Eastern Oregon University https://www.eou.edu Oregon's Rural University Thu, 11 Feb 2021 22:43:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.1 Board to review new programs, discuss strategic goals https://www.eou.edu/news-press/board-to-review-new-programs-discuss-strategic-goals/ Thu, 11 Feb 2021 22:42:29 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32397 Board to review new programs, discuss strategic goals

Feb. 11, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees will meet on Feb. 18 via Zoom for its second regular meeting of the academic year. Trustees will cover a range of topics, including new academic programs, legislative priorities, strategic goals, and governance structure at the university. 

Following opening comments and financial reports, the board will hear updates on the state legislative session as public universities collaborate to obtain greater funding for higher education. Trustees will also review the university’s annual report and check in on progress toward completing the goals in “The Ascent: 2029,” EOU’s strategic framework. Two new academic programs, Agriculture Entrepreneurship and a Special Education teaching licensure, will be presented for approval. 

Representatives from shared governance groups and the EOU Foundation will report to the board. Trustees will also hear a presentation on EOU’s shared governance structure. The Board’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ad Hoc Committee will ask the board to approve the committee’s plan for its work.

View the full agenda at eou.edu/governance/board-meeting-schedule. 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 4:20 p.m.

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

Hop-growing history reflects the PNW of today https://www.eou.edu/news-press/hop-growing-history-reflects-the-pnw-of-today/ Mon, 08 Feb 2021 16:59:40 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32386 ‘A mirror for the present’: Hop-growing history reflects the PNW of today
Hop picking at North Yakima, Washington ca. 1910 (Courtesy of Sundquist Research Library Yakima Valley Museum)

Feb. 5, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – “This book project examines what I call hop-picking cultures in Oregon, Washington, and northern California (areas that comprise the Cascadia bioregion) from the late 19th century through the late 20th century.” 

Ryan Dearinger, Associate Professor of History  at Eastern Oregon University, presents his colloquium at 4 p.m. on Feb. 11 via Zoom. Presenting on his book project, “Beer’s Dirty Work: Native, Immigrant, and American Hop-Pickers in the Pacific Northwest,” Dearinger explores the lives and struggles of workers in the region’s hops industry. Prized hop fields put the region in the national and international spotlight from the 1870s on as the Northwest cultivated its reputation as the hops—and later craft beer—capital of the world.  Far less is known, however, about the people who picked hops.  

Motivated through holes he noticed in scholarly research, Dearinger has spent the last several years becoming more familiar with the conditions these workers faced. Their labor coincided with the hops industry’s massive expansion, rampant business corruption, labor radicalism, indegenous relocations, burgeoning tourism, and furious campaigns against Native Americans, immigrants, and labor unions with no shortage of violence and repression. 

“My book should fill some gaping holes in the study of the Pacific Northwest—its environment, people, culture, and economy—while tying the history and legacy of its prized hops industry to national understandings of labor and immigration,” Dearinger said. 

Noting that he doesn’t study brewing itself, Dearinger, a labor historian, focuses instead on immigration, migration, working conditions, and debates over national belonging. When starting his research, two aspects of the topic stood out. Because of the short-term, seasonal work these laborers were hired to do, there was little to no paper trail, which made the research particularly challenging and is likely the reason why no book-length studies of hop-pickers have been written.

“The second thing [I noticed was] how incredibly diverse the labor force actually was. This included a kaleidoscope of human beings—you have American re-settlers, European, Asian, and Mexican immigrants, Indigenous peoples, convicts, prisoners of war, and ages ranging from very young to very old. All of them are picking hops, sometimes together in the same location, and they’re doing it seasonally,” Dearinger said. “It’s one of those stories that suggests to us, despite their incredible diversity, just how much working people have in common until they’re told, whether through politics, xenophobia, fear or conspiracy theories—they don’t.”

As a historian, Dearinger is always interested in using stories and episodes from the past to illuminate bigger questions and issues. 

“Often the most meaningful histories offer us a window into the past, but then hold up a mirror for the present. I try to achieve this in my book,” Dearinger said. 

Tune into the Zoom presentation Feb. 11 at 4 p.m via Zoom to learn more. 

For more information about upcoming colloquium visit eou.edu/colloquium.

Written by PR Intern Emily Andrews

EOU to waive application fee Feb. 13 to March 15 https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-to-waive-application-fee-feb-13-to-march-15/ Thu, 04 Feb 2021 22:39:19 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32361 EOU to waive application fee Feb. 13 to March 15

Feb. 4, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University’s Admissions Office announced today that it would waive all application fees Feb. 13 to March 15. 

The decision applies to all student types and modalities intending to start at EOU in fall 2021. Applicants for graduate programs, undergraduate programs, online and on-campus can save up to $50 by submitting their application during this period. 

“Students and families everywhere are already juggling a lot,” Director of Admissions Genesis Meaderds said. “This is one way we can help remove barriers and improve access and affordability.”

Although the university’s application deadline isn’t until September, Meaderds encouraged students to apply as soon as possible if they hope to earn merit-based scholarships. Applicants with a high school or transfer GPA over 2.75 are eligible for a range of EOU scholarships, and Financial Aid Counselors continue awarding them until funds are exhausted. 

Students can begin an application at any time, and then submit it between Feb. 13 and March 15 to avoid the application fee. Even after the fee waiver expires on March 15, applicants may qualify for a fee deferral

Contact an EOU Admissions Counselor for more information. Applications are open now at eou.edu/apply. Learn more about application fees at eou.edu/admissions/fee

Quick, consistent response keeps campus thriving https://www.eou.edu/news-press/quick-consistent-response-keeps-campus-thriving/ Wed, 03 Feb 2021 19:20:11 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32355 Quick, consistent response keeps campus thriving

Feb. 3, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – When Eastern Oregon University students returned to the La Grande campus in January, most of them already knew what to expect. 

The small, rural campus was one of few to offer a significant number of in-person classes and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students’ compliance with health and safety protocols allowed the university to keep case counts at a minimum while continuing operations. 

Prior to the start of Winter Term, EOU proactively tested all on-campus students for COVID-19. Students living in on-campus residence halls tested once during Winter Break, and a second time upon returning to campus. Student-athletes complete regular COVID-19 tests to continue participation in practices. 

EOU conducted over 1,200 tests in the first month of Winter Term, and just 2% have come back positive. 

Director of EOU’s Student Health Center Heather Wiggins, DNP, is also a Family Nurse Practitioner and OHSU faculty. She said large-scale testing provides important information to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

“At least 40% of the spread of COVID is through asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals, who either are already ill and do not have any symptoms or have not yet developed symptoms,” Wiggins said. “Frequent large-scale testing is one measure that can help reduce the risk of an outbreak spreading quickly… This type of testing is especially important when students are returning to campus from many different areas after Winter Break, and may have been unknowingly exposed, or are already infectious but are not showing any symptoms.” 

Carrie Brogoitti, COVID-19 Incident Commander at Union County’s public health authority CHD, Inc., said the organization has a longstanding, positive relationship with EOU that has helped mitigate the spread of COVID-19 locally.

“Of all the places in our community where there could be risk of spread or potential outbreaks, EOU has done a tremendous job of being proactive,” Brogoitti said. “They have great plans in place and have been swift to act in isolating and quarantining COVID-19 cases to limit or stop the spread in our community. They have really taken it seriously and have worked really hard to limit the risk to their students and the community.”

She said EOU has helped inform and coordinate many aspects of the pandemic response, and that the university’s presence in La Grande is not a primary reason for the county’s “Extreme Risk” status.

“Over the last year we have seen COVID-19 activity and outbreaks touch almost every area of our community. In many of these instances, to the best of our knowledge, this activity has been community spread,” Brogoitti said. “EOU has coordinated their testing events with public health and these testing events have led to identification of cases, quick treatment, and immediate isolation to prevent spread.”

EOU’s systems proved sufficient when a minor outbreak was quickly contained in mid-January. After testing negative, students began experiencing symptoms and a cluster of interconnected cases was detected. Contact tracing found that no employees or shared spaces were exposed, and each affected student was assigned a caseworker to provide wrap-around services. A newly hired COVID Response Nurse has also provided direct care and consultation for EOU students.

“EOU has a COVID case management team of very dedicated individuals.  They are committed to ensuring students have the type of support they need when dealing with a COVID illness or exposure,” Wiggins said. “This team consists of many representatives from Student Affairs, Residence Life, the Student Health Center, the COVID response nurse, and the Athletic Department. This team meets routinely to help provide support to all students who are in isolation or quarantine.”

Academic support is an integral part of the university’s response. Faculty have provided remote-access resources for students since the pandemic began last spring. Adapting in-class curriculum to suit remote and hybrid courses also allows students to self-isolate or quarantine if they’re ill or potentially exposed to the virus. 

Face covering requirements, physical distancing measures and daily health checks also contributed to the university’s ongoing capacity to offer in-person instruction. Free COVID-19 tests are available to students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with a positive case. 

“Additional safeguards that are in place for the rest of the term are the same measures that have been in place all year,” Wiggins said. “This includes always wearing masks in the presence of other people, both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, EOU limits the number of people in indoor areas to observe physical distancing and follows enhanced cleaning measures throughout campus.” 

Learn more about EOU’s response to COVID-19 and get updates on current case counts at eou.edu/coronavirus.

Cybersecurity degree equips students to enter growing field https://www.eou.edu/news-press/cybersecurity-degree-equips-students-to-enter-growing-field/ Wed, 03 Feb 2021 00:18:07 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32349 New cybersecurity degree equips students to enter growing field

Feb. 2, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – One wrong click can land small businesses or local governments in the hands of a nasty computer virus, but a new program at Eastern Oregon University equips students to come to the rescue. 

The university expanded its computer science department to include a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Students in the program can earn a Bachelor of Art or Bachelor of Science on campus or online. Transfer students with an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity from a community college can transfer their entire transcript and earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in just two years. 

Kiel Wadner, an EOU instructor and cybersecurity professional, helped develop the curriculum. He said classes will focus on experiential learning that prepares graduates to meet an organization’s digital security needs. 

“Cybersecurity is about protecting information and the systems that deal with that information,” Wadner said. “I spend a lot of time writing little pieces of code or staring at logs from computer systems looking for anomalies, and what I do is actually a very small piece of cybersecurity.” 

He explained that, similar to medicine, cybersecurity is a broad industry with a range of specialists who develop specific skill sets. EOU’s program is transfer-friendly, leaving room for students to follow their interests and shape their own specializations. 

It also forgoes upper division math courses required by similar programs. Wadner said this focus on directly applicable skills suits the varied and growing industry.

From software updates, to phishing scams or firewall breaches, graduates of the program will be able to meet a range of cybersecurity needs. Wadner highlighted ransomware as a particularly stark example of the value a cybersecurity specialist brings to an organization. 

“Ransomware is malicious code that gets installed on someone’s computer, then it scrambles all of your files and locks them,” he said. “Then you have to pay digital currency to get the password and unlock it. This has affected businesses and organizations of all sizes.”

Getting the files back is only half the challenge. Wadner said the real trick is building systems, both digital and practical, to safeguard against these attacks. Password requirements, malware detection, and tutorials for average users to avoid scams are all part of a cybersecurity framework that Wadner said is necessary for nearly every type of business. 

“Cybersecurity as a field isn’t going away,” he said. “Communities in Eastern Oregon face these challenges just like anywhere else. This is an opportunity to develop a skilled workforce and meet those needs.”

Learn more at eou.edu/computer-science

C.E.A.D. Conference offers virtual diversity, equity workshops https://www.eou.edu/news-press/c-e-a-d-conference-offers-on-campus-diversity-equity-workshops/ Mon, 01 Feb 2021 16:54:08 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32340 C.E.A.D. Conference offers on-campus diversity, equity workshops
CEAD Conference flyer

Feb. 1, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – In its 10th year, the Celebrate, Educate, Appreciate Diversity (CEAD) Conference has become a signature event at Eastern Oregon University, offered for free for 2021 participants. 

This one-day conference, to be held Feb. 13, is an opportunity for students, staff and community members across Oregon to explore critical issues around diversity and social justice. 

Opening remarks begin at 9 a.m., followed by the opening keynote speaker at 9:30. All presentations take place in a hybrid virtual webinar format. Participants will be able to engage with the presenters and one another through features available in Zoom. Attendees receive a certificate for completing four hours of diversity training.

“I look forward to the CEAD conference every year that I’ve been at EOU,” said Chealsey Daniel, a senior studying Business Administration and Economics at EOU who also serves as the Student Council for Multicultural Affairs Coordinator (SCMA). “This conference is an opportunity for me to learn new topics that are social justice-centered, as well as tools that help me shape my experience as a multicultural student and a person of color living in this society.” 

The CEAD Conference invites attendees to gain a greater awareness and understanding of power, privilege, biases and stereotypes, as well as a broader understanding of differences in groups, backgrounds, cultures, practices and worldviews. The thoughtful and informative dialogue also challenges multiple perspectives and fosters understanding. 

This year’s conference features diversity and inclusion presentations with an emphasis on social justice issues with components of hope, healing and renewal. 

“The presenters for this year’s virtual conference bring a breadth of experiences and perspectives to the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion,” Assistant Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion (SDI)  Mika Morton said. “Given that we are all processing, navigating and engaging in critical conversations around the issues of systemic racism in the wake of recent social justice movements—as a community and as a nation—our student leaders were intentional in their decision to invite speakers who could speak to what it means to meaningfully engage and connect with each other through constructive dialogue, allyship and mentorship.”

This year’s keynote speaker is well-known anti-racist writer and educator Tim Wise, who has spent 25 years speaking to audiences at over 1,500 college and high school campuses, hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country. Wise is the author of nine books, including his latest, “Dispatches from the Race War.”

Spoken word artist Matt Sedillo and Director of Institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Linn Benton Community College Javier Cervantes will also speak. Cervantes works to prepare students, staff, faculty and community members in Albany to navigate an increasingly diverse society and workforce. 

“The fact that you learn something new every time is really important to me,” Daniel said. “Regardless that it is under the same topic of diversity—whether it be [life] tools, concepts, vocabulary, or experiences and people’s stories.” 

EOU’s Student Council for Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, and the EOU Diversity Committee support the CEAD Conference. 

Online registration is open until Feb. 11. This year, the CEAD Conference is free for every participant. Visit eou.edu/mc/programs-services/cead-conference for more information, or go to eou.edu/mc/programs-services/cead-conference to register.

Student feedback, teacher experience provide insights to online education https://www.eou.edu/news-press/student-feedback-teacher-experience-provide-insights-to-online-education/ Fri, 22 Jan 2021 17:36:26 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32332 Student feedback, teacher experience provide insights to online education
laptop in a coffee shop

Jan. 22, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Bridging the gap between expanding education and finding time to expand that education has always been crucial to Eastern Oregon University professor Amanda Villagómez. 

Years of taking and teaching online courses has shaped the way Villagómez, an education professor, designs them. She will share her insights in an EOU Colloquium at 4 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28 via Zoom.   

Her research started when her career at EOU began in 2013. She has found structured learning environments critically important, even in virtual or asynchronous settings. 

Villagómez said her own experiences of teaching in rural areas and teaching at EOU have opened her eyes to what rural teachers may be looking for in courses to grow professionally. The many different scenarios in which teachers are studying make a flexible, asynchronous model key to success. 

“A lot of people teach in rural areas and they would love to be able to still have a face-to-face, in-person experience for their learning, but based on where they’re located, that’s not feasible—or just the demands of a teaching career and often having families or other obligations—it’s hard to find a program that would work as far as scheduling,” Villagómez said.  “Our model is set up as asynchronous because that’s what fits many individuals who are in-service teachers in rural areas, and often in multiple time zones.”

Villagómez has obtained a degree endorsement through EOU’s online courses and has engaged in other forms of online learning. Student feedback, as well as her own experience in a student role, have helped shape the courses she designs. Student input has always been crucial, Villagómez said, because it allows her to create a model that is specific to the needs of EOU students.  

She sees value in interacting with other educators nationally, as well as internationally, through online education.  

To learn more about EOU Colloquium or future presentations, visit eou.edu/colloquium.  

To join Amanda Villagómez’s colloquium presentation, click here

Written by PR Intern Emily Andrews

Nightingale Gallery hosts faculty artwork https://www.eou.edu/news-press/nightingale-gallery-hosts-faculty-artwork/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 22:22:52 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32327 Faculty Exhibition on display in Nightingale Gallery
“too many missing pieces to be whole” by Cory Peeke

Jan. 15, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Nightingale Gallery opens 2021 with an exhibition of recently created work by Eastern Oregon University art faculty. The biennial “Faculty Exhibition” opens at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

“It is always satisfying to exhibit with my department colleagues,” said Cory Peeke, EOU art professor and Director of the Nightingale Gallery. “It is even more so now at this time when we are all socially distanced. I think we all take a bit of pleasure and comfort in the fact that at least our work can physically come together and meaningfully engage with our campus community during this unprecedented time.”

The exhibit showcases recent studio work by the four full-time members of the EOU Art Department:  Peeke, painter Susan Murrell, sculptor Nathan Prouty and photographer Michael Sell. The exhibit promises to provide insight into the most recent studio practices of the four artists as they grapple with the uncertain state of the world amid COVID19.

“The pandemic has only strengthened my belief in art as a powerful tool for both communication between and communion with people,” Peeke said. 

Aligning with campus health and safety measures, no opening reception will be held and only on-campus students, faculty and staff may attend the exhibit. Masks are required for entry to the gallery and social distancing will be enforced with limited numbers of patrons admitted at a time. 

Peeke will exhibit a selection of his latest collages that employ the use of a variety of adhesive tapes, charcoal and found images. He said his collages are a rumination on anxiety, obsession, memory, loss and the quest to transcend the past even while the reminiscence of it still lingers.

“the process of coming to pieces” by Susan Murrell

Murrell will present a selection of new paintings that focus on the universal and personal process of experiencing presence through absence—a struggle to know a thing from the hole it has left behind after it is gone. Her paintings were created as a meditation on passageways, life transitions, and the constancy of matter.

Prouty presents viewers with engaging objects that are both playful and full of anxious energy. Prouty’s work features ceramic sculpture and new wall-hung experiments in resin and plastic that are inspired by such diverse ideas as tchotchkes, excess, sparkle, pleasure, and depression.

Sell’s photographic images have emerged from, and document, his personal routine since the COVID-19 pandemic began. That routine becomes less “something to do” than “something that is.” Sell said his photographs ground him in the present as the passage of time during quarantine becomes even more abstract.

“My favorite part of this biennial exhibit is getting to see the new work of my colleagues. While we are a close-knit department, it is rare (and doubly rare during these times) that we get a chance to view each other’s work, especially a large body of it, in-person,” Peeke said. “It always makes me feel a bit like a kid on Christmas morning. I love being surprised by all the creative, insightful work my colleagues have been producing over the last couple years.”

See the exhibit through Friday, Feb. 12, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, go to eou.edu/art or follow the Nightingale Gallery on Facebook and Instagram

To request images of artwork for publication or to schedule a Zoom interview with the artists please contact Gallery Director Cory Peeke at cpeeke@eou.edu

Student-led research featured in colloquium presentation https://www.eou.edu/news-press/student-led-research-featured-in-colloquium-presentation/ Sat, 09 Jan 2021 00:47:30 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32324 Student-led research featured in colloquium presentation
Kyle Pfaffenbach in the lab with students in 2019
Pfaffenbach interacting with students in 2019

Jan. 8, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – A cohort of four undergraduate students from Eastern Oregon University will see their work on a research project presented in a scholarly forum this month.

Health and Human Performance professor Kyle Pfaffenbach oversaw the project and will present the original research in an EOU Colloquium on Jan. 14. 

Student researchers Alexis Hoffman, Jaiden Machuca, Jordan Gentner and Terrell Payne conducted their work at the EOU Lab for Exercise Assessment and Performance (LEAP). They examined the impact of a popular energy drink on lower leg muscle performance in college football players. 

EOU students and faculty collaborated with physical therapists from Grande Ronde Hospital, Jeff Whinery and Greg Dombek. 

“Working with Greg and Jeff was an incredible opportunity for the students,” Pfaffenbach said. “The students on this project each have career goals in the health field, including physical therapy, so the opportunity to conduct research with two PTs was a great experience.”

The research team tested almost 40 subjects over the course of several weeks. 

“The students did a great job…. [They] were integral in scheduling, organizing and conducting this project,” Pfaffenbach said. “It was really graduate level research being conducted by undergraduate students here at EOU.”

Pfaffenbach will present the work at 4 p.m., on Jan. 14 through Zoom as this month’s installment of the EOU Colloquium series. The event is free and open to the public via this link: eou.zoom.us/j/91911727663.

For more information about other upcoming Colloquium at EOU visit eou.edu/colloquium.

Written by PR Intern Emily Andrews

Reflecting on a successful Fall Term https://www.eou.edu/news-press/reflecting-on-a-successful-fall-term/ Thu, 31 Dec 2020 19:31:52 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32303 EOU reflects on successful fall term

Dec. 31, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Fall term at Eastern Oregon University was both markedly different than any other, and also surprisingly the same. 

New students arrived on campus and moved into the residence halls, but this year they wore masks. Hands-on learning in labs and performance classes took place outdoors or at a distance. Through it all, on-campus students, faculty and staff took steps to ensure the ongoing safety of the university community.

“Our mission is to provide access to a high-quality university education for students in our region,” said EOU President Tom Insko. “That would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of every person on campus.”

While many on-campus classes were held via remote-access, about half were still taught in-person with physical distancing, masks, and other hygienic practices in place. Student clubs and activities carried on, such as the annual “Duck Hunt” and Get Out the Vote efforts organized by student groups. Monthly scholarly talks took place on Zoom, and EOU even hosted a virtual art show. Music and theatre students recorded an old-timey radio performance that broadcast locally and over the internet. Student-athletes continued to serve the community by packing 2,000 at-home STEM learning kits for fourth graders in rural Oregon.

Junior English/Writing student Emily Andrews said she was anticipating a struggle to adapt to online learning, but she found faculty and classmates engaging even from across a screen. 

“I thought the quality of learning and class time might be hindered by remote-access, but I still got a lot out of classes and connected with professors the way I would in a classroom,” Andrews said. “I still wanted to go to class each day, and I knew I could have a conversation with my professor even though we’d only met over Zoom.”

With a fully remote internship and an on-campus job, Andrews said she had concerns about making time for classes, but she achieved a 3.74 GPA and remained in touch with campus life. 

“I was expecting the online and hybrid classes to be difficult to balance because this was my busiest term so far, but I actually managed to still be on the Dean’s List,” Andrews said. “It was a lot easier to manage everything than I expected it to be.”

Meanwhile, positive case rates allowed the university to focus on delivering high-quality instruction. Less than 70 students and just 14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since September. A mass testing event for all on-campus students prior to the start of the academic year saw less than 1% of students test positive.

The university launched a full-scale “Healthy Mounties” media campaign during the summer encouraging students and employees to abide by health and safety guidelines. EOU’s mascot, Monty Mountaineer, played a starring role in PSA videos and digital signs on campus.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have remained committed to delivering a high-quality EOU education while protecting our community’s health and well-being.” Insko said. “Low rates of infection during Fall Term and the academic success experienced by our students is proof-positive that we are meeting those goals.”

EOU plans to test all on-campus students at the beginning of Winter Term, and will hold classes remotely for the first week while awaiting test results. 

Visit eou.edu/coronavirus for additional information about EOU’s response to the pandemic. 

Trapshooting club team leads region in Virtual Shotgun Bowl https://www.eou.edu/news-press/trapshooting-club-team-leads-region-in-virtual-shotgun-bowl/ Wed, 16 Dec 2020 00:21:05 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32292 Trapshooting club team leads region in Virtual Shotgun Bowl
Trapshooting club team practice

Dec. 15, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Students from universities across the country competed in trapshooting events this fall when traditional varsity athletics were on hold. 

Although the ACUI clay target league nationals were canceled last spring, the organization held a virtual nationals qualifier in October. 

Eastern Oregon University’s Trapshooting team finished ninth in the nation and first in the West overall, beating out regional rivals. Over the course of the month, competitors recorded scores at their home ranges in four events: trapshooting, trap doubles, skeet shooting and skeet doubles. Team scores were tallied and validated, then announced earlier this month. 

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, trapshooting events kept competitors outdoors and 9 feet apart. These gun safety regulations meant that the team could continue to compete throughout the fall. 

In trapshooting events, EOU placed eighth in the nation and first in the West region, outshooting Boise State, University of Idaho, and other big name schools. 

Otley with Coach John Shorts

Unlike other years, the ACUI Virtual Shotgun Bowl Series grouped teams by region rather than size, so EOU competed against community and junior colleges, as well as large universities. The team’s highest scorer, Bryce Otley, hit 99 out of 100 targets. 

“I was able to stay focused on school, and make connections with students I might have not met otherwise. I was also able to participate in a sport that will go beyond college,” Otley said. “It is a sport that has endless opportunities.”

EOU also has a casual trapshooting student club that welcomes first-time participants. This year, 65 students have participated in weekly club nights. Three women are on the competitive team, but the student club is largely made up of women. Assistant Coach Kathryn Shorts said it’s “a really empowering and stress-relieving activity.”

Men and women compete together on EOU’s Trapshooting team, but individual high scores are separated by gender. Freshman Savannah Shorts recorded the highest score among women on the team, placing 15th in the nation for women. 

Savannah Shorts, EOU student

“If there is anything that I wish more people knew about trapshooting (besides the fact, no, we are not shooting traps and, no, we do not use blanks, we shoot live rounds), it’s that trapshooters are not scary,” Shorts said. “My sport is filled with kind people that want everyone to have a good time and be successful.” 

Eight of the 17 team members received trapshooting scholarships to attend EOU, and the program hopes to expand scholarship opportunities in the future. 

Between an outdoor setting, mandated spacing, and no shared equipment, trapshooting is an engaging no-contact sport that continues to thrive at EOU. 

Learn more about the Trapshooting Team at eou.edu/club-sports/eou-trapshooting-team.

EOU earns high marks for inclusive education programs https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-earns-high-marks-for-inclusive-education-programs/ Mon, 07 Dec 2020 19:52:46 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32287 EOU earns high marks for inclusive education programs
EOU student from the College of Education honing their skills at the 2017 Student Writers’ Workshop.

Dec. 7, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Diversity and cultural inclusion are woven throughout all of the education programs offered at Eastern Oregon University, a practice that recently earned the university national recognition.   

The College of Education at EOU includes some of the school’s most distinguished programs. This year, the college’s Early Childhood Education program received an ‘A’ in diversity from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).  

The  Early Childhood Education program has also been named Best Online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs  (31st) and Top 30 Affordable Early Childhood Education Degree Online Programs (Bachelor’s)

“We just got ranked fourth in the nation for early childhood program affordability, and we tied with two and three. Out of all the early childhood undergraduate programs in the nation, EOU is number four,” Dean of the College of Education Matt Seimears said. 

Seimears is excited about potential new developments in the College of Education, including efforts to respond to Special Education teacher shortages and the new concentration in trauma-invested teaching offered through the Master of Science in Education program. 

Seimears said the university is working to develop anti-racism classes and curriculum for PK-12 education partners and also address systemic racism students face in higher education. A panel of EOU students will serve as an advisory panel on the project.  

“Teaching to diversity is one thing, but making a diverse model is challenging in a complicated way. You need the right equipment, the right faculty, the right mindsets and we’re doing that,” Seimears said. 

Faculty in the College of Education continue to explore innovative ways to retain education students and offer programs that empower students to help shape their education.  

Based on all of the recognition and national rankings the College of Education has received, Seimears believes that EOU will continue to provide students with high quality programs and be even more of an asset to the rural communities it serves.   

“This is Harvard in the Pacific Northwest,” Seimears said. “We just have to help the students help us tell the story.”

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

Virtual teaching platforms benefit fledgling educators https://www.eou.edu/news-press/virtual-teaching-platforms-benefit-fledgling-educators/ Mon, 07 Dec 2020 19:45:14 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32283 Virtual teaching platforms benefit fledgling educators

Dec. 4, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Teacher candidates in Eastern Oregon University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program can practice leading a classroom without actually being in one. 

An innovative practicum software called Mursion allows soon-to-be-teachers to carry out lesson plans with a simulated class. A teacher avatar acts out lectures and interacts with virtual students. 

A second platform, GoReact, allows EOU professors observing a practice lesson to pause the simulation to provide feedback. Candidates can also rewind the recording to watch playbacks on the spot, without disrupting a real classroom of students. 

“This has become vital because of COVID-19, but it’s also something we were planning on trying regardless,” said Associate Professor of Education Rae Ette Newman. “It’s pretty exciting for teacher candidates. Even though the classroom looks a lot different, they are being offered opportunities to hone their skills.”

Even with all its capabilities, the simulated practicum is just one tool in EOU’s instructional tool kit. Kristin Johnson, an academic adviser for graduate students in the College of Education, said candidates are still paired with experienced classroom teachers who they apprentice with throughout the entire year. 

The MAT program also stands out for its hybrid format and speedy completion time. 

“One of the most distinct aspects is that it only takes 10 months to earn both a teaching license and a master’s degree. That’s really unusual to earn both in under a year,” Johnson said. 

Most classes are taught online, but students gather with their cohorts on campus 6 times throughout the program. 

“This program works really well for people who already have a bachelor’s degree,” Johnson said. “Anybody who wants to become a teacher, but didn’t go through a licensure program as an undergraduate could decide to become a teacher in either elementary or secondary schools.”

The cohorts are split by which level — elementary or secondary — the candidates are looking to teach. These small groups form tight bonds with instructors and one another. 

“We build strong relationships that extend beyond graduation to support working teachers,” Newman said. “Because we are in a cohort, the candidates also build a support network for their careers.”

Many teacher candidates have already established one career and are embarking on a new one in education. Others have worked in K-12 schools as paraprofessionals, volunteers, or substitute teachers with a restricted teaching license and are looking to earn a higher salary and work in their own classroom. Some have just finished their undergraduate degree, and launch straight into the MAT program to gain experience. 

Newman estimated that more than 95% of graduates are hired right after completing their licensure. The pandemic has limited some of the facets of the program, but accommodations are in place so candidates can still meet program requirements. 

EOU also coordinates an advisory council to assess the program’s curriculum and ensure it aligns with the needs of schools districts across the region. Every district with an EOU alumnus teaching in it is invited to join the council as a partner. The partnerships also help fill teacher shortages in Oregon.

“We like to build those relationships and keep them going,” Newman said. “They look at our program reports for accreditation and talk about field experiences. We provide training for school districts. The advisory council emphasized the need to increase the number of qualified Special Educators and so we’re now developing an undergraduate program that combines preliminary licensure with a Special Education endorsement.” 

Graduates of the MAT program have gone on to teach in and lead schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. Several of them have been Teacher of the Year recipients in Oregon and Idaho.

More information about the Master of Arts in Teaching program is available at eou.edu/mat

Human rights researcher presents at EOU Colloquium https://www.eou.edu/news-press/human-rights-researcher-presents-at-eou-colloquium/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 17:48:44 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32275 Human rights researcher presents at EOU Colloquium
picture of quad

Dec. 4, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University welcomes Ben Dorfman, an American professor living in Germany and teaching at Aalborg University in Denmark, to discuss his research on history, contemporary politics, and human rights at the Dec. 10 EOU Colloquium.

Dorfman has been focusing on human rights issues for 10 years, and has published two books of essays and a range of articles exploring a plethora of issues in human rights, from contemporary news items  to historial scenes—such as the site of the Potsdam Conference and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 

Recognizing that human rights invite many opinions and ideas, Dorfman acknowledges that many feel the need to weigh in on the subject. 

“There are very few people that you can say the words to and they don’t light up immediately and feel like they have some sort of sense of the meaning of the term and imaginations they engage in about different sceneries from the past and present,” Dorfman said.  

While on sabbatical in the U.S., Dorfman is working on a book explaining why human rights continue to play a central role in modern culture. During his colloquium, he plans to cover the role rights have played in the recent election, including the right to be recognized as a political subject, a voting individual, or a participant in democracy.   

Initially, Dorfman didn’t realize that human rights was the blanket term under which the social concerns he was looking to address fell. His definition of human rights has changed as his research developed. 

“The important point is the realization that even though we may imagine that we come from irreconcilable political positions, in fact, we don’t,” Dorfman said. “That’s because we have a bedrock of ideas that flows underneath the multiple places we stand. We have ourselves convinced that we don’t. But we do.”  

Dorfman’s talk will be held via Zoom (ID: 92178553423) at 4 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 10.  

For more information about upcoming EOU Colloquium topics, visit eou.edu/colloquium.    

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

EOU goes ‘test-blind’ to benefit incoming students https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-goes-test-blind-to-benefit-incoming-students/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:10:15 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32272 EOU goes ‘test-blind’ to benefit incoming students

Nov. 30, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University no longer requires standardized test results for financial aid. 

The change benefits incoming students and their families, especially those from marginalized communities. University scholarships and merit-based awards will be determined based on students’ grades, rather than ACT or SAT scores. 

EOU Admissions Director Genesis Meaderds said becoming test-blind makes EOU’s admissions process smoother and easier to navigate for prospective students. 

“EOU has been test-optional for years for admissions,” Meaderds said. “The challenge was that we never were test-optional for scholarships and financial aid, so students were being admitted, and then if they didn’t have SATs or ACTs on file they were ineligible for many merit-based scholarships.”

Meaderds met with a committee of university staff for a year to discuss the change. The group reviewed studies that found evidence of racial and socioeconomic bias in standardized tests. Test anxiety or learning differences can also impact students’ ability to perform in this setting. They also found that a student’s high school grade point average (GPA) is actually the best indicator of college success.

“Getting this changed for financial aid is a big deal because now students can receive aid just based on their GPA from high school,” she said. “Students love that because many of them just don’t take those tests.”

She listed barriers to testing that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Many students had to travel out of state to a testing center, pay significant fees or acquire transportation in order to take an SAT or ACT placement test. Meaderds noted, though, that EOU began the process of going test-blind before the COVID-19 pandemic made standardized testing even more difficult to access. 

“It wasn’t a COVID question, it was a student access question,” Meaderds said. “As an access to excellence institution, EOU now has a very simple process: they apply, send transcripts and get an admissions decision, then they automatically are eligible for aid.” 

Admissions directors from every university in Oregon met last January to release a statement that none of the institutions would require SAT scores for admission. EOU has now stepped up that commitment, no longer requiring test scores even for the most selective scholarships.

“It’s been amazing to communicate directly with parents and students about the awards they’re immediately eligible for,” Meaderds said. “EOU is continuing what we always strive for: providing access to higher education. With such a large portion of our students coming from one or more underserved communities, this is just continuing to live out that aspect of our mission.”

Learn more at eou.edu/admissions. EOU scholarships are open for application through Feb. 1 and can be found at eou.edu/fao/scholarships

#EOUGives on worldwide day of philanthropy https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eougives-on-worldwide-day-of-philanthropy/ Mon, 30 Nov 2020 23:37:39 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32265 #EOUGives on worldwide day of philanthropy

Nov. 30, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Giving Tuesday brings philanthropists across the globe together for a day of meaningful gifts to a wide range of causes. This year, EOU Foundation donors shared why they support Oregon’s Rural University. 

A special match from EOU alumnus Mike Allstott and his wife Bobbi means that all gifts up to $5,000 will be instantly doubled

Alumnus Kasey Powers, ’95 and ’97 is the father of an EOU student-athlete. 

“My family supports EOU athletics and the education program,” he said. “Go, Mounties!” 

EOU Alumni Association President Adriana DalSoglio, ’06 and ’08, supports EOU Foundation Scholarships. Meanwhile, John, ’84, and Holly, ’89, Kerfoot support EOU athletics and the EOU Alumni Association, “for future Mountaineers like our grandkids.” Jennifer Teeter, ’95 and ’02, also gives back to her alma mater. 

“I am a double graduate of Eastern, and the proud mom of a recent EOU/OHSU nursing graduate, and I support EOU athletics,” she said.

Mike, ’74, and Sue, ’76, Daugherty are long-time supporters of the EOU Foundation, the EOU Alumni Association, and the Mountaineer Athletic Association (MAA).  

“We believe it is vital to support EOU students with scholarship opportunities, so we provide assistance to students through athletic scholarships via the MAA, fund a Student Engagement Scholarship, and a Science Scholarship annually,” Mike said. 

Be the best part of someone’s story. Make a lasting impact with a gift to the EOU Foundation. Use the online giving form at eou.edu/foundation/giving-tuesday or contact the EOU Foundation at foundation@eou.edu or 541-962-3470 to donate over the phone or through the mail. 

Anything is possible https://www.eou.edu/news-press/anything-is-possible/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 00:08:39 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=32253 First-generation students discover support, connection amid pandemic

Nov. 23, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – First-generation college student Nereida Navarro, who’s studying nursing at Eastern Oregon University through OHSU, knows the end of fall term offers an opportunity to reflect on her education.  

Thirty-five percent of EOU’s student body is made up of first-generation, rural or low-income students. Part of EOU’s mission is to ensure each student has access to success in higher education. First-generation students are defined as students who are the first in their immediate family to attend college. With a student-to-professor ratio of 17:1, EOU nurtures meaningful mentorships and relationships that support  students who need extra attention or help. 

Coming from a large family, Navarro had some reservations about attending college. She was drawn to EOU’s small size that allowed her to build relationships with professors and advisors. Connecting with faculty on campus led Navarro to build a second family at EOU.

“I was able to ask questions around campus and I got really close to the professors who are advocating for their students,” she said. 

Throughout her education, Navarro has used many of the services available to EOU students, including the Writing Center and Math Lab. More recently, she served as a WOW leader and Spanish tutor, bringing her experience with tutoring full circle. She also got to travel and gain nursing experience.  

“I want to take care of people and make a difference,” Navarro said. “I actually went to Belize and helped doctors hold free clinics for residents there who weren’t able to go to the main areas where the hospitals are and it was very heartwarming.”  

Through connections and support systems built at the university, students like Navarro are able to succeed in their post-secondary education. 

Justin Chin, director of EOU Career Services, is also a first-generation college student. Chin works closely with many first-generation students at EOU, helping them find career opportunities to make their post-college dreams a reality. Recalling his college experience, he remembers how important it is for first-generation students to connect with peers and mentors in the university community. He met frequently with advisors during his college career. 

Chin said EOU provides opportunities for students to connect with professors due to small class sizes. Many first-generation students need help with scheduling and campus guidance, which they find in first-year orientation courses that also facilitate lasting relationships with faculty. 

Chin said he is a strong believer that a college education has the power to change a person’s life. 

“Anything is possible and part of making ‘anything is possible a reality’ is not being afraid to ask questions,” Chin said. “Find that safe passageway to champions who can help and empower you to amplify your concerns or your needs.”

For more information about EOU’s student resources, visit eou.edu/students

By PR Intern Emily Andrews

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.