OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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OSU’s online bachelor’s, engineering programs top-ranked nationally by U.S. News

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University upheld its status as a leader in online education today when it was ranked in the top 10 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for the third consecutive year.

Oregon State Ecampus, the university’s online education division, is ranked eighth out of more than 300 higher education institutions in the category of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. OSU is tied for first among land grant universities on the list.

The full rankings are available online at http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

Oregon State scored 89 points out of 100 in the rankings. Schools were assessed based on student engagement; faculty credentials and training; student services and technology; and peer reputation.

“Our mission is to provide adult learners with access to engaging programs that help them finish their degrees online and advance their careers,” said Ecampus Executive Director Lisa L. Templeton. “We view this recognition as a sign that the collaboration between Ecampus and our 600 Oregon State faculty partners is providing students everywhere with high-quality learning experiences.”

U.S. News also recognized Oregon State’s online master of engineering in industrial engineering program as being among the best of its kind in the nation. The fully online program, which has a focus on engineering management, is ranked number 28 nationally.

OSU Ecampus delivers 21 bachelor’s degrees online including business administration and a post-baccalaureate program in computer science. An additional 28 OSU graduate degree and certificate programs are offered online and in a hybrid (online/face-to-face) format.

In the 2015-16 academic year, more than 19,000 Oregon State students – over 60 percent of the university’s student body – took at least one Ecampus class. OSU’s distance learners are located in all 50 states and more than 40 countries.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

tyler.hansen@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

lisa.l.templeton@oregonstate.edu

Scott Barnes named OSU director of intercollegiate athletics

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scott Barnes, athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh, today was named as vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at Oregon State University. He will begin his new duties on Feb. 13, 2017.

Barnes has served as Pitt’s athletics director since the spring of 2015. He follows Todd Stansbury, who left Oregon State in late September, to serve as the athletics director of his alma mater, Georgia Tech.

Barnes is recognized as a national leader in intercollegiate athletics, including serving as the chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee for 2014-15.

He will be welcomed to OSU on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at a news conference.

Barnes’ appointment was made by OSU President Ed Ray following a national search that Ray said drew “incredibly strong interest from a deep pool of leading university athletic directors and top private sector sports administrators.”

“I chose Scott Barnes because he is the perfect fit for Oregon State University,” Ray said. “He will guide OSU Athletics to compete and win championships the right way – the Oregon State way.

“Scott is a proven leader and a champion with a long track record of success. He will lead the immediate and long-term achievement for all OSU sports programs and contribute greatly to the passion of everyone within Beaver Nation. He understands that at Oregon State University, good is not good enough. OSU and its student-athletes will be champions in all aspects of athletics, as students and in the community.”

“I look forward to working with Scott as we build the next generation of remarkable success within Oregon State Athletics,” Ray said.

“I am very excited to join Beaver Nation and am ready to hit the ground running and build upon the success of OSU Athletics,” Barnes said.  “I guarantee that we will contribute to advancing the mission of this university. We will deliver the highest level of achievement on the playing field and for all student-athletes in the classroom, in the community and in their lives and careers.

“Everything that we will do will be defined by excellence. Success will be measured in wins, championships and by providing the best student-athlete experience possible.”

Prior to joining Pitt, Barnes spent seven years as athletic director at Utah State. Prior to his tenure at Utah State, Barnes spent nearly three years at UW as senior associate athletic director for advancement. In that capacity, he was responsible for all external operations for the Huskies' athletic department, including fund-raising, ticket sales, multimedia rights, marketing and communications. Barnes served as athletic director at Eastern Washington University from 1999 to 2005.

Barnes was recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics in 2014 as an NACDA athletic director of the year recipient while at Utah State. At Eastern Washington, he was awarded a regional recognition by NACDA.

Since Stansbury’s departure, Marianne Vydra, senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator, has served as interim vice president and director of OSU intercollegiate athletics.

Oregon State has 18 NCAA sports, more than 535 student-athletes and an athletics department budget of $84 million. Pitt has 19 NCAA sports, more than 475 student athletes, and a $75 million budget.

While at Pitt, Barnes initiated an organizational restructuring and strategic plan to re-energize Pittsburgh athletics.

Barnes led many Pitt athletics achievements, including these highlights:

  • The 2016 Pitt football team completed a second consecutive 8-4 regular-season record, are ranked in the nation’s top 25 and will play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl this month.
  • The Pitt gymnastics team won its first-ever East Atlantic Gymnastics League championship in 2015.
  • The Pitt men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 for the 13th time in the past 15 seasons, becoming one of only eight programs nationally to accomplish that feat.
  • In the classroom, 379 Pitt student-athletes were honored for achieving a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the 2015 spring or fall terms, while 24 earned a perfect 4.0. The Panthers had a record 245 students earn all-league ACC academic honors.

 

During Barnes’ tenure at Utah State, the Aggies won 20 conference team championships and the football program averaged 10 wins a year, compiled a 30-11 mark, and won a school-record three consecutive bowl games.

A native of Spokane, Wash., Barnes graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and a master’s degree in athletics administration and physical education in 1993. He also played basketball at Fresno State. Barnes played professional basketball in Germany in 1985-86, and was the general manager of the Fresno Flames of the World Basketball League from 1988-89.

Barnes will be joined in Corvallis by his wife, Jody, who also graduated from Fresno State and competed in track as a student-athlete. The Barnes have a daughter, Milanna, 20, a college sophomore; and a son, Issac, 19, a high school senior.

Media Contact: 

Steve Fenk, 541-737-3720

Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808

steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Scott Barnes
Scott Barnes

OSU overall enrollment up 2.9 percent, Corvallis campus increases less than 1 percent

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fall term 2016 enrollment at Oregon State University grew 2.9 percent from last year, as stable enrollment continued at OSU’s Corvallis campus and double-digit growth continued at the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend and within OSU’s nationally ranked Ecampus online degree program.

Oregon State’s overall fall enrollment is 31,303 – up 852 students from 2015 – making OSU the largest university in the state of Oregon for the third consecutive year.

Oregon State’s fall enrollment includes:

  • 24,672 students at the university’s main campus in Corvallis, an increase from fall 2015 of 205 students or 0.8 percent;
  • 5,682 students in Ecampus, an increase of 573 students or 11.2 percent over last year; and
  • 1,122 students at OSU-Cascades, an increase of 106 students or 10.4 percent more than a year ago.

“As Oregon’s statewide university, we are committed to serve all qualified Oregonians,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “This year, 74.2 percent of our degree-seeking undergraduates on our Corvallis campus are Oregon residents.

“We serve as the ‘people’s university’ of the state of Oregon by offering diverse, high-quality academic programs at our campuses in Corvallis, Bend and Newport, and through top-ranked online degree programs. We are seeing students literally choose where, how and when it is best for them to learn. Each year, more students choose Oregon State as their destination of choice.”

Oregon State continues to attract high-achieving students. Among first-time college students from Oregon high schools, 47 percent of OSU’s freshmen class are considered high-achievers – having graduated from high school with a cumulative grade point of 3.75 or higher.

As well, of OSU’s new students:

  • 21 had perfect SAT mathematics scores and 11 had perfect SAT verbal scores, compared with 17 and 8 students, respectively, in 2015.
  • Five are National Merit award winners, compared with four a year ago.
  • 225 – or 3.8 percent of Oregon State’s new undergraduates – were ranked number 1 in their high school graduating class, compared with 156 students in 2015.
  • 78 are Presidential Scholars – 20 more than a year ago.
  • 358 entered the university’s Honors College, compared with 265 in 2015;

“Oregon State is achieving excellence through inclusivity,” Ray said. “Twenty-five percent of this year’s entering Honors College students come from diverse backgrounds. I also am pleased with the continued growth of U.S. minority and first-generation students in Oregon State’s overall enrollment. And that 3.2 percent of Oregon State’s overall enrollment – 956 students – are veterans of U.S. military service.

This fall, OSU has enrolled 7,204 students representing U.S. minorities – an increase of 450 students or 6.7 percent over a year ago. In total, 23.7 percent of the students attending Oregon State in Corvallis or within Ecampus identify themselves as a U.S. minority, compared with 2,806 students and 14.5 percent a decade ago in fall of 2006.

Twenty-three percent – or 5,858 OSU undergraduates in Corvallis or within Ecampus – are first-generation students, an increase of nearly 1 percent over a year ago. At OSU-Cascades, first-generation students make up 35.4 percent of the enrollment.

“As a first-generation college student myself, these students are near-and-dear to my heart,” Ray said. “Increasing the enrollment of people of diversity, students from low-income families, and first-generation students by providing access to an excellent higher education and a college degree is essential for all Oregonians.”

OSU also continues to expand its global reach as an internationally recognized public research university. This fall, international student enrollment increased by 201 students to a total of 3,529 students or 11.6 percent of Oregon State’s overall enrollment. International students from 110 countries attend Oregon State this fall. A decade ago, OSU enrolled 897 international students – or 4.6 percent of its overall enrollment.

“We live and work in a global society,” Ray said. “It is essential that universities such as Oregon State bring people worldwide together to learn, pursue research and engage as a community.”

Oregon State’s commitment to graduate studies and graduate student engagement in research is evident in this year’s enrollment. Overall, the number of graduate students, including professional students in OSU’s colleges of pharmacy and veterinary medicine, increased by 1.3 percent this fall to total 5,027 students, compared with 4,964 students in 2015. 

Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for University Relations and Marketing, said Oregon State intentionally manages its enrollment to achieve the university’s land grant mission; support the state of Oregon’s educational attainment goals; operate in a financially sustainable manner; and be a good neighbor in Corvallis, Bend and Newport.

“We manage enrollment very mindfully,” Clark said. “For example, we have promised to slow the growth of our Corvallis campus and not grow above 28,000 students by 2025 by limiting enrollment growth to 1-2 percent each year. We are doing so intentionally and with good results. The past three years, our enrollment growth has been well below 1 percent and with such a trend, OSU’s Corvallis campus may not reach 28,000 students until sometime in the early 2030s.”

“In Bend, we have committed to limit our new OSU-Cascades campus to between 3,000 to 5,000 students by 2025, and in Newport, to between 400 to 500 students. At the same time, we will provide higher education where students live and work by enrolling more distance online students through Ecampus,” Clark said.

At OSU-Cascades, 92.2 percent of the enrollment is composed of Oregonians, including 205 students who are U.S. minorities – a 17 percent increase from 2015 – and 323 are first-generation students – a 7.7 percent increase from a year ago. Overall, OSU-Cascades’ enrollment includes 912 undergraduate and 210 graduate students. Freshmen enrollment at the new campus, which opened in September, increased 17.7 percent from 2015.

More students are studying engineering than any other discipline. The College of Engineering has a total of 8,724 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this fall. The next largest programs are the College of Liberal Arts, 4,178 students; the College of Business, 3,726; the College of Science, 3,503; the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, 3,009; and the College of Agricultural Sciences, 2,580.

Enrollment in other colleges and programs includes: College of Forestry, 1,093, University Exploratory Studies, 1,081; Graduate School, 830; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, 739; College of Pharmacy, 370; College of Education, 300; and College of Veterinary Medicine, 221.

Oregon State’s Honors College enrolls 4.2 percent of all undergraduates with a total of 1,057 students – a 3.6 percent increase over 2015.

The most popular undergraduate majors at OSU are computer science, followed by business administration, mechanical engineering, kinesiology and biology.

Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-4875

steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Robotics program expanding
Robotics program expanding

Beaver Store supporting open textbook initiative to aid affordability

CORVALLIS, Ore. - As part of ongoing efforts to increase textbook affordability for Oregon State University students, the OSU Beaver Store is supporting OSU’s open textbook initiative by distributing free open source textbooks on its digital e-commerce platform.

The university's open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State. It provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create texts that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

The OSU Beaver Store’s website displays the textbooks used in each course at OSU, along with price comparisons to the online marketplace. When the required course content happens to be open source, the store now distributes or links to those free digital materials.

“We’ve created a one-stop portal for OSU students to connect to all of their course materials, be they paid or free,” said Steve Eckrich, OSU Beaver Store president and chief executive officer. “We’re providing students with every possible format to choose from, including digital, rental, and now free open source content.”

The OSU Beaver Store has been providing price-transparency to students for many years using its online price comparison tool. Its website displays the store’s prices for new, used, digital, and rental course materials, alongside the prices of online retailers and others.

“Because the OSU Beaver Store provides the largest student discount of any college store in the country, we are very price-competitive with the online marketplace,” said James Howard, OSU Beaver Store academic materials manager. “We also provide certainty that the student is getting the correct book and edition, with the option to get it more quickly in-store and have in-store returns that don’t require shipping.”

The OSU Beaver Store works closely with faculty to procure the materials they want to use for their courses. It sources a wide variety of formats and pricing options, to ensure that students have everything needed to be informed consumers.

“Adding free open source content to our digital platform is a natural extension of our commitment to textbook affordability as a student-based organization,” said Eckrich.

Media Contact: 

Melanie Williams, 541-737-0050

Source: 

James Howard, 541-737-0036

james@osubookstore.com

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OSU student receives $132,000 EPA STAR fellowship

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Christina Murphy, a doctoral student at Oregon State University, has received a $132,000 Science to Achieve Results, or STAR fellowship, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Murphy, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU, is conducting research on how best to manage dams to protect salmon.

STAR graduate fellows are selected from a large number of applications in a highly competitive review process, EPA officials say. Since the program began in 1995, the EPA has awarded nearly 2,000 students a total of more than $65 million in funding.

Murphy earned three honors bachelor’s degrees at OSU, in biology, fisheries and wildlife, and international studies, then conducted a Fulbright research project in Chile. She earned a master’s degree at the Universitat de Girona in Spain, and then returned to Oregon State to pursue her doctorate.

“Northwest reservoirs have different hydrologic regimes and changes in timing and magnitude of drawdown,” Murphy said. She is evaluating physical and chemical conditions in the water, as well as phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthic insects, diversity and populations of fish, and habitat availability within reservoirs – both before and after hydrologic changes – in order to inform decisions on dam and reservoir management.

Murphy is focusing her studies on four reservoirs in the upper Willamette basin in Oregon – Blue River, Fall Creek, Lookout Point and Hills Creek.

“The Pacific Northwest relies on hydropower for more than half of its electricity, with high-head dams forming large reservoirs on rivers historically supporting anadromous salmon,” Murphy said. “Improved understanding of the ecological mechanisms and responses of Pacific Northwest reservoirs with respect to water-level fluctuations is critical to ensuring ecologically sound practices for the long-term operation and greening of our hydropower infrastructure.”

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Source: 

Christina Murphy, 541-505-1393, Christina.Murphy@oregonstate.edu

OSU Ecampus named nation’s best value in online education

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s distance education program has been named the nation’s best online college in terms of value by ValueColleges.com, an organization that provides in-depth analysis and rankings on affordability and quality in higher education.

Oregon State Ecampus ranks first on a list of the Top 50 Best Value Online Colleges for 2017. The rankings assess online bachelor’s programs based on tuition costs, reputability, and return on investment using data from the website Payscale.com.

In its evaluation, the organization noted that Ecampus delivers the most online undergraduate major and minor programs in Oregon, and that OSU is a leader in STEM research and boasts the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research activity classification.

“This ranking speaks to our mission to provide learners with access to a high-quality Oregon State education,” said Ecampus Executive Director Lisa L. Templeton. “The value comes in the form of highly engaging programs that give our students opportunities for career advancement.”

All Ecampus students pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live. Ecampus serves adult learners in all 50 states and more than 40 countries by delivering 21 undergraduate degrees and 27 graduate programs online.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 19,000 OSU students took at least one Ecampus class.

Oregon State has developed a reputation as a leader in online education, having been ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report each of the past two years. In 2014, Ecampus won the Online Learning Consortium’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching – one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

lisa.l.templeton@oregonstate.edu

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Ecampus graduate
Ecampus graduate

OSU-Cascades opens as Oregon’s first new public university in 50 years

BEND, Ore. - Oregon State University – Cascades’ new campus in Bend opened today, fulfilling a 30-year quest for higher education in what had been the largest region in the state without a four-year university.

“This campus launches a new era for educational attainment, economic growth, community partnerships and cultural enrichment in Central Oregon,” said Oregon State President Ed Ray.

Ray, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, state Rep. Knute Buehler, OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson and Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s poet laureate, are planned to participate in the opening celebration. They will be joined by Amy Tykeson, whose family supported funding for the branch campus’ first academic building, and after whom Tykeson Hall is named.

“This is a tribute to decades of work by countless individuals who early on saw the need, defined the future they wanted to achieve, and helped to make this day – and this university campus – possible,” Ray said. “As important as this campus will be for Central Oregon, OSU-Cascades is an investment that will pay great returns for the entire state of Oregon.

“It has been right here in the Bend area that Oregon faces the greatest mismatch in this state between students’ needs, economic demands and the gap in higher education options.”

As the first public university to open in Oregon in more than 50 years, OSU-Cascades will serve students in one of the fastest growing regions in the state - yet one that lags in bachelor’s degree completion.  The new 10-acre campus will provide classrooms and lab space, as well as a dining center and residential housing for 300 students. 

 

As the campus expands over the next decade, OSU-Cascades by 2025 will serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, most of them from Central Oregon. This largely rural area with a population of more than 200,000 has been historically underserved by higher education and includes many first-generation students and others who have been unable to attend college. OSU-Cascades will improve educational access, increase the likelihood of graduates staying in the region and contribute to the local economy.

“OSU-Cascades brings the power of a comprehensive research university to our region,” said Johnson. “We will serve the needs of Central Oregon with excellent academic and research faculty who will teach learners of diverse ages and backgrounds, and address the challenges of our unique environment.”

Prior to its opening this week, OSU-Cascades has operated for 15 years in a two-plus-two partnership with Central Oregon Community College, using leased and physically-separate facilities. The branch campus has awarded 3,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“With this new campus and further planned expansion, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Central Oregon community will develop campus traditions, spirit and community pride,” said Johnson.

The new campus near downtown Bend is integrated into a commercial district, which will help expand OSU’s partnerships with industry and community, and enhance student internship programs and workforce development. Public-private partnerships will increase research and innovation and provide amenities for both students and community members. The 10-acre campus will also include a community STEM education provider, the Bend Science Station.

OSU-Cascades now offers 18 undergraduate and graduate degrees. These include computer science with an applied option in web and mobile web software development; energy systems engineering; hospitality management; and tourism and outdoor leadership.

Over the next two to five years, eight to 10 new degree programs are anticipated to meet student, industry, and regional and national employment needs, in areas such as bioscience; mechanical engineering; nursing; outdoor products; and software development.

“The opening of OSU-Cascades’ new campus represents a promising economic future for Central Oregon,” said Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon.

An extensive long-range development planning effort that is underway will expand the campus onto an adjacent property, a 46-acre pumice mine, and potentially onto a second adjacent property, a 76-acre county demolition landfill.  The two properties together represent one of the largest under-utilized tracts of land within Bend’s urban growth boundary.

A design team of Page and SERA is partnering with Oregon State to deliver a long-range development plan in February 2017. So far, the effort has gathered input from community advisory groups, community members, faculty, staff and students. That input has helped develop visions for the branch campus in strategic areas such as sustainability, health and wellness, innovation and community partnerships.

Studies will assess the possibility for a net-zero energy, water and waste campus, with campus-wide biomass district energy to provide heat. On the initial 10 acres, native plants were harvested and replanted, and transportation options for students include bike share, car share and free bus passes.

Funds need to be secured for future campus growth, officials say, and the next buildings should be ready for students in three to five years.

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Editor’s Note: Video is available.

  • Brief video remarks from OSU President Ed Ray are available online: YouTube, https://youtu.be/DaaxiZFZAJk
  • Ray interview, downloadable high resolution video, http://bit.ly/2clNcjy
Source: 

Christine Coffin, 541-322-3152

 


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Tykeson Hall
Tykeson Hall

OSU adaptation of free biology textbook may annually save students $100K

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is increasing its efforts to make college more affordable for its students, particularly through the use of free, open access, online textbooks and other essential course materials.

The initiatives should reduce student costs, enhance graduation rates, increase flexibility and allow the use of innovative and interactive online instruction techniques. 

The latest example was begun this month with an award of $30,000 by the state of Oregon for an open textbook project.

With this support, OSU faculty will collaborate with those from other state institutions to adapt a biology textbook that now will be freely accessible to OSU students and learners worldwide.

It is estimated the textbook, being adapted by Lindsay Biga and Devon Quick, instructors in Oregon State’s Department of Integrative Biology, will eliminate $100,000 in OSU student spending each year. It’s one of 16 open online textbooks already in use by OSU students or in production by OSU faculty.

“Oregon State is proactively developing and adapting open textbooks on students’ behalf because the cost savings are tremendous,” said Dianna Fisher, who coordinated the grant application effort as director of Open Oregon State.

“Research shows that textbook costs are a primary roadblock to degree completion. The more affordable we can make course materials, the more likely students are to graduate.”

The findings of a study released earlier this year by the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups show that America’s 5.2 million undergraduate students spend $3 billion of their financial aid on textbooks every year. In a 2013 study by the same group, 65 percent of students who responded to the survey said they decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.

Oregon State’s attempts to stem the tide include open books that are being used or developed in a variety of subject areas, including business, plant science, oceanography, hydrology and computer science.

The grant for the biology textbook was awarded by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission as part of its Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program. Open Oregon State, which works with faculty to create OER, will provide some matching funds.

At OSU, the textbook will be used for a biology course sequence on human anatomy and physiology. Biga, Quick and the other faculty partners will work to illustrate course concepts through interactive animations so students can visualize molecular, cellular and organismal processes and improve their content knowledge and retention.

The textbook to be adapted is “Anatomy and Physiology” by publisher OpenStax College. The modifications to the anatomy and physiology book will be completed by next summer in time for students to use it fall term 2017.

The project is expected to involve faculty from the University of Oregon, Western Oregon University, Portland State University, and Linn-Benton, Lane and Portland community colleges. 

“To me, open textbooks are about flexibility, access and interactivity,” Biga said. “Through this grant program, we have the opportunity to invest time and resources into customizing a resource to fit the schedule and curricular needs of our courses and provide free digital access to every enrolled student.”

Open textbooks are just one facet of OSU’s efforts to make learning opportunities freely accessible to learners. In May, more than 15,800 learners worldwide enrolled in a massive open online course, or MOOC, on permaculture. It was the first MOOC to be developed in-house at OSU, and will be offered again this fall. Due to its far-reaching success, instructor Andrew Millison plans to convert all course materials into an open textbook.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Dianna Fisher, 541-737-8658

dianna.fisher@oregonstate.edu

Personalized learning systems to boost education of college students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is beginning a new three-year, $515,000 initiative that will use interactive computer software to help improve the learning and knowledge retention of college students, especially to overcome the hurdles of highly complex mathematics and science.

The project is part of a major national program announced today by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. It will offer some alternatives to the traditional classroom concept of lecture, textbook, and “everyone moves along at the same speed” – an approach that in some courses is largely failing across the United States.

New technologies, interactive learning systems and short quizzes can help ensure a student understands the material being studied, as they move ahead. If they are confused or still struggling to learn the subject, the software system will help identify the problem, allow them to back up, go through things again, and provide additional support and knowledge until they do understand.

If a student just needs more basic information, they can get it. If they need a contextual explanation, that will be available as well.

“We’re facing a societal problem in a range of educational approaches, especially where class sizes are large and there’s less individual assistance,” said Julie Greenwood, associate dean for undergraduate studies at OSU and project manager of this new grant.

“For instance, almost all students have to take college algebra, and in some cases the failure rate can approach 50 percent. We believe that modern computer software can help address this problem, especially in math and the sciences, but also in liberal arts, social sciences and almost any field of study. We’re really optimistic this is going to be a success.”

Other collaborators in this program include Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Portland State University and the University of Mississippi.

OSU educators, Greenwood said, will help students work with existing software systems, find out which seems to work best or fit with the university’s culture and approach to learning, and which approaches are most appropriate for different disciplines.

University officials say this project, called “All Hands on Deck,” is an embrace of a new trend toward “adaptive,” or personalized learning approaches. They believe it can improve both the rate of first-year student retention and the university’s six-year graduation rate. It will initially be used in eight high-enrollment, general education courses, in such fields as mathematics, biology and psychology.

“This national grant will kick-start our efforts to move more aggressively toward personalized learning,” said David King, special assistant to the provost for learning innovation at OSU. “The initiative will also provide our faculty with insight and information on a learner-by-learner basis, and give them the opportunity to develop more individual and unique student-teacher relationships.”

OSU has been a national leader in new educational approaches and innovations, especially through its widely-recognized program of extended online education, or E-campus, and more recently through construction of a $65 million Learning Innovation Center to conduct research on new approaches to collaborative learning and education.

The most promising findings and practices emerging from this initiative will be shared among 200 public university members across the country, officials said, to better meet the general educational needs of today’s undergraduate college students.

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Julie Greenwood, 541-737-1190

Julie.greenwood@oregonstate.edu

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OSU celebrates 147th commencement with record number of graduates

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Class of 2016 will celebrate a record-breaking number of graduates this Saturday when 6,406 of the newest members of Beaver Nation celebrate OSU’s 147th commencement.

The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on June 11 in Reser Stadium on campus. No tickets are required for the event, which also will be shown on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s PLUS channel.

A total of 6,406 graduates will receive 6,723 degrees this year, according to OSU Registrar Rebecca Mathern. They will add to the ranks of Oregon State alumni, which have earned a total of 236,296 degrees over the university’s history.

Juan Felipe Herrera, a social activist and the first Mexican American to hold the position of United States Poet Laureate, will deliver the commencement address.  The son of migrant farmers in California, Herrera is the author of 30 books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and children’s books.

Some facts and figures about OSU’s Class of 2016: 

  • 295 graduates will be receiving two degrees, while 11 will be receiving three.
  • A total of 692 graduates earned degrees in distance education in 32 different degree programs.
  • OSU’s 2016 graduates come from all 36 Oregon counties, all 50 states, three U.S. territories or commonwealths, and 63 nations around the world.
  • While the average age of the class is 25, the oldest graduate is 73 years of age; the youngest is 19.
  • The graduating class includes 136 veterans of the U.S. military service.

When Magali Sánchez crosses the stage, she will be the first in her family to receive a college degree.

The second oldest of seven siblings, Sánchez spent her teen years picking strawberries alongside her family in Woodburn. While pursuing her degree in ethnic studies with a minor in Spanish, Sánchez also managed to devote much of her time to social justice work. She volunteered in leadership roles, including Greek life, campus-community relations, Latinx organizations, as well as many other cultural and community groups. After some international travel, she hopes to pursue a master’s program in ethnic studies.

Christopher McFarland began life in foster care, and ended up on the streets of Los Angeles as a homeless teen. He found himself addicted to drugs, and eventually landed in prison. But following a rough start, McFarland came to OSU, where he first received a bachelor’s degree in public health in 2013.

Throughout his academic career, he has worked with vulnerable populations in Benton County, and this June, he will receive a master’s degree in public health. He plans on continuing to work with the Benton County Health Department and work with at-risk adolescents.

A tragedy turned Marcia Vasquez’ life upside down, but also led her to pursue a doctorate.

In 1996, Vasquez was a master’s student at OSU with a 10-year-old son, Pablo, when her second son, Rodrigo, was born. After graduation she became a faculty member at the University of Talca in Chile, where she survived a major earthquake in 2010, which temporarily shut down the university. But shortly following the quake, Rodrigo was killed in a bicycle accident. The event spurred her to pursue something positive after his death, so she returned to OSU to pursue a doctorate in wood science, and dedicated the effort to Rodrigo.

As a child from Vadodara, India, Parth Khimsaria spent about 10 to 12 hours a day studying during high school and with academic coaches to get into a good engineering school. His path led him to Oregon State University where he was a part of the International Cultural Service Program with a partial scholarship, where he has spent the last five years working on his two undergraduate degrees – manufacturing engineering and industrial engineering, and a minor in business and entrepreneurship. 

During his undergrad journey, he has done two internships at Blount International and Lam Research Corporation, has participated in a number of student engineer organizations, has been an ambassador for the College of Engineering, and has been an undergraduate research and teaching assistant. He has also helped build the International Peer Mentoring Program. After graduation, he will be joining Lam Research Corporation as a manufacturing engineer.

Mathern said OSU expects about 3,974 students to attend commencement. Oregon State is one of only a few universities of its size to hand out actual diplomas to students as they graduate.

Story By: 
Source: 

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

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