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Western Oregon University (WOU) is a public university located in Monmouth, Oregon, United States. It was originally established in 1856 by Oregon pioneers as Monmouth University. Subsequent names include Oregon Normal School, Oregon College of Education, and Western Oregon State College. Western Oregon University incorporates both the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Enrollment is approximately 6,000 students.

Western Oregon University
Seal of Western Oregon University.png
Established1856 (1856)
Parent institution
Oregon University System
PresidentRex Fuller
ProvostRob Winningham
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,

44°51′10″N 123°14′22″W / 44.85278°N 123.23944°W / 44.85278; -123.23944Coordinates: 44°51′10″N 123°14′22″W / 44.85278°N 123.23944°W / 44.85278; -123.23944
CampusRural College Town
157 acres (64 ha)
Sporting affiliations



Western Oregon University was founded in 1856 as Monmouth University.[2] In 1865, it merged with another private institution, Bethel College, in Bethel and became Christian College. In 1882, the Oregon State Legislature approved the college's bid to become a state-supported teacher training (or "normal") school, Oregon State Normal School.[3]

In November 1910, an initiative petition (Measure 10) to establish a normal school at Monmouth, passed by 55.6%. The name was changed, for the fourth time, to Oregon Normal School. On the same ballot were two other measures to additionally establish normal schools in Ashland and Weston: both failed.[4]


A period of growth was experienced in the 1920s during which the school's enrollment more than tripled from 316 in 1920 to peak at the 990 mark in 1927.[5] With the coming of the Great Depression attendance tailed off slightly, with an average attendance in 1930 of 705 students,[6] hitting a nadir in the 1933-34 academic year.[7] Attendance rebounded later in the decade, topping the 1,000 mark for the first time during the 1938-39 academic year, with a total enrollment including summer session of 1,017.[7]

In 1939, the Oregon Legislature changed the name for the fifth time, to Oregon College of Education. The school entered an extended period of growth, except for a period during World War II when college enrollments dropped nationwide. New programs were added in the areas of liberal arts and sciences.[2]

Name changesEdit

In 1981, the institution was renamed Western Oregon State College[2] to reflect the school's growing academic programs in the liberal arts fields. In 1997 the name was updated to Western Oregon University, reflecting the university's broader academic mission and profile.

Tuition rate guaranteesEdit

Beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, WOU began "Tuition Promise," issuing a guarantee that undergraduate students will have the same tuition rate as the year they entered for four academic years. WOU is the only public university in the western U.S. to offer this guarantee.[8][9]

Beginning with the 2011–2012 academic year, WOU allows students to choose between their Tuition Promise or a new Tuition Choice. Students electing to pursue the tuition choice will have a 2012 tuition that will be no more than 1% above the 2011 tuition but with annual increases that could be between 5% and 10% per year. Students and their families will likely pay less their first year or two but will pay more in years three and four.[10]

Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, WOU will no longer offer the Western Promise tuition plans.

Textbook rental programEdit

Using a 2010–11 federal grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), WOU has developed a textbook rental program that will result in significant savings to students.[11][12] Students rent textbooks at a cost of 38% of the purchase price for new textbooks.

Supporting veterans and their familiesEdit

Western Oregon University provides many support services to veterans and their family members:

  • Veteran Success Center: established in 2014, it is operated in the Werner University Center and serves as a resource center for veterans and their families.
  • Veteran's Benefits: The Office of the Registrar houses the Veteran's Clerk who serves as the campus administrating official for the receipt and processing of educational benefits.[13]
  • Yellow Ribbon Program: WOU is an active participant in the US Department of Veteran's Affairs' Yellow Ribbon Program.[14]


Western Oregon University offers bachelor's degrees (BA, BS, BM, BFA), and AB through its two colleges: the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Master's degrees are available in Education (MAT and MSEd), Rehabilitation Counseling (MS), Criminal Justice (MA), Music (MM), and Management and Information Systems (MS).[15][16] In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Western as the 77th best amongst the regional universities in the west.[17]

Departments and divisionsEdit

College of EducationEdit

WOU's College of Education[18] is divided into: Division of Education and Leadership, Division of Deaf Studies and Professional Studies, and Division of Health and Exercise Science.

Health and Exercise ScienceEdit

The Division of Health and Exercise Science delivers programs and courses that meet the needs of multiple audiences. Undergraduate degree programs prepare professionals in the fields of school health education, physical education teacher education, community health education, and exercise science. Also offered are minor areas of study in Health Education, Physical Education, and Sport Leadership.

Deaf Studies and Professional StudiesEdit

The Division of Deaf Studies and Professional Studies offers undergraduate and graduate degrees that are designed to prepare students to begin or advance their careers to provide unique communication, rehabilitation, and educational services to individuals with disabilities or special needs. Undergraduate degrees offered include American Sign Language Interpreting, and American Sign Language Communications. Graduate degrees are offered in Interpreting Studies (delivered by distance with one summer in-person session), Rehabilitation Counseling, and Special Education. The ASL Interpreting Studies program received the Sorenson VRS Award of Excellence in 2008.[19]

Education and LeadershipEdit

The Teacher Education program is the first teacher education program in Oregon accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education[20] and offers over 30 teaching endorsements including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School.[20] The College also offers a bachelor's degree in bilingual education. Graduate degrees are offered Teaching and Information Technology. The Teacher Education Program was recognized in 2010 by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as the recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.[21]

College of Liberal Arts and SciencesEdit

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers 30 bachelor's degrees in seven academic divisions (Behavioral Science, Business and Economics, Computer Science, Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Science). The Communications Studies Program received the 2008 Rex Mix Award for Excellence from the National Communication Association.[22]

Behavioral Sciences DivisionEdit

The Gerontology and Psychology degrees are designed to provide the student a broadly based program in behavioral science. The both majors may be pursued as a component of a general liberal arts background, as preparation for a variety of service-oriented occupations, or as a basis for graduate study in psychology and related fields. The emphasis of these degree programs differs from the usual undergraduate psychology major offered in many other institutions. A primary concern at Western Oregon University is the understanding of human behavior and experience with a focus on applications of this knowledge. The division also offers Applied Baccalaureatte degrees in Gerontology and Psychology. Applied Baccalaureatte degrees are designed to support the education needs of non-traditional students who have already completed a significant number of credits at other colleges or universities.

Business and Economics DivisionEdit

The Business and Economics Division offers courses and training in accounting, finance, management, marketing, and production/operations management. The Economics Department prepares students for careers in the private and public sectors. Transfer students can choose to pursue the Applied Baccalaureatte degree in Economics.

Computer Science DivisionEdit

The Computer Science Division covers the Computer Science and Information Systems majors, and offers both Majors and Minors in Computer Science and Information Systems, falling into BS and BA degrees. An Applied Baccalaureatte in Computer Science is also available for transfer students. A Masters in Management Information Systems is offered jointly with the Business Division.

Creative Arts DivisionEdit

The Creative Arts Division comprises departments in Art, Music and Theatre/Dance. The Music Department offers four degrees. The BA and BS in Music are liberal arts degrees with a third of all coursework in music. The Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Music is a professional degree with two thirds of all coursework in music. The Master of Music in Contemporary Music is perhaps the only degree of its kind in the US.[23] Music programs at WOU are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Humanities DivisionEdit

The Humanities Division is divided into four academic departments: Communications Studies, English Writing and Literature, Modern Languages, and Philosophy and Religion. It offers undergraduate degrees in all the above fields.

Natural Science and Mathematics DivisionEdit

The Division of Natural Science and Mathematics consists of four departments; Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Physical Science, and the Mathematics Department. The Division offers BA/BS degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Mathematics. The Division also offers minors in the above areas including a Physics option.

Social Science DivisionEdit

The Social Science Division is a cluster of disciplines concerned with the characteristics and interactions of humans in their social and physical settings. These include Anthropology, Geography and Sustainability, History, International Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, and Sociology. In addition, the Division hosts five interdisciplinary minors: Latino/Chicano Studies, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, Latin American Studies and Legal Studies. The BA and BS degrees are offered.[24]

Other related academic programsEdit

Center for Academic InnovationEdit

The Center for Academic Innovation serves as the continuing education and professional development office on campus. It works with the two academic colleges as well as community members to create lifelong learning & personal enrichment opportunities, online classes and workforce training programs. Programs include: online master's degrees programs in Criminal Justice, Interpreting Studies, Education, Curriculum and Instruction, and Information Technology.

The Research InstituteEdit

The Research Institute (TRI) houses seven Centers focused on informing and facilitating change in educational and human service systems to improve the quality of life for all individuals. The Centers conduct programs of research, develop evidence-based interventions that are provided through technical assistance and professional development, and increase system capacity to effect change. TRI Centers include the Center for Educator Preparation & Effectiveness (CEPE), the Center on Early Learning (CEL), the Center on Deaf-Blindness (CDB), the Child Development Center (CDC), the Education Evaluation Center (EEC), The Center on Research, Evaluation and Analysis (CREA), and the Technology and Information Management Services Center (TIMS).

Army ROTCEdit

Students at Western Oregon University who are interested in serving in Army ROTC can do so, despite the school not having its own battalion. These cadets are members of the Oregon State University Army ROTC battalion, and participate in training labs, field training exercises, and staff duties in Corvallis or nearby National Guard installations, while conducting military science classes and physical training at the WOU campus.


Western Oregon University's sports teams are called the Wolves and compete in the NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level. WOU sponsors 13 intercollegiate sports. Within their history under the NAIA prior to their transition to the NCAA, Western Oregon won multiple NAIA national titles in women's basketball.[citation needed] The Baseball team on campus has experienced much success in the GNAC, winning ten consecutive conference titles since 2001. The Track and Field teams have also performed well within the conference, with the men's team winning four consecutive GNAC Indoor Track titles since 2008. In the fall of 2010, the men's and women's cross country teams earned their first berths in school history to the NCAA National Championships where they placed 20th and 21st, respectively. Most recently the men's basketball team has won back to back conference titles.


Todd Hall

Listed as the top mainland public university for enrollment of Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students[25]

The "Economist Magazine" ranked WOU as the top mid-sized Liberal Arts university in the Pacific Northwest.[26]

Rated as the top Liberal Arts college or university in Oregon for the social mobility of its graduates.[27]

Profiled by the Education Trust as a Standout Institution for the Graduation of Pell Students.[28]

In 2014 WOU was recognized as one of the top 100 colleges or universities in America and the only one in the Pacific Northwest in adding economic value and benefit to its graduates.[29]

The Society for the Advancement of Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS) recognized WOU as one of the Top 200 Colleges in STEM for Native Americans.[30]

WOU was an inaugural winner of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award recognized by Insight Into Higher Education on November 15, 2012. This award recognizes universities and colleges that have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and action towards fostering a campus community that celebrates all the many facets of diversity.[31]

Ackerman Residence Hall, opened fall 2010, has received multiple awards for its environmentally friendly design and operations. Green Home Authority named Ackerman as one of the ten eco-friendliest dorms in the country in 2011.[32] Mother Nature Network also listed Ackerman as one ten greenest dorms on the planet in 2010.[33]

The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) has recognized fourteen Western Oregon University faculty and staff for academic advising (three in 2008, one in 2009, two in 2010, two in 2011, one in 2012, four in 2013, and one in 2014).[34]

On January 2010, The Education Trust named WOU in the top 10 of the nation for improved graduation rates among underrepresented minorities.[35][36][37] WOU also ranked ninth in closing the gap between minority and nonminority graduation rates.[36] WOU is one of the most diverse universities in Oregon and has the highest percentage of Latino students in the Oregon University System.[38] Between 2000 and 2009, enrollment of Latino students increased 75%, Asian-American students by 53%, African-American students by 115% and Native American students by 63%, for an overall increase of these student populations of 73%.[39] The successful growth in Latino students has resulted in WOU being accepted as a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.[40]

Parade listed WOU as one of the top twenty small state schools for 2010. WOU was noted for its small classes and exceptional services for first generation to college students.[41]

Notable alumniEdit

Greek lifeEdit

On May 18, 2012, the school was introduced to its first traditional Greek life with the organization and initiation of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, Sigma Tau chapter . The schools Greek system now consists of one traditional fraternity, one traditional sorority, one non-traditional fraternity and one non-traditional sorority. The school welcomed Alpha Chi Omega, its first traditional sorority in the fall of 2015 with the organization founding its chapter in 2016.[44] On November 29, 2012 The Beta Kappa chapter of Omega Delta Phi fraternity was founded. Kappa Delta Chi is the other non-traditional sorority on campus.


  1. ^ "Quick Facts". Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Ellis A. Stebbins and Gary Huxford, Since 1856...Historical Views of the College at Monmouth Western Oregon State College, Monmouth, Ore., 1995. ISBN 0-9650625-0-3
  3. ^ "Western Oregon University". Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Oregon Blue Book: Initiative, Referendum and Recall: 1908-1910". State of Oregon. January 3, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Sam A. Kozer (ed.), "Oregon Educational Institutions," in The Oregon Blue Book, 1927-1928. Salem: State Printing Department, 1927; pg. 62.
  6. ^ Hal E. Hoss (ed.), "State Institutions of Higher Learning," in The Oregon Blue Book, 1931-1932. Salem: State Printing Departement, 1931; pg. 33.
  7. ^ a b Frederick M. Hunter, "Oregon State System of Higher Education," in Earl Snell (ed.), The Oregon Blue Book, 1939-1940. Salem: State Printing Department, 1939; pp. 48-49.
  8. ^ The Western Tuition Promise Frequently asked questions., October 6, 2006. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Oregon University System. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  10. ^ WOU: Tuition promise – frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  11. ^ U.S. Department of Education (2010)FIPSE Grant Database
  12. ^ Statesman Journal, October 27, 2010, by Justin Much, "WOU gets grant to aid textbook expenses", Salem, Ore., P6 of Polk Today section
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ WOU: academic programs. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  16. ^ "WOU: Graduate Programs-western Oregon university- online masters". Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  17. ^ Siemers, Erik (September 14, 2011). "UofO 101st, OSU 138th in U.S. News rankings". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  18. ^ WOU: Teacher Education. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  19. ^ Sorenson VRS.
  20. ^ a b "Teacher Standards and Practices Commission". Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  21. ^ AASCU Media Release. (November 19, 2010). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  22. ^ "Communication department wins national award of excellence". Western Oregon Journal, by Billy Davis, October 10, 2008. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  23. ^ WOU: Department of Music. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  24. ^ "Social Science Division – Western Oregon University". Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  25. ^ "Highest Representation of Racial and Ethnic Groups at 4-Year Public Institutions, Fall 2014". Chronicle of Higher Education. LXIII: A31. 2017.
  26. ^ [1]. October 29, 2015.
  27. ^ [2]. October 14, 2015.
  28. ^ "The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success". September 2015
  29. ^ Educate to Career College Rankings Index. PRWeb. May 1, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  30. ^ [3].
  31. ^ "Insight Into Diversity Magazine Announces Recipients of Inaugural Higher Education Excellence In Diversity (Heed) Award". PRWeb. November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  32. ^ Zeigler, Ben (November 15, 2011). "America's Top 10 Eco-Friendliest Dorms and Tips for Greening Yours". Green Home Authority. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  33. ^ "10 greenest dorms in the world: Western Oregon University, Ackerman Hall | MNN - Mother Nature Network". MNN. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  34. ^ "Outstanding Advising Award Recipients". NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, Kansas State University. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  35. ^ Graves, Bill (February 8, 2010). "Western Oregon University in top 10, not lead, in minority student graduation gains". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  36. ^ a b Some Public Colleges and Universities Are Making Gains, Closing Gaps in Graduation Rates for Minority Students | Education Trust. (January 28, 2010). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  37. ^ Graves, Bill (February 2, 2010). "Western leads nation in minority student graduation gains". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  38. ^ Oregon universities try to recruit more Latino students. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  39. ^ "2009 Facts and Figures" (PDF). OUS Fact Book. Oregon University System. January 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  40. ^ "HACU Associate Member Institutions". Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  41. ^ PARADE's College AList Small State Schools. (August 22, 2010). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  42. ^ a b Aaron Fentress, "New Orleans Saints defensive end Jeff Charleston enjoying undefeated season after long trek to the NFL", The Oregonian, December 10, 2009.
  43. ^ Pope, Charles (February 7, 2011). "Senate Unanimously approves Marco Hernandez to be federal judge". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  44. ^ "Fraternity and Sorority Life". Retrieved July 27, 2019.

External linksEdit