Fall Welcome Message – Sept. 14, 2020

A Message From Dean Doolen Last spring term brought an array of challenges. OSU campuses were largely shut down due to COVID-19, and we were thrust into a fully remote term. The experience we’ve gained over the past six months has taught us all a great deal about how to teach, learn and engage with […]

September 14, 2020

A Message From Dean Doolen

Last spring term brought an array of challenges. OSU campuses were largely shut down due to COVID-19, and we were thrust into a fully remote term. The experience we’ve gained over the past six months has taught us all a great deal about how to teach, learn and engage with one another remotely, and we are confident that our faculty and staff are prepared to deliver great courses and learning opportunities this year, in a range of modalities. We have also been working on a plan to return safely to campus. You can find more information about the university-wide measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 here, and we will work to share updates with you all when we have them.

Community Compact
This fall we will welcome over 550 new Honors College students, many of whom will be moving onto the Corvallis or OSU-Cascades campuses this weekend. Even with 90% of OSU courses being taught remotely, we know many of you will be moving back to Corvallis to complete your studies as well. Recognizing the interdependence of all members of our community and your responsibilities as an HC student, we ask that you review and agree to the Honors College Community Compact, which is available here. The compact – which includes all HC students regardless of campus – outlines health and safety expectations and requirements for the upcoming academic year. This compact is designed to help protect our campuses and local communities from the risks posed by COVID-19.

Hours of Operation
We are excited for your return to campus. The Honors College offices in Learning Innovation Center 450 will be open for daily operations Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Student Learning Lounge in the LInC will also be open (hours still being finalized), and our academic advisors will offer both in-person and Zoom appointments Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For a complete listing of our hours of operation visit visit this link.

Conversation Clusters
We know that spring and summer terms left many students feeling isolated, unmotivated and lonely. To help HC students connect and build community, we will be launching Honors College Conversation Clusters this fall. All HC students will be assigned to a Conversation Cluster, whether they are on-campus (in Corvallis, Bend or Newport), learning remotely or enrolled through Ecampus. Conversation Clusters will meet via Zoom for 30 minutes each week throughout the academic year to discuss topics, play games and be in community together. To express your preferences for your Conversation Cluster, complete the survey here no later than Friday, Sept. 18th. Your assigned Conversation Cluster will be sent to you via your OSU email, with the Conversation Cluster Kick-Off happening Tuesday, Sept. 29th.

Confronting Structural Racism & Bias
The seemingly endless violence against Black bodies and Black lives came into sharp focus once again in May, with the killing of George Floyd. As I shared at that time, I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement. I recognize that structural racism, systems of oppression and the burdens of inequality are not transient problems. As a community, we must recognize that these abuses and crimes are part of an enduring legacy of racism, structural and individual, in this country. I acknowledge that institutions of higher learning, including the Honors College and Oregon State University, have played a historic and continuing role in perpetuating systemic inequality. It is our responsibility – a responsibility I own personally – to work toward ending systems of oppression and racism. I am committed to action.

As a first step, I am seeking students to serve on the ‘20-‘21 Student Leadership Circle to provide feedback on a high-level college strategy to confront perpetuated and reflected privilege and structural racism in the honors community and work toward a more just and better future for all. I urge you to consider applying for a role within the Student Leadership Circle. Find more information on our website here.

One way we can all work to confront bias is by learning about bias and building skills to intervene in bias situations. This past summer, our incoming Honors College class participated in a Summer Read that featured books focused on racism and social injustice. Next week, these students will discuss these works with classmates, faculty and alumni, deepening their understanding and learning. Experiences such as these can help us to see the world differently and change our thinking. This year, we will be highlighting similar opportunities in our Monday Message and through Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I encourage you to follow these social media channels closely and do your best to attend events that will stretch your boundaries. 

Providing Support
Many have been affected by the wildfires across the West and our thoughts are with everyone impacted. Thank you to all who are working to support our communities in these areas. Please reach out to an HC advisor if you would like to discuss resources and support during these times at 541-737-6414 or uhcadvisor@oregonstate.edu. We are here to help.

I continue to remain proud to be your dean, and I am inspired by your resilience, passion, leadership and dedication to making this a better world. Please reach out to me directly with your thoughts, your concerns, and your ideas as we travel through this challenging time together.


Toni L. Doolen, PhD
[she, her, hers]
Dean, Oregon State University Honors College

CATEGORIES: Monday Messages

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