Video by Jill Wells —

We embrace and advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice” is a stated Value held by the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. Jane Waite, Senior Associate for Social Justice Learning and Engagement in the Office of Academic Affairs talked with Vice Provost Scott Reed about the excellent diversity, inclusion and social justice work the Division is doing in this month’s First Monday Video.

Scott and Jane mention the Division’s Diversity Catalyst Team (DCT), a task force appointed by Scott consisting of representatives from across the Division, in their discussion. The team works to articulate a vision and design and implement strategies to create a climate for change relative to diversity issues in higher education. Membership is open to any Division employee. Find more about the DCT here.

Share your comments about what you think the Division is doing well and where we need to do more diversity, equity and inclusion work.

Contributed by guest blogger Dani Douglass

Participants come face-to-face with alligators, sharks and snakes

The study tour, designed for students who have an interest in natural or marine science, strives to spark a young person’s interest in these fields and help them learn the importance of teamwork. Students were accompanied by state 4-H program director Virginia Bourdeau and county 4-H staff Emily Anderson (Lane County), Robin Galloway (Linn County) and Todd Williver (Lincoln County).

The seven-day Florida trip included outdoor activities and learning experiences for the students, which included sampling the habitats the students had studied over the past seven months. They interacted with the big scrub habitat at the Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Fla. and in Everglades National Park, students saw pine flatwoods, hydric hammock, hardwood swamp, Cypress swamp, Sawgrass marsh and slough habitats.

Four days were spent at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute’s Seacamp in Big Pine Key, Fla. studying coral reef ecology and various marine ecosystems, which they accessed by boat. The students participated in three lessons each day, including a thrilling snorkel in a nurse shark pond.

Students gained knowledge and lasting memories from the trip and some now have an idea of what they would like to study in college. “Judging by the evaluation comments received from parents after the program concluded, several youth found their spark for education by participating in the program,” Virginia says. She adds that one participant plans to apply to the internship program at Archbold and another hopes to work at Seacamp someday.

Snorkeling in the shark nurse pond in Florida

“This trip to Florida was so amazing. I made so many new friends that I hope to have forever,” says participant Shannon Feinauer of Klamath County. “My favorite part at sea camp was meeting Shelby, our teacher and friend, and snorkeling the reef. We had the best chaperones!”

Faith Black of Linn County says she’s always loved the ocean and marine life. “Attending this study tour in Florida has opened my eyes to the impact we have on our ocean’s wildlife,” she says. “I was a little undecided on what I would like to study in college, and the Florida Study Tour has made me realize that I have a great interest in our marine life.”

“Getting to join the 4-H trip to Florida this year helps solidify my dreams of working in the science field,” says Korrina Wirfs of Linn County. “I applied some knowledge I already have attained and learned about other ecosystems, but as a senior I really value how the trip allowed me to see science occupation in action. This was invaluable for me as I try to decide what and where to study in college.”

The Oregon 4-H Youth Development Program is part of the Oregon State Extension Service and is housed in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. There are more than 6 million 4-H members nationwide and thousands of Oregon young people participate in the program each year. The four Hs stand for head, heart, hands and health. More information about 4-H can be found here.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy –
Aaron Avner
Aaron Avner, farmer. September 24, 2015

Perusing my Facebook feed, I came across this gem of a story. I tried to verify the truth of it and was unable to do so, but the morale of the story was one that resonated . In part, it resonated because it resembles the work that the people in the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, and OSU, do every day: they work with communities to help people and industry prosper. Because when we do this work, we all have a better lives.

So if you’ll indulge me by reading on, this is the story of Aaron Avner, a farmer.

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year, he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.

So is with our lives…Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

Call it power of collectivity…
Call it a principle of success…
Call it a law of life.

The fact is, none of us truly wins, until we all win!


Written by Ann Marie Murphy —

crookcounty-650x280OSU Open Campus is a community-based education partnership convened by Oregon State University. It provides local access to learning in order to address the unique educational needs of Oregon’s communities. (Source: OSU Open Campus website)


What does that mean?


Programming depends on the area, community needs, and partner involvement. Open Campus builds on the foundation of the OSU Extension Service, providing an expanded way to access the university’s resources. Typically, Open Campus programs are designed around three goals:


  1. College & Career Readiness
  2. Degree Completion
  3. Economic & Community Development


Juntos, is one program coordinated by Open Campus. It involves middle schools, high schools and Latino kids and their families, to help make education part of family goals, encourage high school graduation and continuing on to college. It’s gotten a lot of press lately, including being recognized in September 2015 by the White House as part of its Bright Spot in Hispanic Education awards.


But there’s more to Open Campus than Juntos, and there are a lot of really good initiatives happening—and really good people involved—in the eight counties currently being served by Open Campus.


AVIDspeaker2016i-1024x576Take Crook County for example. They are giving students the tools for college readiness, which includes helping them succeed in high school. And that means helping students understand the benefits of higher education, developing good habits, and planning ahead and looking toward the future.


Why the focus on college readiness in Crook County? Only about 14 percent of the county’s population holds a bachelor’s degree. Most students will be the first in the family to pursue a college education. Getting into college can be a complicated process, and if a family hasn’t had experience figuring out the process, it likely is intimidating. Open Campus is there to help. Partially funded by the counties, community leaders also are committed to improving educational outreach, which often leads to economic and community development.


AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college readiness program, is one such initiative in Crook County and throughout Oregon. In Crook County, it is a collaboration with leadership teachers at Crook County Middle School, career class instructors, and Central Oregon Community College.


Learn more about AVID and Open Campus activities by checking out the Open Campus Blog.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy –
Latino ag worker. Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum OSU EESC
Latino ag worker. Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum OSU EESC

Congratulations are in order.


The team of Ariel Ginsburg, Dionisia Morales, and Luisa Santamaria will help OSU Extension Service broaden its audience base and increase confidence that we are serving the needs of an underserved population.


The team received a Professional Development Fund grant from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) for their project titled “What Workers Think: Communication Needs Assessment for Latino Farm and Nursery Workers.”


Ginsburg and Morales are publishing managers with Extension & Experiment Station Communications (EESC) and Santamaria is an Extension plant pathology specialist and assistant professor focusing on farm and nursery pests and integrated pest management (IPM). She is also a bi-lingual educator, providing hands-on training to nursery and farm workers on a range of issues related to IPM, food safety, plant pathology, and pest life cycle.


Why did the team think the needs assessment was necessary? Here’s a quote from the grant application: Spanish-speaking workers make up the majority of the labor force in Oregon’s agriculture and horticulture industries, and yet few publications and multimedia materials are designed to meet their vocational and linguistic needs. Many publications from the Extension catalog have been translated into Spanish, but feedback suggests that the translated topics aren’t always well suited to farm and horticultural workers because it is too technical, is written at too high of a reading level, or requires a computer to download and print.


The grant will help Extension learn what people don’t want, but more importantly, the three proposed focus group sessions will discover what Spanish-speaking workers in the farm and horticultural fields do want.


This is exactly the type of research that we need to do more of across age, geographic and cultural audiences in order to deepen our understanding of why, how, and when people want and need the knowledge residing within OSU.


The project begins September 2016 and wraps up September 2017. Proposed outcomes include:


  • Identify the key topics Spanish-speaking farm and horticultural workers find most relevant to their work and lives;
  • Create a set of criteria for gauging whether new and existing OSU Extension publications should be translated/re-conceptualized for the Spanish-speaking work audience;
  • Create guidelines for Extension faculty with the kinds of questions and activities that will help them identify the most effective communication materials for Spanish-speaking workers; and
  • Build collaborative relationships with local farm and horticultural operators to encourage future focus sessions and expand our knowledge of workers’ emerging needs and interests.


Looking outside the boundaries of Oregon, this information can be applied in any state where immigrant, migrant, or non-English speaking populations are an essential part of the food and plant production economy.


The ACE grant selection committee looked for projects with broad application across the country. As a requirement, project leaders will submit a final report for publication on the ACE website, making research results widely available. The OSU team also will be encouraged to talk about the project at next year’s ACE conference and to contribute to the Journal of Applied Communications. Additional 2016 ACE grant-funded projects include Scott Swanson, North Dakota State University, How to Capture High-Quality Video and Kristina Boone and Gloria Holcombe, Kansas State University, Exploration of Digital Asset Management Systems.