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Mary Cullinan
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Dr. Mary Cullinan is in her seventh year as president of Southern Oregon University. She received her B.A. in Honors English from the University of Pennsylvania. Her Master’s and doctoral degrees are in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Entries by Mary Cullinan

Stop Bickering! Public Universities Deserve an Action Team

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 3:06 PM

In the tried-and-true action movie--be it about a war or a heist, about zombies, intergalactic intrigue, or mere earthbound crime--part of the story line usually focuses on mismatched individuals sparring and jostling before they finally come together to solve a common problem. From Kelly's Heroes to Star Wars and the...

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Teaching and Learning: Who Knows the Answers?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 1:56 PM

1066 and All That by Sellar and Yeatman is a delightful read. Published in 1930, the book takes us through English history by recreating our own jumbled memories. Their rendition of Henry VIII: "Henry wanted the Pope to give him a divorce from his first wife, Katherine. He wanted this...

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University Communication: Why Babel Fish Won't Help

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 3:58 PM

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams introduces us to the Babel fish. His narrator describes it as "probably the oddest thing in the universe." When you stick one in your ear, you instantly understand whatever anyone says to you in any language. If you've ever traveled abroad...

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Are Universities Responsible for Their Graduates' Careers?

(2) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 9:58 AM

My first teaching job after graduate school was in the business school at California State University, Hayward. Most of my students, junior and senior business majors, were excited about a business career. But some of them were business majors only because their parents insisted. Many of those parents had not...

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Heaven or Hell?

(2) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 11:24 AM

A recent New York Times article made me think about Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. And Dante.

In Johnson's Rasselas, the prince lives in a utopian valley. In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston lives in a terrifying futuristic London.

Dante presents both extremes: the Inferno is the ultimate nightmare, Paradiso the...

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Fearless Leadership in an Uncertain World

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 5:05 PM

You may remember Fearless Leader, the dictator who ruled Pottsylvania half a century ago. His minions Boris and Natasha were regularly outsmarted by our heroes Rocky and Bullwinkle. Part of the joke, of course, was that Fearless Leader wasn't fearless at all: he worked his evil secretly from an underground...

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Who's Responsible for Public Higher Education?

(4) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 11:32 AM

Years ago I rented an apartment with three other young women. We agreed vaguely that we'd all pitch in to do dishes and clean up the place. The vague agreement didn't work out. The place was a mess until we actually developed a list of individual responsibilities.

Somehow this...

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Change: Looking Into the Rear View Mirror

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 2:32 PM

When I arrived as president of Southern Oregon University in 2006, the university faced significant financial issues. We had lost enrollment. Revenues had decreased, but we hadn't adjusted our expenses and had eaten through our reserves. We needed to act quickly.

In the past, SOU had faced budget cuts...

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Can a University Be Truly Transformed?

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 12:04 PM

When I Googled "challenges in higher education recently," I received 61 million results in .2 seconds. Just the fact that I could do that is one of our challenges in higher education.

Phrases such as "new normal" and "transformational change" are already ringing hollow on campuses because they're used so...

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