Western Oregon University

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

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 (WOU) is a public university in Monmouth, Oregon. It was originally established in 1856 by Oregon pioneers as Monmouth University. Subsequent names included Oregon State 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 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 changes[edit]

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 guarantees[edit]

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]

For the 2011–2012 academic year, WOU allowed 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] The Western Promise tuition plans ended in 2020.


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).[11][12] In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Western as the 77th best amongst the regional universities in the west.[13]


College of Education[edit]

WOU's College of Education[14] is divided into: Division of Education and Leadership, Division of Deaf Studies and Professional Studies, and Division of Health and Exercise Science.

Several programs in the division have received awards. The ASL Interpreting Studies program received the Sorenson VRS Award of Excellence in 2008.[15] 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.[16]

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences[edit]

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.[17]

Other related academic programs[edit]

Center for Academic Innovation[edit]

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.

The Research Institute[edit]

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 ROTC[edit]

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

WOU Veterans Resource Center selected as Chapter of the Year by the Student Veterans of America in 2018.[18]

WOU was one of two universities highlighted for its success in graduating Pell Grant recipients in its 2015 report, The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success. [19]

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.[20]

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.[21] Mother Nature Network also listed Ackerman as one of the ten greenest dorms on the planet in 2010.[22]

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).[23]

On January 2010, The Education Trust named WOU in the top 10 of the nation for improved graduation rates among underrepresented minorities.[24][25][26] WOU also ranked ninth in closing the gap between minority and nonminority graduation rates.[25] WOU is one of the most diverse universities in Oregon and has the highest percentage of Latino students in the Oregon University System.[27] 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%.[28] The successful growth in Latino students has resulted in WOU being accepted as a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.[29]

Notable alumni[edit]

Greek life[edit]

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.[32] 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". www.wou.edu. 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". oregonencyclopedia.org. 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. Wou.edu, October 6, 2006. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Oregon University System. Ous.edu. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  10. ^ WOU: Tuition promise – frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  11. ^ WOU: academic programs. Wou.edu. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "WOU: Graduate Programs-western Oregon university- online masters". Wou.edu. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  13. ^ Siemers, Erik (September 14, 2011). "UofO 101st, OSU 138th in U.S. News rankings". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  14. ^ WOU: Teacher Education. Wou.edu. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  15. ^ Sorenson VRS. http://www.sorensonvrs.com/iep#Past_Winners
  16. ^ AASCU Media Release. Aascu.org (November 19, 2010). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  17. ^ "Communication department wins national award of excellence". Western Oregon Journal, by Billy Davis, October 10, 2008. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  18. ^ "Student Veterans of America Celebrates 10th Anniversary During Annual National Conference". January 18, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Pell Partnership_EdTrust_20152.pdf . September 24, 2015.
  20. ^ "Insight Into Diversity Magazine Announces Recipients of Inaugural Higher Education Excellence In Diversity (Heed) Award". PRWeb. November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  21. ^ Zeigler, Ben (November 15, 2011). "America's Top 10 Eco-Friendliest Dorms and Tips for Greening Yours". Green Home Authority. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  22. ^ "10 greenest dorms in the world: Western Oregon University, Ackerman Hall | MNN - Mother Nature Network". MNN. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  23. ^ "Outstanding Advising Award Recipients". NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, Kansas State University. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  24. ^ Graves, Bill (February 8, 2010). "Western Oregon University in top 10, not lead, in minority student graduation gains". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  25. ^ a b Some Public Colleges and Universities Are Making Gains, Closing Gaps in Graduation Rates for Minority Students | Education Trust. Edtrust.org (January 28, 2010). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  26. ^ Graves, Bill (February 2, 2010). "Western leads nation in minority student graduation gains". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  27. ^ Oregon universities try to recruit more Latino students. OregonLive.com. Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
  28. ^ "2009 Facts and Figures" (PDF). OUS Fact Book. Oregon University System. January 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "HACU Associate Member Institutions". Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Pope, Charles (February 7, 2011). "Senate Unanimously approves Marco Hernandez to be federal judge". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  32. ^ "Fraternity and Sorority Life". www.wou.edu. Retrieved July 27, 2019.

External links[edit]