Eastern Oregon University https://www.eou.edu Oregon's Rural University Fri, 13 Nov 2020 17:59:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Board approves budget, de-names library https://www.eou.edu/news-press/board-approves-budget-de-names-library/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 17:42:20 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32241 Board approves budget, de-names library

 Nov. 13, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  After 66 years, the Pierce name has been removed from Eastern Oregon University’s library in La Grande. 

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to de-name the building during its first regular meeting of the academic year on Nov. 12. Members of the Pierce Library Naming Committee presented their findings after nearly two years of research. The committee recommended removal of the name and the installation of a historical sign inside the library acknowledging Pierce’s complicated legacy. EOU President Tom Insko also supported this two-part plan

“We’re not erasing history, but choosing who we want to honor,” Insko said. “I do hope when students walk into our library and read the history that it continues the conversation at our academy and all of us are called to reflect. We are finding the balance between keeping the catalyst for conversation but removing the honor.”

The building was named in the early 1950s, shortly after Walter M. Pierce died, and later came to include his wife Cornelia who served as a state librarian. As governor of Oregon in the 1920s, Pierce invested in agriculture and infrastructure, while also promoting eugenics and passing legislation that prohibited Japanese Americans from owning property. His ties to the Ku Klux Klan have been central to previous inquiries about Pierce’s impact, but the committee’s work sought to expand discussion and include primary sources, such as direct quotes from his letters and speeches. Insko emphasized the importance of this academic approach. 

“I want to create a supportive environment for our students, not necessarily a comfortable one because part of getting a higher education is about facing discomfort,” Insko said. “This committee didn’t just look at the question with an emotional response related to their comfort, but about whether it’s consistent with our values and principles. That’s also how I think in terms of these kinds of decisions as the president of this institution.”

Insko said he will not entertain immediate suggestions for alternative names. The cost associated with adjusting the library’s name in online archives, book stamps, websites and building signage will be borne out over time. 

Extensive discussion from trustees reflected the large volume of input from community members, students, alumni and shared governance groups. Two community members also offered public comment during the meeting, both speaking in favor of de-naming the library. For Board Chair Richard Chaves, the decision came down to EOU’s Values and Principles

“We shouldn’t be changing a name because we don’t like something that person did,” he said.”It has to be based on our values. I appreciate the two-part nature of the recommendation: to remove the name but keep the signage to acknowledge the history.”

Next steps for the university include developing a permanent display that describes Pierce’s legacy, and reviewing policies for naming campus buildings. 

Trustees have also been at work establishing standards for evaluating and determining presidential compensation. They split the compensation package into three parts: base salary, Goal Attainment Award and Meritorious Achievement Award. Chaves said he plans to incorporate a distinct range for the one-time awards and introduce a scorecard for quarterly evaluations. 

The board unanimously approved a 2.6% increase to the president’s base salary to accommodate cost of living increases and match the annual percent increases other university employees received. Trustees also approved a one-time Goal Attainment Award of $7,500 and a one-time Meritorious Achievement Award of $15,000 related to Insko’s leadership during the university’s COVID-19 response. 

Trustee Bobbie Conner pointed out that recent years have seen very modest increases in presidential compensation.  

“The president does not receive cost of living increases,” she said. “We have been extremely careful and conservative in past years, so we are covering ground this year that was owed in past years. We’re all fortunate when we can keep somebody pulling for us and on behalf of us without complaint.” 

This is the first time Insko has received a bonus in addition to a base salary. Chaves will seek input from the board’s three committee chairs about what the maximum one-time award should be in the future as a percentage of the base salary. 

Other financial matters included review of the university’s quarterly reports and operating budget. When trustees approved a provisional budget last June, the outlook for higher education funding was dire. In recent months, state funding and student enrollment have both delivered better results than anticipated. 

The board approved an operating budget for the current academic year that was updated to exclude reductions. Although the university missed out on revenue from athletic camps and other group events that use EOU housing and dining services during the summer, additional investments are planned for academic programs including cyber security, public administration, Sustainable Rural Systems and the Rural Engagement and Vitality Center. It also includes funding for baseball and lacrosse coaches, new athletic programs that also receive funding from Sports Lottery and student tuition. 

For three trustees, this was their first meeting as board members. Maurizio Valerio, who works with the Ford Family Foundation, Tamra Mabbott, a planner for Umatilla County and student representative Brittney Hamilton. Cheryl Martin was elected to serve as Vice Chair. 

Trustees also heard a legislative update, reports from shared governance leaders, approved College of Education accreditation progress, signed onto an ethics affirmation, and reviewed minor updates to the university’s pandemic Resumption Plan. 
Full minutes and meeting materials can be found at eou.edu/governance. The next regular Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18, 2021.

EOU honors veterans, offers tailored services https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-honors-veterans-offers-tailored-services/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 00:19:15 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32232 EOU honors veterans, offers tailored services

Nov. 10, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – As the nation recognizes Veterans Day, those who’ve served in the United States Armed Forces develop their careers and build lasting relationships on campus. 

Inlow Hall is home to Veterans Services at Eastern Oregon University. Active duty military members and retired veterans who attend EOU have access to a range of resources on campus and off.

Services include peer-to-peer tutoring, scholarship opportunities and tuition assistance, among other resources that benefit their education. For example, Active-duty students receive a scholarship that helps with a portion of their tuition and veterans can also apply for the Veterans United Foundation Scholarship to help cover costs that the GI Bill leaves to students.  

The designated area for student veterans to study incorporates a quiet environment with computers that are accessible to them regardless of degree. 

With 150 student veterans on campus, Military/Veterans Coordinator Kerry Thompson explained that they are in the process of moving the services to a more central area on campus to reach more students who are in need of support.  

“It helps them so they have a place to go, a place that’s relatively quiet that they can go study, do homework. It gives the veterans a sense of camaraderie, a sense of belonging,” he said.  

Thompson also said that many of EOU’s student veterans are older than the average college student, and may have problems relating to their classmates, so having these resources and a place specifically for them helps develop a sense of community on campus. 

As a veteran himself who finished his education at EOU, Thompson recognizes that there is always room for program improvement. 

“In the 8 years I have been here, EOU has come a long way with what we offer our veterans, we may have a long way to go, but we are getting there,” he said.

For more information about Veteran’s services at EOU, please visit eou.edu/veterans

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Online enrollment up, on-campus holding steady https://www.eou.edu/news-press/online-enrollment-up-on-campus-holding-steady/ Tue, 10 Nov 2020 19:49:22 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32229 EOU announces online enrollment up, on-campus holding steady

Nov. 10, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Robust online programs continue to grow at Eastern Oregon University, according to fall enrollment reports. EOU also saw a record number of Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students and steady levels of ethnic diversity on campus. 

Enrollment in online courses is higher than it’s been in the past six years with a 6.8% increase from last year. Graduate enrollment also increased by 33.5% from last year, from 200 to 267 students.  

Tim Seydel, Vice President for University Advancement, said shifts in enrollment and modality were expected during the coronavirus pandemic, and EOU’s long-time expertise in online education allowed the university to remain flexible while meeting students’ needs. Remote and hybrid learning formats have expanded student access, opportunity and completion. 

“If you look at the numbers here, that’s where you see a shift: fewer on-campus students, more online students—and that helps us balance out our enrollment portfolio,” Seydel said. “The other big thing we work on a lot is retention. It’s not just about getting them in the door, it’s about how we take care of those students when they get here.”

EOU’s total head count is at 2,853 for 2020, with a full-time equivalency of 2,124. This represents a 0.4% reduction from last year, but this fluctuation is not unexpected. Oregon residents make up 65% of the student population, and 35% are first-generation college students, or students who come from low-income households, and 62% of resident undergraduates come from rural areas. Ethnic diversity among students held steady, with 28% of EOU students identifying as culturally or ethnically diverse. Low income households have been hardest hit by the pandemic and this creates added challenges for students from these families to afford college.

Although the university saw a slight dip in retention, 73% of 2019-20 students returned for an academic year that holds an array of adaptations. Students have access to virtual or in-person study support through the Learning Center, online resources for academic and personal success, and digitized library references and personalized research assistance. 

Kristin Johnson, an advisor in the Master of Arts in Teaching program, said this year’s graduate student numbers reached an all-time high, up from 45 students last year to 80 now in the program. Johnson credited renewed leadership and marketing efforts, as well as a teacher shortage. She said even before the pandemic started, the MAT program had record numbers of applicants.  

“People know us here, they know the quality of our institution and so we are seeing more students from the Northwest still wanting to attend Eastern, they’re just doing it online,” Seydel said.

For more information about fall enrollment, visit eou.edu/institutional-effectiveness.

EOU Board to consider operating budget, library name next week https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-board-to-consider-operating-budget-library-name-next-week/ Fri, 06 Nov 2020 22:00:36 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32226 EOU Board to consider operating budget, library name next week

Nov. 6, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Eastern Oregon University Board of Trustees convenes its first regular meeting of the academic year on Nov. 12, and will consider the operating budget and whether to alter the library’s name, as well as other policy decisions. 

The board’s first order of business on Thursday is to elect a Vice-Chair from current trustees. Abel Mendoza served in the role most recently. The rest of the morning’s agenda includes a vote on minor amendments to the university’s COVID-19 Resumption Plan, quarterly financial reports, and a decision on EOU’s operating budget for the 2020-21 academic year. The board will determine a process for comprehensive evaluation of the president, and vote on presidential compensation.

Trustees are scheduled to begin discussion of Pierce Library’s name at 2:15 p.m. Members of the Pierce Library Naming Committee will present their findings, followed by public comments on the issue, before trustees vote on Pierce Library’s name. The Board is not considering alternative names at this time, only whether to remove or retain the Pierce name. 

Community members, alumni, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the committee’s report on th Library, review supplemental information and submit written testimony at eou.edu/pierce-library-renaming. Written comments received by Nov. 9 will be shared with trustees prior to the meeting. 

A limited opportunity for oral public comment will be available via Zoom video conferencing when the Board considers this agenda item. Individuals wishing to provide oral comment must sign up through the Oral Public Comment Form by Nov. 9. Time constraints will limit the number of people allowed to make oral comments.

Trustees will also discuss the purpose and role of shared governance at the university and hear reports from shared governance leaders of Faculty Senate, University Council and the Associated Students of EOU. Additionally, trustees will receive an update on legislative happenings, review a draft of the College of Education’s accreditation self-study report, and act on adopting an ethics affirmation form. The full agenda is posted at eou.edu/governance/board-meeting-schedule with links to additional materials.

The Board of Trustees meeting will be held in a hybrid format with some trustees attending on campus and others participating via Zoom. Members of the public can watch the meeting via livestream at livestream.com/eou/governance. Proceedings begin at 9 a.m., and are scheduled to conclude at 4 p.m.

Written comments or requests to provide oral public comment regarding items other than the library name can be submitted to board@eou.edu. Contact Ella Maloy at emaloy@eou.edu or 541-962-4101 for additional information.

Public lecture series goes virtual for 2020-21 https://www.eou.edu/news-press/public-lecture-series-goes-virtual-for-2020-21/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 23:03:30 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32222 Public lecture series goes virtual for 2020-21

Nov. 5, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon is reintroducing Colloquiumvirtually. Starting Nov. 12, campus and community members can tune in via Zoom on the second Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. to hear about research EOU professors have been conducting. 

Professors Kelly McNeil and Jessica Coughlin are the coordinators of the Colloquium this year, a series of public lectures from EOU faculty that showcase their recent scholarly work. Their hope is that community members will be more apt to attend.

“My goal would be to reach out more to the community and let other people in the community know that these research projects are going on…so now that they’re on Zoom, we might have the ability to provide more access to these things for people,” said Rice, who presented her Colloquium at Side A Brewing last year.

Faculty coordinators have been working to achieve greater community involvement for years, and this modality change means more people will have access to the presentations in real time or any time. Recordings of each presentation will be posted on EOU’s Youtube page.

The first Colloquium presentation is Nov. 12 with a presentation by business professor Wilson Zehr. For three years, Zehr has researched how organizations use different forms of innovation to establish market leadership. 

Organizations tend to focus on product innovation early on and then shift to technological or process innovation as markets mature. This allows organizations to increase production efficiency and reduce costs in response to more intense competition. Recent studies have found that innovation can take more forms than the two traditional areas of product and process innovation. Zehr set out to learn more about the role other forms of innovation can play in establishing market leadership.

The focal point for this research was the 45-year history of the PC industry. The study used an expert panel and a new form of decision model.

He discovered that market leaders focused on product innovation early in the lifecycle and then shifted to process innovation over time. However, the results also show that marketing innovation became more critical for market leaders as the transition from product innovation tapered. Organizational innovation increased in importance toward the end of the lifecycle.

Zehr has been involved with eight technology startups, advised or assisted dozens more, and guided students through 50+ consulting projects since coming to EOU. He presented his new findings at a Walden research conference in October, and is scheduled to publish a book on entrepreneurship next spring.

Zehr will present his Colloquium talk at 4 p.m. on Nov. 12 via Zoom with a Meeting I.D. of 969 6251 8972. For more information about EOU Colloquium, visit eou.edu/colloquium.  

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Honoring Indigenous roots https://www.eou.edu/news-press/honoring-indigenous-roots/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 22:58:08 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32217 Honoring Indigenous roots
Moccasin-making activity through the Native American Program in 2019.

Nov. 5, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – November is Native American Heritage Month and the Native American Program (NAP) at Eastern Oregon University offers an opportunity for tribal students to build connections and relationships with peers, while also receiving academic and intercultural support.  

The NAP has been a part of the EOU campus since the late 1960s. For many tribal students it has created a home away from home, where they can seek out individuals that have shared similar life experiences.

“Going into higher ed is something that is kind of intimidating and having somebody there that can support you, advocate for you, fight for you, be a mentor for you, that is just the most important thing I think all universities and colleges should have,” said Katie Harris-Murphy, who coordinates the NAP. 

Harris-Murphy, an EOU alumna and tribal member herself, also said tribal students’ families may have faced trauma while obtaining an education, noting that a lot of these students have grandparents or great-grandparents who were taken to reform schools and stripped of their culture. Harris-Murphy emphasized that it is important for these students to have support in their higher education.   

“So, you grow up hearing your grandparents talk about that, and grandparents had parents who experienced schools like that, so I think having Native people here to support them while in higher education just really strengthens and reinforces the trust that Native students can have while going to school,” said Harris-Murphy. “So that [students know] it’s not something to be intimidated by. It’s something that you know you have somebody there that will help you, somebody there that will guide you and make sure that you can be successful.” 

EOU’s NAP has many student-led advocacy projects and is continuing this year to advocate for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) across the country. Partnering with privilege campus advocates, members will hang red dresses on campus to raise awareness to this population of women who have historically experienced violence. In addition, student leaders will hand out gift bags filled with hand sanitizer and other helpful supplies during the pandemic. There will also be possibilities for students to meet with alumni and converse with them about their academic paths coordinated by Justin Chin from the Career Center

The program is targeted toward tribal student success, but everyone is welcomed to participate and  get involved in the Speel-Ya Club and other campus activities. In previous years, the program has held moccasin-making and beading activities.

Harris-Murphy said students can talk to her about support in their education on more topics beyond academic advising. 

“To Native students that haven’t come [to EOU] yet, just know that we’re here for you,” she said.

For more information about the Native American Program at EOU, visit eou.edu/nap.  

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Bringing the classroom home https://www.eou.edu/news-press/bringing-the-classroom-home/ Tue, 03 Nov 2020 22:01:29 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32202 Bringing the classroom home: GO STEM Hub distributes learning kits for rural families
EOU football players assembled STEM kits for rural fourth graders on Oct. 31. Kits included craft supplies, snacks and instructions for at-home science and engineering activities.

Nov. 2, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Football players, food service workers and on-campus staff at Eastern Oregon University are doing their parts to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to youngsters in rural Oregon. 

The Greater Oregon STEM Hub at EOU used grant funds from the Oregon Community Foundation to address student needs in regional counties hardest hit by COVID-19. OCF awarded GO STEM $19,950 to construct and distribute 2,000 at-home STEM kits.

GO STEM plans to deliver kits to every fourth grade student in Umatilla and Morrow Counties, as well as key districts and schools that remain virtual or have spikes in COVID cases. Fourth graders were chosen because they are often the youngest students that experience a virtual learning environment. 

“The objective of this project was to involve the fourth grade students in hands-on STEM explorations that are self-directed and can be done with or without teacher guidance,” said GO STEM Executive Director David Melville. 

The kits focus on engineering design and construction with sail cars and parachutes, and geometry with straw structures. GO STEM worked with kit supplier Pitsco Education to replace plastic straws with a paper version, and to include directions in both Spanish and English. The company has since applied these changes throughout its products. 

GO STEM worked with members of EOU’s football team to build the 2,000 STEM kits, while ensuring all involved observed the university’s COVID-19 safety protocols. Student-athletes built boxes, packaged project kits and other materials, and sealed the kits for distribution. 

“Without the help of EOU football players and coaches, we would not be able to get these kits in the hands of the students,” Melville said. 

Another EOU partner, Sodexo, offered additional support. Sodexo provides food services at EOU and supplied Goldfish crackers and granola bars for each STEM kit. 

“Not only are our students needing direct STEM education in their homes, but many of our most at-risk students are also food insecure.” said Program Director for GO STEM Donna Rainboth. “This partnership is win-win for our students!”

Delivering the kits to families in rural counties required a collaboration outside of EOU.

“As you can imagine, getting these kits in the hands of students across eastern Oregon is a huge lift,” said Erin Lair, Director of Teaching and Learning at InterMountain Educational Service District (IMESD). “We are happy to provide our courier service to help distribute the kits. It is just what we do.” 

IMESD is working closely with EOU’s Shipping and Receiving Department in these efforts. 

“Shipping and Receiving has been amazing in helping us move these massive amounts of materials. Not only did they store and move the kit materials, they allowed us to stage and store the kits so they can be picked up by IMESD for delivery,” said Echo Knight, Program Assistant for GO STEM.

By building relationships across university departments, GO STEM leveraged the strengths of students, staff and on-campus partners. 

“Eastern Oregon University and the Greater Oregon STEM Hub continue to build a strong relationship to benefit our region’s students – from preschool to college,” said Dean of the College of Education Matt Seimears. “Together we can and do make a difference.”

Learn more about GO STEM programs at go-stem.org.

Reviving the golden age of radio https://www.eou.edu/news-press/reviving-the-golden-age-of-radio/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 23:20:49 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32196 Reviving the golden age of radio

Oct. 27, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The night was black and thunder rang out after cracks of lightning. In the darkness, footsteps creaked old floorboards while rain pounded on the roof. They heard a knock at the door and shivers slid down their spines as their heads turned to see… 

“Mountie Mystery Theatre” revives the golden age of radio. In lieu of a play, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Eastern Oregon University theatre and music departments performed and recorded four spooky stories for listeners. Gather around the radio at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 for “The Black Figurine of Death,” and “The Haunted Crossroads,” then come back at the same time the following evening for psychological thrillers “Kill, Kill, Kill” and “The Wages of Sin are Death.” 

Professors Peter Wordelman, Luke McKern and Kenn Wheeler joined forces to create and produce the radio shows with theatre and choir students just in time for Halloween. 

“I wanted to come up with something dramatic, something that the kids could do that wouldn’t mean rehearsing and presenting it to a live audience,” said Wheeler, who teaches acting and theatre at EOU. “So I came up with this idea for radio plays like the old-fashioned kind that they had back in the 1940s.”

Plans have been in place for the event since summer, and the department had to find ways to abide by CDC regulations regarding a music production during the pandemic. 

“When I had originally envisioned it, I thought we would be able to record them like they used to with four or five mics and everybody would step up to the mic,” Wheeler said. “But when we realized that the restrictions here on campus are not just social distancing, but social distancing and masks, we had to figure out how to do it with masks.”

So each speaking cast member was equipped with a specialized choir mask (singer’s mask) that allowed for clearer sound and less muffling. An array of masked students were also on set to help with sound effects. 

“We got everyone involved in some way, shape or form… We did have one recording session prior to this where we recorded the theme song one day and some group sound effects,” said Wordelman, who teaches music and directs the EOU choir. “We recorded wind, we recorded the ‘guilty/not guilty,’ the crowd yelling and angry mobs.”  

Music and music technology instructor Luke McKern produced the shows. His students helped create vintage radio ads for the production by enhancing them and inserting sound effects like jingles or gong noises. 

The four hour-long shows will broadcast over a two-night period with two episodes an evening, starting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. The shows will be broadcast over Supertalk Radio 1450 AM and will also play on supertalkradio.com

The performances will be posted to the EOU YouTube Channel, along with still images of production and short video clips, after the shows have aired. 

To learn more about EOU Theatre productions, visit eou.edu/theatre.

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Let’s talk business: EOU earns top distinctions https://www.eou.edu/news-press/lets-talk-business-eou-earns-top-distinctions/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 23:12:51 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32192 Let’s talk business: EOU earns top distinctions
College of Business graduates at Commencement in June 2019

Oct. 27, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University has received a multitude of awards ranging from “Most Affordable Four-Year College” to being named one of the top 50 Business Schools. Behind each of these distinctions is an EOU program or college that made it possible.  

The College of Business at EOU has reaffirmed its longstanding IACBE accreditation this year, showing that it adheres to the nine international standards of excellence.   

Dean Ed Henninger, alongside faculty leaders in the college, prepared documentation for the IACBE board over the last year. EOU received news in July that its accreditation status would be reaffirmed and approval granted through December 2027, aligning with EOU’s Strategic Plan.

“Everything from student success to transformative education and the number of lives impacted, the accreditation principles align well with many academic quality and student success goals within EOU’s Strategic Plan,” Henninger said.  

The accreditation of the College of Business not only impacts students, but demonstrates that EOU programs are recognized by external stakeholders. Community members can be assured that EOU is accountable and complies with leading standards for business education.   

“Aligned well with the mission of the IACBE, our college’s overarching goal is the continuous improvement of business education at EOU, including operational and student learning outcomes,” he said.

The College of Business also has  plans for new classes, a research center, and revised and expanded programs and majors. The recently created Eastern Oregon Center for Economic Information will facilitate joint faculty-student research projects and internships to impact economic and workforce development in the region. 

One of the degrees under development is a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Agricultural Entrepreneurship. Students in the program will learn to cultivate businesses while mastering state-of-the-art agricultural farming techniques and technological tools. New career-ready marketing and entrepreneurship programs, as well as an updated College Advisory Council, showcase the college’s accelerating action plans.  

“We believe that the future depends on what we do in the present,” Henninger said. 

For more information about the College of Business, visit eou.edu/college-of-business.  

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Economic research promises better data for rural counties https://www.eou.edu/news-press/economic-research-promises-better-data-for-rural-counties/ Thu, 22 Oct 2020 21:17:11 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32186 Economic research promises better data for rural counties 

Oct. 22, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Rural Engagement and Vitality (REV) Center, a partnership of Eastern Oregon University and Wallowa Resources, works toward building connections between the university and community members. Recently, two professors and two students began developing one of these partnerships through Community Profiles and Economic Impact Analysis.

Faculty and students from EOU will provide socioeconomic research and analytical services for counties and communities to facilitate the understanding of current conditions and trends, support various planning efforts, and undertake economic impact analysis of specific projects or investments in the region.

REV Center Program Manager Julie Keniry said the Blues Intergovernmental Council (BIC) reached out to the REV Center about coordinating economic research in rural Oregon. This project will help the BIC understand the impacts of forest management across the Blue Mountain region, including the potential impacts of new forest plans for the three national forests in eastern Oregon. The analysis will compare the relative impacts and economic resilience across 10 counties in Oregon and four in southeast Washington, informing future forest management in the region. 

The funding for this project comes from the U.S. Forest Service and the Eastern Oregon Counties Association. Economics professors Peter Maille and Scott McConnell have taken the lead on constructing socioeconomic profiles for each county involved. 

“Communities could focus on information our analysis provides to better understand economic vulnerabilities. Some could use it to argue for forest management policies that mitigate a possible economic harm or enhance a possible benefit,” Maille said. “Our basic hope is that the communities and the Forest Service can make better decisions by having better information.” 

The grant also allows for two EOU students to work as interns and assist Maille and McConnell with the project. 

“What happens in these forests impacts the counties, and the communities and the people in them when National Forest plans shift. Access or harvest level, that can change the amount of wood product going through an economy,” Maille said. “So, what we’re trying to do is model how an economy—a given county’s economy—will respond to those kinds of changes.” 

Maille’s work on this project can be integrated into coursework for future classes. He said it will give students real-world, practical examples to work with involving economics. He hopes that this project of computing a county’s economic resilience will open the door for valuable long-term monitoring of economic change in the rural west. 

“There is always an economic analysis done as part of the forest plan, but it’s more generalized and this data will be specific to our region and even provide some detail about the impact that activities on the forest could have on smaller logging-focused communities, which normally don’t show up in high-level economic analyses,” Keniry said. 

Projects create opportunities for professors and students at EOU to work among different statewide groups. The REV Center at EOU acts as a gateway to success for businesses by supplying researchers and interns for a multitude of projects.

“It could be really valuable to communities to have this information for a lot of other reasons beyond the forest plan development,” Keniry said. “So we are looking forward to discovering what those other things might be in the future.”  

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Board to consider library name change at November meeting https://www.eou.edu/news-press/board-to-consider-library-name-change-at-november-meeting/ Wed, 21 Oct 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32180 EOU Board to consider library name change at November meeting
Three members of the Pierce Library Naming Committee (from left) library faculty Katie Townsend, history professor Rebecca Hartman and student Andrea Camacho in Pierce Library. Other members of the committee not pictured are Joel Chin and Tim Seydel.

Oct. 20, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Following lengthy research, the Pierce Library Naming Committee submitted its report to Eastern Oregon University President Tom Insko in August. 

Insko requested the report and charged a committee made up of students, faculty and staff to complete the work necessary to evaluate a name change. The report is on the agenda for EOU’s Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Nov. 12. The report recommends removal of the library’s name. The Board will review written testimony and hear public testimony before voting.   

“We must never be complacent in prioritizing the values of justice and equity in the work we do every day at EOU, and we must intentionally carry these values into every conversation we have in this community and every decision we make as leaders of the university,” Insko said. “The name of the library is one of those conversations that continues within, and outside of, the EOU community.”

The library’s namesakes, Walter and Cornelia Pierce, held a number of public leadership roles in Oregon during the first half of the 20th Century. Walter served as a state senator and as  Governor of Oregon in the early 1920s and later in the U.S. Congress. Cornelia was State Librarian and advocated for policies her husband promoted. Shortly after Walter’s death in 1954, the State Board of Higher Education named the library for him, and then 45 years later a committee of faculty members recommended changing the name to include Cornelia. 

That 1999 committee researched Pierce’s legacy to uncover whether he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. While they found insufficient evidence to determine his membership in the KKK, it became clear he had curried favor with the Klan to win the governorship. Transcripts from Pierce’s speeches, as well as legislation he fought to pass, reveal anti-Catholic, xenophobic and white supremacist beliefs, according to the committee’s report

Over the interceding years, students have continued to question the naming. In 2018, EOU’s student government leaders called for a re-consideration of the library’s name along with the Faculty Senate, and Insko established a committee to lead an investigation. The committee of students, faculty, staff and administration identified criteria against which to judge the appropriateness of the name, and discussed whether the Pierces’ actions align with EOU’s values and principles. 

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are encouraged to read the report and supplemental information and to submit written testimony at eou.edu/pierce-library-renaming. Written comments received by Nov. 9 will be shared with trustees prior to the meeting. 

A limited opportunity for oral public comment will be available via Zoom video conferencing when the Board considers this agenda item. Individuals wishing to provide oral comment must sign up through the Oral Public Comment Form by Nov. 9. Time constraints may limit the number of people allowed to make oral comments.

“As an academic institution, we endeavor to make decisions based on research and facts, and to follow a thorough process when making decisions that impact our campus environment so that a broad spectrum of voices and perspectives can be heard,” Insko said. “This also ensures we can all learn and be engaged in those discussions and decisions.” 

Harmonizing communities statewide https://www.eou.edu/news-press/harmonizing-communities-statewide/ Mon, 19 Oct 2020 21:39:43 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32173 Harmonizing communities statewide
EOU President Tom Insko speaks to students in the Urban-Rural Ambassadors Summer Institute in 2018.

Oct. 19, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Rural Engagement and Vitality (REV) Center—a program started by Eastern Oregon University and Wallowa Resources in January—has already embarked on a project to connect rural and urban Oregonians. 

“The mission of the REV Center is to connect EOU faculty and students with the regional community through meaningful projects,” said REV Center Program Manager Julie Keniry. 

The REV Center integrates community and campus life in a myriad of ways, including internships and off-campus employment. Recently, two students were hired to assist with a theatre project bridging urban and rural communities. 

The REV Center partnered with Sarah and Jack Greenman, who created the Urban/Rural Theatre Project. Based on a series of statewide interviews, conducted with help from EOU student interns, the project will showcase similarities and differences between urban and rural Oregonians and their communities. The project is already a year in, and the interviewing process will commence soon. 

“We think there’s a lot more that connects us than divides us…but there’s a lot that divides us and it needs to be spoken about and talked about. We believe in the power of telling someone’s verbatim story as a bridge for authentic community building,” playwright Sarah Greenman said. 

The stories, lifted directly from interview transcripts with real Oregonians, will be performed in a theatre-like setting. Greenman said she hopes to showcase what it means to come from a specific community.    

“We are on a mission to unearth various stories from all over the state about how our place in the state informs how we work, how we feel, how we relate– it’s how we build our families, how we run our businesses, and we are hoping to have a much larger conversation statewide about what it means to be in community with each other,” she said. 

The project will highlight struggles and perspectives that come with living in rural or urban environments and build a solid foundation for communication between the differing communities. The project is set to be completed in two years. 

By integrating EOU students and giving them real-world experience through writing and helping conduct interviews, the REV Center connects community and student life in order to benefit both parties.   

“If you want people to care about each other, you have to know their stories. Once you know their stories, you are creating a kind of intimacy… and once you start to care about them, you start to advocate for them, and you start to think about your world as connected to theirs, because it is,” Greenman said.

For more information regarding the REV Center, please visit eou.edu/rev

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

A cultural engine for rural places https://www.eou.edu/news-press/a-cultural-engine-for-rural-places/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 21:40:56 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32156 A cultural engine for rural places
Bennie Moses-Mesubed leads a workshop at the CEAD Conference in February 2020.

Oct. 13, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – In the predominantly white setting of rural Oregon, the Student Diversity and Inclusion Office at Eastern Oregon University plays a distinct role. 

Director Bennie Moses-Mesubed said her work serves dual purposes. On one hand, she works to equip white students with intercultural competence training focused on understanding power, privilege and oppression, and how it impacts interactions and people’s perceptions of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Meanwhile, she works to support students of color and other traditionally marginalized students. Her office provides tools to help these students navigate through institutional inequities and empowers them to transform barriers and challenges into opportunities for success. 

Her position at the university has allowed Moses-Mesubed to reach beyond the borders of campus and shape policy for the region and state. She’s a member of the Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islanders, and was recently selected to join the governor’s new Racial Justice Council. She said that participation in both groups has allowed her to share the experience of living in rural communities and her perspective on higher education. 

“Equity and inclusion is different in rural contexts,” Moses-Mesubed said. “It’s always about building relationships, finding common ground, and coming into a conversation recognizing that we have different backgrounds and lived experiences. But meeting people where they’re at allows us to support each other through our DEI journey to where we want to be as a community.”

She’s also serving as vice president of the COFA Alliance National Network. Founded in Oregon in 2014, the nonprofit advocates for people from the three Pacific Island nations in the Compact of Free Association (COFA) treaty with the United States: The Republic of Palau, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.  

Staff in the Student Diversity and Inclusion Office

“I’m very proud of this organization in Union County because they’re able to see the gaps that people in rural areas are facing,” Moses-Mesubed said. “Pacific Islanders are rural people, we identify culturally with ideas of knowing your neighbor, community support and sharing resources. We’re attracted to small communities because islands are small, and that perspective really helped with some of our rural COVID initiatives in realizing that when someone needs help, we mobilize and support those who are most vulnerable in our community.”

Since the establishment of EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion in 2018, Moses-Mesubed has built a staff of equally involved individuals. Katie Harris-Murphy, who coordinates the Native American Program and other SDI initiatives, has connections with the Pendleton Round-Up. Mika Morton, Assistant Director of SDI who oversees international students programs and study abroad, participates in Oregon’s restorative justice work. 

“Many of our faculty and staff of color are involved in our communities,” Moses-Mesubed said. “We’re involved in things that elevate who we are as an institution, but also allow us to continue to make a difference in the communities we live in. I’m really seeing the connection between the work we do within our campus, here in our community, and how we shape policies and action at the state level.”

Harnessing the voices of traditionally marginalized people from rural Oregon has become a passion for Moses-Mesubed, and an educational opportunity for EOU students and the entire community. 

“We’ve been able to cultivate opportunities with local leadership and create pathways to sharing our unique perspectives and lived experiences,” Moses-Mesubed said. “SDI is involved in many kinds of activities: providing exposure to cultural traditions and celebrations, and organizing the only large diversity, equity and inclusion conference on this side of the state.” 

She said that by enrolling ethnically diverse students, EOU continues to enrich the region and offer opportunities for community members to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives.  

Learn more about the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion at eou.edu/mc.

EOU cancels Trick-or-Treat due to COVID precautions https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-cancels-trick-or-treat-due-to-covid-precautions/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 22:02:10 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32152 EOU cancels Trick-or-Treat due to COVID precautions
Pumpkin with EOU carved in it

Oct.12, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – It seems to have been witch-ful thinking that Halloween would have gone as planned this year, but it will still be spook-tacular. Following public health guidelines and practical safety measures , Eastern Oregon University Residence Halls will not host their annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat for community members. 

Many university events integrate students with local life. However, this means when problems arise, like a pandemic, it is important to prioritize community health.

Residence Life Director Jeremy Jones said that after exhausting many options, there was no viable way to host the event in a way that promoted safety. It will be important for everyone to assess their Halloween activities for risk and find creative ways to celebrate Halloween.

“The RA’s and programming through the Center for Student Involvement are all working to try and find innovative ways to engage students and build a strong community during this pandemic,” he said. 

Jones understands that there may be some disappointment among community members, as well as college students. Acknowledging the importance of this event, he hopes to resume next year when many events are able to be held on campus once again. 

“I always want to take the opportunity to thank our community and to thank our students for their sacrifice and continued commitment to the safety and the well-being of our students and our community,” Jones said. “I’m just so grateful to be here in La Grande and weathering the storm with such great people.”  

Written by PR Intern Emily Andrews

Building bridges for a brighter tomorrow https://www.eou.edu/news-press/building-bridges-for-a-brighter-tomorrow/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 20:31:47 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32134 Building bridges for a brighter tomorrow

Oct. 5, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Bridge Academy at Eastern Oregon University bundles online courses to help students reach their career and educational goals. Three Bridges are open for enrollment now: Healthcare Administration, Trauma-Invested Care, and Physical Education. 

Each individual pathway is its own Bridge. These Bridges are meant for students who are interested in advancing in their careers or adding courses to a degree. Although Bridge Academy does not offer certificates of any kind, the series of courses in a Bridge are designed to provide tools to succeed in each line of work and are credit bearing. 

David Vande Pol, Executive Director of Regional Outreach and Innovation, said these courses are an opportunity for individuals who aren’t necessarily seeking a degree in higher education. 

“There are literally millions of working adults, in particular, who don’t necessarily want or need a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. They simply need additional college courses that can enable them to advance their educational careers, their vocational careers, or career standing. We are trying to accommodate that need,” Vande Pol said.  

The Bridge Academy is focused on the idea of providing an opportunity for individuals already in the workforce who want to expand their education. For example, the Healthcare Administration Bridge is designed for healthcare professionals who want to advance their careers. The program consists of six 10-week classes that vary in credits. 

Vande Pol said he is excited to see different universities refer their students to the Bridge Academy bundles, as he feels they will be useful to a wide variety of students since all of the courses are fully online.  

“Technology has so accelerated change in our world that everyone is struggling to keep up and perhaps no one more so than higher education,” he said. “The Bridge Academy is our response to that rapid change because we are nimble enough to react to needs of students as they arise.”

For more information about EOU’s Bridge Academy, visit eou.edu/bridge-academy.

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Accessibility for all in Loso Hall https://www.eou.edu/news-press/accessibility-for-all-in-loso-hall/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 18:42:56 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32122 Accessibility for all in Loso Hall
McKenzie Theatre under construction
McKenzie Theatre, EOU’s main performing space, is undergoing a transformation to improve seating, staging and accessibility.

Oct. 5, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – As the school year begins at Eastern Oregon University, renovations in Loso Hall are in full swing. Students walking to class will notice the exterior stairs on the east side of the building being updated, as well as the northern entrance walkways. What they have yet to see are the state-of-the-art renovations happening inside Schwarz and McKenzie Theatres.

Renovations to the building commenced this summer and aim to be completed by February 2021. By then, both theaters will resemble professional stages and will be more ADA accessible. 

Kenn Wheeler, Associate Professor of Theatre at EOU, said McKenzie Theatre is undergoing transformation in phases. The first phase included updating the seats and stage access to include two walkways on either side, leading up to the stage. 

“They will be getting new seats, they’re changing the lighting system and the sound system and updating those,” Wheeler said. 

The smaller performing space at EOU, Schwarz Theatre, is undergoing major renovations that include portable seating, as well as new LED lighting.   

Schwarz Theatre under construction
Schwarz Theatre renovations include stairless entry and a rotating stage.

“In the small theater, they have done and are doing some amazing things,” Wheeler said. “The first thing they’re doing is bringing the floor up to ground level so there won’t be any need for steps when you enter and exit the space. The other awesome thing they are doing that I am really excited about is, they’re putting in a revolving stage… so we can actually revolve the acting space as we are performing and that’s an exciting thing to be able to do.” 

Wheeler said he is most excited about being able to provide students with experience in a professional theater environment.

For more information about Loso Hall and upcoming productions, visit eou.edu/theatre

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

EOU completes mass COVID-19 test https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-completes-mass-covid-19-test/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 23:45:25 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32082 EOU completes mass COVID-19 test
EOU students line up for COVID-19 testing on Sept. 21 at Community Stadium.

Sept. 24, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University pro-actively conducted COVID-19 testing for all on-campus students on Sept. 21. Results arrived today and indicate that seven students tested positive out of 881 that participated in testing. 

“This was a huge event to pull together, and was led by EOU’s Student Affairs staff with volunteers from across campus,” said VP for University Advancement Tim Seydel. “Students also did a great job in self-isolating before arriving on campus and following guidelines to lower their risk of exposure.”  

So far this fall, the university has conducted 1,033 tests and has a 1% positive case rate. This is well below the state average of 5%. Overall, 10 students have tested positive since returning to campus, and one additional student tested positive over the summer. 

Students who test positive, and those who have been in contact with them, are observing quarantine regulations for 14 days. EOU residence halls have established isolation rooms for on-campus residents who have to quarantine, and the university is providing care throughout that time. 

EOU plans to begin holding many in-person classes on Monday, while also providing remote-access coursework, including for those in quarantine. About half of EOU’s on-campus courses are being offered in-person this fall, and the rest are being delivered either through remote-access or in a hybrid format.

Extensive planning for this resumption process took place over the summer, and a range of new safety protocols have been implemented across campus. Dining services, tutoring, library resources, residence life and athletics have all modified their operations to meet standards set by the governor’s office and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. 

Students and employees must complete a daily self-health check, face coverings are required in all buildings, and physical distancing signage is posted throughout university facilities. The La Grande campus remains closed to the public, but faculty, staff and students have returned to their posts for another term. 

“Staff, faculty and students put in a lot of time over the last several months to ensure we had a smooth resumption process,” Seydel said. “We plan to continue monitoring the health of our campus community and we are prepared to care for those who test positive. Mostly, though, we’re looking forward to the pay-off of being able to carry out our mission as Oregon’s Rural University and providing access to higher education for students no matter where they are.”

Additional information is available at eou.edu/coronavirus/pandemic-resumption-plan, including a testing data dashboard that is updated daily at 5 p.m. 

Masked, moved-in and motivated at EOU https://www.eou.edu/news-press/masked-moved-in-and-motivated-at-eou/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 18:48:04 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32073 Masked, moved-in and motivated at EOU
Students follow physical distancing guidelines while waiting to check in.

Sept. 23, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Cars lined the streets of Eastern Oregon University, each counting down the minutes until Move-In Day commenced. As the line started to move, masked students began meeting their RA’s, blankets and boxes in hand—ready for their college adventure during a pandemic.

Healthy behaviors like physically distanced lines, hand sanitizer stations, and mask wearing ensured students, staff and faculty remained safe during the excitement. Orientation leaders helped guide traffic and kept incoming students organized. For many of the students, it was their first time away from home and their families, and many said they were excited for college and the on-campus experience. 

First-year biology student Samantha Spriet said, “I think EOU did a good job of telling us what the expectations were and all the regulations.”

Orientation leader Dustin Follett said he was impressed with the incoming students’ ability to adapt during the move-in event. He said that he could tell students and their parents had read the emails EOU had sent out prior to the event, and he could tell they were ready to adapt to changes: something all members of the campus community will have to practice this year. 

“I was really surprised to see that the parents were go-with-the-flow and the students seemed to be that way too,” Follett said. 

Week of Welcome (WOW) new student orientation also commenced during this event—inviting students to participate virtually, and offering a multitude of activities that students joined from their rooms. While the event was initially planned to be held on campus, WOW leaders quickly adapted as the schedule evolved and the platform changed. 

WOW leader Cassandra Sánchez said the event would remain interactive and enticing for students despite the shift to a virtual venue. New activities incorporated into the schedule included a magic show, trivia, and workouts like power yoga and Zumba. 

“Being in person, I feel like it was easier to make connections honestly, but virtually it’s been cool seeing how these students are interacting, like through the chat,” Sánchez said. “[Online] does limit some of the activities that we are able to do, but it also opens up the door to the newer activities.”

Fall Term classes begin via remote access today, following a mass testing event for students. Once test results are evaluated, the university expects to resume in-person instruction. Learn more about EOU’s plans for the term at eou.edu/coronavirus. 

A new student with their room key.
WoW Leaders ready to direct traffic at Move-In Day.
Celebrating Small Business Week https://www.eou.edu/news-press/celebrating-small-business-week/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:23:59 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32065 Celebrating small business 

Sept. 21, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Entrepreneurs in Union County and across the nation celebrate Small Business Week Sept. 22 to 24

The university hosts the region’s Small Business Development Center, a member of the Oregon Small Business Development Network (SBDCN) that contributes to workforce and economic development.

EOU students and employees remain tightly connected with local commerce, and the relationship is mutually beneficial. Business owners have partnered with the university to offer internships and career opportunities that bridge the gap between students and community members. 

“The small businesses in downtown La Grande, as well as our outlying communities, are trying to work together more to see ways they can support the students and recognize that having EOU, and the students here is a huge asset to the community,“ said Suzannah Moore-Hemann of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. 

Designated as Oregon’s Rural University, EOU is committed to serving as the educational, economic, and cultural engine for rural Oregon has never been stronger. Dean of the College of Business Ed Henninger has strengthened regional partnerships through curriculum development and the growing Rural Engagement and Vitality Center (The REV) to educate tomorrow’s rural workforce and leaders. 

“This week, we spotlight Oregon’s outstanding small businesses, their stories of perseverance and dedication, and their ability to overcome incomparable adversity this past year,” Henninger said. “During National Small Business Week, EOU is extremely proud to honor Eastern Oregon’s small businesses, as small businesses are job-creators that fuel our regional and state economy.”

For additional information about the EOU SBDC, visit bizcenter.org/centers/eastern-oregon-sbdc. Learn more about The REV Center at revcenter.org

Testing, virtual events mark start of EOU fall term https://www.eou.edu/news-press/testing-virtual-events-mark-start-of-eou-fall-term/ Fri, 11 Sep 2020 17:25:52 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32059 Testing, virtual events mark start of EOU fall term
MAT students meet outdoors during COVID-19

Sept. 11, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University students and employees will gather virtually for traditional back-to-school events this month. 

Employees return via videoconference for the university’s annual Convocation ceremony on Sept. 16, and incoming students will participate in virtual orientation events starting Sept. 19. 

A key element of EOU’s fall term plans is COVID-19 testing of all students returning to the La Grande campus before they attend classes in person. 

“In order to facilitate COVID-19 testing for all students on campus, all classes will be held remotely for the first week of the Fall Term, and Week of Welcome events will be held virtually,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Lacy Karpilo. “In-person classes and Week of Welcome events will return to modified operations after test results have been evaluated.”

Along with student testing, the university has instituted a set of requirements for all members of the university community. These include daily online self health checks, wearing face coverings inside all buildings, and physical distancing procedures. All students are also encouraged to take enhanced precautions or self-isolate for 14 days prior to arriving on campus, and two cloth face masks will be provided to each on-campus employee and student.

In-person classes will be held on campus until Thanksgiving and then students will complete the last week of classes and finals week remotely. Residence Halls will remain open during Winter Break, and students living on campus are encouraged to stay. 

“At this time, approximately 48% of courses will be held in-person, 17% will be hybrid, and 35% will be remote,” EOU President Tom Insko said. “College deans and faculty have worked to ensure educational quality while mitigating risk when making modality determinations. Some students may not have any in-person or hybrid courses, allowing them to consider not relocating to La Grande for Fall Term.”

Insko pointed to the university’s guiding themes for resumption of on-campus activities and classes: safety, wellness, equity, collaboration, flexibility and innovation. 

“We are actively preparing for a student-engaging academic year, consistent with our institutional mission and state public health guidelines for Oregon Higher Education,” he said. “Ultimately, our mission calls us back to campus. But, no single path or solution will meet the needs of all, so our guiding themes provide the necessary balance for effective resumption.”

All of EOU’s online courses will continue as usual, offering a wide range of degrees and courses with personalized advising and support. On-site programs and Regional Centers will follow the plans and guidelines laid out by their host sites.

Numerous modifications in campus facilities have already been implemented to ensure a safe working and learning environment, including plexiglass barriers and Insko said EOU will endeavor to accommodate needs as they arise. Some employees may continue to work remotely to protect against interruption in services. 

Meanwhile, staff have coordinated to provide student support services like tutoring, career and internship help, financial aid, and the library so students can access resources remotely and in-person with safety measures. Karpilo said student clubs, cultural events and campus life remain a central part of the EOU experience, though they may look different this fall. 

“Access, equity and affordability are at the core of EOU’s mission,” Karpilo said. “Many of our students are facing added financial hardship and dealing with the challenges of inequitable healthcare.” 

EOU plans to conduct COVID-19 screenings for all incoming residential students, student-athletes and students intending to be on campus. These tests are self-administered, gentle lower nasal swabs (RT-PCR based tests) and will be used to screen students prior to the start of the term. 

Test results will be returned within 24-72 hours. All students who have been tested will be quarantined until test results are returned. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be immediately moved to an isolation room if on-campus or asked to isolate at their off-campus location. Students who test negative will be allowed to leave quarantine. 

Residential students will be provided with meal delivery, and the university will offer a series of virtual events and activities for all students in quarantine.

“This year will be like no other for the EOU community as we work to adapt and respond to the dynamic environment created by COVID-19,” Insko said. “Society teaches us to individually control our world and our destinies, but this pandemic reminds us how interdependent we really are—our wellness and educational achievement are inextricably linked to our shared behaviors and collective ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.”

Virtual Chat Rooms for students and employees continue to answer questions and provide a forum for direct communication, university leaders continue to seek input from all members of the campus community. 

Visit EOU’s Resumption Planning website or for more information about the university’s plans for fall term.