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Out Here in Oregon

December 30, 2019 It's how you know. I've been at Oregon State for just over six months, and last night, as I landed at PDX after a holiday trip to Chicago, and spent the time driving to Corvallis, I realized: I'm looking forward to being home again. Home. As in Corvallis.  When you consider that place you moved to "home," you know you've successfully made the transition.  To be sure, I'll always have a connection to the places I've lived over the years, but there can only be one home.  And this is it. Hundreds of people have asked me why I made the move here, after being so strongly associated with DePaul University for 17 years.  I tell them that it's a combination of a lot of factors: Fatigue associated with spending three hours a day commuting to and from work; a great boss retiring; some combination at the time of uncertainty about leadership and transitions; and my youngest daughter graduating from college all contributed.  But I could
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The Best Laid Plans

Today we at Oregon State announced revised, and more detailed, plans for Fall, 2020.  When I wrote this on May 7th , most of us were fairly optimistic that the waves COVID-19 had sent through higher education would be short-lived.  By the end of summer, we thought, this would be behind us. As you know, it's not.  The title of this blogpost refers to the poem by Robert Burns , To a Mouse .  ...The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley Or, in English, "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry." So after talking about fall for literally every day in the last five months, we reached the conclusion that our best option--the less than optimal, less than perfect, but probably best option--was to make most classes remote next fall.  What that means is that perhaps 10% of our classes will be face-to-face, and the other 90% will be conducted remotely, via Zoom or OSU's award-winning Ecampus platform, or via a hybrid model, with some combination of face-to-f

Coming to Corvallis? Leave your umbrella at home.

I moved to Oregon on June 28th, 2019, so as of yesterday, I'd been a resident for just under 400 days, give or take a few.  There are a few surprising things I've discovered since I've been here. First, I'm stunned by how many people I talk to have never been to Oregon.  Perhaps I'm biased by my profession, where I and the people I work with travel a lot.  I once estimated that I've spent almost 1,500 nights of my life in a hotel room, so I've been a few places, and perhaps I expect others to have traveled, too.  And I know Oregon is a bit off the beaten path: You have to intend to come here if  you want to come here. I've also learned the state is beautiful and multi-faceted: Forests, mountains, oceans, high deserts, and expansive flat fields can all be found on the same day's drive.  I put a photo gallery here in case you've never been. But the most surprising thing is the weather.  We think of San Diego as 72 and sunny all the time, yet peopl

Please don't test

A short message for rising seniors who'll be applying to Oregon State University for the Fall of 2021. Please don't test. You don't need an SAT or an ACT. Last night news broke that two students in Edmond, Oklahoma had tested positive for Coronavirus after taking an ACT.  It doesn't mean they contracted the virus there.  It doesn't even mean they necessarily exposed other students who took the test, although both are possible.  It demonstrates that you can and should limit your social contact whenever you can, and that means not sitting in a testing center for a whole afternoon.  Don't take risks you don't need to. OSU, like almost all universities, has stated publicly that we are test optional.  Some institutions are test-optional for Fall, 2021 only; and some for two years; all the public universities in the state of Oregon are permanently test optional.  And you have to believe those of us who work with students--those who have worked with students for o

Meta Lessons from the Pandemic for Student Recruitment

Well, it's been interesting, hasn't it? While the last three months or so have been extraordinary disruptive to our normal way of life, we as educators have to sort of relish the opportunity to learn something new.  Actually, many things new. Some of the things well-noted: Work means something different than we thought it did.  The idea that one must get up, shower, and head off to the office every day has been at least partially destroyed; many of us are working more and longer hours now than when we actually came into the office (witness no blog posts here in the last two months). Zoom is not so bad, and yet, a day on Zoom can be exhausting, especially for those of us who do not have extraordinarily long attention spans. At the same time, it seems that people are more willing to end a Zoom meeting early when the purpose of the meeting has been accomplished; the tendency to fill the hour or the 90-minutes in traditional meetings out of some sense of obligation is a pet peeve o

Updates for Fall, 2020 Admitted Students

We've announced some changes to our policies for students admitted for Fall, 2020, as we indicated we might, now that we're deeper into the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we're asking admitted students (via an email with a survey link) to tell us what they're thinking about fall: A "yes," a "no," or even a "maybe" is an acceptable answer, and it's completely non-binding .  We are asking for some sort of indication of plans just to help us plan for Fall.  If students give us an answer (any answer, even a "not sure") by June 1, we will: Extend the deadline to submit the Advanced Tuition Deposit to September 1 Extend the date for a refund of the Advanced Tuition Deposit to September 1 Allow students to easily request a waiver of the Advanced Tuition Deposit for reasons of financial hardship (this won't be complicated; we'll trust students and parents) If a student decides to enroll at one of our partner community colleges in

The Whole State of Oregon Goes Test-optional

Today, as you probably know, is Test Optional College Day . And with it comes great news. All public institutions in the state of Oregon are now officially test optional in college admission.  The announcement by the University of Oregon this morning means that they're joining Oregon State, Portland State, Oregon Tech, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, and Western Oregon in eliminating the SAT/ACT requirement for freshman applicants, starting in Fall, 2021. The University of Oregon Health and Science University also joins in with a few undergraduate programs that won't require testing. Each university will roll out the policy on its own terms. I didn't think this would be possible when I arrived at OSU just nine months ago, as the three big universities in the state all required the SAT or ACT for admission, but if there were ever a state to do this--where it's very on brand --it would be Oregon. It's just one of the ways we're looking out for students Ou