALLIS, Ore. -  Oregon State University Libraries has forged a connection with a university library in Nigeria that will make it one of only a small group of existing “sister” university library relationships.

The collaboration will take place with the Federal University of Agriculture’s Nimbe Adedipe Library, in Abeokuta, Nigeria. It will establish an ongoing collaboration between librarians and staff at both universities, including exchange of library staff, joint research activities, participation in virtual seminars and academic meetings, and the exchange of library materials and other information.

“There are many benefits for OSU Libraries to seek out an international sister library relationship,” said OSU librarian Laurie Bridges, the coordinator of the OSU side of the project. “It helps raise awareness of issues and needs facing libraries internationally, it helps us share techniques and technologies to solve problems, and it increases the information, resources, and expertise between both libraries. It also increases the diversity of interaction between professionals.”

Bridges said the initiative also meets one of Oregon State’s strategic goals, which is promoting international education, research and engagement.

The Federal University of Agriculture is a public university in Nigeria consisting of nine colleges, with about 60 percent of majors focused on agriculture. It has about 19,000 students.

"Myself and my colleagues are most excited about networking with our new friends and colleagues from Oregon State University Libraries," said Fehintola Nike Onifade, a librarian from Nigeria. "This will help us to track trends and keep up with changes in librarianship and information science. In fact we are hoping that the relationship will lead us to best practices in library and information science service delivery."

OSU officials have signed a formal letter of understanding with FUA, formalizing the relationship between the two universities. A small group will be formed within the library to start working on outreach and exchange possibilities with FUA. 

Media Contact: 

Laurie Bridges, 541-737-8821

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OSU’s statewide programs meet more needs with legislature’s support

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s three statewide public service programs received a boost from the Oregon legislature with $14 million additional funds to support up to 40 new positions and stimulate new research and extension projects across the state.

The new funding package increases the programs’ base budget to $118 million for the biennium. Of that increased funding, $6 million will go to OSU’s Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station; $4.5 million to the OSU Extension Service; and $3.5 million to OSU’s Oregon Forest Research Laboratory.

“Oregonians everywhere in the state will see benefits from these expanded programs with new OSU faculty focused on important issues in their communities,” said Scott Reed, director of the OSU Extension Service and vice-provost for Outreach and Engagement at OSU.

Examples include:

  •  Urban communities: more local programs focused on healthy living and nutrition education; expanded programs to support small-scale farming and community food systems; and increased research and development in fermentation sciences.
  •  Willamette Valley: increased research and extension on honey-bee and pollinator health; integrated pest management and slug control in commercial crops; specialty seed breeding; and timber harvest management.
  •  Coastal communities: increased research and extension in seafood and shellfish safety; near-shore fishery management; increased support for the dairy industry and commercial cheese-making; and new research focused on managing forest lands that are also habitat for marbled murrelet, a threatened seabird that nests in coastal forests.
  •  Eastern Oregon: increased research and extension focused on rangeland ecology to support sage-grouse conservation; juniper harvest and manufacturing; and water and nutrient management in rotation cropping.

Throughout Oregon, there will be increased opportunities for students to participate in research and outreach through experiential learning programs in real-world settings.

“We are deeply grateful for the legislature’s support, which allows us to address more needs in more communities across the state,” said Dan Arp, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and dean of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The statewide programs will begin the hiring process this summer.

Media Contact: 

Dan Arp, 541-737-2331, dan.arp@oregonstate.edu;

Scott Reed, 541-737-2713, scott.reed@oregonstate.edu;

Thomas Maness, 541-737-1585, thomas.maness@oregonstate.edu

OSU online bachelor’s programs ranked fifth nationally by U.S. News

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has bolstered its reputation as one of America’s best providers of online education, with its online bachelor’s degree programs today being ranked fifth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

OSU’s Ecampus online education program scored 95 points out of 100 in the rankings, which include nearly 300 higher education institutions. Schools were assessed based on student engagement; faculty credentials and training; peer reputation; and student services and technology. The full list is available online at http://bit.ly/1tKZqTz

“As Oregon State strives to improve the lives of citizens around the world, this recognition reinforces our commitment to expand and enrich learning experiences for all of our students,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “Ecampus and its faculty partners continually demonstrate that our university is a leader in the creation and use of the best new learning technologies.”

Ecampus delivers 19 undergraduate programs online, with new bachelor’s programs in business administration and Spanish launching this year. An additional 22 OSU programs are available at the graduate level.

Ecampus serves adult learners in all 50 states and more than 40 countries, and nearly 15,500 students took one or more Ecampus classes in 2013-14. The number of online learners at Oregon State has grown by 395 percent in the past five years, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the university’s enrollment.

“Our mission is to provide learners with access to engaging, quality programs that help them finish their degrees and advance in their careers,” said Ecampus executive director Lisa L. Templeton. “Being highly ranked is particularly gratifying because the methodology weighs student engagement as the most important factor.”

Oregon State has been recognized as one of the country’s best online universities by a variety of publications in each of the past five years. Last September, OSU was named the No. 1 online college in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276


Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

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German instructor

Ecampus online

OSU Ecampus named best online education program in Oregon

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Ecampus distance education program at Oregon State University has been named the best online college in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org, an organization that provides in-depth ranking of degree programs, colleges and universities.

The rankings are based on academic excellence, faculty strength, online teaching methods, awards, the number of programs offered and other criteria, organization officials said.

In its evaluation, the organization cited the 35-plus online degrees delivered by Ecampus, “renowned” faculty members, access to student support systems, and Carnegie Foundation recognition of OSU as a university with very high research activity. The report is online at http://bit.ly/1xE4dfY

“OSU’s dedication to online education has brought us to regard it as the best online college in Oregon,” said Wayne Downs, managing editor of TheBestSchools.org.

Online education has been growing rapidly around the nation in recent years, including OSU’s Ecampus. Established universities such as OSU, the group noted, allow students to earn their degree online but also offer local residents the opportunity to use the library or visit a professor.

“What really distinguishes Oregon State Ecampus from other online universities is our focus on engaging, quality courses,” said Lisa L. Templeton, executive director of the program. “This strategic effort was recently recognized by the Online Learning Consortium for excellence in faculty development. We’re a leader in online education not just in Oregon, but also in the nation.”

In past years, OSU Ecampus has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Smart Choice 25 Best Online Colleges, and Nation’s Best Public Online Colleges.

Just recently, Professional and Continuing Education, within the Division of Outreach and Engagement, also received several honors from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. These included two UPCEA Marketing Awards. One was a bronze winner in the streaming/on demand content category; the other a bronze winner in a promotional print piece.

Media Contact: 

Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

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German instructor

Ecampus instructor

OSU joining “badges” movement, new concept in education credentials

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Professional and Continuing Education, or PACE program at Oregon State University has begun an educational “badge” initiative, becoming part of an innovative national movement to expand the way learning accomplishments can be recognized.

These digital badges offer an additional method to recognize skills, education and abilities. As an “open credential,” they are detailed and personalized – and via computers can offer a more current and exact description of just what a person knows how to do.

The movement is conceptually similar to the “merit badges” that scouts have used for decades. But instead of a canoeing badge sewn onto a sash that verifies a person knows how to paddle a canoe, digital badges are computer icons that both recognize and can link to a full description of a person’s knowledge in a particular field – anything from robotics to welding to financial management.

At OSU, the first 300 badges have been issued to graduates of the popular “master gardener” online program. About 700 more badges are going to be presented to graduates of four other PACE programs in coming months.

“With employers relying more heavily on social media platforms like LinkedIn to make salary and career advancement decisions, we wanted to provide our students with a form of web-based credentialing that is secure, portable and meets contemporary workforce-related needs,” said Chris LaBelle, director of Professional and Continuing Education.

At OSU, LaBelle said, badges may be used to signify completion of a certificate program, an intensive workshop or the acquisition of a certain set of skills. They will be offered as a supplement to traditional degrees and certifications.

The badge movement is still in its infancy, but is already being embraced by a variety of institutions, from universities to private industry, government agencies and trade organizations. Open source computer software companies are among its advocates, and the system being used at OSU will work on multiple digital platforms.

In this initiative, OSU is working with the Oregon Badge Alliance, a non-profit organization working to set up a system of badges and micro-certifications in the state. Badges can provide detail on skills and achievements that aren’t available on traditional academic records and may include a range of work and studies far beyond a person’s academic degree. Creators of a badge clearly spell out the criteria for earning them, and they can recognize a specific accomplishment or sometimes continued growth in a general area of study.

“Because open badges can be collected from multiple sources, the possibilities are really endless,” said Wayne Skipper, founder of the Oregon Badge Alliance Wayne Skipper said. “In a rapidly evolving education landscape, the ability for students to quantify their own learning achievements is paramount. That requires more granular data than what we normally see on a transcript.”

PACE’s digital badge program has attracted the attention of other OSU colleges and departments as well, LaBelle said.

“Digital badges have the potential to become a university-wide program,” LaBelle said. “While non-degree students will receive the first wave of digital badges issued by our unit, I fully expect a demand for this form of micro-credentialing to spill over to OSU's student services and degree-based programs.” 

Digital badges are already a national movement.

One university, for instance, provides different badges for various milestones in robotics, and another provides badges for reaching benchmarks of learning in regular, credit-bearing college courses.

Once awarded, badges can also be linked to a wide range of information that would never be found on an academic transcript, such as workshops attended, awards won, projects completed, essays written or work samples.

Colleges like OSU, the University of California and Carnegie Mellon are being joined by many other institutions in the badge movement. The Smithsonian Institution is awarding badges, as are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Association of Manufacturers, Intel and Disney-Pixar.

Media Contact: 

Chris LaBelle, 541-737-2807

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Master gardener badge

Digital badge

OSU to offer first free, massive course online

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University this fall will launch its first massive, open online course, or MOOC, partnering with Stanford University and the Oregon Department of Education to deliver a free, professional learning opportunity to potentially thousands of K-12 educators in the state and around the world.

The eight-week course, Supporting English Language Learners under New Standards, is funded by the Oregon Department of Education and begins Oct. 1. It will further position OSU and the state of Oregon as national leaders in how English language learners are served.

As many institutions have rushed to join this educational phenomenon in recent years, OSU administrators said they judged this to be the right time and opportunity for OSU to offer its inaugural MOOC, which are courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. OSU is already a national leader in more traditional online education.

“This will help us learn first-hand about this type of teaching platform, and identify how and where MOOCs fit in our learning ecosystem,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. “It’s important to be open to new possibilities, and flexible and adaptable to new learning paradigms, including the MOOC learning format.”

Randhawa said OSU enters the MOOC arena with the university’s educational mission in clear focus - a commitment to help Oregon create a more educated citizenry and to provide students with broader, more affordable access to course options.

The developers and instructors of OSU’s first massive course expect widespread participation. It is open to teachers outside of Oregon and is especially relevant to educators in the 11-state ELPA21 consortium that is developing an assessment system based on new English Language Proficiency Standards.

“This is a perfect opportunity for OSU to enter the MOOC sphere because we’re doing it in collaboration with people who have successfully done it before,” said Karen Thompson, one of the course’s three instructors and an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Education.

“People have started to consider OSU a statewide leader in ELL education, and this MOOC represents an exciting opportunity for OSU to impact teaching and learning for ELLs everywhere.”

Course participants will work in teams to gather and analyze language samples from their students, exploring how ELLs construct claims supported by evidence. Thompson says the information educators gather one day in the MOOC can be directly applied in their K-12 classrooms the following day.

Joining Thompson as course instructors are Kenji Hakuta and Sara Rutherford-Quach of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, and the university’s Understanding Language initiative.

Oregon State Ecampus is also a partner in the MOOC and has provided multimedia and support services for the course, which opens for registration later this summer. More information is available at ecampus.oregonstate.edu/ell.

“Delivering a course in this open format goes hand-in-hand with Oregon State’s mission to provide access to high-quality education to learners around the state, country and world,” said Ecampus executive director Lisa L. Templeton. “Ecampus is excited to partner with the College of Education, Stanford and ODE to deliver this with no cost involved for learners.”

In recent years OSU Ecampus has gained national recognition as one of the best online extended education programs in the nation, from U.S. News and World Report, SuperScholar and other ranking agencies. The ranking criteria are based on such factors as faculty credentials, student engagement, degree diversity, academic quality and other issues.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276


Karen Thompson, 541-737-2988

OSU Open Campus growth, innovations recognized with national award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – OSU Open Campus, a pioneering program begun just five years ago by Oregon State University to better serve the diverse educational needs of the state, has expanded rapidly, kept students in school, put people to work and is addressing the needs of many Oregon communities.

For its innovations and success, the program was just recognized as one of four national winners of the Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. It will also compete for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, the top honor nationally for this type of initiative.

OSU Open Campus, at its inception, recognized that education costs were increasing, many smaller or remote communities required programs tailored to their needs, and that only a broad coalition of K-12 schools, community colleges, local governments and businesses could hope to address that challenge.

A collaborative effort of the OSU Extension Service and OSU Extended Campus helped to create that coalition, and the results have been extraordinary for Tillamook, Hood River, Madras, Prineville, Klamath Falls and Coos Bay.

“OSU Open Campus expands the university’s commitment to the people of Oregon,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “In six communities throughout the state, progress is being made in college attainment, economic development, and successful partnerships to encourage a seamless transition into and through the educational pipeline.”

Along with other aspects of recent OSU expansion and leadership, OSU Open Campus is helping entire communities to support the statewide goal of “40-40-20,” which requires that by 2025 40 percent of adults have an undergraduate degree, 40 percent an associate’s degree or certificate, and 20 percent a high school diploma.

The program is fast and flexible. It cuts bureaucratic red tape, taps into local community needs and tries to provide the type of education needed at costs that local residents can afford. Sometimes that will result in students who progress all the way to a bachelor’s degree. Other times, the goals are more immediate.

In Jefferson County, a small business owner faced closure due to a lack of qualified welders in the area. OSU Open Campus coordinated a plan, beginning with a local high school offering use of an unused welding lab for an eight-week course. Central Oregon Community College provided an instructor, and a local charity provided funds for equipment and gear. The course ultimately had 17 participants, including eight high school students and nine unemployed or under-employed adults.

As a result, all the adults now have good-paying jobs as welders, two small businesses were saved, and one participant finished his GED and is enrolled at Central Oregon Community College.

If a person’s ultimate goal is a full college education, OSU Open Campus can help with that, too.

“Some students are place-bound for a number of reasons,” said program director Jeff Sherman. “They can’t afford the costs of living on a campus, or have family responsibilities and employment that make moving impossible.”

One analysis in Klamath County concluded that, through an Open Campus collaboration of local high schools, Klamath Community College and OSU Ecampus, degrees in high local demand such as agricultural sciences or natural resources could be obtained for less than half the cost of attending OSU’s main campus, without ever having to leave the county.

Among the growth trends and accomplishments of the program:

  • OSU Open Campus is now serving six communities in nine rural counties, and the number of learners has more than doubled since its inception.
  • Initiatives include precollege programs at local K-12 schools, small business development workshops, parent education and academic support for Latino students, community literacy projects and youth entrepreneurship courses.
  • The “Juntos” program for Latino students has dramatically increased their graduation rates at Madras High School and within the next year the first cohort from that program will be starting college.
  • In the Columbia Gorge, collaboration with a local OSU 4-H program is involving 1,640 students a year in science, technology, engineering and math programs, and regularly win robotic competitions at all grade levels.
  • OSU Ecampus sees OSU Open Campus as its key partner for student retention and degree completion in Oregon.

In the future, Oregon State hopes to further expand the number of its faculty who work at OSU Open Campus sites, bring community teams to the university campus for recognition, and take other steps to grow the program.

“OSU Open Campus is a concept, not a place,” said Scott Reed, Oregon State Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement. “It’s helping all of our internal and external partners to change and adapt. We’re empowering communities, crossing traditional boundaries, and in the process, the university gets better.”


Media Contact: 

Jeff Sherman, 541-737-1384

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Science project

Science project

OSU surpasses fundraising milestone of $1 billion


A copy of President Ray’s speech is available online: http://bit.ly/1dRiaHx

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced today that the university’s first comprehensive campaign has surpassed its $1 billion fund-raising goal – 11 months ahead of schedule.

Ray made the announcement at his annual “State of the University” address in Portland to an audience of more than 600 business, political, civic and education leaders, alumni and friends of the university. He encouraged contributions through the remainder of the year to further deepen the university’s impact on students, the state, nation and world. Gifts to The Campaign for OSU now total $1,012,601,000.

“While this is a remarkable milestone, this campaign has never been about the big number,” Ray said. “Our generous donors are committed, as is the university, to transforming Oregon State into a top-10 land grant research university to significantly advance the health of the Earth, its people and our economy.”

Donors have brought private support for Oregon State to an all-time high, with annual totals exceeding $100 million for the last three years. More than 102,000 donors to the campaign have:

  • Created more than 600 new scholarships and fellowship funds – a 30 percent increase – with gifts for student support exceeding $170 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.


Business leaders Pat Reser, a 1960 OSU alumna; Patrick Stone, a 1974 graduate; and Jim Rudd have co-chaired the campaign since its public launch in 2007. All three have been trustees of the OSU Foundation, and Reser, board chair of Reser’s Fine Foods, also serves as chair of Oregon State’s new Board of Trustees that was appointed by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“Our donor community is growing because people are deepening their ties to Oregon State – and that helps make us a better university,” said J. Michael Goodwin, CEO and president of the OSU Foundation, the nonprofit organization charged with raising, administering and stewarding private gifts to the university.  “This broad base of support positions Oregon State well for future philanthropic support and engagement from our alumni, parents and friends.”

Donors from every state and more than 50 countries have invested in OSU as part of the campaign. Almost 40 percent of these campaign donors are first-time donors to the university. More than 1,000 donors have made campaign gifts of more than $100,000, including 177 donors who have made gifts of $1 million or more. Oregon State joins only 34 other public universities in the country to have crossed the billion-dollar mark in a fund-raising campaign.

“The campaign is about developing and energizing a community of dedicated advocates, people who share our vision of what Oregon State can accomplish,” Ray said. “These partners have changed Oregon State forever – and I believe the best is yet to come.”

In his State of the University address, Ray said Oregon needs to quit talking and start planning to meet its goal of a more educated citizenry to achieve economic and social prosperity. He cited the state’s lack of apparent focus on reaching Oregon’s “40-40-20” educational achievement goal, which calls for 40 percent of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful postsecondary certificate, and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025.

OSU has developed a plan to do its part and is committed to those goals, already demonstrating success, Ray said. But more is needed.

“Beyond Oregon State University’s own enrollment management and strategic plan, I have no idea how the state will get to 40-40-20, which could require as many as 35,000 more students annually enrolled in our four-year universities and colleges,” Ray said. “There is no statewide blueprint.”

Ray went on to describe how OSU’s enrollment grew by 1,532 students in Corvallis and online and by another 135 students at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

“Despite those gains, the net increase in enrollment among all Oregon public universities outside of Oregon State totaled 14 students,” Ray pointed out. That includes an enrollment increase at the Oregon Institute of Technology of 413 students.

OSU has been following a plan for the past two years to help the state achieve its goals. Ray said the university expects to educate 28,000 students in Corvallis, 3,000 to 5,000 students at OSU-Cascades by 2025; and grow its online enrollment to more than 7,000 students. The university also plans to educate another 500 students annually by 2025 at a new marine studies campus located in Newport.

Ray, who recently completed his 10th year as OSU president, pointed to several Oregon State University initiatives that will help boost the economy:


  • OSU will lead a new national effort through its College of Forestry to advance the science and technology necessary to utilize wood in the construction of taller buildings in a public-private partnership that will advance manufacturing in Oregon and boost rural economies;
  • The university launched the OSU Advantage last year – a one-stop shop for linking businesses with the students and researchers of Oregon State to accelerate new business development and spinoff companies;
  • OSU’s research enterprise continues to grow and reached $263 million in 2013 – a 70 percent increase over the last decade. Two major initiatives include the selection of Oregon State to lead the design and construction of the next generation of ocean-going research vessels for the United States, and the selection of OSU, along with partners in Alaska and Hawaii, to operate one of six national sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

Industry-sponsored research is up 60 percent in five years, Ray pointed out, and licensing agreements with industry have increased 83 percent. Since 2006, OSU has helped launched 20 startup companies, which have raised $190 million in venture capital and created hundreds of jobs.

“Economic development,” Ray said, “is part of our DNA.”

Media Contact: 

Steve Clark, 503-502-8217

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Kearney Hall

Kearney Hall


Video that could be downloaded for B-roll is available online: http://bit.ly/1frg9Xc

Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.

The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.

The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.

Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.

“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”

The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads.  During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.

“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.

“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”

The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.

Media Contact: 

George Poinar, 541-752-0917

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Ancient flowers

Ancient flower

Pollen tubes

Pollen tubes

White House commends OSU's educational outreach to Hispanic youth

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The White House today recognized Oregon State University for its efforts to provide underserved Hispanic students with educational opportunities.

OSU's Fiestas, Tech Wizards, Juntos and 4-H Oregon Leadership Institute programs each received a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education award during a press conference in Washington, D.C. OSU joins more than 230 other programs that received the award.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential," Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“It is a distinct honor to be recognized for our innovative programs reaching Hispanic audiences,” said Scott Reed, OSU's vice provost for outreach and engagement and director of the OSU Extension Service. “Each of the four projects recognized meets a specific need within a growing and important population in our state. Much additional work is needed, and we will continue to invest in the success of all of our state’s residents.”

OSU's 4-H Oregon Leadership Institute empowers Oregon high school students to pursue a post-secondary education and professional career. At workshops, they write essays and complete college applications; learn about college requirements and possible majors; discuss current events; and find out about the value of networking. They also develop leadership skills serving as camp counselors and role models for younger 4-H youth at international summer camps.

At Lincoln and Garfield elementary schools in Corvallis, OSU's Fiestas program aims to increase knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering and math for students in grades 3-5. Launched in 2011, the program is a joint project of 4-H, OSU’s College of Education and the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences program.

“The Fiestas program has been instrumental in providing a rich educational experience at two of our highest-needs schools," said Ana Lucia Fonseca, OSU's 4-H Latino outreach coordinator.

Launched in Washington County in 1998, the bilingual, afterschool Tech Wizards program teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to low-income students, particularly Latinos, in grades 9-12 who are considered at risk of dropping out of school. Students in the program learn to create websites, produce videos and podcasts, make computerized maps and build robots. They are also required to perform 30 hours of community service each year in STEM-related fields.

The program has been replicated in more than 100 counties in more than 20 states. In Oregon, about 1,000 students have participated in the program. About 95 percent have graduated from high school, and about 70 percent of those have pursued more education in science, technology, engineering or math.

Juntos, which means “together" in Spanish, is a college-readiness program for first-generation college students and their families. Originally developed by North Carolina State University, Juntos was launched in Madras in 2012 by the Jefferson County school district and OSU. The Juntos program, taught in English and Spanish, connects participants with success coaches and college-age mentors who facilitate weekly afterschool clubs and activities. Besides Madras, Juntos is also offered in Culver, Tillamook, Sisters, Warm Springs, McMinnville, The Dalles, Hood River, Mosier, Corvallis, Redmond, Hillsboro, Newport and Dayton. 

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. To learn more about it and to view the award recipients, visit the initiative’s website.

Media Contact: 

Ana Lucia Fonseca, 541-766-6249, analu.fonseca@oregonstate.edu

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Ana Lucia Fonseca helps students during a class of Fiestas. Photo by Stephen Ward.
 Fiestas program