Western Oregon University has been located in Monmouth since 1856, but in 2019, the university also planted its flag in the nearby capital of Salem. WOU’s second location is in the south part of the city, conveniently located and designed for students seeking to start or finish their degrees.
WOU classes started in Salem in winter and spring 2019 terms and will increase gradually. By the fall, a much larger range of courses will be available. WOU:Salem courses are designed to help working adults get the higher education they seek, whether it is their first degree, an advanced degree or professional development needed to qualify for a promotion in their current employment.
WOU:Salem classes are taught in the Willamette Education Service District’s (WESD) Professional Learning Center two nights per week and feature a hybrid format: half the course is online and the other half is in person, which makes it easier for people working full-time jobs.
“We are so excited about WOU’s Salem location in partnership with WESD,” said President Rex Fuller when the location opened. “We’ve been working on this expansion for some time, and I’m proud that we will be able to serve the educational needs of working adults. Our convenient location and class formats will make it much easier for students to achieve their academic and career goals.”
Where to find WOU:Salem
All classes take place in the WESD Professional Learning Center at 2611 Pringle Road SE in Salem. The building has ample free parking and is conveniently located near Cherriots No. 8 and No. 18 bus lines.
There are four classrooms in the building, each with WiFi, white boards and everything else students and instructors require to have successful classes.
Programs available at WOU:Salem
Starting in fall 2019, the following programs will be available at WOU’s new location:
Applied Baccalaureate (A.B.) in Liberal Studies—Add onto your Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree and complete a 4-year degree through the upper-division, general education courses offered exclusively in Salem.
Psychology (B.A., B.S. or A.B.)—Take your major courses online and complete your non-major coursework in Salem.
Criminal Justice (B.A. or B.S.)—Take your major courses online and complete your non-major coursework in Salem.
COMING SOON: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership—Get that promotion you’ve been wanting after earning a convenient advanced degree that’s perfect for aspiring senior leadership. Expected fall 2019.
Q&A with WOU:SalemStudent Mae Rogers
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Mae Rogers, and I live in south Salem with my two children, cat and boyfriend. I worked at an assisted living company and loved it. I decided to become be a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor. I’m a non-traditional student in my senior year at Western and will be graduating this term with a bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies for sociology and American Sign Language (ASL) Studies.
Why did you choose to get your degree from WOU rather than a different university?
Several reasons. First, I graduated from Chemeketa Community College after two years of ASL education. I learned that WOU has an amazing ASL department for interpreting certification and cultural studies. Second, WOU has the Rehabilitation Mental Health Counseling (RMHC) graduate program. Third, WOU is the closest public university. Lastly, the sociology department at WOU is full of passionate teachers.
What job do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?
I will be applying to the RMHC master’s program.
What class are you taking at WOU:Salem, and why?
I am taking Technical Writing with Lars Soderlund. I need the writing intensive class specifically to graduate. Also, Lars came highly recommended for the class he is teaching there.
How has the WOU:Salem location made your life easier?
It is only 10 minutes from my apartment, so a night class doesn’t feel as heavy. Plus, driving home on lighted streets vs. dark River Road feels safer.
What other demands do you have on your time?
I work 12 hours a week at Hamersly Library. At home, I have a 17-year-old son with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and 19-year-old daughter starting her college journey. My partner is a postal worker and works long shifts. I volunteer at the Oregon State Penitentiary with a sociology class teaching a foreign language. I also belong to local and Portland-based renters’ rights advocacy groups.
Would you recommend WOU:Salem classes to other adults looking to further or complete their educations?
Absolutely! Salem residents wanting a university-level education now have a better opportunity. Plus, it speaks volumes to the community when a local university is attempting to reach out and help more students continue or finish their education. The building is easy to get to, the classes are in a really nice building and there seems to be plenty of parking.
What do you think of the evening hours? Are they helpful?
I like knowing that if I have to take a night class, it’s only one night a week.
What other kinds of classes would you like to have offered at WOU:Salem?
I think the sociology, psychology and criminal justice field would do really well at WOU:Salem because it would put students closer to where a lot of the out of school work is done.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I belong to the Portland Super Hero Coalition, where we dress up in costumes and volunteer our time to do events such as parades, hospitals and school events. Our group attends parties as entertainment and while we are there, we raise funds to buy toys for children’s hospitals.
Q&A with WOU:SalemInstructor Mark Elton
What is your background with Western Oregon University?
I have been teaching at the university level since 1990. My first job was at a small university in North Dakota called Dickinson State University. In 1996, I moved to Eugene to work on my doctorate. I started teaching at Oregon State University in 2000, and I have been teaching at Western Oregon University since 2005.
What class do you teach at WOU:Salem?
I am teaching Marketing Management.
What prompted you to volunteer/request to teach on the WOU:Salem campus?
I believe the Salem campus is a great way to reach out to the Salem community. Flexibility in how we deliver our course is the key to future success for WOU. I want to be a part of that success.
Why do you believe it’s important for students to learn business practices?
I am a big fan of learning in any knowledge discipline. What sets getting a degree in business apart from some of the other degrees is its immediate applicability to improving quality of life for the student.
What do you feel non-traditional or working adult students bring to the classroom?
Non-traditional and working adult students bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the class room setting. I love having this category of student take my courses. Their real world experiences serve to enhance classroom discussion and emphasize key points.
What advantages do you think people with a bachelor’s degree have?
In many respects a bachelor’s degree is now considered the bare minimum in many employment opportunities. The degree can help secure a better job and can sometimes be the key to advancement at a current job. Because of family situations, financial or other obligations, some feel trapped in their current position and
are afraid to leave because they don’t see themselves as
qualified for more. Being able to pursue a degree part
time at night and on weekends will be the answer
for those who find themselves in this situation.
What do you think is the significance of having
a second location in Salem?
The Salem campus makes the university
experience accessible to a larger population,
not just for those who live in Salem but also
for those who are employed in Salem.
Who do you believe will benefit most from WOU’s Salem campus?
Some businesses will look to the Salem campus as a way to train their employees. I think as WOU forms ties and develops programs, more and more people will benefit from the Salem campus.
What kind of student is a good fit for WOU:Salem?
Anyone who needs some flexibility in terms of time and location to start or finish their degree.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hang out with my grandkids.