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One of the best gifts we can give each other is our time and energy. I hold a deep place in my heart for those who are willing to share their time for others, when you are able to do so. I see it everyday at EOU with faculty and staff teaching and serving our students.
I was particularly touched this Thanksgiving when I visited Residence Life and saw the results of an amazing outpouring of support by our campus which, under the direction of Casey Leydon, provided a memorable holiday meal for our students. I also learned of the schedule Cori Brewster, alongside others, created for our students to enjoy events and have a sense of community over the holiday.
Another important way we support our students is finding ways to reduce the costs of obtaining an education. Faculty have been stepping up to reduce the costs of textbooks, and I’m grateful to Dean Candice Watkins for taking over this important work. From 2021-2023, students at Eastern Oregon University are estimated to have saved $2,238,800 in courses with the no-cost or low-cost schedule designation. Faculty looking to get involved may participate in statewide professional development opportunities throughout the year by getting in contact with Dean Watkins or by checking out the Open Oregon Educational Resources website, Calendar page, and Google Group. More than ever, the costs of education are driving skepticism about higher education. I’m really appreciative of the great efforts being made!
Of course, we also impact students through our teaching. Professor Nancy Knowles’ work with students in her online Summer 2022 English class resulted in a recently published article titled “Collaboration and Subsistence: Alix E. Harrow’s Once and Future Witches through an Ecofeminist Lens.” The students selected the recently published novel (2020) to be analyzed, and because the novel was recent no scholarship had yet been published on it. As such, the article is the first scholarly article on the novel and will need to be cited in any future scholarship. The paper was published in the students’ first-choice journal, Femspec (Volume 23, Issue 2). Students received credit in ENGL 436 partly for the quality of their individual contributions and partly for the quality of the resulting paper. Publication was not a requirement.
Professor Knowles’s project is a reminder about the power of undergraduate research. The students in her class now have an unforgettable experience of engaging in a high impact practice that promotes student success.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been spending my time and energy right here in La Grande. I visited the Lion’s Club to share the great work EOU has been doing, and started off the holiday season with the Soroptimists’ Festival of Trees, the La Grande Holiday Parade, and The Observer’s 31st Annual Holiday Music Festival right here on campus! I had a great time at our all-campus holiday gathering, held a lovely coffee chat with our new faculty, attended several musical concerts, cheered on our basketball and volleyball teams, and continued my normal round of meetings to keep the business of EOU moving forward.
The women’s volleyball team had a glorious run in the NAIA championship, and I’m so proud of coach Kaki Morehead, the student athletes, and all our athletics staff. The team played incredibly well, and they all showed us the power of hard work and believing in yourself!
I’m wishing everyone my very best in your final push as we inch closer to the end of the term!
Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.
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