New OQ unboxes the UO’s latest people, places and attractions

It’s not just a new school year. It’s a new university.

New president, new buildings, new programs: The changing landscape at the University of Oregon, both academic and physical, is showcased in the autumn edition of Oregon Quarterly, available now.

As you’ll read in the autumn issue of the university magazine, there’s a whole new world in the School of Journalism and Communication, and it’s a virtual world. A one-year online master’s degree program in immersive media communication is teaching students how to use virtual reality and other forms of “extended reality” in the kinds of applications increasingly sought by companies ranging from Disney to Nike to Ikea.

In the OQ feature, samples of this media will immerse you in the water crisis facing distant countries and the struggle of residents of Vanport, a wartime Portland housing development destroyed by the 1948 Columbia River flood.

There is also something new in something very old unearthed by archaeologist Pat O’Grady and his students: ancient finds in Eastern Oregon that tell an untold story of human habitation in North America stretching back 18,000 years, thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The faculty profile features Rori Rohlfs, an associate professor of data science, the first tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Data Science. She uses computational methods to answer biological questions, assessing, for example, the reliability of forensic DNA identification.

“This is a nice thing about data science,” Rohlfs says. “You can answer all kinds of questions.”

Also in the fall issue: new students who are immersing themselves in first-year interest groups; senior instructor Jon Bellona, who brings his ingenuity for creating with sound to the classrooms and studios of the School of Music and Dance; Gregory Dotson, an associate professor in the law school who helped usher historic climate legislation through Congress; and columnist Don Kahle on the university’s fledgling electric scooter program, which is taking people for a ride, in a good way.

If that’s not enough new for you, check out the magazine’s wrap-up of the latest attractions, among them work on Building 2 of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, a partial opening of UO Portland’s new campus in northeast Portland, and the opening of two residence halls, yet to be named, at the corner of East Fifteenth Avenue and Agate Street.