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Western Oregon Wolves football

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Western Oregon Wolves football

Western Oregon University
Established 1856
Type Public
President Mark Weiss
Academic staff 452
Admin. staff 427
Students 6,233[1][2]
Undergraduates 5,318
Postgraduates 915

Monmouth, Oregon, U.S.
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

Campus Rural College Town
157 acres (64 ha)
Former names Monmouth University
Christian College
Oregon State Normal School
Oregon Normal School
Oregon College of Education
Western Oregon State College
Colors Red     
Athletics NCAA Division II
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
Sports 13 Varsity Teams
Nickname Wolves
Mascot Wolfy

Western Oregon University (WOU) is a public liberal arts college 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 6,200 students.


In the early 1850s, a group of pioneers crossed the Oregon Trail. Upon arrival in the Willamette Valley, they founded both a church and a school. Monmouth University opened in 1856 with a small number of students.[4] Elijah Barton Davidson, Jr. donated the land for the school.

Through the years, WOU has undergone seven name changes. 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. Later the name was changed to Oregon Normal School.

A period of growth in the 1920s more than tripled the school's enrollment to nearly 1,000 students. In 1939, the Oregon Legislature again changed the name 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.[4]

In 1979, the institution was renamed Western Oregon State College[4] to reflect the school's growing academic programs in the liberal arts fields. In 1997 the school's name was changed to Western Oregon University.

Tuition Promise

Beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, WOU guarantees that undergraduate students will have the same tuition rate for four academic years as the year they entered. WOU is the only public university in the western U.S. to offer this guarantee.[5][6]

Tuition Choice

Beginning with the 2011–2012 academic year, WOU allows students to choose between their Tuition Promise, or the new tuition choice. Students who choose 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. [7]

Textbook Rental Program

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. [8][9] Students rent textbooks at a cost of 38% of the purchase price for new textbooks.


Western Oregon University offers bachelor's degrees (BA, BS, BM, and BFA) 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), Management and Information Systems (MS), and History (MA).[10][11] In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked Western as the 83rd best amongst the regional universities in the west.[12]

Departments and divisions

College of Education Division

WOU’s College of Education[13] is divided into: Division of Teacher Education,[13] Division of Special Education,[14] Division of Health and Physical Education,[15]

Health and Physical Education Division

The Division of Health and Physical Education (HPE) 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.

Special Education Division

The Division of Special Education 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.[16]

Teacher Education

The Teacher Education program is the first teacher education program in Oregon accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education [17] and offers over 30 teaching endorsements including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School. [18] The College also offers a bachelors 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.[19]

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers 30 bachelor degrees in seven academic divisions (Business and Economics, Computer Science, Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Psychology and Social Science). The Communications Studies Program received the 2008 Rex Mix Award for Excellence from the National Communication Association.[20]

Business and Economics Division

The Business and Economics Division offers courses and training in accounting, finance, management, marketing, and production/operations management. The Economics Division prepares students for careers in the private and public sectors.

Creative Arts Division

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.[21] Music programs at WOU are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Computer Science Division

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. A Masters in Management Information Systems is offered jointly with the Business Division.

Humanities Division

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 and the MA in History at the graduate level.

Natural Science and Mathematics Science Division

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.

Behavioral Sciences Division

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.

Social Science Division

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, criminal justice, geography, history, political science, and sociology. The Social Science Division also includes programs in public policy and administration and international studies. The BA and BS degrees are offered. Masters degrees are offered in Criminal Justice and History.

Other related Academic Programs

Division Extended Programs

The Division of Extended Programs serves as the continuing education and professional development office on campus. We work with the two academic colleges as well as community members to create lifelong learning & personal enrichment opportunities, online classes and workforce training programs. Some of our more popular programs include: Traffic Safety Education/Instructor Certification; Health Care Interpreter training; and online Master’s degrees programs in Criminal Justice, Interpreting Studies, Education, Curriculum and Instruction, and Information Technology.

Teaching Research Institute

The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) houses eight 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 on Brain Injury Research & Training (CBIRT), the Center for Educator Preparation & Effectiveness (CEPE), the Center on Inclusion, Early Childhood Care & Education (COI), the Center on Sensory Disabilities (CSD), the Child Development Center (CDC), the Education Evaluation Center (EEC), the Evaluation and Research Group (ERGO), and the Technology and Information Management Services Center (TIMS).


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. 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.

Pertaining to club sports on campus, not regulated by the NCAA or NAIA, the Western Oregon Men's Lacrosse Club has won the Division II PNCLL championship trophy in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.[22] The Western Oregon Men's Rugby Club won the Division II Pacific Northwest Rugby Football Union (PNRFU) championship in 2005, 2009, and 2010.

On April 26, 2008, Sara Tucholsky, a reserve outfielder on the Wolves softball team (2005–08), hit the first home run of her college career in a victory over Central Washington University, but injured her knee rounding first base; Central Washington's Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried Tucholsky around the rest of the bases to home plate. This act of sportsmanship was heavily covered by national media outlets, and resulted in Tucholsky, Holtman, and Wallace's winning the Best Moment award at the 2008 ESPY Awards.[23]

Notable alumni


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.[26]

Ackerman Residence Hall, opened fall 2010, has received multiple awards for its environmentall friendly design and operations. Green Home Authority named Ackerman as one of the ten eco-friendliest dorms in the country in 2011 [27] Mother Nature Network also listed Ackerman as one ten greenest dorms on the planet in 2010.[28]

The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) has recognized thirteen Western Oregon University faculty and staff for academic advising (three in 2008, one in 2009, two in 2010,two in 2011,one in 2012, and four in 2013). [29]

On January 2010, The Education Trust named WOU in the top 10 of the nation for improved graduation rates among underrepresented minorities.[30][31][32] WOU also ranked ninth in closing the gap between minority and nonminority graduation rates.[31] WOU is one of the most diverse universities in Oregon and has the highest percentage of Latino students in the Oregon University System.[33] 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%.[34] The successful growth in Latino students has resulted in WOU being the only public college or university accepted as a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.[35]

Parade Magazine 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.[36]

Jensen Arctic Museum

The Jensen Arctic Museum at WOU is the only museum on the west coast of the contiguous states dedicated to the Arctic culture, and one of two in the entire United States outside of Alaska, the other being in the state of Maine. The museum's collections include art, animals, tools, apparel and information about indigenous Arctic people.


External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
  • 1891 Superintendent of Public Instruction report
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