Meet new faculty member Dr. Melissa Cannon

Dr. Melissa Cannon

Dr. Melissa Cannon joined Western Oregon University fall 2016 as an assistant professor in Gerontology. She joined WOU after earning completing her Ph.D. in urban studies at Portland State University. Her dissertation was titled Challenges, Experiences, and Future Directions of Senior Centers Serving the Portland Metropolitan Area. We asked her some questions to get to know one of the newest members of our faculty.

Where are you from?
I am originally from Berthoud, a small town in Colorado. I grew up and lived there until I started classes at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colo. After earning my associates degree, I joined Americorps and traveled around the Southeastern U.S. I eventually settled in Portland, Ore. where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies. I lived in Portland for nine years until moving to Corvallis in August.

What interested you about WOU when you applied to work here?
I wanted to work at an institution where students are the number one priority. I love the small class sizes and the focus on providing an affordable, high-quality liberal arts education. I was also attracted to the opportunity to be part of a growing Gerontology program that engages students in research and experiential learning. I could not be more excited to be a member of the WOU community!

Which classes will you teach this year?
Last fall I taught Introduction to Gerontology, Developmental Psychology, and Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Management. Currently I’m teaching Developmental Psychology again, as well as Adulthood and Aging. In spring I will teach Intro to Gerontology, Retirement/Long Term Care Housing for Older Adults, and a Special Topics (to be announced).

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching since the beginning of summer 2015 (formerly at Portland State University).

What do you like most about WOU so far?
The students! I have gotten to known some amazing, engaged, hardworking individuals pursuing their higher education for a variety of reasons. I am learning a lot from them every day. I am also so proud to be part of the wonderful Behavioral Sciences Division team, and I feel fortunate each day that I get to enjoy this beautiful campus.

Can you tell us about your research?
My most recent research on which I am continuing to build examines challenges, opportunities, and future directions of senior centers (community centers for older adults). I generally focus on environments that support health and well-being and improve quality of life for all of us as we age.


Western is glad to have you, Dr. Cannon!