Monday, December 1, 2008

ORCC Student Engagement Mini-grants Awarded

Two Portland universities will receive mini-grant funding from Oregon Campus Compact to support student engagement efforts.

Concordia University’s Teacher Corps program, which provides tutoring services to K-12 students in the community surrounding the University, will receive $500 in funding. During the 2007-08 school year, Concordia’s Teacher Corps served over 343 K-12 students at 16 tutoring sites. This year, mini-grant funding will help support these tutoring sites and Concordia students’ efforts to address the learning achievement gap within their community.

University of Portland will also receive $500 in funding. UP’s student-initiated group, Response to Global Hunger, provides students with resources to address local and global hunger issues, such as escalating food prices, international trade laws, food security and poverty. This group, in its pilot year, will use mini-grant funding to support educational and action-oriented events on campus.

The Oregon Campus Compact Student Engagement Mini-grant opportunity was extended to Oregon colleges and universities as a way to promote and support issue-based student engagement. The grant was released during the first annual Oregon Campus Compact CAPITAL (Campuses Advancing Public Investment Through Active Learning) Conference on October 11, 2008.

Campus Profile: Linfield College

With a busy fall term nearly behind them, Linfield students and faculty have a great deal to both reflect on and look forward to. During the past couple of months, the iVote initiative focused on registering, educating and mobilizing Linfield students, while Make a Difference Day (October 25) saw over 170 Linfield students participate on over 13 community service projects. And it's only the beginning of the 2008/09 school year.

Recently, Linfield hosted representatives from Habitat Guatemala for a week of service, education and fundraising. From this, students and faculty have begun to focus on local and global housing inequities - the theme for this year's Alternative Spring Break program, which will take students on service-oriented trips to Portland, New Orleans and Guatamala. For more information on Linfield's Alternative Spring Break program, click here.

Along this same theme, Linfield has become an active, long-term partner in its county's 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Partnering with this effort has resulted in many community-based learning and research opportunities for students and faculty; Linfield students are currently involved in compiling survey results gathered during the September 25th kick-off event for the 10-Year Plan. The survey collected data around local attitudes toward homeless families and individuals.

Faculty is also involved, including sociology professor, Robert Gardner, who will be leading a January term service-learning course focused on the region's homeless population. For this course students will work in teams to conduct research in each of the county's largest cities. At the end of January, the teams will participate in the first comprehensive county-wide homeless count.

Fast Facts: Linfield College

President: Dr. Thomas L. Hellie
School Chartered/Accredited: 1858/1922

Type: Four year, co-ed, comprehensive, undergraduate, private
Location: McMinnville, Oregon (main campus)
Enrollment: 1,700 (McMinnville campus)
School Mascot: Willy the Wildcat
School Colors: Purple and cardinal

Mission Statement:
Linfield College advances a vision of learning, life, and community that

* promotes intellectual challenge and creativity,
* values both theoretical and practical knowledge,
* engages thoughtful dialogue in a climate of mutual respect,
* honors the rich texture of diverse cultures and varied ways of understanding,
* piques curiosity for a lifetime of inquiry,
* and inspires the courage to live by moral and spiritual principle and to defend freedom of conscience.

Linfield College includes:
* A residential campus in McMinnville, Oregon
* A campus in Portland, Oregon, offering majors in Nursing, Health Sciences
* An Adult Degree Program which offers a set of adult degree courses online and at eight sites in Oregon

Community Partner Profile: The National Teach-in on Global Warming Solutions

On February 5, 2009, the National Teach-in (headed by professor Eban Goodstein of Lewis & Clark College in Portland) will engage students, faculty, community members and political leaders across the nation in a solutions-based dialogue around clean energy and action steps toward solving the climate change crisis.

From the National Teach-in Website:
“Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.” — Hansen et al. 2008

We stand at a unique moment in human history. The window for action on global warming is measured in months, not years. Decisions that we make—or fail to make—in 2009 will have profound impacts not only for our children and grandchildren, but for every human being that will ever inhabit the face of this earth from now until the end of time.

February 5th, 2009, at the beginning of the first 100 days of the new administration, the National Teach-In on Global Warming will engage over a million Americans in solutions-driven dialogue. As educators, students and citizens, we owe our nation a focused conversation about the critical decisions that will determine if our descendants will inherit a prosperous or an impoverished planet.

To learn more about getting involved by launching a webcast or hosting an event on your campus, visit

Community College Report of Student Engagement Released

This year’s report of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) focuses on two critical, interrelated elements of engagement—high expectations and high support, making the case that students do best when expectations are high and they receive support that helps them achieve at high levels.

To illustrate these points, the report describes key findings from the survey, offers many examples of how colleges are using their results to target improvements, including institutions with a commitment to service-learning.

"High expectations are an essential condition for student success. Simply put, no one rises to low expectations. But establishing high expectations is no simple matter. It requires more than just words, more than telling students that the community college holds high expectations for them. It also requires the establishment of policies and practices — and in turn, patterns of faculty, staff, and student actions — that reinforce those words in everyday practice. High expectations have to be experienced, not simply heard."

Read the entire report here.

Also read the Executive Summary "High Expectations and High Support: Essential Elements of Engagement."

Willamette University Politics Professor Named Oregon Professor of the Year

SALEM -- Twenty minutes into a freshman discussion at Willamette University, professor Richard Ellis hasn't uttered a word. Students come up with the questions and carry the class through an analysis of Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" while Ellis fades into the background. An uncomfortable silence falls. Ellis waits. Finally, a student, who used to be one of the quietest in the class, breaks it.

Ellis' silence, however, isn't a sign of indifference or leniency. The opposite is true: Ellis is known for being one of the toughest and most engaging professors on campus. Those qualities have led to Ellis being named Oregon's professor of the year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Winners from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam are being announced today (11/19).

Ellis, who has taught politics at Willamette since 1990, is known both for his high-caliber scholarly work, including writing and editing 13 books, and for connecting with students in a way that makes them want to work hard. He allows students to take the lead in class to teach them the reading, writing and thinking skills they will use long after they've forgotten the details of de Tocqueville. "He doesn't even have to say anything, but he has this twinkle in his eye when he's observing us," said Jenna Sjulin, an 18-year-old freshman in the class. "He forces you to dig deeper."

As an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Ellis was a shy student who rarely spoke in class. He could get away with it, he said, because the grade wasn't based on participation. As a teacher, he draws out those students by encouraging them to speak more and giving them the opportunity and incentive to do so. In his freshman class, participation is half of the grade. "One of the things that drives me crazy as a teacher is when you have a really smart student who is very quiet, and the student who is perhaps not as insightful is talking a lot," he said.

He trains students to think, talk, read and write about a scholarly question by modeling it himself. When students evaluate one another's papers, they use his criteria. When they lead a discussion, they are expected to listen to one another and consult the text. Ellis intervenes when needed. "It takes a lot of work as a teacher to make sure that the students are trained enough that they can do it without continually veering the discussion off course," he said. "Ultimately, the content matters less than what the person teaches you about how to think and how to write."

Ellis' father was a German literature professor at UC Santa Cruz, and his mother was a high school English teacher, but he had to find his own way as a teacher once he came to Willamette. "Some people are natural teachers, perhaps, but I don't think I was," he said. He learned strategies from his wife, a former elementary school teacher, and from Willamette colleagues. One early role model was Bob Hawkinson, Willamette's dean of campus life, who taught politics at UC Santa Cruz when Ellis was a student there. Hawkinson paid personal attention to students and mentored them, something Ellis now does, too. Hawkinson said Ellis was a "once-in-a-lifetime student" who is now an "all-out star across the board" at Willamette.

In Ellis' classes, students "want to learn more. They want to do well. They want to emulate the way he tackles academic issues," Hawkinson said. Ellis often uses students as research assistants and brings his scholarly work into his classes. In five books, Ellis acknowledges the work of 33 Willamette students. Alexis Walker, a 2006 graduate who worked as Ellis' assistant and co-wrote a paper with him, said he taught her to enjoy research, even if it is mundane at times. "He always got so excited when I came to him with some little article that took three days to find in microfilm," she said. Walker, now a Cornell University graduate student in government, said Ellis' courses were the most rigorous she took at Willamette. "He really pushed you to do your best, to go beyond what you thought you could," she said.
Find additional coverage of this story here.

Oregon State University Professor Named Volunteer of the Year

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Michelle Inderbitzin, an associate professor of sociology at Oregon State University whose pioneering work in the Oregon prison system continues to expand, has been named the Ruby Isom Volunteer of the Year by the Oregon Criminal Justice Association.

She was nominated by Brian Belleque, superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary, the state’s only maximum-security prison. In his nomination, Belleque said, “The time she takes to volunteer…allows the Oregon State Penitentiary to provide services and programs to the inmate population to better educate them and give them skills that will improve their chances for successful reentry into society upon their release from prison.”

Inderbitzin broke new ground in 2007 when she became the first on the West Coast to teach an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program class in a maximum-security men’s prison. The class of 15 OSU students and 15 inmates met for 11 weeks at Oregon State Penitentiary, discussing criminal justice issues.

This year, Inderbitzin continues to expand her work in Oregon’s correctional facilities. She plans to teach a small class at the all-female Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility in the winter, where OSU students and the girls inside the Albany-based facility will learn college-level material on issues of crime and gender. Inderbitzin received one of two grants given out each year by the American Sociological Association Teaching Enhancement Fund to help buy supplies and build a deeper connection between OSU and Oak Creek. In addition, Inderbitzin’s students are working on setting up an internship program for Oak Creek.

In the spring, Inderbitzin will teach another Inside-Out course at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem.

She also is excited about a new program that she hopes to start soon at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Inderbitzin is working with the Lifer’s Club at OSP to start a literacy program where incarcerated fathers who have graduated from their parenting program will have the chance to read the same books as their children (ages 8-17, approximately).

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids and their dads to be encouraged to read,” Inderbitzin said. “But is also will give them another chance to connect and they can talk about the book they both read and what they thought of it on the phone or in letters.”

As an extension of that, Inderbitzin recently received an L.L Stewart Faculty Grant to buy a video camera that can record directly to mini-DVDs. Her plan is to record the incarcerated fathers reading to their kids.

“The idea would be to send the DVD to their children, hopefully in time for Christmas,” she said. “It seems like a nice way to help keep them connected.”

Oregon Criminal Justice Association’s mission is to work for a better understanding and the prevention of causes of delinquency and crime; to promote the development of effective programs in the juvenile and adult justice system; to sponsor and contribute to high quality and low cost professional training; to provide a forum to develop and voice important criminal justice issues.

Source: OSU News & Communication Services

Lewis & Clark Professor Nationally Recognized for Excellence

A psychology professor at Lewis & Clark College was named one of four national professors of the year Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell, who has taught at Lewis & Clark since 2001, was recognized for outstanding teaching and mentoring of undergraduate students by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Detweiler-Bedell, 35, immerses her students in the study of psychology by pushing them to do their own research and share the results with others.

"Often in a classroom, students sit back as observers," she said. "I move them from the state of being an observer to being an active, engaged participant."

For example, students taking her community psychology class do research on campus issues and propose solutions to administrators, faculty, staff and students. Their work has resulted in changes to the student center and career center.

Detweiler-Bedell co-created the college's behavioral health and social psychology lab, where students work in teams of three on research projects.

Abigail Hazlett, a 2005 graduate who worked in the lab, wrote in a nomination letter that Detweiler-Bedell "never let me rest or get too comfortable."

"She consistently demanded that I rise to meet new challenges, and it was this stimulating atmosphere that made me truly get excited about psychological research," Hazlett wrote.

Colleges and universities nominated nearly 300 professors nationally for the award. State-level winners from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam also were announced Thursday. Oregon's professor of the year is Richard Ellis, a politics professor at Willamette University.

Source: Oregon Live

PSU Envisions Portland as its Green Lab

Over the next decade, Portland State University wants to use a $25 million donation to gain a reputation as a global leader in environmental sustainability by turning the entire city into its laboratory.

Campus leaders and professors envision large-scale research throughout Portland on cutting-edge environmental, building, business and social projects. For example:

• New storm-water systems could transform city streets and sidewalks and reduce sewer overload by draining water directly into curbside plots of plants and trees.

• An 11-acre school garden project in Southeast Portland could become a model for teaching and learning about how to bring local produce to cafeteria tables.

• Portland neighborhoods could serve as test cases for finding out what it takes for people to change the way they live, build and consume.

"If Portland has a problem, then we have a problem to help solve," said David Ervin, professor of environmental management and economics. "We can't do it by ourselves. It's not ivory-tower stuff."

The first steps are expanding successful projects, laying the groundwork for new ones and defining what exactly "sustainability" means when the term seems to be everywhere.

But the money can go only so far. As the university reviews the first round of project proposals from faculty, due next week, it must be careful not to spread the money too thin.

"We don't want to be a mile wide and an inch deep," said Jennifer Allen, interim director of PSU's Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices. "We don't want to fritter it away."

The donation from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, the largest gift in the university's history, came with the expectation that it will benefit the entire city. PSU also has to raise another $25 million from other sources.

New PSU President Wim Wiewel wants the university to be "one of the places you go to find out what is true and what is hype" about environmental sustainability, he said. Portland already has laid the foundation, he said.

"This place is just totally different from anything I've seen or heard about in any other place of the country," he said.

Green credentials

PSU is not unique in wanting to be seen as a leader in sustainable studies and practice. Colleges nationally are touting their green credentials to attract students, faculty and dollars.

But "They aren't very deep if you poke at them very much," said Susan Anderson, director of Portland's office of sustainable development. "What we have here that's different is we have real in-the-streets stuff."

PSU wants to help business, nonprofit and government groups develop, refine and expand projects throughout the community. At the same time, the university wants to bring its academic expertise to the field.

To separate truth from hype, Wiewel envisions a green technology lab that tests processes and equipment to find out what they really do and how they interact.

Researchers also could monitor the carbon footprint of two types of neighborhoods, an old one and a new one, and measure the effect of changes in those communities. And the university could help find new ways to improve transportation policies by studying what works best, Wiewel said.

The study of sustainability doesn't end with environmental science at PSU. The university also wants to look at the economic and social sides of conservation.

For instance, when Vivek Shandas, an assistant professor of urban studies and planning, proposes to study new storm water systems in the Portland region, he and other groups involved in the project will measure the impact on people's opinions, housing values, traffic safety, and human and environmental health.

And Wiewel said arts and humanities should be part of the discussion, too.

Raising PSU's profile

Some faculty questioned whether the money will be diffused into a lot of little projects or spent in a way that raises the profile of the university.

"If it is going to be a pot of money in which everybody sticks a straw, I don't think the Miller Foundation will have achieved what it appears to me it intended," said Bill Lang, a history professor.

Wiewel agreed: "We don't want everyone to just drop everything and just do this," he said. "It's not like I need people to be hit around the ears every day with sustainability. There are a lot of other important questions in the world."

Allen, head of the sustainability center, expects about 100 proposals next week to compete for as much as $1.5 million.

She also expects the university to hire four or five faculty members this academic year, possibly in green building, energy economics, energy technology, natural resource policy and social sustainability.

Professors who get some of the Miller money will be expected to work with people from other departments and in the community. That will require setting up faculty rewards and a system to support that kind of work, Allen said.

They also will have to be committed to raising PSU's profile, said Roy Koch, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"There are some resources on one side, but there are some high expectations on the other side," he said. "We really do expect that several years from now we'll have a much stronger national reputation."

Source: Oregon Live