Spring 2021 Newsletter

Academic Affairs

Spring 2021

Student Success  ·  Academic Excellence

Message From The Provost

Everyone, both at WOU and around the world, has faced unexpected, and often painful challenges since last March. We are all aware that there are still challenges ahead but I am confident that we will become stronger and better as we work through those challenges (and opportunities), especially if we continue to keep students front and center in our efforts. My faith in the dedicated faculty and staff at WOU has not been shaken by the past 15 months—instead, it has grown.

At the end of this academic year, we recognize the tragedies, difficulties and uncertainty we have faced together, but at the same time there are reasons to celebrate, including the fact we are holding an in-person graduation ceremony, albeit in a different format, with hundreds of graduates and their families celebrating. And, we seem to be turning a corner with the pandemic and look forward to a much more normal fall term. I am grateful for our campus community’s resiliency, strength, and determination. I believe we need to remain student-centric and focus on the impact that our work has on the lives of our students and our community.

—Provost Rob Winningham


June 4 Last day of classes
June 12 2021 Commencement
June 15 Grades due (at 10am)
June 21 Summer Term begins

Celebrating Students

WOU Student and Sociology Professor Co-Write Peer Reviewed Paper

A student smiles at the camera, they are wearing a gray blazer and black framed glasses

WOU Student Quentin Kanta ’23 and Sociology Professor Dr. Even Shenkin co-wrote a peer-reviewed paper that will be soon published in the the United Nations Encyclopedia of Sustainable Development. Kanta is a Political Science major and Social Science minor from Grants Pass, Oregon.

Dr. Shenkin is a visiting professor who started at WOU in Fall 2020, and reached out to Quentin to co-write a paper for the publication after Quentin took his Community Organizing (SOC340) class Fall 2020. Their paper focuses on the inability of the SDGs to effectively tackle global wealth inequality, from which extreme poverty flows. Quentin states “I would say that the main idea of our paper is that poverty is a political choice, and that the responsibility for global poverty extends well beyond local government and personal choices.”

Honoring Dr. Hamid Bahari-Kashani

Dr. Hamid Bahari-Kashani passed away unexpectedly on April 9, 2021. He served as the chair of the Division of Business and Economics for 33 years, always focused on the success of our students. He created an environment of respect and cooperation among the faculty, with everyone treated as a valued colleague. The memory of Hamid that I have heard the most in the last few weeks is his kindness to everyone. He was never without a smile. Just as no one can recall him dressed in anything but a suit and tie, neither can they remember seeing him angry with anyone.

Hamid also had one of the finest minds I have known, able to question our assumptions and look at the world with an open mind. I treasure the times we sat and talked in West House, even if I was never able to win an argument.

Hamid hired me in 1990 as a visiting assistant professor and had the confidence to convert that to a tenure-track position the following year. He had faith in me and supported me in ways that made all the difference. He was my mentor and friend until the day he died. He was truly one of the most influential people in my life. His passing was a profound loss to me and to the university.

Dr. John Leadley
Acting Chair, Division of Business & Economics

Professor Bahari-Kashani will be greatly missed by his colleagues, his students, and the entire WOU community. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

Bev’s Tech Tips

Use Vlookup Functions to Win Friends and Influence People (or at least avoid duplicating work)

The Vlookup function looks up information in a vertical list—hence the name. If you have repeated information in a spreadsheet, this function might be able to save you time (not to mention typos). It can also be used to swiftly find information in a large spreadsheet.

This 12-minute tutorial video explains how to use Vlookup in Excel (it works the same in Google Sheets):

Here’s another example of how Vlookup can be used, this time with Google Sheets. In this example, the formula is used for every row of data, and is looking up information that is contained on another tab of the spreadsheet.

Vlookup Example - Add Information to Every Row in a Google Sheet

Say there is a google form that faculty members fill out, and in the form they select their division. You want to have the email address for the division chair for each submission.

  1. Submit a test response to your form, then set the form to save responses to a spreadsheet.
  2. In the spreadsheet that is created, create a new tab called “Divisions”, then add the list of divisions in column A and the corresponding emails in column B.
  3. On the first tab (where the form results are), add this formula to the first row with a response, in a blank column:
  4. Install the Copy Down add-on to automatically insert this formula every time a form response is added to your spreadsheet.

View the example spreadsheet to see this in action.

Send Personalized Responses to Form Submissions

I’m often asked if there is a way to do a MailMerge with Gmail – yep! There are many available add-ons that will do this, but my favorite is FormMule, created by New Visions Cloudlab. It can send emails when you manually run it, automatically when a new Google Form submission is received, and/or on a time schedule (e.g., every 2 hours).

This short video explains how to install and use the FormMule add-on:

More information about FormMule can be found on the New Visions Cloudlab website. They are a nonprofit organization that provides resources for public schools, so they don’t charge for their add-ons.

3 Minute Research Talks

Program for Undergraduate Research (PURE) is proud to announce a new way to release your research!

Open to faculty, staff and students, this is a new way for your research to be shared with WOU and the surrounding community. Register, upload your video to the link provided, and share your research with others.

Congratulations, Retirees!


Warren Allen
Health and Exercise Science

Nick Backus

Mary Bucy
Education and Leadership

Arlene Courtney
Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Peggy Pedersen
Health and Exercise Science

Pam Ward
Health and Exercise Science


Diane Baxter
Creative Arts

Brian Caster
Health and Exercise Science

Kevin Helppie
Creative Arts

Bau Hwa Hsieh
Social Sciences

Frank Nevius

Pete Poston
Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Adele Schepige
Education and Leadership

Robin Smith
Social Sciences

Gradual Retirements


Peter Callero
Social Sciences

Mickey Pardew
Education and Leadership

Tom Rand


Dean Braa – 2022
Social Sciences

Terry Gingerich – 2024
Criminal Justice Sciences

John Leadley – 2023
Business and Economics

Scott Tighe – 2024
Criminal Justice Sciences

Congratulations, Award Winners!

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Debbie Braun

Pastega Award:
Staff Excellence

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Olivia Flores

Staff Advisor of the Year

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. James Reddan

Faculty Advisor of the Year

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. Cornelia Paraskevas

Pastega Award:
Excellence in Scholarship

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. Jaime Cloud

Pastega Award:
Excellence in Teaching

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. Melanie Landon-Hays

Pastega Award:
Excellence in Service

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. Patricia Gimenez-Eguibar & Dr. Claudia Costagliola

Community Partner Spotlight Award, April
Willamette Promise Advisory Board

Line of Students studying in a dorm hallway

Dr. Leanne Merrill

Educator of the Year
Monmouth Independence Chamber of Commerce

Big Fish, Big Pond

A woman smiles at the camera, she has wire frame glasses and a soft smile. Her head is slightly tilted in the photo.

Degree Completion Success

In January of 2020, Susan Griffin (SSA) began outreach to students who dropped out but were close to finishing their degrees. Since that time, she’s reached out to 327 students to provide assist with creating a degree completion plan, leading to 108 additional students graduating as of the end of Winter 2021.

Great work, Susan!

Library and Academic Innovation:
OCR for All!

Library and Academic Innovation was selected to participate in a project that is aimed to provide access to optical character recognition (OCR) for everyone. The OCR for All! project was created by the Resource Sharing and Fulfillment (RSF) Team, and is aimed to provide scanners for institutions to allow for more equitable access than the traditional image-based scanner that the library previously had. The new ABBYY Fine reader software and CZUR ET scanner will allow for greater access for students and faculty. This access was achieved through the Orbis Cascade Alliance library consortium.

For more information, please see the OCR for All! proposal

Questions? Suggestions for future issues? Contact Jay Thompson: thompsonj@wou.edu

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