Chemeketa, WOU sign groundbreaking agreement

Western Oregon University president Jay Kenton and Chemeketa Community College president Jessica Howard sign the Direct Connect agreement in February.

Chemeketa Community College and Western Oregon University (WOU) announced a new partnership agreement that will provide students completing a transfer degree at Chemeketa with a seamless transition to WOU. The agreement was signed at a special ceremony at the WOU campus on Wednesday, Feb. 23, by presidents Jessica Howard (Chemeketa) and Jay Kenton (WOU).

The new program, named “Direct Connect,” will guarantee WOU admission to qualifying Chemeketa graduates who satisfy WOU’s transfer admission requirements. Students on this pathway will receive specialized advising and support throughout their educational experience at both institutions, which will provide a clear pathway to completing a bachelor’s degree in the equivalent of four years of full-time attendance: two years at Chemeketa and two years at WOU. Further, immediately upon admission, students in designated transfer programs will receive junior status at WOU and credit for completing all lower-division general education requirements. 

“We are thrilled to expand our long-standing partnership with Chemeketa thanks to this agreement,” said WOU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Winningham. “The program will ensure that students have a clear, supported, and affordable path to a bachelor’s degree that will prepare them for the work force and the future they choose.”

Direct Connect will make the attainment of a bachelor’s degree accessible to more students on account of lower tuition costs at the community college for the first two years of instruction. “This landmark articulation agreement smoothes the pathway for individuals in Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties who want a bachelor’s degree and realize the many benefits of starting their academic journey at Chemeketa,” said Jessica Howard, Chemeketa’s President and CEO. “For our students for whom time and money is at a premium, this agreement puts a degree from WOU even more within reach.”

Bruce Clemetson, Chemeketa’s Vice President of Student Affairs echoed that statement. “We are grateful to have this agreement with like-minded colleagues at WOU who are focused on students maximizing the benefit of a transfer degree from Chemeketa. Ensuring that a transfer degree graduate from Chemeketa will in most cases only need 90 additional credits reflects that commitment to reduce student cost and honor the quality of a Chemeketa graduate’s education.”  

Direct Connect is slated to begin fall term of 2023.