Skip to main content | text only

To request accessibility assistance
Contact the Office of Disability Services

call(503) 838-8250 VTTY or e-mail
after hours assistance and hints and tips


Skip to main content
WOU paw

Sponsored Research Office

Rehabilitation Counselor Education

Project Director:


Dr. Linda Keller

Contact Phone:





Funding Source:


US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration

Project Description:

In difficult economic times, state VR agencies may be the only safety net individuals with disabilities have between them and severe economic consequences. It is critical that institutions of higher education partner with state VR agencies in the preparation of rehabilitation counselors who understand the unique role state agencies play in effectively working with consumers who have severe disabilities and are from underrepresented groups. The Western Oregon University Rehabilitation Counselor Education (WOU RCE) program meets the RSA absolute priority to partner with state VR agencies to train six new and six continuing graduate students per year for five years potentially resulting in 60 new rehabilitation counselors in the Pacific Northwest. This grant will help alleviate the financial burden faced by WOU RCE students. Since its inception in 1975, WOU’s RCE program has a long history of successfully recruiting talented and committed persons from underrepresented populations, first generation students, and students with disabilities. RCE students have the option of completing a general or deafness track; the deafness option is the only one in the northwest and one of only four in the country. We are also working closely with Regional state agencies to provide distance learning to students and working VR counselors.

Fully approved by CORE since 1985 and unconditionally reaccredited (the highest level) in 2008 for seven years, the WOU RCE program has a long history of partnering with northwest state VR agencies, the absolute priority of this competition. The success of the program and of its students is due to this strong partnership. RCE students complete a total of 81 credits, 54 which involve formal classroom study. Under an agreement with Oregon VR and Washington DVR, all students complete a minimum of one term of practicum with a state agency and a 600-hour internship, totaling 27 credit hours of field experience. Fully 99% of WOU RSA scholars from the last five years have met or are meeting their scholar payback requirements by working in a state VR or community partner agency. The partnership is further strengthened by WOU faculty serving on the State Rehabilitation Council. Finally the WOU RCE advisory council is composed of 10 members from state and federal VR agencies, community partners, and students/graduates.

Sponsored Research Office (503) 838-8589 | or e-mail: