Western Oregon University receives grant addressing critical support for educators

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s College of Education has received a Grow Your Own grant (GYO) from the Educator Advancement Council. This funding aims to address the critical need for recruiting and retaining educators across the career continuum.

Under the Division of Education and Leadership at Western, Kristen L Pratt, Ph.D., associate professor of education and leadership, and Marie LeJeune, Ph.D., associate dean of clinical practices & partnerships, developed an innovative program called Project REAL (Residency for Educator Access to Licensure) with the funding. This program is a collaborative effort between Western, Salem Keizer Public Schools, and Chemeketa Community College, focusing on developing a sustainable residency model for teacher licensure.

This partnership seeks to tackle three primary equity problems of practice: a shortage of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse licensed educators to serve a diverse student population; providing access to local, place-bound, residency programming embedded within a high-quality, nationally accredited, and equity-based educator preparation program; and a meaningful and supportive induction experience for educators who are full-time working professionals within public schools.

“This work at Western is focused on how we remove barriers for those seeking a teaching license and are not able to access a traditional pathway of being a full-time student and student teacher. There is not a realistic pathway for lots of folks who are already working adults, supporting a family, or are geographically far from a university,” shared LeJeune. “There are a lot of barriers put into place that don’t allow folks to receive higher education and this work aims to remove those barriers.”

The Project REAL program at Western is a groundbreaking initiative that will revolutionize the way educators are recruited and prepared for the challenges of today’s classrooms. By providing flexible licensure pathways, this program will empower aspiring educators to overcome obstacles and contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive educational system.

Learn more about flexible licensure pathways 


About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction.  Together we succeed.

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