Western Oregon University’s new College of Education building is now one step closer to reality thanks to a generous donation from former psychology professor and education leader Dr. Richard W. Woodcock. The $1.4 million gift is the third largest single donation in school history and will help create the Richard Woodcock Education Center; a 58,000 square foot facility scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
The $18.6 million facility continues to expand the university’s academic footprint as part of its strategic plan to meet the growing needs of Oregonians and assist in the state’s 40-40-20 initiative to provide a better educated Oregon citizenry and improved economy. WOU’s College of Education, recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Award as the top teacher education program in the nation, currently produces the second largest number of new teachers in the state and approximately 80 percent of school districts employ its alumni as teachers and administrators.
To meet the rapidly changing needs of classroom teachers, the Richard Woodcock Education Center will incorporate state-of-the-art teaching tools, which include SMART Boards, avatar simulations, and live-streaming connections with real classrooms in partnership with Salem-Keizer School District and other surrounding partner districts. In addition, the three divisions of Teacher Education, Special Education, and Health and Physical Education, will come together in the new facility to promote enhanced collaboration across disciplines and improve instructional delivery.
The facility also recently received Oregon Governor John A. Kitzhaber’s designation as a demonstration project under Executive Order 12-16. This order promotes innovative use of wood products as a green building material, encourages innovative uses of wood products and increases markets for Oregon wood products. The new building will feature creative usage of wood through wood moment frames and timber hybrid structures, as well as promote the use of cross-laminated timber.
“I am personally grateful for Dr. Woodcock’s investment in Western Oregon University, the WOU College of
Education, and its students – our future generation of teachers. This action is a testament to his fine work as a world-renowned educator and his commitment to Oregonians,” said WOU President Mark Weiss. “Additionally, his personal interest in both bilingual education and special educational needs is a demonstration of Dr. Woodcock’s commitment to challenging today’s teachers to exceed the needs of tomorrow. We are quite blessed to have had him teaching our students for even a brief stint in his illustrious career, and we hope he fondly remembers his days here in Monmouth. We are proud to have a college of education building named after his ongoing legacy.”
Woodcock served as an assistant professor of psychology and the reading clinic director from 1957 to 1961 at Western Oregon University. His background in education and psychology includes serving as an elementary teacher, school psychologist, director of special education, neuropsychologist, and holding post at educational institutions including the University of Northern Colorado, Vanderbilt University, University of Arizona, University of Southern California, and the University of Virginia. Woodcock’s most noted work to improve education nationwide is as founder of Measurement/Learning/Consultants, a test development and research organization. Most significant is his work to create the Woodcock-Johnson battery of tests, which grew from his desire to improve and measure an individual’s learning ability.
“My time as a faculty member at the Oregon College of Education is among some of the fondest memories of my career. Over the years since then I have continued to see the university grow and have been aware of its expanding academic programs. The university has maintained its mission of providing quality education on its own campus and across the state. When I heard about the plans for a new College of Education building and the opportunity to become involved, it sparked my interest. I believe my investment in this facility and its students will have a continuing impact even beyond Oregon as WOU continues to produce highly effective and inspiring educators.”
Executive director, University Advancement and executive director, WOU Foundation
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