WOU Magazine Spring 2012
From the provost
Dear alumni and friends of WOU,
As many of you vividly remember, freshmen and some sophomores come to campus a week before classes start to move into the residence halls and begin a week of orientation experiences. On “move-in” day, I visit with students and their parents. It’s a wonderful time with “cheers and tears” as young people take the next step in their journey toward independent adulthood.
This fall, I was chatting with a father about his daughter. He told me that this would be her sophomore year. I asked him how her first year worked out and he said something that made me feel especially honored to be a part of Western. He said, “Seeing my daughter a year ago when she first moved into the residence hall and seeing her today has been like watching a flower open up. She has matured and grown in ways that I never expected. I am so proud of her.”
We, at Western, share that pride in all of our students and alumni. Whether you came in as a freshman carrying boxes into the residence hall or a graduate student committed to advancing your education, we are proud of all that our alumni have accomplished thus far and, likewise, proud of the great potential you carry into the future.
I don't have to tell you this is a difficult time. Many of our students struggle to begin and complete their education. Increasingly, college graduates across the country face a rapidly changing job market in a shrinking, competitive world. These issues are huge. But, instead of shying away from these challenges, Western is committed to continue to offer educational options that will provide our graduates outstanding opportunities for success in this changing economic climate.
I'm pleased to share with you two recent examples of new, faculty-developed programs that address current needs.
First, Dr. Elisa Maroney and professor Amanda Smith, both in the College of Education’s Division of Special Education, created the new Masters of Interpreting Studies program last spring. The degree will teach students who have already earned degrees in American Sign Language how to teach ASL to others. This degree is delivered in a new, “hybridized,” format. Most of the curriculum will be provided via the internet culminating in students coming to Western in the summer for a two-week intensive experience. When this degree proposal came before the Oregon University System Provost Council for review, there was unanimity among that group – it was considered an outstanding idea with great potential participation and recognition. Already it has succeeded in attracting students from New York, Ohio, Washington, California and Oregon.
Secondly, Dr. Rob Winningham, chair of the Division of Psychology, is recognized nationally for his expertise in issues surrounding gerontology and has been an invited keynote speaker around the country. While Western has seen a huge increase in the number of students desiring to enter the health care arena via nursing, many want options other than nursing. Last year, Winningham realized that a new bachelor’s degree in gerontology would be very beneficial in meeting demands in this growing area and he worked diligently to design the degree program. I am pleased to report it is now in place.
These are just two examples of how the innovation and dedication of our faculty impacts the lives and careers of our students and alumni. There are many, many more.
I would also love to hear from you. What was your campus experience like? Was there a particular professor who made a difference in your life? Or just let us know what you are doing today.
Thank you for choosing Western Oregon University and thank you for your continued interest and support. It is the energy and optimism of our students, both present and past, that keeps us all going. We will continue to do all we can to make you proud.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs