The Future is Open - Update on Access
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In Memoriam: Prof. Miriam (Miri) C. Souroujon
OUI faculty and staff, friends, and students mourn the loss of Prof. Miri Souroujon. She first joined the Department of Natural and Life Sciences in 1987, and subsequently served in many key roles at the OUI, such as Dean of Academic Studies, as well as Dean of Research. From the time of her doctoral studies at the Weizmann Institute, much of her research focused on finding a cure for Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease.

Largely due to her efforts in recent years, the OUI will be offering a pre-med curriculum within the Life Sciences BSc program. Shortly following Prof. Souroujonís death in April after a long illness, the Council for Higher Education granted official approval of the program. Prof. Souroujon is remembered for her accomplished career and her personable warmth, which endeared her to all.
Prof. Miriam Souroujon of blessed memory
Internet accessibility and disability

Last year, the OUI initiated an annual, national conference on Internet accessibility for people with impairments, serving to advance the government standards introduced by law in October 2013. Since then, questions have arisen regarding best practices. In June 2014, at the second annual conference, experts in the field shared knowledge and experience gained over the past year to encourage implementation of the most effective practices.

Eilana Benish, an OUI student since 1999, presently an MA candidate, who has a severe visual impairment, addressed content editors and website developers at the conference. Her remarks emphasized the importance of accessible content for users with sensory, motor, and cognitive impairments. Likewise, she praised the OUI for providing the support needed to be a successful student. Dr. Haim Saadon, Dean of Students, acknowledged her efforts at the OUI and throughout Israel in this field.

Eilana Benish
Valedictorians speak: what makes the OUI unique

Maskit Hodesman, 38, from Arad, gave the valedictory address at the first of three OUI graduation ceremonies in May. Married, with three children, Ms. Hodesman began studying for her degree at the encouragement of her husband, himself an OUI graduate.

Hodesman never matriculated from high school, but the OUI's open admissions policy allowed her to prove herself, and she completed her degree with honors. Since then, she has been accepted to a master's degree program at Ben-Gurion University and the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev. In her speech, Hodesman shared her initial sentiment upon beginning her studies at the OUI: “It felt like being reaccepted into society.”

Michael Michaelashvili spoke the following evening. He had begun his academic studies while in high school and completed his degree in Natural Sciences while serving in the IDF. Michaelashvili drew a comparison between chemistry and the OUI. Both, he said, are processes of observable change. At the OUI, this begins when a student clicks on the link to his first course, and that leads to graduation, and perpetual learning.

In his remarks, Michaelashvili expressed his gratitude for scholarships he had received from the Bernard Osher Scholarship Fund for high school students.

Maskit Hodesman
Michael Michaelashvili

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