January 16, 2024 – President Rick Bailey clicks off SOU’s goals for 2024 in this month’s video message. External objectives include building on “partnerships, collaborations and coalitions” built over the past two years, and moving SOU’s entrepreneurial initiatives – solar projects, senior housing and university business district – from the idea to the “actionable” phase. Internal goals focus on celebrating “loving, passionate, caring things” SOU does to serve its students, consolidating enrollment gains by retaining more returning students and ensuring that all “not just feel welcome here, but feel they belong here.”
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November 20, 2023 – President Rick Bailey celebrates SOU’s groundbreaking fall enrollment gains in this month’s video message. Increases of 15% in the freshman class and 10% for transfers, along with solid retention gains for all undergraduates, “set SOU apart” from Oregon’s other public universities. He credits data-sharing agreements with Oregon high schools, visits to K-12 districts, data analytics and hard work by admissions staff. The president also discusses SOU’s novel general education core and the “connection” of community members with the university.
October 4, 2023 – SOU President Rick Bailey says in this month’s video message that the new academic year is full of possibility. Enrollment figures suggest we’ll have the largest first year student class in at least six or seven years, and that enthusiasm for higher ed is good for the region and state. Also, the positive results from fiscal adjustments made over the past year have changed assumptions. SOU has gone from a “culture of scarcity” where possibilities are limited, to a “culture of opportunity” in which the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
August 14, 2023 – SOU President, Rick Bailey says in his August video message to campus that the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action and LGBTQ+ rights should have a little direct effect on SOU, but the university must assure that everyone not only feels welcome, but also knows that they belong. Student loan debt “is not a behemoth” at SOU, as it is at some institutions, he says, but the university must be mindful, make hard decisions when necessary and be resourceful to keep students’ expenses and debts manageable.
May 19, 2023 – SOU President Rick Bailey focuses on two thoughts – a paradigm shift and our commitment to who we are – in his May video message to campus and community members. He says it’s time to “stop just playing defense” and look ahead to what the university should look like in 10, 20 or 50 years. And following a recent visit to campus by agitators seeking division – and the civil, pitch-perfect response by students and employees – he urges a daily commitment by the SOU community to “respect for and belief in the fundamental dignity of all people.”
March 29, 2023 – SOU President Rick Bailey circles back to something he mentioned over a year ago in his first video message to campus and community members: that with kindness and unity as a foundation, the university can do anything. He acknowledges that there is turbulence and anxiety, but also opportunity as SOU proceeds with its fiscal realignment. And he thanks campus and the community for their support through all of their connections with SOU.
February 3, 2023 – SOU President Rick Bailey updates the fiscal stability plan and thanks the campus community for thoughtful feedback ahead of the Feb. 16 town hall meeting, where details will be shared. Cost management is one of our for planks, and the other three – reimagining grants, leveraging philanthropy and diversifying revenue – are also keys to SOU’s future. He closes with an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
December 13, 2022 – SOU President Rick Bailey wishes happy holidays for all, regardless of your traditions or how you celebrate the winter season. The pause between fall and winter terms is a time for celebration and reflection – and a reminder that for everyone from Reading to Roseburg, SOU is your hometown public university.
December 6, 2022 – SOU President Rick Bailey talks with students and employees about the university’s pending fiscal and programmatic realignment in his December video message to campus. President Bailey says he is “pleading with” all members of the campus community to play a role in what he acknowledges will be a painful process of determining the things SOU should stop doing. He promises an open, inclusive and compassionate process that ultimately will strengthen the university’s fiscal foundation and will make SOU a model for universities nationwide to reposition for the future.
September 27, 2022 – SOU President Rick Bailey welcomes students and employees to fall term 2022, in his September video message to campus. President Bailey also lays out the plan to escape a periodic cycle of financial crises that are common at public higher education institutions across the country by reducing reliance on state funding and tuition revenue, and creating new income streams for the university by installing four planks: sustainable energy production, a senior living community, a campus business district and replacement of SOU’s core information system.