Western Oregon University is a mid-sized college with about 5,800 undergraduate students, located in Monmouth, just outside the state capital of Salem. WOU is the oldest university on the west coast. With 20% students of color, WOU is also the most ethnically diverse college in Oregon.
Teacher education, special education and American Sign Language are big programs here, and WOU is a very welcoming place for deaf or hearing-impaired students. There are also deaf faculty members. Teaching students leave with a teaching certificate as well as a degree, and forty-seven states recognize the Oregon teaching certificate.
Gerontology is a strong program at WOU, and there is a new visual communications major. Arts and Dance are strong here. Students can design their own major through the interdisciplinary studies department. The Honors program here takes just the top 2-3% of students, giving them more opportunity for small classes and interaction with professors.
Western Oregon University serves first-generation college students well, and has a very accepting campus for all students. About 80% of the students are from Oregon, so it is a bit of a commuter campus, but dorm facilities including living/learning communities, are modern.