Crowdfunding for two worthy faculty initiatives

Dear CAS Colleagues,

In case you haven’t heard, I want you to be aware of an innovative fundraising campaign currently underway that will benefit two CAS programs.

The campaign, called DuckFunder, is a crowdfunding approach that aims to attract lots of small gifts (and even some large ones) for very focused projects. This is a six-week campaign, now entering its final few days. It will wrap up Friday, May 19.

This year, two CAS projects were selected:

· SPICE, a summer program that inspires teen girls to stay engaged in STEM studies Fundraising goal = $8,000

· Team Duckling, a psychology research team that studies how children learn and grow. Fundraising goal = $10,000

I will be making a personal donation to both of these worthy projects and encourage you to:

· Visit one of the links above and consider making a small donation that will help them reach their goal

· Help get the word out by clicking on one of the social share icons at the top of the SPICE or Team Duckling crowdfunding pages (links above) to share with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter or email.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for next year’s DuckFunder campaign, you can submit an application here:

Thank you for considering this request.

Warm regards, Andrew

W. Andrew Marcus
Tykeson Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
University of Oregon

SAIL duckfunder campaign needs you

SAIL is UO’s largest faculty led volunteer program. Faculty teach low-SES and first generation HS students in free week long summer day-camps on the UO campus, to show them what college is like and how they can succeed at it. Last summer we had 10 camps, 200+ students, and ~100 volunteers. You can volunteer here, and to donate click here or click the image:

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UO starts crowdfunding campaign for SAIL program

SAIL is UO’s faculty volunteer led program to encourage low-SES first generation students to go to college, by bringing them to campus for free summer day-camps on different academic subjects. They meet a lot of faculty and undergraduate mentors, and come back every summer during HS for a different camp, so by the time they graduate High School college is the natural next step not something risky or odd.

The UO Advancement office has helped set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to expand SAIL.  Here, or click the image to find out more and donate online.

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Around the O has more here. If you are UO faculty or staff you can find out how to volunteer here.

Oregon gets a D on helping its children succeed, what you can do

Betsy Hammond has the story in the Oregonian. 40th out of 50 states, by the most optimistic measure. 50th out of 50 by another. What can a UO professor do to help fix this? Organize a summer UO SAIL camp for your department, to help low SES Oregon students learn about college, work to get into college, and succeed in college. About 15% of UO faculty are already volunteering. (Full disclosure: economic research shows that telling other people that the norm is to behave altruistically increases altruism.)

UC-Irvine spends $7M a year on "fill the pipeline" programs

5/8/2013: The NYT discusses California’s extensive programs to respond to the ban on racially explicit affirmative-action programs for admissions with low SES “fill the pipeline” programs:

The results of California’s efforts offer some measure of satisfaction to supporters and critics alike. Both sides hail the U.C. system’s strides toward economic — and not just racial — diversity; opponents of affirmative action claim that as vindication of their argument that it primarily benefits middle-class minority members. Supporters of race-conscious admissions acknowledge that the system has reversed the initial decline in black and Hispanic enrollment, though they say that is not enough. Whatever the merits of race-blind admissions, gifted poor and minority students are less likely than others to take the right classes to be eligible for college admission, to take the SAT or ACT, to get academic help when they need it, to fill out complex forms properly or to apply to competitive colleges. 

So California’s public universities, and some of their counterparts around the country, have embedded themselves deeply in disadvantaged communities, working with schools, students and parents to identify promising teenagers and get more of them into college. 

It is not enough, university administrators say, to change the way they select students; they must also change the students themselves, and begin to do so long before the time arrives to fill out applications.

This perfectly captures the reasons UO faculty volunteers started the SAIL program in 2007. The story notes that UC-Irvine, President Gottfredson’s old school, now spends $7 million a year on these efforts:

The University of California, Irvine, alone spends more than $7 million a year on that outreach, with a few hundred people working on it — mostly part time, and not always for pay — and reaching into dozens of poor neighborhoods in its region, said Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, director of the university’s Center for Educational Partnerships.

And here’s the sort of story we hear a lot from our SAIL students:

“Do you have to baby-sit your brothers and sisters all the time, or cook for them, or go work with your parents?” Ms. Flores asked a group of students, about half of whom raised their hands. “My mom used to make me go with her to clean houses on the weekends. I hated it. That’s why I went to college.” 

“But that’s what you put on the part of the application that asks for activities and volunteering,” she said. “Because if you don’t tell them, they’ll think you didn’t do anything.”

Fortunately SAIL is a lot cheaper than $7 million, and thanks to two UO economics honors students, we now have good empirical evidence of large increases in college attendance, comparing local HS students who have gone through it with those who have not. (And yes, we test for selection effects.)

No rich child left behind

From the NYT:

… consider two children, one from a family with income of $165,000 and one from a family with income of $15,000. These incomes are at the 90th and 10th percentiles of the income distribution nationally, meaning that 10 percent of children today grow up in families with incomes below $15,000 and 10 percent grow up in families with incomes above $165,000. [He should be looking at the income dist of families w/ children, but you get the idea.]

In the 1980s, on an 800-point SAT-type test scale, the average difference in test scores between two such children would have been about 90 points; today it is 125 points. This is almost twice as large as the 70-point test score gap between white and black children. Family income is now a better predictor of children’s success in school than race. 

The same pattern is evident in other, more tangible, measures of educational success, like college completion. In a study similar to mine, Martha J. Bailey and Susan M. Dynarski, economists at the University of Michigan, found that the proportion of students from upper-income families who earn a bachelor’s degree has increased by 18 percentage points over a 20-year period, while the completion rate of poor students has grown by only 4 points.

UO has several programs to help reduce the college enrollment and completion gaps: SAIL, OYSP, and PathwayOregon come to mind. Some focus on on income, some on race and ethnicity. It’s all good. You’re part of UO? Pick one, and volunteer to help. (Thanks to John Topanga for the tweet). 4/27/2013.

Kitzhaber to sign bill giving children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition

From “Around the O”:

University of Oregon student Edith Gomez will join Gov. John Kitzhaber, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and others Tuesday morning (April 2) when the governor signs into law the state’s so-called tuition equity bill.

Gomez, a general science major at the UO, testified in favor of the bill two months ago, along with UO President Michael Gottfredson and others. It was supported by the Associated Students of the University of Oregon and by the Oregon Student Association.

The legislation, House Bill 2787, was approved by a large majority in both chambers of the legislature. It will grant in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years; graduated from an Oregon high school after studying there for at least three years; been accepted to an Oregon university; and shown an intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

The Oregonian reports on the decade long fight to make this happen. Congratulations to all who did it. Now let’s get these students into UO, and graduated with a degree that will get them a job. Speaking of which, here’s a very interesting NY Times story on recent research showing how straightforward it is to get top low-SES students to go to top colleges: give them information and tuition discounts. 4/1/2013.

Worthwhile faculty led community outreach initiatives:

3/10/13 update: RG story on a program by CS professor Kiki Prottsman. Here’s a link to her program.

… For Prottsman — a computer science professor at the University of Oregon, where she earned her master’s in the same discipline in 2011 — this early exposure to computer science and encouragement from her father shaped who she became, and now she wants to give children that same opportunity with her nonprofit Thinkersmith, a 501-c3 charity that introduces children and adults to computer science, ultimately increasing both job opportunities in the future and self-esteem for life, she said. 

“You can shape a child’s mind when they’re young so that challenges excite them,” Prottsman said. “If something hasn’t been solved, you have the opportunity to solve it. You have to look at problems as an opportunity to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. Getting those skills early helps with the rest of their career and life.”
… Tom Emmons and Nate Bernstein, of local Web development company Emberex, also donated to the cause. 

The organization kicked off its “Traveling Circuits” program last fall after testing it the spring before. In the program, Prottsman and volunteers visit schools in Eugene and Springfield, teaching things like binary (language), functions, algorithms and robotics. The children make crafts that help them understand and practice these, such as magnets that spell their name in binary — a computer language using 0s and 1s. 

By spring break, Thinker­smith will have held 30 Traveling Circuits sessions in six months.

Many UO professors, instructors, staff and students volunteer in outreach efforts to encourage Oregon students to go to college:

The Summer Academy to Inspire Learning, for low SES Springfield and Bethel area HS students. This is UO’s largest “fill the pipeline” program, and runs week long summer day-camps at UO in Economics, International Studies, Psychology and Neuroscience, Performance Arts, Nanoscience and Human Physiology, Biology, and Journalism. New camps this summer in English, Education and Chemistry. SAIL is also starting an outreach program to send faculty out to local schools to give guest talks. Contact Lara Fernandez to volunteer.

The University of Oregon (UO) Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) offers fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students from other Universities and Colleges to participate in ongoing research in Life Sciences laboratories at UO during the Summer months.

STEM CORE is a consortium of UO science, math and education faculty, STEM outreach and education program coordination staff, community college faculty, K-12 collaborators, STEM industry and government partners and supporters. The primary goal of STEM CORE is to produce a broader and deeper pool of STEM talent in Oregon and nationally through the development of efficient and effective models for student learning and engagement, and by forging new collaborations between education faculty, K-12 educator, science researcher, mathematician, STEM industry and government partnerships. See Inside Oregon, on the efforts of Dean Livelybrooks, Stanley Micklavzina, and others.

From the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Oregon Young Scholars Program – a free week long residential program at UO for low SES students from Portland. 

From the UO Center for Optics, week long “SPICE camps” for middle schoolers, to encourage women in science.

The University of Oregon Courses for High School Students (UOCHSS) Program is designed for high schools students who would like to take advantage of furlough and non-school days to further their education. UOCHSS offers rigorous courses similar to those offered to college undergraduates, but offered on a smaller scale. 

The RG has a story on a program that sends UO students out to teach philosophy in elementary schools. Great idea. Started by by Paul Bodin from the Ed School and Ted Toadvine from Philosophy.  

Let me know of other similar programs to add to this list. 8/21/2012.

SAIL recruiting UO faculty to talk at local schools

My usual pitch to faculty is “Surely there must be something about your research that would interest high school students for 45 minutes?” But just in case I recommend asking one of your undergrads to come along and answer questions about college life. Details here at “Around the O” and the SAIL website is here. 2/25/2013.

Oregon fails

A third of Oregon’s HS students do not graduate on time. Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has the latest data: 

Oregon high schools’ on-time graduation rate remained mired at 68 percent for the class of 2012, the same as the year before, when Oregon ranked fourth worst in the nation.

Dropping out of HS leads to a pretty grim life. You might think that as a college professor you can’t do much to increase HS graduation rates. You’d be surprised – UO has many effective programs where faculty volunteers can and do make a difference. 1/31/2013.