Western Oregon University unveils new strategic plan

Western Oregon University unveils new strategic plan

Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. –  Western Oregon University unveils its new transformative strategic plan accompanied by a new mission and vision statement and core values that was approved by the Western Oregon University Board of Trustees at the February 14 meeting. Titled Education. Innovation. Community., the plan charts the course of the university’s growth over the next six years focusing on four key goals which include institutional sustainability, student success, transformational diversity, and community strength. Western’s new mission statement, pending approval by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, centers on the principles of personalized learning, fostering a sense of belonging, and empowering individuals. The new vision incorporates becoming a model of intentional inclusion and accessibility and improving social mobility and overall life success through focusing on critical thinking and communication skills. The Core Values include Centering Students, Embracing Diversity, Fostering Accessibility, and Valuing Community. President Peters explains that a strategic plan is both aspirational and inspirational. He says that it sets a tone and provides a clear framework that the university can use to set objectives and make decisions. “This new plan marks a new phase for Western Oregon University. This university has always sought academic excellence, been committed to community engagement, and worked for the success of students and employees. But now we are leaning into new strategies and directions, articulating with greater clarity just what type of institution we plan to be.”  This new plan is the culmination of hard work by many individuals. Last year, Western established a Strategic Plan Development Team that led campus conversations, gathered feedback through a survey, and consulted with faculty,...

Western Oregon University receives grant addressing critical support for educators

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...

Western Oregon University staff selected for NWCCU fellowship

Western Oregon University staff selected for NWCCU fellowship

Pictured from left to right: Malissa Larson, Megan Habermann-Guthrie, Leanne Merrill Ph.D., and Melanie Landon-Hays Ph.D. MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University staff from the Division of Student Affairs has been selected for The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability Fellowship.  Megan Habermann-Guthrie, director of New Student & Family Programs, and Malissa Larson, dean of students, were selected to participate in a cohort over the next 18 months.  The fellowship program is designed to introduce faculty, staff, and administrators from NWCCU institutions to regional and national leaders in various areas such as equity-mindedness, assessment, accreditation, data analysis, quality assurance, educational innovation, and educational effectiveness. “I am honored and excited to embark on this project to better Western and work with our accreditors more closely on enhancing college life for Western students,” shared Habermann-Guthrie.  “I’m so excited, and a bit anxious if I am honest, to participate in the NWCCU fellowship. This is an incredible opportunity to not only enrich my path as a professional but also to add tools to better advocate for and support Western students,” shared Larson. She adds that she looks forward to being better and doing better for students.  Habermann-Guthrie and Larson will join Leanne Merrill Ph.D., professor of mathematics, and Melanie Landon-Hays Ph.D., professor of education and leadership, who are currently participating in a cohort from the Division of Academic Affairs. Together, these teams from Western will contribute to the ongoing efforts of the NWCCU in promoting excellence and innovation in higher education. Learn more about NWCUU’s Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability Fellowship ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon...

Western Oregon University serves the community through mentorship

Western Oregon University serves the community through mentorship

Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. –  Since 1999, Western Oregon University’s Division of Behavioral Sciences has supported Talmadge Middle School students in Independence, Oregon to foster positive mentoring relationships. Juniors and seniors at Western interested in working with youth in the fields of education, social work, and/or counseling, have the opportunity to mentor middle school students and help them develop skills for academic success and emotional and social growth.  Many middle school students who face socioeconomic, academic, behavioral, or familial challenges are recommended by their school counselor to participate in this program, and the positive outcomes for students in this program are astounding. Since the program started 25 years ago, parents have unanimously reported that it has had a positive influence on their children. Children who participate in the program show consistent, measurable improvement across several areas, including school attendance, academic work, social skills, and self-esteem. They also become more interested in attending college. One parent observed “The mentor was great and worked with our crazy schedule and truly cared about my child. Well done.”  Mentees in the program shared that participating in the program boosted their confidence because there was a steady supportive person to talk to, and noted interest in attending Western and giving back to the program by becoming a mentor. A student mentor shared that mentoring had profoundly impacted their life and helped them solidify their desire to pursue a career as a pediatric clinical psychologist. Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences and Program Coordinator Brooke Dolenc Knott Ph.D., noted that leading the WOU-Talmadge mentoring program has been the highlight of her time at Western,...

Western Oregon University Professor to present on recent expedition to Antarctica

Western Oregon University Professor to present on recent expedition to Antarctica

Pictured: Henry Hughes Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. –  Western Oregon University Professor of Literature and Writing Henry Hughes, Ph.D., recently returned from an expedition to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula to experience, study, and report on wildlife, ocean conditions, ice, climate change, travel culture, and ecotourism. An Oregon Book Award-Winning published author and poet, Hughes travels the globe searching for inspiration for new literary projects, always with a connection to water and fishing. Growing up on Long Island, NY, Hughes shares that fishing and boating are big themes in his writing. He adds that being out on the water fishing offers a time to think about life and culture. He also lived in Japan for three years and in China for two which helped create a more informed global consciousness, helping to guide him in the way he thinks. Hughes has written and published many poems and stories with seafaring/maritime themes and draws his influence from notable writers such as Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, and Annie Proulx. Hughes actively contributes articles to outdoor journals such as Anglers Journal and The Flyfish Journal, among many others. He has also published his autobiography Back Seat with Fish and edited three collections for the Penguin Random House Everyman’s Library. Hughes also actively writes for and manages The Write Place, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and supporting literary and artistic projects that examine human relationships with the natural environment. Hughes’ recent experience is logged on this website. One of his English students, Jasper Beck co-edits for The Write Place. Beck won the Peter Sears Poetry Prize last year...

Western Oregon University joins Oregon public higher education institutions for Advocacy Day

Western Oregon University joins Oregon public higher education institutions for Advocacy Day

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University along with the six other Oregon public higher education institutions, lobbied together at the Oregon State Capitol building during Advocacy Day which took place on February 8 during the 2024 legislative session. All seven public higher education institutions first convened at WOU Salem, where collaboration and camaraderie filled the building for lunch and where they joined their advocacy groups to prepare to lobby. Public Oregon higher education institutions are advocating for the following:  Supporting students on campus $6 million in renewed funding for Strong Start 2.0 $6 million for the 2024 Student Emergency Needs Package:  $5 million for student basic needs programs $1 million for Open Educational Resources Preparing students to meet Oregon’s workforce needs $30 million to boost the state’s semiconductor workforce and talent pipeline  $6.2 million to grow the behavioral health workforce serving Oregon communities Learn more about Oregon Public Universities 2024 legislative agenda  Learn more about Advocacy Day 2024   ###   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...

Western Oregon University Alum and Community Leader Makes a Difference

Western Oregon University Alum and Community Leader Makes a Difference

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to highlight the accomplishments of former Oregon State Representative and alum Teresa Alonso Leon ‘02. Alonso Leon received a bachelor’s degree in social science from Western and a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University, leading her to a career in public service.   Alonso Leon’s educational journey started when she was young, as she was the oldest of five and had to quickly learn how to delegate responsibilities. As a first-generation student, Western provided the support she needed to develop critical skills to achieve her career goals.  “When I talk to other first-gen students, I tell them that Western Oregon University is the place that you need to be. It’s a place where you’re going to be able to achieve your goals and help you find the career that you want.” shared Alonso Leon.  Before starting her own consulting company, Alonso Leon served as a City Council Member for the City of Woodburn and as an Oregon State Representative from 2017 to 2023, which elevated her passion for serving her community. Today, she continues to advocate for higher education, leadership development, and healthcare equity. Alonso Leon’s story is a testament to Western’s commitment to supporting students. Her dedication to serving her community and others is truly inspirational.   Watch Teresa Alonso Leon share her...

Western Oregon University to be featured in award-winning Amazon Prime show

Western Oregon University to be featured in award-winning Amazon Prime show

Starting from back left: Max Smoot-Brown, Layla William, Nancy Montecinos, Wolfie, President Peters, David Echevarria, Hunter Hall, Brenda Rocio Martinez, and Aneli Godinez-Martinez at The College Tour VIP launch event. Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is featured on The College Tour, an award-winning TV series from Amazon Prime.  The series focuses on different colleges or universities in the United States in each episode and includes stories of multiple college students’ experiences. Host and Executive Producer of the series is Alex Boylan, who won the CBS series The Amazing Race and spent the last 20 years as an award-winning onscreen personality and producer.   Filming for Western’s episode took place last September and students were encouraged to audition for the episode. Ten were selected to be featured in the episode, each with unique backgrounds and stories. The episode is compiled into one 30-minute video and is also divided into ten segments, one per student. Each student collaborated on their segment’s script.  “I am excited that we now have the opportunity to share our unique story with a nationwide audience through this exceptional episode,” expressed President Jesse Peters. “Western holds a special significance, particularly for first-generation and historically underrepresented students and those seeking a personalized education that equips them for success in life.” The featured students are Brenda Rocio Martinez, from Woodburn, Justin Conklin, from The Dalles, Hunter Hall, from Portland, Nancy Montecinos, from Sisters, Hannah Rispler, from Gresham, Max Smoot-Brown, from Camas Valley, Keisha Taylor, from Aberdeen, Washington, Aneli Godinez-Martinez, from Hillsboro, Layla William, from Beaverton, and David Echevarria, from Caldwell, Idaho. Meet the featured...

Western Oregon University’s Model United Nations hosts annual fundraiser

Western Oregon University’s Model United Nations hosts annual fundraiser

Starting from left to right: Brenda Rocio Martinez, Ricardo Pelegrin, Ph.D., Mary Pettenger, Ph.D., Makeena Helseth, Tyler Plath, Sophie Davenport. MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Model United Nations (MUN) club hosted its annual International Awareness Dinner last Tuesday.  The event featured keynote speaker Ricardo Pelegrin, Ph.D., professor of History, who recounted his experience emigrating from Cuba to the United States. The International Awareness Dinner promotes cultural understanding and global awareness among students and the community. Pelegrin shared personal challenges and triumphs, shedding light on embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity in today’s global society. “The MUN club at Western is dedicated to promoting diplomacy, negotiation, and international cooperation. Through our various events and activities, we strive to educate and empower students to become global citizens and future leaders.” shared MUN President Makenna Helseth. To learn more about Western’s Model United Nations club  ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern 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...

Western Oregon University celebrates Annual Giving Day on March 5

Western Oregon University celebrates Annual Giving Day on March 5

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces its annual Giving Day, Howl from the Heart, on March 5, 2024. Giving Day is a crowdfunding day that allows everyone to financially contribute to the projects they want to focus on. Since its inception in 2016, the annual Giving Day at Western has raised nearly $1.4M in donations. Funds raised on Giving Day have been used to endow scholarships, support athletics, provide needed resources to student clubs and organizations, and much more.  This year, members of the Western community will have the opportunity to support over 40 department projects, scholarships, athletic programs, and campus organizations on Giving Day. Each gift, no matter the amount, collectively makes an immediate and tremendous impact on the lives and education of students.  “One of the great things about Giving Day is that it allows alumni, friends, and supporters of the university to learn about all the amazing resources and organizations on our campus and select which ones they want to support,” shares Dave Beasley, Ph.D., director of annual giving. “Each gift, regardless of its size, is important and is greatly appreciated by the students it helps. I love Giving Day because it’s a chance for us all to help fund the present and future we want for Western!”  Gifts can be made online on March 5 at givingday.wou.edu, by calling the Foundation at 503-838-8814, or by dropping off your gift in The Cottage on Western’s campus. For the first time on Giving Day, Western is adding a service component for students. Students will be volunteering their time at community service projects both on and off...

Western Oregon University to host Health & Exercise Science career day

Western Oregon University to host Health & Exercise Science career day

Photo credit: @woucampusrecreation MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University will be hosting its annual Health & Exercise Science Career Day on February 8. This event invites current and prospective students to explore the exciting opportunities in public health and exercise science. Students will also learn how these careers can provide opportunities to make a difference in the community.  Recruiters will be attending the event, representing a wide range of healthcare professions, including County Public Health departments, occupational therapy, physical health professionals, health educators, and local school districts.  Program schedule: Location: Werner University Center, Western Oregon University  Check-in: 9 – 9:30 a.m. Program sessions: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch: 12:30 – 1 p.m. Admissions: 1 – 1:30 p.m. Meet with recruiters: 1:30 – 2 p.m. Tour the lab and meet with faculty: 2 – 3 p.m. This is an incredible opportunity for current and prospective students to explore career opportunities in the public health and exercise science fields.  To register for the Health & Exercise Science Career Day  To learn more about Western’s Public Health and Exercise Science department ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern 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...

Western Oregon University’s Cybercrime Investigations and Enforcement program addresses critical gaps 

Western Oregon University’s Cybercrime Investigations and Enforcement program addresses critical gaps 

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Cybercrime Investigations and Enforcement (CIE) is an innovative and hands-on program, that addresses the critical skills gap in cybercrime investigations for businesses and especially public service agencies in Oregon. The CIE program prepares students to step into investigative roles and combat cybercrime effectively. Crimes such as identity theft, ransomware, financial fraud, online scams, child pornography, data theft, stalking, espionage, and violent offenses can have severe consequences for critical public services and vulnerable populations.  George Chamberlin, CIE instructor, is also a former FBI cybercrime supervisor. He shares that as cybercrime caseloads continue to rise, law enforcement agencies are facing growing challenges in hiring and training first responders and investigators to manage complex investigations involving cybercrime and digital technology. Chamberlain adds that the CIE program helps prepare students to step into those critical investigative roles. Emilee Gillaspie, the first graduate of the program, recently completed a cybersecurity boot camp and is also preparing for the CompTIA Security+ exam. “It was a wonderful experience to meet so many instructors who have a clear passion for the subjects they teach. They work hard to get you to where you want to be,” shared Gillespie. “I hope students immerse themselves in the program and enjoy the ride.” Western is committed to equipping students with practical skills and knowledge, aiming to create positive impacts on communities across Oregon and the United States. For more information about the CIE Minor program.  ### 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...

Earth and Environmental Science program at Western Oregon University showcases success at prestigious conference

Earth and Environmental Science program at Western Oregon University showcases success at prestigious conference

Image of Geological Society of America conference poster presentations MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Alumni Society presented at the recent Geological Society of America conference, highlighting the program’s commitment to preparing students for successful careers in geoscience. Professors of EES Steve Taylor Ph.D. and  Jeffrey Templeton Ph.D., were the main presenters on behalf of Western. The presentation also included society members sharing their experiences and career pathways as graduates and current professionals in the field. “I’m so proud to have showcased the achievements of our Earth and Environmental Science program at this conference,” shared Taylor. “This event provided a platform for us to share our innovative approaches to mentoring and career development, and to inspire other institutions to invest in the success of their geoscience students.” The EES program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive undergraduate education that emphasizes scientific methods, problem-solving, and interdisciplinary science. By embedding workforce skill competencies throughout the curriculum, the program ensures that graduates can apply their knowledge to solve geoscience problems throughout their careers. This program continues to foster professional connections and career opportunities for undergraduate students, empowering them to continuously impact the field of Earth and Environmental Science. Learn more about Earth and Environmental Science  ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern 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...

Western Oregon University awarded grant to boost services for veterans

Western Oregon University awarded grant to boost services for veterans

Pictured: Students hanging out in the Veterans Resource CenterMONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University recently was selected as one of 14 institutions to receive funding from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs through the Campus Veteran Resource Center Grant, which aims to enhance existing campus resources by funding innovative and impactful projects or programs that improve the lives of student veterans and support their success. All 14 institutions that applied were awarded a portion of the available grant funds, ranging up to $100,000. The grant will expand Western’s Veterans Resource Center, which is vital to the academic success of student veterans.  “With the support of this grant, we can continue to provide our students tools and experiences that help them pursue their academic goals and thrive in their post-military journey,” shared Logan Doefler, director of the Veterans Resource Center. “We honor their service and will continue to ensure access to education that becomes a beacon of hope and opportunity for their path to new horizons.” The grant-funded project will support programs including the development of veterans-specific campus orientation and welcome programs, the establishment of peer mentor programs, the purchase of technology and electronic equipment for student use, and the acquisition of tutorial software to enhance college-level writing and math skills. It will also support travel to conferences for student veteran professional development and employment networking opportunities, programs addressing food insecurity and mental health struggles, veterans’ events and career fairs, and marketing efforts to reach historically underrepresented and underserved veterans.  Western is committed to the success of student veterans. The funding will continue to enable the steps to enhance the Veterans...

New VITA tax site hosted at Western Oregon University

New VITA tax site hosted at Western Oregon University

AARP and the IRS sponsor Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs that offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. The VITA program has operated for over 50 years. VITA sites offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including: – People who generally make $60,000 or less – Persons with disabilities; and – Limited English-speaking taxpayers The TCE program offers free tax help, particularly for those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. Tax assistance will be available this year, beginning in February. There will be three sites in Polk County. The Dallas site will again be at the Dallas Public Library, located at 950 Main St., on Mondays and Wednesdays. For additional information and to make an appointment call (971) 289-5492. Appointments are now being accepted for February. The forms that need to be filled out prior to your appointment will be available at the library and at the Dallas Senior Center, located at 817 SW Church St. The AARP Tax-Aide Monmouth site will be at Ash Creek Annex, 1483 16th St N. The phone number for appointments is (971) 915-0316. Appointments are now being accepted beginning Feb. 2nd. The Ash Creek Annex site will be open Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The forms that need to be filled out prior to your appointment will be available later this month at the Independence Library and the Monmouth Library. Please check our Facebook page for additional helpful information at www.facebook.com/100089453573801. A new VITA...

Western Oregon University honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Western Oregon University honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Image of Western students participating in day of service for MLK Jr. Day MONMOUTH, Ore. – In honor of the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Western Oregon University is excited to share the opportunities happening this month to commemorate his life and service.  “As we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we honor a visionary whose courage and advocacy continue to inspire us. This is a day to reflect on Dr. King’s message of equality, justice, and unity. As a university, we are dedicated to enhancing and upholding these values,” shared President Peters. “There is power in diversity, and seeking equity, inclusion, and accessibility moves us all towards creating a better society and a better community.” Western is joining the City of Monmouth in a day of service helping the community through engagement and civic work. Volunteers are invited to participate in an impactful day of service initiatives, focusing on yard work and cleanup activities. Western will also be showing the film, “Selma”, a chronicle of King’s campaign securing voting rights through the march from Selma to Montgomery, in 1965.  Additionally, every year Western coordinates a fundraiser during January in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s fundraiser proceeds will go to Western’s Black Student Union (BSU). Day of service: Date and time: Monday, Jan. 15 at 9 a.m. Location: Senior Community Center, 180 Warren St. S Monmouth, OR Showing of “Selma”: Date and time: Thursday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. Location: Willamette Room, Werner University Center, Western Oregon University  Throughout this month, consider joining Western and the community by participating in the opportunities available to...

Halley Read: Building pathways for Western’s future Occupational Therapists

Halley Read: Building pathways for Western’s future Occupational Therapists

Pictured starting from left: Halley Read, Ph.D., OTR/L, Katie O’Day President, OTAO MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Halley Read Ph.D., OTR/L, doctoral capstone coordinator for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, was recently the recipient of the Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) President’s Award. This award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the occupational therapy profession through their formal roles within the association or through other efforts. Read’s recognition stems from her exceptional advocacy and legislative policy support work, as well as her direct collaboration with and mentorship of OTAO’s current president. Read also served as an ambassador for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), playing a pivotal role in promoting OT in Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. Additionally, she served as the Oregon Representative for AOTA’s Representative Assembly, effectively addressing the concerns and interests of OT professionals at both the state and federal levels. These combined efforts have been instrumental in advocating for OT professionals. “It’s important for people to know that the OTD program isn’t just a new program to Western. It’s a team filled with remarkable people who are ready to support future OTD students and their profession,” says Read. “We value using our OT clinical training to create better access and pathways for our students and not limiting it to just clinical experience, but also the role of OT professionals in legislative change to shape the future of the profession.”  Learn more about the new OTD program starting this fall. ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university....

Breeann Flesch named interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Western Oregon University

Breeann Flesch named interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Western Oregon University

Photo of Breeann Flesch, Ph.D. MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces the appointment of Breeann Flesch Ph.D., as interim dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Flesch assumed the role on Jan. 1, 2024. Flesch joined Western in 2011 and brings diverse experience to her new role. She received her doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado-Denver. She has served in a variety of leadership roles during her tenure, including mathematics department head, computer science division chair, and general education task force co-chair.  “I am enthusiastic about continuing my service in this capacity. I look forward to fostering the dynamic research community on our campus, dedicated to addressing challenges and providing insights for the Oregon community and beyond,” shared Flesch. “Additionally, I am excited about guiding and supporting students in graduate programs as they pursue further education and career advancement.” In 2018, she co-established and currently co-organizes the student organization FEM in STEM, along with the interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Kristin Latham-Scott, Ph.D., and Leanne Merrill, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics. This group works to connect and support female, non-binary, and other underserved and allied students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Their focus is on education, support, and community connection to tangible STEM role models who have a variety of careers and career paths. “Dr. Flesch brings an invaluable skill set to the graduate program and our research office. Her extensive experience and visionary approach are poised to elevate both areas significantly,” said Provost Jose Coll. “With a clear vision in place, she’ll not only enhance our graduate...

Western Oregon University implements a strength-based grading approach to enhance student success

Western Oregon University implements a strength-based grading approach to enhance student success

Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Since 1856, Western Oregon University has been committed to the region, to serving the people of Oregon, and to the core values of student success. As an innovative public liberal arts institution historically serving first-generation college students from all four corners of the state, Western is announcing the implementation of a strength-based grade approach that recognizes, embraces, and focuses on student competencies and achievements. Beginning this fall term, the institutional academic grading regulation will reflect a grade range of A through D; the letter grades of D- and F will be replaced with No Credit (NC) for undergraduate students. The grade of NC will be used in instances where the student does not meet the course learning objectives. The difference is that the grade of NC will not negatively impact student GPAs.  Provost Jose Coll explains that the new grade annotation will not lower standards but is instead a way to focus on student learning outcomes and increase retention and graduation rates. “GPAs will now be a true reflection of student success and course mastery; failures will no longer mask the demonstrated abilities of our students when they pass courses,” he says. Coll also adds that this practice has been in place for decades at other higher education institutions such as Brown University while others such as Prescott College, New College, Hampshire College, and Evergreen College to name a few have opted for narrative transcripts that highlight the student’s performance in a given field of study. The NC grade will also empower faculty and advising staff to proactively help students potentially transition to another degree...

Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Art Series presents Rainbow Dance Theatre

Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Art Series presents Rainbow Dance Theatre

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series is proud to present the Rainbow Dance Theatre’s “Maria de Buenos Aires” on January 19, 2024. This interactive performance will mesmerize the audience with its display of dancing lights. The dance company is local to Polk County and offers world-class choreography and technology. Darryl Thomas, professor of Theatre/Dance at Western, is the artistic director. The show will feature three extraordinary performances and include wearable electronic costumes, props, and puppets. These performances aim to ignite excitement and curiosity about the technological components of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of dance. The dance company will host two educational outreach performances for local K-8 students on January 18. Nearly 1,000  students will attend. These events allow the company to educate students on STEM technology through dance. “Rainbow Dance Theatre is such an incredible group of performers and educators. I had the privilege of being one of the only people physically in the audience for their last outreach event in 2022,” shared Andi Moring, director of the Smith Fine Arts Series. “Not only will there be students in the room this year, but they will fill every seat in the auditorium. I am thrilled!” Western’s Smith Fine Art Series is committed to bringing exceptional art experiences to the community. The support for similar outreach events is greatly appreciated and ensures the continuation of these enriching programs. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary performance by the Rainbow Dance Theatre. Join the performance on January 19 at 7:30 pm for an unforgettable...

Western Oregon University announces Fall 2023 Honor Roll

Western Oregon University announces Fall 2023 Honor Roll

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces the undergraduate students that have been named to the Honor Roll and President’s List for their academic honors for fall 2023. In recognition of academic achievement, the university makes public at the close of each term an honor roll of undergraduate students who earn 12 or more credits that are not of a pass/no pass nature and who earn a grade point average of 3.50 or higher. The following Western students have been named to the Fall 2023 Honor Roll List: Students from Oregon cities Adair VillageCaleb NessLanie HappyKatie Hay AlbanyLibby AithwaiteCarson AustinKaden BakerEmma BalesZaley BennettSean BoettigerRebecca BriggsYasmin Castaneda BenavidesAlexis ChapmanBianca Compton-CastillaDavid EchevarriaBobbie EsplinSaige GarlandJacob GlenYuliana Heern RojasZane HixJenna HolcombFaith HowleAmy HuskeyMonét JacksonHaley JamesTaylor JonesMari Lemus-SanchezPeighton MarkwoodLauren McCoolTayten McKameyAlyssa MendozaGreyshia MercadoHayden MickelberryJamie Myrick-DuckettJulie NarvaezGretchen OlufsonLogan ParkerRaechel PressonMadison RiceEmily SearsEmily ShanafeltKari ShawJace SoehlJoseph StevensonAhni WashburnCharles WilliamsSamantha WinklerKyler WolfeHailie WrightKelsie Younce AlohaJacey CarmeanMichelle GadboisDaniel Ortega AmityAlexander BlivenAiden BrownJeremiah Distler AstoriaBailey KaulMichael KeeNicole Shoop AumsvilleMoises Leal ZepedaBrittany LucasJacob PersonsBen RothLillian RothLunafreyja SchaferLindsey Yechout AuroraSophie DavenportKrysta Nelson Baker CityAndrew Ferns BandonHolly Hutton BanksIan BodineAneli Godinez-MartinezSydney Maller BeavertonMichaela BrownRebecca BrownBailey BrowningMeredith ButlerRylie CaderJenna CrouseNoemi EvangelistaMervi FosterAdriana GarciaRiley GroshongKrista HaasJustin HughesAidan IonisMarta KribsMacKenzie LeslieMarie MazzottaMagdalena Medrano EscobedoAnthony MendezZoey MerrimanShantelle MonteroNic Ostlund-ArceTom OverlundAubree PargaSenetenari PorotesanoKarla RamosAngeles Reyes MondragonQuinn RidderJulia RosKira SheltonJadyn SmithKota SwaneyNoely Torres GutierrezLayla WilliamBrenda Zamudio Bend Jayda CrawfordTessa DodgeAlexander GrignonAlissa HullSophie MatlockEmily OlsonCarson PerlAmerica SalazarTitus SchulzSarah StewartCaitlin Wheeler BlachlyJasper Beck BlodgettElla Mainwaring BoardmanJessica AmayaNatalie LomeliLeslie LopezHalie Orcutt BonanzaSophie Thompson BrookingsAllison Graves Camas ValleyMax Brown CanbyMia CarrollMaddax ClarkDiana Heintz-Rios Cannon BeachEmma Brown CanyonvilleGreg Reedy CarltonGretchen Sims Central PointAlyssa KilbaneJacob MemmottChloe StaleyAbby Zolkoske ClackamasOlivia DoaneRachel MorrisonDenise Ramirez-SanchezNathan Richardson ClatskanieStephen HartleyMaya...

Western Oregon University alumni creates a significant impact on the community

Western Oregon University alumni creates a significant impact on the community

Image of Emily Swart ’20MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to highlight the achievements of alumni, Emily Swart ‘20. She majored in interdisciplinary studies, leading her to embark on a fulfilling career as the donor relations manager at Marion Polk Food Share. Through her dedication and passion, Swart has made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals facing food insecurity. At Marion Polk Food Share, Swart’s role involves securing funds to distribute one million pounds of food monthly. This incredible feat is made possible through the hard work of volunteers who sort donations from retailers, food drives, and local farmers. The warehouse supports food pantries and collaborates with local programs such as Church in the Park, Boys & Girls Club, and Western’s food pantry. Swart’s journey to success was not a linear path. She found guidance and support at Western after high school where she majored in interdisciplinary studies which allowed her to explore her interests and nurture her curiosity. Swart credits the university for providing the direction she needed to fine-tune her skills, which paved the way for her career. “If you come to Western with an open mind and you lean on your professors and the staff, they’re going to help you dig even deeper into what you’re interested in and passionate about. What makes Western special is they take students like me and launch them into jobs like this.” shared Swart.  Swart’s success story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the invaluable support provided by Western. Her dedication to helping others and making a difference in her community...

Western Oregon University students foster global citizenship and academic excellence

Western Oregon University students foster global citizenship and academic excellence

Pictured left to right: Jaxon Hutchinson, Meriby Salgado Ydrac, and Arlette Tapia Written by Maureen Brakke, Director of Marketing and Communications MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to showcase the achievements of three outstanding students who participated in recent study abroad and internship programs. Students Jaxon Hutchinson, Meriby Salgado Ydrac, and Arlette Tapia Lopez,  demonstrated their dedication to academic excellence and global engagement.  Hutchinson, a linguistics enthusiast, studied in Germany during the 2022-23 academic year where he presented his linguistics research at a prestigious conference in Hamburg. Building on his success, Hutchinson is now preparing to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics in Germany. Ydrac participated in the National Student Exchange program in Puerto Rico during the fall of 2022. This experience provided her with a unique perspective on Puerto Rican culture and allowed her to develop a deeper understanding of global diversity. Inspired by her time abroad, she now works in the study abroad office as a study abroad advisor, where she continues to support and guide fellow students in their pursuit of international experiences. Lopez made a significant impact as a Movement Building Youth Fellow at Capaces in Woodburn this past summer. She contributed to the organization’s mission of empowering the Latine community through her dedication and hard work. She is applying to law school, where she hopes to advocate for underrepresented communities and promote social justice.  Western is committed to providing students with transformative educational experiences that prepare them for success in an interconnected world. Their achievements exemplify the university’s dedication to fostering global citizenship and academic excellence.  Learn more about study abroad and...

Western Oregon University professor receives recognition for film

Western Oregon University professor receives recognition for film

Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Professor of Theatre and Dance, Leslie Watanabe, has received several prestigious awards for his film Bonsai released this year. It was showcased at various film festivals this year. Bonsai is a captivating film that intertwines the technical creation of a beautiful bonsai tree with the life story of the filmmaker’s mother. The film’s unique concept and execution have resonated with audiences and critics, leading to its success. “My mother shared with me that my father made her life a Bonsai. This phrase haunted me for years. When I finally made Bonsai, it was done from my mother’s viewpoint. I gathered all her letters and began the heart-rending process of writing the script,” shared Watanabe. “Now that it’s done and has received recognition throughout the world, I can finally say to her, ‘Rest in peace, Mom the world knows your story.’” In 2023, Bonsai received numerous awards and recognition: 1.  Best Experimental Film, Best Art House Short Film, Best Cinematography, and Dance Film – 8 Halfilm Awards, Rome  2.  Best Experimental Film – Frida Film Festival, Paris  3.  Best Experimental Film – Florence Film Awards, Florence  4.  Best Experimental Film – International Gold Awards 5.  Gold Award: Best Screenplay – Paris Film Awards  6.  Best Screenplay – New York Movie Awards 7.  Best Editing – Florence Film Awards, Florence Looking ahead to 2024, Bonsai has been nominated for awards and will be featured at several  festivals: 1.  Best Screen Play – Winter Leopard International Film Festival, Stockholm  2.  Best Dance Video – Art Giraffe International Film Festival, Nice  3.  Best...

Western Oregon University and Unitus Credit Union celebrate Bilingual Teacher Scholars Scholarship recipients

Western Oregon University and Unitus Credit Union celebrate Bilingual Teacher Scholars Scholarship recipients

Written by Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University, in partnership with  Unitus Credit Union, hosted a reception last month to celebrate eight Unitus Bilingual Teachers Scholars scholarship recipients. This scholarship aims to foster diversity and inclusivity within the teaching profession. The following Western students were recipients of the Bilingual Teachers scholarship: Miriam Herrera Hernandez, Maria Guadalupe Salazar, Keysel Corea-San Emeterio, Evelyn Estrada, Diana Valdovinos Cabrera, Alessandra Cervantes Ramirez, Areli Santos Gomez, and Vanessa Quintero.“Unitus is proud to partner with Western on the Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program for this critical community need,” said Steve Stapp, Unitus president/CEO. “It’s our honor to help prepare the next wave of teachers in Oregon through scholarship support so new students will have bilingual teachers who understand their needs, connect with them on a cultural level, and can meet them where they’re at.” The gathering included staff from Western Oregon University and alumnus Gustavo Balderas, Ph.D. ‘90, superintendent of Beaverton School District, who delivered the keynote address. Balderas, known for his dedication to education and his visionary leadership, provided inspiration and encouragement to the scholarship recipients.  The recipients shared their stories and their inspiration for pursuing a career in education.  “I want to be a teacher who will support students like me. I do not want any child to feel as if they are alone and I want my students to know that I can relate to them,” shared Vanessa Quintero, scholarship recipient and a junior at Western. She adds that not only does she want to support students but also their families and believes that creating strong connections will help everyone learn...

Western Oregon University announces new major in Ethnic Studies

Western Oregon University announces new major in Ethnic Studies

Pictured from left: Ricardo Pelegrin Taboada, Ph.D., Mary Pettenger, Ph.D.MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to announce a new major in Ethnic Studies, starting fall 2024-25. This major aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to navigate and address contemporary equity and justice. The Ethnic Studies program incorporates courses from 20 different disciplines, offering students a well-rounded education. It encompasses five concentrations: Chicano/Latino and Latin American studies, African American and African studies, global ethnicities studies, Indigenous studies, and intersectionality studies. By exploring these concentrations, students will gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and contributions of these ethnic groups.  Two new courses will be offered in Ethnic Studies. Students can enroll in Introduction to Ethnic Studies 201 for the upcoming winter term and Introduction to Cultural Studies 202 for the upcoming spring term. These courses will provide comprehensive insights into diverse cultural landscapes and social dynamics that shape our world.  “We are thrilled to introduce the new Ethnic Studies major at Western,” said Ricardo Pelegrin Taboada, Ph.D., professor of History. “This program will empower students to become agents of social change and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society.”  This program is also a gateway to a wide range of professions. Students interested in law, criminal justice, social activism, public health, public education, and other social services will find this major particularly relevant. The program’s focus on critical thinking, culture, history, and current societal issues will prepare students to be culturally competent practitioners ready to serve diverse populations.  For students who wish to supplement their studies in another field, Western currently offers a minor...

Western Oregon University Rugby: A Flourishing Hub of Excellence, Growth, and Inclusivity

Western Oregon University Rugby: A Flourishing Hub of Excellence, Growth, and Inclusivity

By Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Rugby at Western Oregon University isn’t just a sport; it’s a vibrant community, an avenue for growth, and a catalyst for inclusivity. Over the years, Western has evolved into a central hub for rugby in Oregon, embracing the sport across various levels and fostering an environment that champions diversity and achievement. The success story of Western’s club sports rugby program goes beyond the field. Established in 2001 for men and in 2004 for women, the teams quickly made their mark. The university’s club sports rugby program stands as a testament to inclusivity, with the women’s program officially named Women’s+ to warmly welcome individuals identifying as transgendered or nonbinary. This practice, prevalent in the rugby world, echoes Western’s commitment to fostering an inclusive sporting environment. The men’s team notably qualified for the national championship in 2008 and has won numerous conference and regional championships since. As a result of some very successful seasons in the last few years, they are consistently ranked in their division as one of the top National Collegiate Rugby teams. The Women’s+ team has experienced its share of achievements, securing a spot in nationals during their first year of competing. Since then, they’ve had numerous conference championships. Rugby offers two distinct forms of gameplay. The fall season typically consists of traditional 15s rugby (15 players), while the spring season introduces the dynamic and fast-paced rugby 7s (7 players), which is also an Olympic sport that has significantly contributed to rugby’s popularity. Western proudly participates in both, fielding teams for men and women, marking their presence in both formats and proudly...

Western Oregon University’s Cannon Art Gallery showcases faculty work in biennial exhibition

Western Oregon University’s Cannon Art Gallery showcases faculty work in biennial exhibition

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Cannon Gallery of Art proudly presents the exceptional artwork of the Art & Design Department faculty. This biennial exhibition showcases the remarkable talent and creativity of faculty members, offering a diverse range of artistic expressions to the community. The exhibition opened in November with a reception that was held at the Cannon Gallery located in the historic Campbell Hall. The event was filled with art, refreshments, and music by Mike Fite. This year’s biennial exhibition includes the works of Mary Harden, Jodie Garrison, Daniel Tankersley, Rebecca McCannell, Jennifer Vaughn, Jen Bracy, Gregory Poulin, Pete Hoffecker Mejia, and Donna Beverly. Additionally, the exhibition proudly introduces the remarkable contributions of Eric Frey and Laura Killip from the Art & Design staff.  “The last faculty biennial was in 2021, coming immediately off of the pandemic. This exhibit marks a noticeable shift and a coming back together as a department and as a community. The work in this show is bright, colorful, and conceptually engaging,” shared Paula Booth, MFA, Professor of Art and gallery director. “Artists are trying new things, pushing new concepts, and experimenting with materials in new ways – it feels fresh and exciting.” The exhibition showcases a wide array of media, including painting, printmaking, video, installation, sculpture, collage, and mixed media, and visitors will be captivated by the sheer diversity and creativity of the showcased artworks. The exhibition is open to the public and is available until Dec. 8. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse in the world of art and support the creative endeavors of Western’s talented faculty. Learn more about the Cannon...

Western Oregon University to host 56th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Western Oregon University to host 56th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to host the 56th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, a beloved event that brings joy and unity to campus and the community. This year’s ceremony promises to be a memorable experience for all who attend. The lighting of the magnificent 123-foot sequoia tree will mark the beginning of the holiday season, creating a magical atmosphere that embodies the true spirit of the season. The event will commence Friday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. with a cocoa and cider alumni networking event, followed by the festive holiday parade, starting at the Monmouth Library and culminating on Western’s campus, in front of the sequoia tree for the tree lighting at 6 p.m. Students, faculty, staff, community members, and the public are all invited to participate in the celebration. Western’s President Peters emphasized in a recent OregonLive article that the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony is a testament to Western’s commitment to community engagement. It serves as a reminder of the university’s dedication to being a community-focused institution that welcomes and celebrates everyone. The ceremony allows individuals to come together, connect, and celebrate each other in the season’s true spirit. The celebration will feature a range of activities, including a holiday parade, the lighting of the tree, photo opportunities with Santa, and cookie decorating. These activities have become cherished traditions that create lasting memories for all.  Schedule of Events: Friday, December 1st Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting! 5:30 p.m.: Cocoa and Cider sponsored by Alumni Relations next to the Sequoia tree Free WOU swag will be given away on a first-come-first-serve basis. 6 p.m.: Holiday...

Western’s first graduate student body president champions proactive student-centric initiatives

Western’s first graduate student body president champions proactive student-centric initiatives

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Beth Priddy, Carl Garon, Hunter Hall, Tyler Plath, Maddux Gillett, Daizy Hernandez Sorian, Shabryn Herrera, Eva Alvarez, Lilli Jacobs, Destiney TannerMONMOUTH, Ore. – Associated Students of Western Oregon University (ASWOU), the official student government of Western, continues to make significant strides in enhancing student life and advocating for student interests. As a student-run and student-funded organization, ASWOU is committed to representing the diverse student body at Western. Leading the ASWOU government as President is Hunter Hall, a native of Portland. Hall brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to serving the student body. Joining Hall are several other dedicated individuals, including Daizy Hernandez Sorian, vice president, Shabryn Herrera, chief of staff, and Destiney Tanner, director of public relations. They are all from Woodburn. “I’m the first graduate student to be the president and am extremely honored to serve in this role,” said Hall. “We spearheaded the event Paint the Town Red during Homecoming week, where businesses donated funds and sponsored student clubs and organizations by allowing them to decorate various business storefront windows around town.” Hall also expressed his gratitude toward the local businesses and his excitement to continue working with them and campus partners in the future. Representing various regions of Oregon, the ASWOU government also includes Lilli Jacobs, recording secretary from Coos Bay, Beth Priddy, director of business and finance from Junction City, and Eva Alvarez, director of student organization from Corvallis. Maddux Gillett, from Sherwood, currently serves as the senate president, ensuring the voices of the student body are heard and represented. Tyler Plath, judicial administrator, brings a unique...

Western Oregon University alumnus a changemaker in education

Western Oregon University alumnus a changemaker in education

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is excited to highlight the successful journey of alumnus Juan Larios ‘01, ‘06, who currently serves as Superintendent for the Woodburn School District. Larios, who received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in elementary education from Western, was motivated to attend college by his parents, who did not have the opportunity to attend middle school or high school. His personal experience exposed the limits his household faced, fueling his determination to become a change-maker for others.  “Over the 23 years of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to be an elementary school principal and a high school principal. I am thrilled and honored to have been a part of this community and to continue to serve it,” shared Larios. As Superintendent, Larios dedicates his time to fostering a supportive community for Woodburn School District students. He believes higher education has the power to transform lives, not only for individual students but also for their families.  Larios spends significant one-on-one time with students, elevating their voices and sharing their stories. Western invites everyone to learn more about Larios’ inspiring journey and his invaluable experience at the university. His story exemplifies the transformative power of education and the impact one individual can have on an entire community.  Learn more about Juan Larios’ journey and experience at Western. ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern 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...

Western celebrates first successful open house for Occupational Therapy Doctorate program

Western celebrates first successful open house for Occupational Therapy Doctorate program

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is thrilled to announce its successful inaugural open house for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program. The event took place on Nov 4 and attracted approximately 75 attendees, with a significant number expressing strong interest in joining the first 24-25 cohort. “The first OTD open house was an amazing success. We were ecstatic to see such enthusiasm from future OTD students and community partners,” said Sean Roush, director of the OTD program. “Our team is excited to welcome our first cohort of students next September and develop learning and service opportunities with our local community partners. Attendees had the chance to interact with students, program faculty, and community partners, allowing them to fully grasp the enriching experience that awaits them at Western. The application for the 24-25 inaugural cohort is now open. Aspiring occupational therapy professionals are encouraged to apply. Western is dedicated to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment that nurtures the growth and development of its students, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their future careers. For individuals interested in pursuing an occupational therapy doctorate, Western is pleased to announce the upcoming open house scheduled for Dec 13. This virtual event, conducted over Zoom, will provide another opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the program’s curriculum, engage with faculty members, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the university’s commitment to healthcare education.  About the OTD program, application, and RSVP for the open house  ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students,...

22 higher education leaders chosen for AASCU’s Academy for New Provosts

22 higher education leaders chosen for AASCU’s Academy for New Provosts

By Maureen Brakke, director of Marketing & CommunicationsThe American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected 22 outstanding higher education leaders to participate in its 2023 Academy for New Provosts (ANP), a leadership development program designed for the specific needs of new provosts at state colleges and universities. The program, which is in its fourth year, allows cohort members to connect with their peers as they learn strategies for tackling the distinctive challenges they will face in their role.  The 2023 Academy for New Provosts met in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24-26 for their first in-person gathering. The group will also participate in monthly virtual learning and networking sessions. ANP is made possible in part by generous support from AASCU strategic partner Ad Astra.  Western’s new Provost Jose Coll was selected to be part of the latest cohort. Coll was most recently the Dean of the School of Social Work and Interim Dean of the College of Education at Portland State University and has held administrative and faculty positions at Texas State University, University of Southern California, and Saint Leo University. His research interests have been predominantly on worldview development and veteran transition. He is the author and co-editor of numerous publications, including The Counselor’s Primer for Counseling Veterans, The Handbook of Military Social Work, Student Veterans in Higher Education: A Primer for Administrators, and Civilian Lives of U.S. Veterans: Issues and Identities. “AASCU is proud to once again provide specialized guidance, expertise, and support that helps newly minted provosts succeed,” said Terry Brown, vice president for academic innovation and transformation at AASCU. “The complexities of being a...

Western Oregon University presents Shakespeare’s, Much Ado About Nothing

Western Oregon University presents Shakespeare’s, Much Ado About Nothing

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Theatre Department is proud to announce the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s timeless classic, Much Ado About Nothing. This play is part of the ongoing commitment to provide students with a solid foundation in the performing arts and enrich the cultural landscape of the community. Each term, students are immersed in productions spanning various styles, from contemporary to classical. One of the lead roles is played by one of the incredibly talented students at Western, Cole Richardson. He is a senior majoring in theatre arts and will assume the role of Don John. “This show is special because it’s the first mainstage Shakespeare play that we are doing in quite some time. Things changed a bit during the pandemic. But now we’re back and better than ever.” shared Richardson. The performances will take place at Rice Auditorium on the following dates: Nov 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, and 18, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a matinee performance on Nov 12 at 2:30 p.m. Additionally, there will be ASL-interpreted performances on Friday, Nov 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov 12, at 2 p.m. This production promises to be a captivating and memorable experience for all. The show is open to the public to join and support the talented students who have dedicated their time and efforts to make Much Ado About Nothing a success. ### About the upcoming events/tickets for the Western Oregon University Theatre department About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is...

Western Oregon University celebrates first-generation day

Western Oregon University celebrates first-generation day

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University proudly celebrates First-Generation College Celebration Day, a day that recognizes and celebrates the achievements and aspirations of first-generation college students. As an institution dedicated to fostering student success and support, Western takes this opportunity to showcase its commitment to supporting its 47% first-generation student body. “First-Generation College Celebration Day is a celebration of resilience, determination, and the power of higher education to change lives,” shares President Jesse Peters. He also adds that he is a first-generation college student, and his journey was one filled with uncertainty and fear, but also a journey of excitement and wonder.  Peters shares that he wanted to go to college to make his family proud and be a role model for other first-generation college students and that this day helps celebrate the potential every first-generation student has. “I want Western Oregon University to provide all students with the best resources to be successful, and it is particularly important to me that first-generation students feel welcomed and supported. As I always say, it’s good to be FIRST: Focused. Innovative. Resourceful. Successful. Together. We. Are. Wolves.” The university’s dedication is evident through the wide range of resources and programs specifically designed to ensure student success. The TRIO Student Enrichment Program (TRIO SEP) and the TRIO Teacher Prep Student Support Services (TRIO TPSSS) are programs that provide first-generation students with the tools and guidance needed to excel academically, access essential resources, and achieve their educational and career goals. TRIO SEP and TRIO TPSSS serve as pillars of support, offering personalized academic advising, tutoring, career counseling, financial literacy workshops, and more. Additionally,...

Western Oregon University awarded DOJ grant for domestic violence prevention and awareness

Western Oregon University awarded DOJ grant for domestic violence prevention and awareness

Image: Kristen Perry, director of Abby’s House MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University was recently awarded a substantial three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, totaling $396,766. This grant is poised to catalyze a transformative initiative to enhance awareness and foster essential training on the critical issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking among Western students. The grant will fund projects through Abby’s House, which provides the campus community with educational opportunities, resources, and referral services designed to promote equity and non-violence. The projects are set to invigorate and fortify Western’s Wolves Against Interpersonal Violence Committee (WAIV), which has long championed the cause of addressing these pressing societal issues. The committee’s strategic plan will be reinvigorated, synergizing their multifaceted endeavors, while forging an array of external partnerships to create a coordinated community response team. This initiative will play a pivotal role in expanding prevention education, with a particular emphasis on tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community. The grant will also fund a full-time coordinator who will supervise many areas of this project, co-chair the WAIV committee, and oversee prevention for the campus community. “We are thrilled to seize this incredible opportunity to further our commitment to sexual violence prevention on campus and to appoint a dedicated staff member who will spearhead this project,” exclaimed Kristen Perry, director of Abby’s House and principal investigator for this grant. “We are confident that this endeavor will usher in a new era of possibilities for our campus, allowing us to infuse creativity into our work.” Perry also extends her...

Western Oregon University to host open house for new occupational therapy doctoral program

Western Oregon University to host open house for new occupational therapy doctoral program

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University invites aspiring occupational therapists and  the general public to an open house for the new Doctorate in Occupational Therapy program starting fall of 2024 this Saturday, Nov. 4 from 1-3 p.m. The event will be held at the WOU: Salem building located at 525 Trade Street in Salem, providing attendees the opportunity to explore the home of the new program. “We are so excited to unveil the first doctoral program at Western, as it will support healthcare access to Salem and the neighboring communities in Oregon,” shared Halley Read, doctoral capstone coordinator. “ The open house is a great chance to meet faculty, explore the WOU: Salem office, and discover how occupational therapy can be both a rewarding and enjoyable career path.” The following outlines the agenda for the open house: Informal tours and networking Prospective students will have the chance to tour the building and connect with faculty. Presentation of the new doctorate degree Join for a comprehensive presentation on the exciting features and benefits of the newly established doctoral program. Discover how this program can propel your career in the field of occupational therapy to new heights. Q&A session and more networking Engage in a Q&A session to clarify any doubts or inquiries about the program. Network with faculty and staff to gain valuable insights and build connections. This event will provide a unique opportunity for prospective students, their families, and anyone interested in the occupation therapy field and learn about Western’s commitment to providing innovative learning and research opportunities. This program will truly equip students with the skills and knowledge to make...

Western Oregon University Foundation adds four new board members

Western Oregon University Foundation adds four new board members

Top left: Hunter Hall, bottom left: Dave Novotney, top right: Joyce Peters, bottom right: Linda Yorke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University Foundation announces four new members to its Foundation Board. The new members, Hunter Hall ’23, Linda Yorke, Dave Novotney ’95, and Joyce Peters ’64, bring a wealth of experiences and perspectives to help guide and support the Foundation’s mission. Hunter Hall is a first-generation college student and recent Western graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and minors in communications and writing. He is currently working toward his master’s degree at Western and serves as president of the Associated Students of Western Oregon University. Hall is an aspiring student voice for the board. He was born and raised in Portland.“I’m really excited to be a student voice and represent my peers on the board level. I’m very passionate about education and it will offer both life and job experience that I’m looking  forward to,” shared Hall. Linda Yorke, a first-generation college graduate and retired clinical social worker, brings a wealth of experience to the board through her professional and volunteer activities. With a lifelong passion for music, Yorke is concurrently serving as chair of the Smith Fine Arts Series board at Western. She has called Salem home for 47 years.  Dave Novotney, an educator and school administrator with 38 years of experience, retired last June after serving as the superintendent of the Willamette Education Service District. During his tenure, Novotney collaborated closely with Western to develop innovative educational programs benefiting students in the region. His extensive background includes roles such as high school history teacher, high school...

Western Oregon University sees first Enrollment Boost in over a Decade

Western Oregon University sees first Enrollment Boost in over a Decade

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces a momentous boost in overall enrollment, marking the first substantial increase in over a decade. For the fall term of 2023, the university experienced a remarkable five percent rise in overall headcount compared to the same period in 2022, resulting in a total enrollment of 3,951. Undergraduate enrollment for this fall term reached 3,343, while graduate student enrollment saw a sharp rise of nearly 41 percent in comparison to the previous fall term, totaling 608. Of equal significance, student retention witnessed a noteworthy increase to 76 percent reflecting a six percent increase in the percentage of students who chose to re-enroll for fall term. “We are thrilled to report that overall enrollment at Western Oregon University is experiencing an upward trajectory,” said President Jesse Peters. “While acknowledging that we still have work ahead of us, this moment signifies a thrilling milestone for the university.” Other notable highlights include a seven percent increase in first-generation student enrollment since 2018, now standing at an impressive 48 percent. Furthermore, a substantial 40 percent of undergraduates were awarded Pell grants in 2021-22 indicating their qualification for essential federal student aid—a pivotal factor in their collegiate success and completion.   The university also celebrates a notable 18 percent increase in first-year students. Additionally, an impressive statistic reveals that more than 80 percent of Western undergraduate students are Oregon residents. “These remarkable shifts are a testament to the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of the entire Western community. The collective commitment to supporting students and ensuring their success has yielded these extraordinary results,” shares Peters. “We offer a unique and welcoming educational...

Western Oregon University appoints Venu Nair as General Counsel 

Western Oregon University appoints Venu Nair as General Counsel 

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University President Jesse Peters announced the appointment of Venu Nair as the General Counsel for the institution. Nair will begin this role Oct. 23. “Mr. Nair’s deep experience in higher education and his commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access initiatives make him a great fit. He is familiar with many aspects of higher education and is eager to continue serving students and employees as we further strengthen Western. His approachable personality and collaborative philosophy are assets to our community and to Oregon, and I look forward to having him on campus,” expressed President Peters. Nair brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Western community. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Alabama, a Master of Business Administration from the George Washington School of Business, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas. “Western Oregon University aligns perfectly with my value system. Specifically, it is of utmost importance to celebrate and highlight both our similarities and differences, to champion individuals who are breaking educational boundaries, and to provide a learning space that is conducive for every voice to be heard and accepted,” shares Nair. Prior to joining the team at Western, Nair spent eight years at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he most recently served as the Interim Chief Legal Officer. His tenure at UTSA allowed him to develop a profound understanding of the legal intricacies within higher education institutions. The legal team at Western offers extensive in-house legal services, such as employment law, student affairs, grievances and complaints resolution, collective bargaining negotiations,...

Western Oregon University celebrates over 50 new Diversity Scholars 

Western Oregon University celebrates over 50 new Diversity Scholars 

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Multicultural Student Services and Programs (MSSP) hosted its annual Diversity Scholars recognition celebration for the 2023-2024 academic year, dedicated to celebrating students’ academic excellence and commitment to diversity. The event was emceed by America Salazar, a junior and the Multicultural Coordinator, along with Louie Arce, the assistant director of MSSP. President Jesse Peters and Provost Jose Coll warmly welcomed the gathering, and the audience was treated to a captivating performance by Destiny Cannaday, a 2022 scholar, and fellow student Rosabelle Surla. The evening’s inspirational keynote address was delivered by Michael Waller, a 2008 alumnus and former scholar, and an inspiring essay written by 2023 scholar Julia Ros, was shared. The presentation of certificates was carried out by Anna Hernandez-Hunter, the director of MSSP. Hernandez-Hunter expressed deep pride in the accomplished scholars, remarking, “I am immensely proud of our students for their dedication in attaining these scholarships. A significant number of our Diversity Scholars are first-generation college students, embarking on a distinctive journey in higher education, one that promises to leave a lasting, positive impact on both their own lives and their families.” The event concluded with remarks from Luanne Carrillo-Avalos, the assistant director of MSSP, and Blanca Miranda Aguilar, the program advisor and coordinator of MSSP. The Diversity Scholars recipients are listed below: Ahmani Hopoi Alejandra Ceja Montes Alondra Martinez  Andrea Ambrocio Reyes Andy Ruiz Perez Arianna Velasco  Atlas Jimenez-Sprague  Belen Santiago Hernandez  Blanca Avila  Bobby Barnaby Bryce Brenda Garcia Garibay Cathlene Hermann Cheydon Herkshan Daisia Fulton Danni Wilson Daphne Cruzana Diana Heintz-Rios Elizabeth Alvarez-Mendoza Elizabeth Morales-Marquez Ellyana Suek* Emma Higashi Erick Gonzalez-Bejar...

Western Oregon University Receives NSF Award to Boost Innovation and Industry Partnerships

Western Oregon University Receives NSF Award to Boost Innovation and Industry Partnerships

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University received a significant award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for the inaugural Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) initiative. The funding amounts to nearly $1.2 million, with Western’s award being $399,999, spanning over three years. The NSP EPIIC award is in partnership with Christopher Newport University and Champlain College. “We are pleased that we’ve secured additional funds to boost our industry connections, allowing our faculty to dive into more research and development projects,” declared Provost Jose Coll. “Concurrently, this initiative will expand the spectrum of workforce readiness options for our students, reinforcing our commitment to professional growth.” EPIIC is a new program that aims to promote innovation and advance technologies by supporting partnerships and enhancing workforce opportunities at higher education institutions. It’s a part of NSF’s Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Directorate (TIP).  Western has specific goals for capacity-building and expanding partnerships, which include: Establishing a centralized system to provide support and coordinate industry partnershipsDeveloping strategies, best practices, policies, and templates for creating and maintaining industry partnerships.Strengthening faculty members’ ability to engage in research and development industry partnerships.Increasing opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in the industry to improve workforce readiness. This grant involved collaboration among three areas on campus: the Sponsored Projects Office, the Division of Computer Science, and Western’s partnership specialist. The project is headed by Western Oregon University faculty and staff, including Hillary Fouts, Becka Morgan, Tad Shannon, Breeann Flesch, and Jessica Murfin. ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a...

Western Oregon University Alumni Achieves Remarkable Success as Polk County Fire Chief

Western Oregon University Alumni Achieves Remarkable Success as Polk County Fire Chief

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to highlight the exceptional journey of alumnus Ben Stange ‘03, who has made significant strides in his career as the Polk County Fire Chief for District No.1. After graduating from Western with a major in Spanish, Ben Stange found his calling in the field of firefighting. During his time as a student, Stange volunteered with the Polk County Fire Department and discovered his passion for the work. This experience led him to pursue a career as a firefighter after graduation. “The most rewarding part of the job is saving people’s lives. I attribute my success in my job to the community and support I’ve received. Beginning my career while studying at Western and fully immersed in this close-knit community has been instrumental in my achievements,” reflects Stange. Polk County Fire District covers approximately 200 square miles of Polk and Marion counties, with a mission to extinguish fires and provide medical care to individuals in need. In addition to his major in Spanish, Stange minored in communication, a decision that has proven immensely valuable in his line of work. Effective communication is a cornerstone of his day-to-day responsibilities. Stange emphasizes the importance of being a community partner and how communication plays a huge role in their success. For more information on Ben Stange’s journey and his experience as a Western Oregon University alum, visit Ben Stange ‘05 Success Story. ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70%...

Western Oregon University Announces Recipients of Alumni Excellence Award

Western Oregon University Announces Recipients of Alumni Excellence Award

Top left: Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Ph.D., bottom left: Mark Zook, right: Katherine CookMonmouth, Ore.  – Western Oregon University is proud to announce the recipients of the prestigious Outstanding Alumni Awards for 2023. Since 1985, Western has selected one award recipient, however starting this year, additional honorees were added to recognize the many accomplishments of our graduates. Awards include  the Alumni Award for Service to Community, the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement, and the Service to Western Oregon University Award.  These awards recognize alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions, communities, and to the university itself. These exceptional individuals embody the spirit of excellence that Western Oregon University holds dear. This year’s honorees are: Gustavo Balderas, Ph.D. ‘90 is receiving the 2023 Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. Balderas has been an educator for 34 years and a school superintendent for 13 of those years in three states.  He has been named National Superintendent of the Year by the National Superintendent Association, the National Bilingual Association, and Oregon Superintendent of the Year.  Balderas is also the President of the National Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents as well as president-elect of The National School Superintendents Association.  Nearly 21 years ago, he also co-founded the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators. Balderas shares that he is most proud of the work done during his time as a school superintendent, specifically in the areas of promoting equity and disrupting systems to create new ones that create greater access and opportunity for all students. He adds that when he worked as the Superintendent in the Eugene School District, they increased the graduation rate...

Western Oregon University Celebrates Homecoming Week 2003

Western Oregon University Celebrates Homecoming Week 2003

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is thrilled to kick off its highly anticipated homecoming week, a time-honored tradition that brings together alumni, students, and the local community for a week filled with fun, festivities, and school spirit. This year’s homecoming week includes a wide range of events and activities that will keep everyone entertained.  “Homecoming is such a special time on campus, as we can all come together as Wolves in one collective place. The idea behind all we do during homecoming is that it’s good to be home,” said Katelin Granger, student activities and inclusion coordinator. “Western feels like home to many current students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and celebrating our shared love for this campus warms our hearts.”  From October 16-21, Western will be buzzing with excitement and celebration with the spirit of togetherness that defines the institution. Homecoming week will feature a diverse array of events, with something for everyone. Below is a sneak peak at what attendees can look forward to: Monday, Oct 16: Homecoming week will start with a bang with the annual Paint the Town Red event hosted by Associated Students of Western Oregon University, on main street in Monmouth.Movie night featuring the Incredibles with DIY memory boxes hosted by the Student Activities Board. Tuesday, Oct 17: Hollywood trivia night hosted by the Resident Hall Association. Wednesday, Oct 18: Homecoming carnival in the grove outside of the Ackerman resident hall on campus. Students can enjoy games, food, photo booths, and more hosted by SAB. Thursday, Oct 19: I love female orgasms: join Abby’s House to laugh and learn about the “Big O”. Friday,...

Western Oregon University recipient of prestigious award

Western Oregon University recipient of prestigious award

By Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is one of 21 higher education institutions in the country recognized for their leadership and commitment to continuous improvement by The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Western’s College of Education was specifically recognized.The recognition award, The Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement, is named after the founding President of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and TEAC. Murray was the founding President of TEAC, served as Chairman of the Board for TEAC, and was also an initial member of the CAEP Board of Directors. He was a key advocate for a single set of educator preparation standards to unify the profession and was instrumental in the merger that created CAEP. He also served as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1995. “Frank Murray was passionate about education preparation, a prominent leader in our profession, and an advocate for evidence to improve education. The providers that CAEP is recognizing are committed to continuous improvement and preparing their students to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said Yuhang Rong, Chair of the CAEP Board of Directors. “CAEP Accreditation is a sign of commitment to quality through purposeful use of evidence. The Murray Leadership Recognition recipients should be proud of their accomplishments.” Recipients of the 2023 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement are selected from the educator preparation providers (EPPs) that were granted accreditation by CAEP at the initial level from the...

Western Oregon University awarded first Title III grant with perfect score

Western Oregon University awarded first Title III grant with perfect score

By Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore.- Western Oregon University was recently awarded a prestigious U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Title III grant for the first time, securing the full amount of $2,048,136. This accomplishment was the result of a collaborative effort that engaged individuals from all corners of the university. U.S. DOE Title III grants are federally funded grants that help qualifying higher education institutions expand their capacity to support underserved students by providing funds to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. The primary goal of Western’s grant is to increase the retention of first-time students, reduce equity gaps in retention, and foster a sense of belonging among its students. These funds will allow Western to innovate, expand, and improve systems for student support. “We are overjoyed to share this incredible news with our community. Receiving a Title III grant is a significant milestone for Western, the first one for our university, and it reflects our dedication to providing the best possible education for our students,” said President Jesse Peters. “This achievement would not have been possible without the exceptional teamwork and dedication of our staff and faculty from across campus. We are immensely proud of what we have accomplished together.” Notably, the grant proposal received a perfect score, a rare accomplishment for federal grants. This was also the first time Western applied for and received a Title III grant. The absence of any noted weaknesses underscores the exceptional quality of the grant proposal and the dedication of the grant team.  “This perfect score is a testament to the excellence and innovation that permeates our...

Western Oregon University welcomes new scholars

Western Oregon University welcomes new scholars

By Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to partner with the nation’s largest scholarship and success program for immigrant youth, TheDream.US, to help more Dreamers achieve their college and career goals. This year, Western Oregon University will welcome 13 new scholars to campus, joining the dozens of other returning scholars at Western. The new Scholars starting their academic journeys at Western are part of the largest-ever cohort of TheDream.US Scholars – more than 1,800 new scholars across the country are attending more than 80 institutions.  “It is an honor to work with The Dream.US to support a pathway for undocumented students to pursue their college education,” said Vice President for Student Affairs, Tina Fuchs. “ Our dedicated staff and faculty walk side-by-side with our Dreamer scholars on their journey at Western, celebrating every important milestone along the way. We stand committed to providing ongoing support and assistance to address their academic, financial, and personal needs, culminating in the completion of their college degree.” Gaby Pacheco, director of Advocacy, Communications, and Development at TheDream.US, stated, “We are proud to partner with Western Oregon University and our other partner colleges to support talented Dreamers’ pursuit of higher education and career success. Despite many obstacles that have been put in their way, our scholars continue to persevere and succeed, demonstrating in the process why expanding opportunities for Dreamers is so important for the nation.” ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70%...

Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series announces 46 Season lineup

Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series announces 46 Season lineup

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series is thrilled to invite you to an unforgettable journey through the world of live performing arts in the heart of Rice Auditorium on campus. As we celebrate the 46th season, we are excited to present a diverse and captivating lineup of performances that promise to delight and amaze audiences of all ages.  Join us for a season filled with extraordinary talent and artistic diversity: October 6, 2023 LADAMA LADAMA, an ensemble of women musicians from across the Americas, will grace the stage with their unique blend of rhythm and percussion-driven original compositions. Sung in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, their music combines traditional roots with pop, creating a sonic experience that transcends continents and cultures. LADAMA performed at the Launch of U.S. Department of State’s Global Music Diplomacy Initiative. December 2, 2023 Never Come Down Portland-based 5-piece band, Never Come Down, will weave modern and traditional styles of bluegrass and Americana into a mesmerizing performance. Their dedication to thoughtful songwriting and dynamic arrangements promises an evening of polished technical skills and musical synergy. March 16, 2024 Laila Biali  Multi-award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali will grace the stage with her genre-blending sound that masterfully mixes jazz and pop. With accolades that include a JUNO Award and critical acclaim, her performance is sure to be a musical highlight of the season. April 6, 2024 Reverie Road  Reverie Road, an eclectic Celtic combination featuring renowned fiddler Winifred Horan and accordionist John Williams, promises a concert experience that will lift your spirits and have you on your feet. Their unique blend of...

Western Oregon University announces Summer 2023 Honor Roll

Western Oregon University announces Summer 2023 Honor Roll

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces the undergraduate students that have been named to the Honor Roll and President’s List for their academic honors for summer 2023. In recognition of academic achievement, the university makes public at the close of each term an honor roll of undergraduate students who earn 12 or more credits which are not of a pass/no pass nature and who earn a grade point average of 3.50 or higher The following Western students have been named to the Honor Roll List: Mohammed Alaqlan Zoya Altuhova   Esmeralda Amescua Christine Anders Jessica Armfield Lynzey Arp Leela Ayres   ​​Adam Barnett                           Yasmin Castaneda Benavides    Larenda Bennett  Abigail Bethke Nicholas Beyer Hailey Blue Raymond Bourke Breanne Bridge Andrea Capellino Alexis Chilcote Jonathan Contreras Christian Conway Rachael Cox  Parbata Dahal   Elizabeth Doty Johanna Easter Sinikka Edelen Jessie Eschweiler Audrey Fasching Measia Fenn Yeudiel Alvarez Flores   Cavan Fowler  Aiden Grabill     Avery Green     Tayler Hart       Candace Hastings Amber Houghtaling Ashley Hulse Malino Jacinto  Nora Jamal  Megan Kaiser Natalie Katon Bailey Keator    Muhammad Khan Tyler Lane Ashlie Lee         Camryn Lien    Regan Luoma   Tia Mack Savannah Manning     Sydney Martin  Maizie McCoy Tessa McCoy Laurel McGuigan Christopher Means Angela Mendoza  Cameron Merritt Alex Michaels   Ririko Miyamoto Charles Moody Lisa Moya Kayli Nagel Ryan Naugle Ashlynn Norton Amanda Oliver  Reyna Blaylock-Ortega  Justice Presley Thomas Segovia Danielle Pastre  Allison Peterson Jaden Perez  Anahi Ponce                                                                                    ...

Western Oregon University’s Hood to Coast Relay team, Peter and the Wolves Celebrates 32 Years of Excellence

Western Oregon University’s Hood to Coast Relay team, Peter and the Wolves Celebrates 32 Years of Excellence

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Peter and the Wolves, a beloved Hood to Coast Relay team, is proud to mark its 32nd year of participation in this iconic Oregon event. Founded in 1991 by Peter Courtney, the team has evolved over the years into a tight-knit group of runners with strong connections to Western Oregon University (WOU). Peter Courtney’s journey with Hood to Coast began when he joined a random team as a last-minute runner. Instantly captivated by the experience, he went on to form his own team, consisting of runners connected to WOU, including staff, students, and alumni. Today, the team boasts a roster of eight alumni and one nearly retired staff member, all bound together by their shared passion for this extraordinary race. The Hood to Coast Relay spans 200 miles from Timberline to Seaside, and each runner takes turns covering legs ranging from three to eight miles, with each participant completing a total of three legs before reaching the finish line on the beautiful Oregon coast. This year, Sarah Lorenzen ‘98, a dedicated member who has also served as co-captain for several years, celebrates her 16th anniversary on the team. Despite being asked to join the team only one month before race day, Lorenzen enthusiastically accepted the challenge and has been an integral part of the group since 2007.  “Our team may not be the fastest but we’ve cultivated the best team that supports each other on the crazy journey from Timberline to Seaside,” shares Lorenzen. Alongside Lorenzen, the team includes fellow co-captain Ray Jones ‘06, Annie Reed ‘15, Spencer Walsh ‘06, Chris Reed ‘11,...

Raeann Salchenberg selected as Western Oregon University’s Director of Alumni Engagement

Raeann Salchenberg selected as Western Oregon University’s Director of Alumni Engagement

By Maureen Brakke MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University recently named Raeann Salchenberg as the new Director of Alumni Engagement effective September 25. This position is responsible for cultivating and maintaining relationships with Western’s former students, organizing alumni events and programs, and coordinating efforts to keep graduates connected and engaged with their alma mater. The position will also work to leverage alumni support for fundraising and student recruitment initiatives, fostering a sense of community and loyalty among the university’s graduates. “I am honored and excited to come back home and serve the students, alumni and community of my alma mater in the capacity as Director of Alumni Engagement,” said Salchenberg. “ I look forward to identifying and cultivating partnerships with alumni and enhancing the impact of the college alumni community.”  Salchenberg was born and raised in Salem and is a first-generation college student, earning her degree in communication at Western. As a student, she served as a peer mentor, Student Organization Director, and was elected by the student body to serve as the Student Activities Board Director. After she graduated college, Salchenberg worked in development, community relations, leadership board management, volunteer recruitment, and event management. “I am delighted to welcome Raeann back to campus to lead Western’s alumni engagement efforts,” said Katie Wojke, vice president of advancement.  “Her enthusiasm and love of the university, passion for education, and experiences gained through working in the local nonprofit sector since graduating were apparent. Raeann’s collaborative nature, working with the alumni board, volunteers and campus partners, will help elevate Western’s alumni profile in the region and beyond.” ###The Western Oregon University Foundation...

Western Oregon University welcomes students back to campus

Western Oregon University welcomes students back to campus

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University welcomes the 23-24 incoming students with PACK Welcome Week (Prepare, Advise, Connect, Know), a jam-packed week of exciting activities to help them become acclimated to campus life, one week before classes begin. From speakers, to socials, to signing their name on the sidewalk, the new wolves will begin to make their mark at Western. “College is one of life’s ultimate new beginnings, and here at Western we believe that it’s important for all new students to feel comfortable and confident from the very start. Whether you’ll be living in our residence halls or commuting to campus, we want Western to feel like home,” said Megan Habermann-Guthrie, director of New Student & Family Programs. Haberman-Guthrie shares that PACK Welcome Week is the final step in the new student orientation program, and is the place for new students to get to know everything they need to start the term off right.  Key activities: Educational  sessions will cover essential information about student leadership opportunities, campus resources, and student support services. Fun and interactive events, including a magic show, drive-in movie, and a welcome dance.Events to help students find their classes to participate in a professional panel.Student Job Fair, where students can  meet with on campus and local employers seeking: part-time workers, volunteer help, and work study students.Speaker Monti Washington will be the convocation and Speaker Victoria Alexander will host a conversation on diversity, equity, inclusion, and implicit biases.  “I’m so excited to meet all the incoming students and participate in fun events all week.” says Student Orientation Leader, Daryn Heim. “I’m looking forward to getting the students involved...

Western Oregon University Foundation releases annual report

Western Oregon University Foundation releases annual report

MONMOUTH, Ore. –Western Oregon University Foundation released its annual report for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The report includes total contributions to the Foundation for 2022-2023, as well as recent fiscal year results on Endowment, Scholarships, and Competitive Grants. Highlights Contributions totaled $2,889,359 for 2023 and include all new outright or committed private gifts and grants made to the Western Oregon University Foundation from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Contributions increased almost 50 percent in 2023 from 2019. The Competitive Grants program is funded by unrestricted gifts to the WOU Foundation. Each Spring, departments across campus apply for awards of $1,000 or less to support a variety of campus activities. Projects that have a measurable impact on the greatest number of students and provide visibility to the campus or external community are given the most consideration. Grant awards have almost doubled in 2023 from 2019. Scholarships and student aid: The WOU Foundation manages hundreds of annual and endowed scholarships, as well as several emergency student aid funds. Awards are made based on the criteria set by the donor and agreed upon by the University and Foundation. The Foundation awarded over one million dollars in student scholarships in 2023, an increase of 44 percent from 2019. “As a graduate of Western and as a first-generation college student, I owe a lot to Western. Now part of the Western Oregon University Board of Trustees, it’s important that I give back to the school that has given me so much,” said alumnus and trustee, Cristian Mendez-Garcia ’08.  Endowments: An endowment is a donation made to the Western Oregon University Foundation on the condition that...

Western Oregon University launches American Sign Language Certificates for professionals

Western Oregon University launches American Sign Language Certificates for professionals

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University Board of Trustees unanimously approved two undergraduate certificates in American Sign Language studies, which are the first in the region. Both certificates, one beginner and the other intermediate, were developed in response to the state and region’s request for competencies in ASL to meet workforce demands.  The beginner certificate will enhance students’ basic comprehensive and expressive ASL skills and consists of 18 credits, including three courses in American Deaf Culture and American Deaf History. “ASL is the third most used language in the United States, and Western Oregon University has a long history of successful ASL language instruction,” said Mark Girod, Dean of Western’s College of Education. “Adding these certificates will ensure more professionals have language competence to serve our local communities.”  The intermediate certificate is a 34-credit program that consists of six courses in visual-gestural communication, fingerspelling, American Deaf Culture, and American Deaf History. This curriculum helps individuals incorporate comprehension, expressive skills, and knowledge in the history and culture of the Deaf community into their studies and careers.  Both certificate programs are available at Western Oregon University in Monmouth and at Western’s Salem campus. Both programs are offered in-person and online.  Learn more about Deaf Studies & Professional Studies. ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those...

Health Administration Graduate Certificate launches at Western Oregon University

Health Administration Graduate Certificate launches at Western Oregon University

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University offers a new Healthcare Administration Graduate Certificate which will support the growing healthcare industry and increasing healthcare needs of Salem and surrounding areas. According to The Occupational Information Network, over the next decade, 600 jobs will open annually in Oregon for medical and health services management.  “The Healthcare Graduate Certificate program at Western is an affordable and local option taught by healthcare professionals from the Salem community, including Western Oregon University faculty with expertise in gerontology and providing healthcare for minority and rural populations,” said Healthcare Graduate Certificate Program Coordinator Paul Disney. “The certificate can be applied to a master’s degree in organizational leadership with a healthcare administration emphasis and eventually to an MBA with a healthcare concentration.” The certificate offers a local professional development opportunity for current healthcare administrators in the Willamette Valley taught by local experts who are intimately familiar with issues and challenges impacting healthcare in Oregon. It can also be “stacked” with other organizational leadership certificates, that could become a master’s degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis in healthcare administration. This certificate provides a need highlighted by former Oregon Governor Brown in the Future Ready Oregon program, which aims to advance opportunities for historically underserved communities seeking employment or career advancement in healthcare and other select fields.   For more information, contact Paul Disney at disneyp@wou.edu ### About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of...

Western forensic anthropology alumni joins faculty to educate and inspire

Western forensic anthropology alumni joins faculty to educate and inspire

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University alumni Jerielle Cartales ‘13, aspired to be a forensic anthropologist since high school, after watching the television show, Bones. Western’s forensic anthropology minor, coupled with a major in Biology, was the opportunity Cartales needed to make her aspirations a reality, and is now a forensic anthropology lecturer at Western.  “My favorite part of the job is working with my students and seeing that ‘a-ha’ moment when they connect what we covered in the lecture and what we’re covering in the lab. Western really is special because the professors really care about their student’s success,” shares Cartales. Labs consist of students laying out the bones in correct anatomical positions, then processing the remains. They then determine what the individual’s likely age was upon death, their biological sex, the ancestry of the remains, and finally stature, which refers to any evidence of trauma or pathology.  Watch and listen to Cartales share her story. Learn more about the criminal justice programs at Western. ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we...

Western Oregon announces Spring 2023, Honor Roll

Western Oregon announces Spring 2023, Honor Roll

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces the following undergraduate students’ names for the Honor Roll for their academic accomplishments in the spring 2023 semester. The honor roll is composed of students who earned 12 credits or more which are not of a pass/no pass nature and who earned a grade point average of 3.50 or better. The following WOU students were named for Spring 2023: Fowzia Abdi Isaiah Abraham Kendra Acker Sierra Ackerman Josie Ackerman Mia Ackerman Sarah Adams Ayla Adkins Arian Aguilar Zurisahi Aguilar Julian Aguilar-Tomas Mason Akers Jose Alaniz-Benitez Ella Albee James Albrich Kobe Allen Melissa Allen Brayden Allen Faisal Dhawahi D Almutairi Alyssa Alpers Mohammed Alsalem Zoya Altuhova Vanessa Alvarado Mauro Alvarez Mahalia Alvarez Orlando Alvarez Flores Yeudiel Alvarez Flores Morgan Amerson Amerson Horton Christine Anders Juliana Andrade Cami Ansley Chase Anspach Meadow Aragon Pal Aranda Tule Jessica Armfield Martha Arredondo Pacheco Nayra Arriaga-Palma Tate Ashley Karlie Asman Lillian Axelson Ariel Aylsworth Leela Ayres Violet Babbitt Kate Badon Kailee Badua Justine Baillon Gretta Baker India Baker Ashley Baker Zach Balducci Madie Baldwin Emma Bales Kiara Ballard Katelin Banes Ashley Banker Leticia Barbosa Isela Barbosa-lachino Adam Barnett Jillian Barnhurst Hannah Barr Miriam Barragan Mirella Barrera-Betancourt Sarah Bartocci Trenton Bateman Esther Bautista Sarahi Bazan Guerrero Brandon Bean Alexandra Beattie Sophia Beattie Logan Beck Jasper Beck V Behill Adrien Beiswenger Austin Bendele Andrew Bendt Michelle Benitez Larenda Bennett Callia Berg Sally Berg Edgar Bermudez Estrada John Bernardio Alex Bernasconi Maddie Bertalot Lillia Besedin Tirzah Bessey Kellen Betancourt Nick Beyer Emily Biamont Xue Bin Ella Bintoro Angel Mae Bioy Abby Birman Liam Birr Owen Bischoff Ashlyn Bitikofer Kyle Blair...

Western Oregon celebrates new Student Success Center with Groundbreaking Ceremony

Western Oregon celebrates new Student Success Center with Groundbreaking Ceremony

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University will hold a ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking of its new Student Success Center on Monday, August 7. What: Student Success Center Groundbreaking Ceremony When: Monday, August 7th, 2023 Where: 435 Monmouth Ave N • Monmouth, OR 97361 Parking: Lot B (east entrance behind Old Education building) The Center will house several student focused resources, including: Tutoring, Math Center, Writing Center, Office of Disabilities Services, Center for Professional Pathways, Student Advising Center, and a first generation student area. This center will create an equitable and accessible one stop location for the support and aid of our students’ needs. “This Student Success Center will be a key building as we continue to support our students, including many first generation and historically underserved students,” shared President Jesse Peters. “Creating a building that will champion our students’ needs all in one space is instrumental to our university’s mission.” On the site for the new Center is the building that housed the previous Education building, built in 1966. This building helped shape and support 50 years of education majors that have prepared and taught the future generations. The new Richard Woodcock Education building opened in 2016. The total square footage of the new construction is 30,479 square ft; 50 percent of the building will be completely demolished to the foundation and the remaining 50 percent will be gutted to structural concrete.  “The Student Success Center project from concept to design, has been a collaborative project with student needs at the center of every decision. Its centralized location, being in the very heart of campus, will create access...

Maureen Brakke named Director of Marketing and Communications

Maureen Brakke named Director of Marketing and Communications

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University President, Dr. Jesse Peters, recently named Maureen Brakke as the university’s Director of Marketing and Communications, effective July 31st. “Not only does she have the experience and skills to immediately have a strong and positive impact on our initiatives, but she will also be a collaborative partner as our university moves in new and exciting directions,” said Peters. Maureen brings a breadth of experience in public higher education marketing and strategic communications to Western. In her most recent role, she served as the Director of Marketing and Communications at Montana State University Billings where she led rebranding, crisis communications, and digital campaigns that positively impacted student enrollment and retention. Prior to that, she was a Communications Specialist for the Utah System of Higher Education and the Manager of Marketing and Public Relations for the University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center. She also currently serves as a board member and social media director for the Public Relations Society of America, Montana Chapter. “I am thrilled to become a part of the vibrant tapestry that is Western Oregon University. With great anticipation, I embrace the opportunity to advance WOU’s mission and vision, and elevate the institution, shedding light on the exceptional students, accomplished alumni, esteemed faculty and staff, and the remarkable achievements that underscore the university’s excellence,” said Brakke. Maureen Brakke holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from DePaul...

Western Oregon celebrates 166th Commencement Ceremony

Western Oregon celebrates 166th Commencement Ceremony

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University held its 166th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 17, 2023.  The ceremony was held on McArthur Field under ideal weather conditions for Monmouth, Oregon. Following three years of alternative Commencement ceremonies, Wolves Stadium was filled with a standing-room-only audience who watched 774 students walk across the stage to receive their degrees.   For the 2022-23 academic year, which is from the Summer of 2022 through the Spring of 2023, the university expects to confer degrees to a total of 1,035 students. This includes both undergraduate and graduate students. The evening prior, the Master’s degree candidates participated in Western Oregon’s first Graduate Hooding Ceremony.  The pre-processionals included members of Western Oregon’s music department graduating class, directed by associate professor Dirk Freymuth. The national anthem was performed by music graduate, Zachary Vinyard, and American sign language studies graduate, Tayler Ristau. President Jesse Peters welcomed the graduates and encouraged the audience to cheer “We Are Wolves”. ASWOU President, Kodee Harwood introduced the Outstanding Students Recognition & Award recipients. These recipients included Blanca Jiménez and Priscila España as the Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Award winners. The recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award winner was Tanner Shadbolt. The final recipient was the Oregon Health & Science University Golden Lamp Award winner, Pamela Morigeau.  The keynote speaker was Oregon Speaker of the House and Western alumnus ‘03, Dan Rayfield. The presentation of the graduates included Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rob Winningham with assistance from Dean Mark Girod, College of Education, Dean Kathleen Cassity, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dean Hillary Fouts, Graduate Studies and Research, Dean...

Western Oregon names Jamiere Abney, Director of Admissions

Western Oregon names Jamiere Abney, Director of Admissions

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University Vice President of Student Affairs, Tina Fuchs, recently named Jamiere Abney as the university’s Director of Admissions, effective June 30. “Jamiere is a high-level strategic thinker with a strong enrollment management background. Jamiere’s depth of knowledge and experience in Admissions will contribute greatly to the work already being accomplished by our Admissions team,” said Fuchs. “We are excited to have Jamiere join the WOU community, and lead the office of Admissions.” Jamiere Abney is currently serving in the role of Associate Dean of Admissions and Coordinator of Outreach for Opportunity and Inclusion at Colgate University. He leads Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies for the admissions process. Through his leadership, Colgate enrolled its most diverse first-year class in its 200-year history in the fall of 2021. Abney is a Willamette University alumni, graduating with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Economics. He began his higher education career at his alma mater with the Undergraduate Office of Admissions as Assistant Director of Admissions. “I am very excited to join the Western Oregon Community. For my family and I, the return to the Willamette Valley comes at the perfect time. The energy I felt on campus during my interview with students, staff, and faculty was wonderful. It was great to learn about the interest in educating more people to see Western Oregon as an option for their postsecondary education experience,” said Abney. “Further, as a place emphasizing its diverse community as it works to be recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), I feel my successes in application growth, strategic planning for Equity...

Western Oregon selects Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jose Coll

Western Oregon selects Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jose Coll

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University President Jesse Peters named Dr. Jose Coll as the university’s next Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Coll will start in the new role on June 30th. “Dr. Coll’s experiences in higher education leadership have prepared him perfectly to take the helm as Provost at Western,” Peters said. “But more than that, he is student-focused and collaborative, making him a strong partner in this community as we strengthen and improve our institution. We look forward to him joining the leadership team at our university. Welcome to Western Oregon, Dr. Coll.” After serving as a noncommissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, Coll completed a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Saint Leo University, his master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision from the University of South Florida.  “I am humbled at the opportunity to work alongside President Peters, faculty, staff, and students to continue the legacy of Oregon’s oldest public university,” Coll said. “As Provost of Western Oregon University, I look forward to elevating and celebrating the accomplishments of our collective community while promoting academic excellence and innovation. I wish to thank the search committee for their service and look forward to meeting and working with the WOU community. Go Wolves!”  Dr. Coll is the current Dean of the School of Social Work and Interim Dean of the College of Education at Portland State University and has held administrative and faculty positions at Texas State University, University of Southern California, and Saint Leo University. His research interests have been...

Western Oregon’s first Doctoral Program, the first Occupational Therapy Program in Oregon’s public university system

Western Oregon’s first Doctoral Program, the first Occupational Therapy Program in Oregon’s public university system

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University announces its first doctoral program in Occupational Therapy (OT). Classes will be held at the WOU: Salem campus beginning in the fall of 2024. “It is wonderful to see Western Oregon moving to address the needs of the state in this area,” said President Jesse Peters. This will be the first doctoral program at Western Oregon and the first Occupational Therapy program to be located within Oregon’s public university system. Western is currently in the applicant phase of accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and will begin accepting applications by November 2023 with plans to start the first student cohort in fall 2024 “Our location in Salem provides incredible opportunities for our students to grow as healthcare professionals who are prepared to meet the current and future mental and physical healthcare needs of our diverse population,” says Sean Roush, Director of the OT program. “We can’t wait to welcome our first cohort of students.” The program is designed to prepare students to balance the art and science of OT practice as entry-level therapists. Occupational therapists work with individuals, groups, and organizations to promote health and wellness across the age span so that everyone can strive to live life to the fullest. “We are excited to launch the first Occupational Therapy Doctorate offered at an Oregon public university, as we need a more affordable option for students interested in this career path,” Rob Winningham, Provost of Academic Affairs said. “Oregon is in desperate need of more healthcare professionals and programs that lead to licensed practitioners.” Updates on the progress toward...

Western Oregon announces Commencement keynote speaker, Dan Rayfield

Western Oregon announces Commencement keynote speaker, Dan Rayfield

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is pleased to announce that Dan Rayfield, who serves as Oregon’s 69th Speaker of the House, will be this year’s keynote speaker for the 2023 Commencement Ceremony on June 17th, 2023.  A WOU alum 03’, Speaker Rayfield majored in Geography. After graduating from WOU, Speaker Rayfield attended Willamette University School of Law. Speaker Rayfield represents House District 16, encompassing Corvallis and Oregon State University. He is also an attorney who works on behalf of individuals bringing consumer and civil rights cases against large corporations, insurance companies, and others. Since joining the legislature in 2015, Speaker Rayfield has served as Co-Chair of Joint Ways and Means, the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, several of the budget subcommittees, and the House Rules Committee. Throughout this time, he has focused on investing in democracy, making strategic investments in housing and homelessness, good-paying jobs for working families, behavioral health and healthcare, mitigating the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable communities, making Oregon communities safer, and stronger schools.  Prior to 2020, WOU’s Commencement Ceremony featured several notable Keynote speakers including Peter Courtney, Jackie Winters, Matt Utterbacl, Dr. Claire Oliveros, Kurt Schrader, and most recently, Rosa Lee Timm. WOU’s Keynote speakers are selected to inspire, encourage, and congratulate the members of each unique graduating class. We are pleased to bring back this tradition as we send off our 2023 graduates. We want to express our gratitude and appreciation to Speaker Rayfield for being this year’s Keynote...

Western Oregon selects Executive Director of Human Resources Desiree Noah

Western Oregon selects Executive Director of Human Resources Desiree Noah

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Dr. Jesse Peters, Western Oregon University President, names Desiree Noah as the university’s Executive Director of Human Resources. Please join us in congratulating Desiree Noah, who will begin her role on June 26th. “Desiree Noah is the right leader at the right time for the Human Resources Team at Western Oregon University. I have confidence that she will engage our institution in ways that will make us stronger,” said President Peters. Noah currently serves as the Executive Director of People, Safety, and Compliance at Clatsop Community College, where she also served as Director of Human Resources and Title IX Compliance Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Business Administration. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, including years of experience working at a Hispanic Serving Institution. “I am excited to be a part of the WOU community and HR team. I cannot wait to contribute to the continued success I witnessed during my visit,” says Desiree. The Executive Director of Human Resources is responsible for leading the functional areas of employment, employee relations, labor relations, compensation, payroll, benefits, compliance, policy and procedure development, and performance management and training. Western Oregon looks forward to Noah’s leadership and support for our students and employees. ### About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students....

Western Oregon hosts 2nd Hispanic-Serving Institution Summit

Western Oregon hosts 2nd Hispanic-Serving Institution Summit

MONMOUTH, Ore. –  On April 26th, 2023, Western Oregon University hosted its 2nd Annual Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Summit. The first Summit, in April 2022, focused on developing a shared understanding of what it means to be a federally-designated HSI. This year’s Summit, Making Conexiones, expanded and continued to provide a space for our university community, including our state and national partners, to provide multiple perspectives and help us learn from each other. The list included Oregon HECC, Excelencia in Education, Chemeketa Community College, Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, and many more.  “For this Summit, Western Oregon decided to invite leaders from around the state to participate. We wanted collective voices from political leaders, K-12 leaders, and higher education leaders,” said President Jesse Peters. He emphasized the fact that Western Oregon is the four-year public institution that is the closest to achieving the HSI federal designation. “We want to put ourselves in the best position to serve our students in the best ways, and we do that by fostering good strategies through conversations with partners.” Western Oregon’s goal was to focus on bringing together the campus, the community, and both regional and national partners to discuss what it means to become an HSI and why it is so critically important to the success of Latino/a/x students, our university, and the greater community. Currently, Western Oregon’s student body is made up of 21.9% Latino/a/x students. “Western Oregon becoming an HSI would better help represent and serve the Hispanic and Latino/a/x community on campus, as well as the community that surrounds Western Oregon like families of Hispanic...

Western Oregon’s Board of Trustees Approve Tuition & Fees for 23-24 Academic Year

Western Oregon’s Board of Trustees Approve Tuition & Fees for 23-24 Academic Year

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Board of Trustees convened April 18th and 19th to consider and approve several items, including the Tuition & Fees for 2023-2024 Academic Year & Summer 2023. The Tuition Advisory Committee, which includes students, staff, and faculty submitted a suggested tuition increase of 3.09% which was accepted by the president and presented to the Board of Trustees. The trustees approved the 3.09% increase to resident undergraduate tuition. Keeping non-resident tuition at the current rate brings the non-resident ratio in line with other Oregon Universities where the range is 2.6-3.2; non-resident tuition will be 3.2 times greater than resident tuition next year. Graduate tuition will also remain at the same rate as the previous year. “We believe access to higher education should be as affordable as possible. Therefore, a small increase was necessary to provide quality services to our students,” said Board of Trustee Chair Betty Komp.  Chair Komp also noted that “Oregon ranks 45th in the nation for state support to higher education; enrollment declines and rising costs to maintain facilities and services means that tuition must also increase. The only way to avoid tuition increases is to have more state funding.” Even though the increase of $6 per credit hour makes the price of a college degree more expensive, undergraduate tuition at Western Oregon University is still among the lowest in the state. According to President Peters, “WOU continues to be one of the most affordable public universities in Oregon. It’s our responsibility as a university to facilitate student success while providing access to quality education. Even though we face the real possibility...

Western Oregon University’s 2023 Athletic Auction

Western Oregon University’s 2023 Athletic Auction

MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Western Oregon University Wolves Athletic Auction is returning for its 37th year on Saturday, June 3, and again will feature an in-person and online silent auction with several great items up for bid. This is the most impactful fundraiser of the year benefiting our current and future Wolves student-athletes. Proceeds will impact all Western student-athletes by providing them with an opportunity to compete while earning their dream degrees. Fans can support a WOU Athletic Department that already in 2022-23 has won two team Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles and seven individual GNAC titles to go along with two All-American, 15 All-Region, 33 All-Conference, and 45 All-Academic honorees with the spring season (baseball, softball, and track and field – all in the hunt for GNAC titles) still ongoing. The Wolves Athletic Auction offers attendees a memorable evening complete with dinner and an open bar, a silent and live auction, and a wine pull. The program features our Wolves student-athletes, coaches, and other entertainment. Get ready to raise the paddle to support current and future Wolves student-athletes. Wolves fans can purchase a table (eight seats) or individual tickets. Purchasing a table is recommended if you have a group as this will be the only way to guarantee your group’s seating arrangements. Click here to purchase your tickets for the auction. The online auction allows all to participate from the comfort of their homes and will be open from May 24 to June 2. Items include local food and beverages and unique trips and experiences. Click here to register for the online silent auction. FAST FACTSLive Wolves Athletic AuctionWhen: Saturday, June 3,...

The Write Place moves to Western Oregon University

The Write Place moves to Western Oregon University

MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Write Place, a nonprofit founded at Western Washington University in 2013 and dedicated to creating and supporting literary and artistic projects that inspire appreciation of humanity’s intimate relationship with the natural environment, is moving to Western Oregon University.  The Write Place board approved WOU English professor Henry Hughes as its new executive director. “Henry Hughes is the right person for the job,” wrote founder and retired director John Purdy, an alumnus of WOU (class of ’78). “We are so happy that the organization will have a home at Western Oregon University.” John Purdy, a professor of literature at Western Washington University, envisioned an organization that would braid his lifelong interests in literature and the environment. Purdy specializes in Native American literature. Write Place produced two documentary films, Writing Oregon (2019), and Bearheart: the Gerald Vizenor Chronicles (2020). Proceeds from these films helped fund new projects and contributed to the Western Rivers Conservancy and the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.   Henry Hughes states “I want to continue the great work of John Purdy and the board, and maintain their commitment to the Pacific Northwest and Native American writers,” Hughes says. “But I’d also like to connect with more scientists and enlarge our scope to national and international interests.”  The Write Place is hosting its first reading on May 30th, 2023. The author, Gordon Henry, will be reading and visiting with students. To learn more about this reading, visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gordon-henry To learn more, visit write-place.orgAbout Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is...

Honor Roll Winter 2023

Honor Roll Winter 2023

Congratulations to all Western Oregon University students who made Honor Roll! Please note: The lists are published two days after grades are posted for the preceding term and are not updated with grade changes received after that date. Victor Abarca-LopezFowzia AbdiIsaiah AbrahamKendra AckerSierra AckermanJosie AckermanSarah AdamsAyla AdkinsZurisahi AguilarTalon AguilarTaylor AguileraJose Alaniz-BenitezElla AlbeeJames AlbrichMuath AlhamedKobe AllenMelissa AllenBrayden AllenJehan Khalaf A AlmotrafiAlyssa AlpersKatie  AltheideZoya AltuhovaXavier AlvaradoEva AlvarezOrlando Alvarez FloresYeudiel Alvarez FloresAmanda AmbrizMorgan Amerson Amerson HortonEsmeralda AmescuaChristine AndersMariam Anderson-TahaKrystal Andres AndresCami AnsleyChase AnspachMeadow AragonPal Aranda TuleBrittany ArendtJessica ArmfieldDrew ArmourMichael ArmstrongLynzey ArpMartha Arredondo PachecoKylee ArznerChloe AsciuttoTate AshleyKarlie AsmanMatt AtkinsTom AtkinsonBrittany AustinRyan AustinApril Avila JacomeLillian AxelsonAriel AylsworthLeela AyresViolet BabbittJustin BabcockKyle BabcockKailee BaduaCarmen BaezaJustine BaillonGretta BakerIndia BakerAshley BakerEvan BaldonadoZach BalducciMadie BaldwinEmma BalesKatelin BanesAshley BankerLeticia BarbosaIsela Barbosa-lachinoAdam BarnettJillian BarnhurstLogan BarrHannah BarrMiriam BarraganMirella Barrera-BetancourtMelody BarrettKarina BarronAngela BartlettTrenton BatemanDain BaughnSmithEsther BautistaSarahi Bazan GuerreroAlexandrea BealBrandon BeanSophia BeattieLogan BeckJasper BeckAidan BeeversMadison BeiswengerAdrien BeiswengerKendralee BellSteven BembenekAustin  BendeleJaden BenderAndrew BendtTony Benedetti WhiteJessica BennettJoel BennettLarenda BennettCallia BergSally BergMakenna BergersonEdgar Bermudez EstradaJohn BernardioAlex BernasconiKiana BerryTirzah BesseyKellen BetancourtAbigail BethkeJaden BeyerNick BeyerEmily BiamontJosh BietschekElla BintoroAngel Mae BioyAbby BirmanOwen BischoffPaige BlairKyle BlairSophia BlairLeslie BlakelyMaddie BlanchardLexi BlevensHailey BlueAshlie BodeauJude BokovoyBrooke BolenKayla BolnickBryce BondDiana Bonifacio HerreraEma BorchardJade BottJackson BouchardConnor BouckKelly BowenTiffanie BowlesTristan BrabsonMarisa BradleyLindsay BradyLitzy BrambilaMaddie BrandnerSamantha BraukmanMolly BraytonCalista BrazielKeira BreitkreutzSam BriggsJen BrinleeJessie BristowMalissa BrooksSierra BrouseCarlie BrownRebecca BrownEmma BrownBlake BrownMadison BrownKylie BruceClaire BruggersCarol BryanAlexander BuckKayla BuffingtonJacqueline BullerCaleb BunchEthan BurdisMelly BurgerNicholas BurgettCassidy BurnsOlivia BuschKaylee BusetAbigail BusickJessica ButcherMeredith ButlerShelby ButlerMolly ButtsClair ByrerRylie CaderStephanie Cadevilla CamposClark CallahanGustavo Camacho-JrCheyanne CampbellDanielle CampbellJennifer CanadyDestiny CannadayNichole CantrellAmelia CantuNicole CaporalAdrianna CardenasAlejandro CardenasCynthia CardenasAngelica CaredioLogan CarlosJoel CarlsonTyler CarmenGrant CarmichaelPeyton CarmonEmily CarpenterKyle CarpenterEmillia CarpenterSimon CarricaburuAisia CarrilloYarectzy CarrilloMia CarrollRilee CarstensenAmber CarverPaola Casco NavasAulani Casco-De LeonYasmin Castaneda BenavidesHector CazaresGriselda Ceja MontesStan CernevAlessandra Cervantes...

Another successful Giving Day for Western Oregon University

Another successful Giving Day for Western Oregon University

MONMOUTH, Ore. – The 2023 Western Oregon University Giving Day (Howl from the Heart) was a great success! More than 500 benefactors made gifts to support 74 different funds to benefit students and programs. As of Friday, March 17, $205,795 has been raised due to your generous support. Two scholarship endowments were fully endowed thanks to the combined efforts of 50 individuals and the generous donors who agreed to match all proceeds! The fully endowed status of a scholarship guarantees that the scholarship will have funds available to be awarded each year to students in need. Nearly a third of contributors made multiple gifts to different funds. The Fund for WOU (Greatest Need) received the most gifts with 140 individuals expressing their support. The varsity Volleyball program received the second most total number of donors with fifty-seven!  Many supporters on this day shared that their reasons for giving were attributed to the impacts made on them or on family members during their time at WOU. One supporter shared, “I am a WOU alumnus, and I love to support my school and the WOU family!” Another supporter shared, “WOU helped me get to where I am today and if I can help someone else succeed, then I would be more than willing to contribute!”  Thank you to all who supported the mission and students of Western Oregon University.  “The expression of support for WOU and its students by hundreds of generous supporters on Giving Day demonstrates the impact WOU has on its alumni and the greater community! I am beyond grateful to all who contributed and are making a difference...

Ricardo Lujan Valerio named Director of Government Relations

Ricardo Lujan Valerio named Director of Government Relations

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University President, Jesse Peters, recently named Ricardo Lujan Valerio as the university’s Director of Government Relations, effective January 16th. “I am pleased to welcome Rico to the leadership team at Western. Not only does he have key experience, he is also a first-generation college graduate of a regional university. He understands the importance of higher education to the future of Oregon and its citizens,” said Peters. Rico joins with a wealth of experiences with governmental entities in Oregon and has a passion for issues in higher education. He also has the experience and skills to play as a powerful advocate for WOU with the state legislature.  Most recently, he was the Policy Director for the City of Portland. Prior to that, he has been the Director of Advocacy for the Latino Network, a Policy Associate for the American Civil Liberties Union, and a Legislative Director for the Oregon Student Association. He also currently served as a Commissioner for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC).  “I’m excited to join Western Oregon University in this capacity. My introduction to state advocacy started in higher education and I’m glad to be back to this policy field full-time. I’m a strong believer in collaborative success and look forward to working with faculty, staff, and students to create a collective agenda and partner with external stakeholders to meet the needs of our state.” said Lujan Valerio. Rico holds an Associate of Science degree from Rogue Community College, a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Southern Oregon University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Southern Oregon University. ...

Western Oregon presents Considering Matthew Shepard

Western Oregon presents Considering Matthew Shepard

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series presents a striking lineup of shows this 2022-2023 season, including Considering Matthew Shepard on March 3rd and 11th, 2023. The March 3rd performance supports the WOU choral program. Considering Matthew Shepard, a Grammy-nominated, three-part fusion oratorio by Craig Hella Johnson, was written as a musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. The piece incorporates many different musical styles, texts, interviews, newspaper articles, and even notes from Matthew’s journal. In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. A most brutal act of violence, it is known as one of America’s most egregious anti-gay hate crimes. As we approach the 25th anniversary of this tragedy, the Western Oregon University Choirs, along with the Chemeketa Community College Choirs and members of the community in cooperation with the Western Oregon Theatre Department, will present this Oratorio as part of a two-week commemoration of the story and legacy of Matthew Shepard that honors the experiences of all LGBTQIA+ youth. The program, conducted by Dr. James Reddan, Director of Choral Activities with stage direction by Dr. Michael Phillips, is part of “The Legacy of Matthew Shepard Project” that will include additional performances. This project is made possible with the generous support of the Oregon Cultural Trust.   The Department of Music and Smith Fine Arts Series believe that live arts are essential and have the power to enrich and improve people’s lives. By presenting renowned performances that are diverse, inclusive, and accessible; and through our educational outreach initiatives, we connect the community with performing artists from across the...

Western once again receives Tree Campus Higher Education recognition

Western once again receives Tree Campus Higher Education recognition

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University has met the Tree Campus Higher Education standards for 8 years now. WOU is one of just eight higher education campuses in Oregon that obtained this recognition. Acquiring and maintaining this status has created many opportunities and has helped improve, maintain and celebrate our campus trees.  To obtain this recognition, a campus has to meet the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus Higher Education, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and the sponsorship of student service learning projects. We want to thank the members of the WOU Tree Advisory Committee who helped prepare the application materials for this recognition. The committee included current students, staff, faculty, and community members. WOU is committed to planting and maintaining trees on campus that absorb carbon dioxide, mitigating the effects of climate change. We want to continue to create this green space for our students, faculty, staff and the entire WOU community to help provide mental health benefits as well as encourage physical activity.  For more information about becoming a tree campus in higher education, visit https://www.arborday.org/programs/tree-campus-higher-education/#recognizedSection About Western Oregon University Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative...

Western remains the largest preparer of new teachers in Oregon

Western remains the largest preparer of new teachers in Oregon

MONMOUTH, Ore. – According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Title II report, Western Oregon University remains the largest preparer of newly licensed teachers in Oregon for the second year in a row. WOU graduated 14.56% of all licensed teachers in the state of Oregon in 2021-2022. “Preparing educators is one of the strengths of Western Oregon University. This is especially important during times of state and national teacher shortages. The faculty and staff here provide an inspirational educational experience, and our students graduate incredibly well-prepared to enter the profession and be successful.” Dr. Jesse Peters, President of WOU. The Higher Education Act, Title II, compiles data with states and institutions with teacher preparation programs around preparation and certifications. WOU’s College of Education strives to ensure our academic programs generate deep, meaningful learning in real-world settings, resulting in more just, healthy, and educated communities. “Several core values underlie all our [teacher preparation] work including justice, equity, inclusivity, service, and application of our gifts in the real world. Our shared goals are to improve the world for our communities, the individuals with whom we work, and the world at large.” Mark Girod, Dean of College of Education. According to the Oregon Education Public Employment Report from 2022, WOU-prepared teachers also remain in their jobs in Oregon schools and classrooms longer than educators prepared at other colleges and universities. According to the data, when compared to 3-year retention rates across the State (Oregon Equity Reports, 2020 & 2019), Western prepared teachers are 16.87% more retained. For more information about WOU’s teacher preparation programs, please visit https://wou.edu/academics/education/ About Western Oregon University Western Oregon...

Katie Wojke named Vice President of Advancement at WOU

Katie Wojke named Vice President of Advancement at WOU

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University President, Jesse Peters, recently named Katie Wojke as the university’s Vice President of Advancement, effective January 30. “She is a productive fundraiser, partnering with donors to support students, faculty, and programs. Katie is driven by the compelling mission of access to higher education and the development of outstanding future citizens and leaders. Coming to us from another GNAC school, Katie is familiar with WOU, and she looks forward to joining the Western team.” stated Dr. Peters. Katie joins Western’s pack with more than 20 years of experience. Most recently, she has served as the interim Vice President at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. Prior to her current role, she served Saint Martin’s as the Assistant/Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations. Katie has also been a member of teams at Bellarmine Preparatory School and The Evergreen State College. During her tenure at Saint Martin’s, Katie played a pivotal role in launching and coordinating the university’s first-ever $100 million comprehensive campaign. This campaign is on track to be completed ahead of their 5-year plan. “I am truly honored to be selected as the next Vice President for Advancement for Western Oregon University, and I am eagerly awaiting joining the WOU community later this month.” said Wojke. “Alumni, parents, friends, donors, faculty, staff, students and members of the greater community all play a critical role in the immediate and future progress of the university. I am looking forward to getting to know the generous WOU community in the coming weeks and months. Together, I know we’ll work to expand outreach for supporting...

Outdoor Program Connects Students with Oregon’s Beauty

Outdoor Program Connects Students with Oregon’s Beauty

It’s no secret that one of the biggest Western Oregon University selling points is its location. From its vantage point in the Mid-Willamette Valley, WOU is primed to dispatch students to day trips on the sandy beach shore, up snow-capped mountains or into lush forests with minimal travel time. The WOU Outdoors Program, as part of Campus Recreation, regularly transports students to these locations, where they can get a dose of nature along with an opportunity to meet new people and stretch their legs. The trips, usually two per term, are geared towards beginners, but students are free to make the outing their own, explained Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Programs Melissa Bergeland. “People enjoy the opportunity to get to do this in a safe way, and it’s non-judgmental because we are all common adventurers,” she said. “It’s not like anyone has to keep up with any other person. You don’t have stay all together in a huge group. As long as there are at least two people, they can set their own pace.” The phrase “common adventurer” sets the tone for excursions. Group leaders are not experts in biology or wilderness survival, they simply enjoy the outdoors and want to experience nature with fellow students. Sierra Johnston, a senior who has led and participated in several Outdoors Program trips, explained the concept like this: “A common adventurer is someone who goes out into nature and experiences it. They have some knowledge of the outdoors. That’s not to say that they have any certifications or are there to lead an official tour.” Johnston didn’t go with the group that...