Western Oregon University
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Western Oregon University receives approval for institutional governing board - 04/04/14
Western Oregon University (WOU) received approval today to become an independent state university from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (OSBHE). Currently WOU is governed by the OSBHE, but with this affirmative decision, the institution will begin transitioning to full self-governance and its own governing board to be effective July 1, 2015. This is the same governance change taking effect on July 1, 2014, for the three largest state institutions - Oregon State University, University of Oregon, and Portland State University - as part of the state's transition to a decentralized public university system.

"The decision today positions Western and its future board to pursue their vision of innovative academic initiatives and programs that best help us continue to do what we do best: educating Oregonians in a smaller, personalized setting," said President Mark Weiss. "Western appreciates the board's confidence in our mission, strategies, and financial sustainability conveyed through this endorsement. Furthermore, we want to thank members of the OSBHE and the Oregon University System Chancellor's Office who have spent the better part of the last year focused on discussions and analysis in order to reach an informed decision."

WOU will now begin identifying potential board member candidates, among whom the governor will make his selections and submit to the Oregon State Senate for confirmation. The board's role is to define policy for the institution; specific authority allows it to hire/fire the president, endorse the creation of new academic programs, approve tuition increases (up to five percent), issue revenue bonds, or approve biennial budget requests before they are submitted to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Western Oregon University, founded in 1856, is the oldest public university in Oregon. Every Oregon county is represented in the student population, and WOU has the highest percentage of Oregon undergraduates out of the seven state institutions. The university has received national recognition for excellence for its focus on student learning and success and is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
American Winter
American Winter
Screening of HBO documentary "American Winter" to be held at Western Oregon University (Photo) - 04/03/14
estern Oregon University will hold a screening of the Oregon-based award-winning HBO film American Winter on April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in room 105 of the Health and Wellness Center. American Winter is a vivid illustration of what is happening to families across America, including working families losing their homes, people who remain jobless or underemployed, children going hungry, families losing utilities in the dead of winter and lives being devastated by medical costs. Produced with support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, American Winter was shot in Portland, Ore. by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz. A panel discussion with 211 Information, Oregon Center for Public Policy and the Marion-Polk Foodshare will follow the film. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to bring a cash or food donation for local food pantries.

As the economy slowly recovers from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, a record number of American families find themselves caught in a daily struggle for basic needs. At the same time, the social safety net intended to help those in crisis has been impacted by budget cuts, creating a perfect storm of greater need and fewer resources available to vulnerable families. Framed through the very personal stories of eight families, American Winter reveals the devastating fallout of the mortgage meltdown, unemployment, the health care crisis and a shrinking social safety net. Woven into the film are local economic experts, policy analysts, religious leaders and social workers, all of whom give context to the families' stories.

The eight families profiled in the film were among thousands calling "211 Info", a Portland referral hotline connecting callers with community resources and social services. As one operator explains, "I can't count the number of people I've spoken with who start their conversation with 'I never believed I would be in this situation.' They say, 'I have always worked.'"

The film is an intimate snapshot of the state of the nation's economy as it is playing out in the lives of Oregon families, and reveals the human consequences of rising economic insecurity, threats to the social safety net, and the fracturing of the American Dream. For countless middle-class families who have experienced job loss or an unexpected financial setback, the American Dream has become an American nightmare. Working families, including over 16 million children, seemingly on a path toward economic security, have discovered how quickly they can slip from the middle class into poverty.

The event is sponsored by WOU 082, WOUFT and the Rural Organizing Project. For more information, contact Jackson Stalley at 503-838-8894 or stalleyj@wou.edu.
Attached Media Files: American Winter
WOU awarded grant to close opportunity grant gaps for culturally and linguistically diverse students - 04/03/14
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently awarded $200,000 to Western Oregon University's Teaching Research Institute and College of Education, one of nine competitively funded grant awards, to support Project High Five - Culture, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication and Community. The project is a collaborative endeavor between WOU, Central School District (CSD) 13J, the Ella Curran Food Bank, and the Oregon Child Development Coalition to develop a strong Professional Development School (PDS) partnership program between CSD and WOU and will advancing the ability of teachers to meet the needs of culturally and/or linguistically diverse students, which is a key component of Oregon's 40-40-20 goal. This PDS partnership program is based on principles of culturally responsive pedagogy while strengthening and expanding English Language Development (ELD) for English Learners and being actively involved with community partnerships and service to the community.

Project High Five builds upon the work of two prior WOU grant funded endeavors that developed a contextualized, content-based English Language Development (ELD) model. Over the past 18 months, WOU has worked with teachers and administrators at CSD to reshape and expand the district's ELD model according to district needs and research-based practices. The model "is a research-based approach that keeps the students in their home classrooms and anchors the learning of English to content that is already part of the students' academic day," said Dr. Maria Dantas-Whitney, the project director. "This model offers an opportunity for students to receive ELDā€focused instruction that integrates the presentation of topics or tasks from subject matter." The Oregon Department of Education named the contextualized ELD model an "Equity Promising Practice."

"Becoming culturally responsive requires strong links between schools, families and communities to increase student success by removing barriers that block educational achievement. Project High Five will strengthen the trust, understandings and commitment between Central School District and Western Oregon University resulting in improved outcomes for K-12 students, pre-service and in-service teachers and increased community collaborations," said Dr. Chloe Hughes, project co-director.

A important aspect of Project High Five is the rigorous program evaluation included within the project. "We want to be able to collect enough meaningful data that we can clearly demonstrate the impact of this innovative model," said Dr. Christina Reagle, project evaluator. "We hope to be able to document how this type of project contributes to Oregon's 40-40-20 goal."

About TRI
TRI's mission is to inform and facilitate change in educational and human service systems that improve the quality of life for individuals. Originally established in 1961, the work at TRI has followed a course congruent with state and national issues in education and human services. TRI houses seven Centers focused on informing and facilitating change in educational and human service systems to improve the quality of life for all individuals. Funded through external grants, the Centers conduct programs of research, develop evidence-based interventions that are provided through technical assistance and professional development, and increase system capacity to effect change. TRI manages a yearly grants' expenditures budget of $6.5 - $7 million.

About WOU
Western Oregon University, founded in 1856, is the oldest public university in the western United States. The university has received national recognition for excellence for its focus on student learning and success by the Education Trust, US. News and World Report, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Association of Academic Advisors, and Parade Magazine. In 2010 WOU was recognized by the Education Trust as being the top university in America at eliminating the Latino graduation gap. WOU is a member of the seven-campus Oregon University System and is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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