Diversity Native American
Photo Credit: Christopher Wikel

Message from President Schott 

SOU President Dr Linda Schott

Dear Southern Oregon University Community,

Raider Family, you may have heard or read the saying “You’re Home” in SOU’s marketing materials. That statement is more than just a tagline to me. We want every member of our community to experience Southern Oregon University as a welcoming, secure environment.  As we position SOU to become Oregon’s University for the Future, it is vital that we advance our efforts to ensure access and equity for all.

We are currently taking a significant step in this direction by conducting a search for a Chief  Diversity and Inclusivity Officer. We hope to welcome this new member of the Raider Family sometime in early 2019 and look forward to additional progress under this new leadership.

For now, we are most grateful for the leadership being provided by Dr. Shenethia Manuel, our interim Director of Diversity and Inclusion.  Dr. Manuel is serving on the search committee for the new CDO and working to finalize the charge and membership of the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee and the Bias Response Team.

I am also grateful that SOU will be hosting Dr. Chad Hamill as an ACE Fellow from January to June 2019.  Dr. Hamill is currently the Vice President for Native American Initiatives at Northern Arizona University and will be working with me to strengthen our connections to Oregon’s tribes.

Thank you for all that you do to make SOU an inclusive and welcoming campus.

Dr. Linda Schott

President, Southern Oregon University

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Shenethia Manuel

Shenethia Manuel, J.D.
Interim Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Acting CDO
President's Office
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland, Oregon 97520
Phone: 541.552.6132


Shenethia Manuel served as vice chancellor for human resources, equity and inclusion at Missouri University of Science and Technology from 2008 until last September, when she took emerita status and began her own consulting firm in Norman, Oklahoma. She worked previously as director of personnel and affirmative action officer at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Shenethia received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma, her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and her master of arts in ministry and culture degree from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Born in the rural town of Lima, Oklahoma, in Seminole County, Shenethia has a vast understanding of both rural and urban culture, as well as general knowledge of local cultural and spiritual principles. She brings honesty and integrity to every organization and strives to develop, increase, and sustain communities - whether that be in the workplace, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, or the neighborhood.

Shenethia is contracted to work with Southern Oregon University through the end of 2018.

#YouAreWelcomeHere - Southern Oregon University from DMC Productions on Vimeo.

SOU’s Commitment to an Inclusive Community

Strategic Plan


Southern Oregon University will become an inclusive, sustainable university for the future that guides all learners to develop the knowledge, capacities, and audacity to innovate boldly and create lives of purpose.


Southern Oregon University is a regionally-engaged learning community committed to being the educational provider of choice for learners throughout their lives.

  • We inspire curiosity and creativity, compel critical thinking, foster discovery, and cultivate bold ideas and actions.
  • We achieve student success, professional preparation, and civic engagement through service excellence, evolving technologies, and innovative curriculum.
  • We foster access, equity, inclusion and diversity in thought and practice.
  • We prepare our learners to be responsible, engaged citizens in our democracy.
  • We promote economic vitality, sustainability, cultural enrichment, and social well-being in our region, the state, the nation, and the world.


  • The well-being and success of all learners
  • Critical thinking, discovery, and engaged learning
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Creativity and collaboration
  • Excellence, continuous improvement, and accountability
  • A healthy, safe, and civil campus
  • Economic vitality and environmental sustainability
  • Improving our community, region, and world

Strategic Directions

Strategic Direction I: SOU will transform its pedagogy and curriculum (how and what it teaches) to enhance the success of its learners and graduates.

  • Goal One: SOU will develop curriculum and provide learning experiences that prepare all learners for life and work in an evolving future; connect directly with the challenges of our community, region, and world; and build self-confidence and the capacity to think critically, innovate boldly, and create lives of purpose.
  • Goal Two: SOU will align faculty hiring, promotion and tenure policies, and allocation of other academic resources with the university’s mission, vision and strategic plan.
  • Goal Three: SOU will develop and utilize resources to ensure affordability of and access to student learning opportunities.
  • Goal Four: SOU will engage in ongoing assessment of academic and academic support programs in order to further a process of continuous improvement.

Strategic Direction II: SOU will become an employer of choice and provide excellent service to all of its constituents.

  • Goal One: SOU will develop effective orientation, training and professional development programs as well as a performance management process that rewards employees for continuous improvement.
  • Goal Two: SOU will improve its customer experience by streamlining business processes.
  • Goal Three: SOU will align its internal and external communications to foster greater collaboration and enhance its credibility.
  • Goal Four: SOU will design and implement a program that will develop a culture of service excellence in all employees.

Strategic Direction III: SOU will actively model an environmentally sustainable campus and engage in collaborative research to promote an ecologically-resilient bioregion.

  • Goal One: SOU will be a model sustainable institution of higher education, integrating sustainable planning, practices, policies, and education throughout the university.
  • Goal Two: SOU will strengthen its organizational and financial infrastructure to support the advancement, promotion and reach of environmental sustainability at SOU.
  • Goal Three: SOU will integrate sustainability, the environment, and conservation into its curriculum, scholarship, and creative activity.

Strategic Direction IV: SOU will create a diverse, equitable, inclusive community where learners flourish.

  • Goal One: SOU will replace structural and systemic barriers with equitable processes and practices that promote a sense of belonging and ensure the success of a diverse “new majority.”
  • Goal Two: SOU will establish supportive pathways that will increase the access, retention, and success of learners (students, faculty, and staff) from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Goal Three: SOU will prepare all learners regardless of background, identity and position, to work, live, and communicate effectively across differences in order to thrive in an increasingly diverse world.

Strategic Direction V: SOU will maintain financial stability and invest for institutional vitality.

  • Goal One: SOU will develop, implement and monitor a comprehensive strategic enrollment management plan.
  • Goal Two: SOU will develop key performance indicators to incentivize, monitor, and reward improvements, innovations or efficiencies.
  • Goal Three: SOU will enhance opportunities to leverage its existing assets to increase revenue.
  • Goal Four: SOU will invest in opportunities that generate additional gifts, grants, and sponsorships from external sources.

Strategic Direction VI: SOU will develop physical and virtual environments in which all learners can thrive.

  • Goal One: SOU will utilize universal design principles to transform learning spaces to inspire creativity, collaboration and intellectual growth in all of the learning communities we serve.
  • Goal Two: SOU will provide opportunities for all learners to be effective users of immersive, accessible and virtual technologies and spaces.

Strategic Direction VII: SOU will be a catalyst for economic vitality, civic engagement and cultural enrichment through ongoing collaboration with local, state, national, and global partners.

  • Goal One: SOU will be a resource and collaborative partner for the economic, cultural, artistic and social betterment of the region.
  • Goal Two: SOU will collaborate with a wide range of partners to provide civic engagement, service learning, and community-based learning experiences for all its learners.