Fall 2021 Newsletter

Academic Affairs

Fall 2021

Student Success  ·  Academic Excellence

Message From The Provost

It has been uplifting to see our campus come back to life. Students, faculty and staff have told me that they are excited to be learning and working on campus again. The entire campus community has pulled together to start the academic year in a safe manner, with relatively few reported cases of COVID-19, due at least in part to the remarkable compliance with our mask and vaccine requirements. Thank you for making this possible!

In October, Institutional Research conducted a survey of students and found the most popular course delivery modality for undergraduates was fully in-person. But the majority of students were interested in combining those fully in-person courses with hybrid and/or fully online courses.  Each academic division received the survey data from their students so they can factor those preferences into their scheduling decisions.

I want to once again express tremendous gratitude for the work that faculty and staff did to respond to the pandemic and pivot to online delivery of most of our courses and services. I also want to note the impressive level of problem solving, hard work and creativity from our entire campus community as we managed multiple challenges. Thank you and I hope you have a great academic year.

—Provost Rob Winningham

Cover photo by WOU’s own Seyed Shahrokni, who works in the Center for Academic Innovation. Thanks, Seyed!

Important
Dates

Nov 15: Registration begins for Winter Term

Dec 3: Last day of classes

Dec 6-10: Finals week

Dec 14: Grades due

Willamette Promise: Student Leaders Summit

In mid-August, WOU teamed up with Willamette Education Service District (WESD) to bring 30 high school students to campus for three days of workshops and enrichment activities. The workshops and activities were led by WOU faculty and staff, with topics ranging from writing scholarship essays to dance, sculpting, and stage combat. The goal was to build the students’ confidence in their ability to succeed in college—most of the students are first-generation—as well as providing a glimpse at the wide variety of options available in college.

All of the participants are rising high school seniors who are also participating in Willamette Promise, our accelerated credit program. They were all provided with a MacBook Pro and practice using it, so that they will have the technology to carry them through all four years of college.

Thank you to the Oregon Community Foundation for funding this important project.

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College was never part of the plan, it was a dream but now it’s becoming a reality. It’s a plan and we’re going to do this, we’re going to accomplish this now because of these resources that made it possible.

Paul Quach
Summit Participant
North Salem High School

Bev’s Tech Tips: FAQs

Speed Up Remote Access With VPN

Does your WOU laptop seem to go more slowly when you’re working from home?

Do you use VDI (virtual desktop) but wish there was an easier way to access network drives when off-campus?

If so, try using the WOU VPN. “VPN'” means Virtual Private Network—it basically tells the WOU network that your computer is a friend, rather than a random computer on the internet.

It’s easier than it sounds:

  1. Install the app and login with your WOU username when you first turn on your computer.
  2. To access your network drives, follow the instructions on the remote access page to connect them, and then you’ll be able to access them just like you do when on-campus, like another hard drive on your computer.

Update Your Website Without Opening WordPress

(AKA “How did you get that Google Calendar on your web page?”)

Does your WOU website have content that needs to be regularly updated, like a calendar/event list? Or would you like to have a more dynamic page but don’t have the time to fiddle with WordPress every day? You can set up a WordPress page to display content from somewhere else on the internet—this is called embedding external content.

The title is a bit misleading: You will need to open WordPress to set this up, but once that is done, your page will automatically show the most recent version of whatever you added.

Some examples:

Whatever content you decide to embed, you’ll need to make a couple changes to the link to make it work on your WOU website, so be sure to review the instructions.

 

Welcome, Keats!

The Provost’s Office welcomes Keats Chaves, who joined us in September as our new Administrative Coordinator. Keats is a WOU alum (2014, Interdisciplinary Studies: Creative Writing and History, with a German minor) who worked for the Writing Center while a student at WOU. Keats is currently finishing a dissertation for an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been enthusiastically welcomed back to WOU by the campus squirrels.

Better Know an Office:
Center for Academic Innovation

Yep, we’re ripping off borrowing liberally from Stephen Colbert for this segment of the newsletter. Each issue will profile the staff from a different office in Academic Affairs, and first up is the Center for Academic Innovation.

Have a question or request? For this team, you’ll get the fastest response by emailing askAI@wou.edu—this will alert all available team members, so you don’t need to worry about whether someone’s on vacation, in a meeting, etc.

Michael Reis

Michael Reis

Director of Academic Innovation

What do you love the most about what you do at WOU?
Almost every day, I get to see something or hear about something that reminds me how much WOU’s faculty care about their students and their teaching. There are a lot of institutions that take pride in how many students they turn away, seeing a low admission rate as an elite indicator. It’s amazing to be part of an institution that measures its success by how many students we can serve.

Do you have any talents, or is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I had a better talent for answering “about me” questions.

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
Right now I am in the middle of two books. The first is You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience, an anthology curated by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown. It’s a powerful book and one I want to make sure not to rush through as I want to give the voices it elevates attention and reflection. So as a break between essays, I’ve been reading Witches Abroad, a book in my spouse’s favorite book series, Discworld, by Terry Pratchett. We’ve been reading through the series together, which is wonderful: she gets to revisit some of her favorite books, I get to experience some amazing stories for the first time, and we get to geek out together.

Seyed Shahrokni

Seyed Shahrokni

Instructional Designer

What do you love the most about what you do at WOU?
I love how every day brings new challenges and experiences my way and allows me to work collaboratively with faculty, students, and other stakeholders towards teaching and learning. My colleagues are also the best!

What brought you to where you are now (why did you choose this field)?
I have been living in the exciting world of teaching and learning for a long time, both as a student and an educator. Student Engagement has been at the center of my teaching and research, and being an instructional designer with the Center for Academic Innovation at WOU provides me with an opportunity to work towards that. I’m so grateful for this opportunity!

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
The book I am reading right now is The Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi. The book tells the story of a teenage girl who, going through a difficult time after her parents divorce, finds refuge in an online video game called “Fields of Fantasy.” I am really enjoying reading the book and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I can kind of guess who Sir Leo might be! 🙂

What is something surprising about you that no one would ever guess?
I played a multiplayer online game for four years for my doctoral research! I was very “1337” (that is, leet), too! It was one of the most exciting projects I have been involved in. If you’re interested, here’s an article based on that study.

Ben Hays

Ben Hays

Learning Management System Support Specialist

What brought you to where you are now (why did you choose this field)?
Our family moved to Monmouth when my wife accepted a teaching position in the College of Education. I’ve been interested in the intersection between technology and access to education for a long time, which eventually led me to where I am.

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
I loved the A. A. Milne Winnie the Pooh books as a child. The first books that I read on my own and enjoyed were by John Bellairs, followed closely by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

What is something surprising about you that no one would ever guess?
I once belonged to a square dancing club.

Tell us a random fact you know:
There are thousands of Apple Lisa computers buried in a landfill just outside of Logan, Utah.

Sean ONeill

Sean ONeill

Digital Media Technician

What do you love the most about what you do at WOU?
Solving problems. It’s nice to be able to work “backstage” and fix problems or remove obstacles for people trying to do their jobs.

What brought you to where you are now (why did you choose this field)?
A love of libraries, knowledge, and computers. That and the winds got me here.

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
The last movie I really liked was Algiers (1937). It’s a remake of Pepe le Moko (1937) which, by sheer coincidence, I am lining up for a professor and am personally looking forward to handling.

Adrienne Allardt-Wong

Adrienne Allardt-Wong

Instructional Designer & LMS Support Specialist

What brought you to where you are now (why did you choose this field)?
I worked at OSU’s Ecampus as an undergrad and discovered that this type of work is something I don’t mind doing continuously and comes with the benefits and quality of life I’m looking for. Then I worked for Moodle Support (now AI) as a GA and discovered I like the people here.

Do you have any talents, or is there a talent you wish you had?
A talent I have: intuitively knowing what flavors go well together when cooking and (usually) how to adjust a recipe to turn out better than the original instructions. A talent I wish I had: flawless communication–always understanding what people mean and having them understand precisely what I mean.

Tell us a random fact you know:
x% of y = y% of x. For example 4% of 75 is 3, and 75% of 4 is 3.

Celebrating Students

This issue’s Spotlight on Students is a continuation of the Better Know an Office feature, with profiles of the graduate assistants working in the Center for Academic Innovation.

Mindy Khamvongsa

Graduate Assistant, Center for Academic Innovation

What do you love the most about what you do at WOU?
Loving the department I’m working in as a GA. The classes are at the perfect pace and level of engagement that challenge me as a student, which makes me feel like I’m professionally developing with each course.

Do you have any talents, or is there a talent you wish you had?
I love cooking, and can make the best fusion food you’ve ever had, but I am not very good at baking at all.

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
I saw a good part of Shrek 3. This is an answer for both questions.

What is something surprising about you that no one would ever guess?
I have a “draw by memory” Cubone tattooed on my right leg that’s drawn by my significant other. It’s absolutely class and definitely looks EXACTLY like Cubone.

Evalina Macias

Graduate Assistant, Center for Academic Innovation

What brought you to where you are now (why did you choose this field)?
I am pursuing Sign Language/English Interpreting because of the communication access I am able to provide between consumers who do not share the same language. Additionally, Interpreting is a unique field, and every interpreting assignment is different, so you have to expect the unexpected. 

Do you have any talents, or is there a talent you wish you had?
I am able to instantly connect with people, or get the vibe of a room by identifying who is who. 

What was the last book you read/movie you saw that you liked? Alternatively, what was the last book you read/movie you saw that you didn’t like?
The last book I read was Broke Millennial. I enjoyed it because, as I am in my mid-twenties, it is a beneficial book for me, teaching me everything I need to know from credit scores/reports, buying a house/car, and saving money. 

Tell us a random fact you know:
The first person convicted of speeding was going 8 mph.

Questions? Suggestions for future issues? Contact Keats Chaves: chavesk@wou.edu

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