Western Oregon University Board of Trustees Lauds Affordability, Accessibility Advancement in Quarterly Meeting

Aerial view of campus. Todd Hall in the foreground.

The Western Oregon University (WOU) Board of Trustees on Wednesday  learned of a number of new academic offerings and heard a report from President Rex Fuller about accessibility and affordability at WOU.


Since 2017, the university has made strategic changes to offer to become the most affordable public university in Oregon for resident undergraduates. In 2017, WOU ranked at second-highest relative to household income; WOU now ranks at second-lowest on the basis of estimated total cost of attendance.


“We’ve worked hard as a campus in the past five years to make significant changes toward this affordability goal, and we will continue to make it a priority as we also guard our fiscal health,” said Fuller. “By making a four-year degree accessible as a share of the average Oregon family’s median income, we’ve set the stage for Oregon students to achieve their career goals and reap the rewards of upward mobility.”


The board also approved a new Board Statement on Presidential Vacancies that was drafted in preparation for the upcoming search for a new university president, pending Fuller’s retirement at the end of his current contract in September 2021. Because WOU previously was part of the now-disbanded Oregon University System, which had its own process for hiring presidents, a new, internal policy was needed.


The stated intention of the board, based on the recommendation of the Executive, Governance, and Trusteeship Committee, is to search for an interim president for the 2021-22 academic year.


Also at the meeting the board:

  • Approved the creation of a Bachelor of Art in Creative Production
  • Approved two new criminal justice graduate certificates in Advanced Juvenile Justice Studies and Social Justice as well as a new Master of Science in Justice Studies
  • Learned of seven planned additions for undergraduate certificates: Public and Nonprofit Management Certificate, Elementary certificate in French, Intermediate Certificate in French, Elementary Certificate in Spanish, Intermediate Certificate in Spanish, Elementary Certificate in German, and Intermediate Certificate in German
  • Heard an update in the university’s COVID-19 safety and response plan.

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