History and Institutional Context
Weber State University (WSU) is a comprehensive public university providing associate, bachelor and master's degrees focused on the educational needs of the more than 500,000 people within a service area centered in Ogden, in Northern Utah. WSU began as Weber Academy, founded by community religious leaders in 1889, and served primarily as a high school/normal school until 1923 when it became a junior college. Ownership and management of the school was transferred from the L.D.S. Church to the state of Utah in 1933. For the next three decades, Weber College served as the public junior college in Northern Utah. In 1964, Weber State College awarded its first baccalaureate degrees and, in1979, its first master’s degrees. In 1991, the institution’s name was changed from Weber State College to Weber State University. Currently, WSU serves both community college and regional university roles through seven academic colleges with more than fifty academic departments offering more than 230 programs. WSU’s 800 full- and part-time faculty provide education in online and traditional classes.
WSU’s policies and programs reflect its community college and regional university missions. General admission to lower-division course work is open, and WSU annually awards the second largest number of associate degrees in the state of Utah. At the same time, an increasing number of programs have selective admissions criteria and graduate enrollments are increasing more rapidly than any other enrollment category.
WSU’s student demographics also reflect its dual focus—WSU students are more likely to be first generation college students than their peers at regional universities. A higher percentage are married, have children, are working fulltime, receive financial aid, and need remediation in math or English as compared to students attending similar institutions.
WSU faculty see part of their role as helping less well-prepared students to achieve, and its retention and graduation data substantiate their success. In the most recent year, WSU conferred over 1,800 associate degrees, 1,900 bachelor degrees and 230 master’s degrees.
WSU’s engaged learning model includes learning opportunities in undergraduate research, community based and service learning, internships, capstone courses and other forms of experiential learning. As a Carnegie Community Engaged institution, WSU students, faculty and staff contribute well over 100,000 hours of service to the community.
WSU currently serves more than 24,000 students on two major campuses. The Ogden campus serves 19,000 students with 60 buildings on over 400 acres, and the WSU-Davis campus, located next to Hill Air Force Base, provides instruction to 3,300 students. The Ogden campus has on-campus housing for approximately 750 students. In addition to its Ogden and Davis campuses, WSU offers courses at two small centers within the region and throughout the country through distance-mediated instruction. Over 15% of WSU’s total enrollment is in online courses. Like other publicly-funded institutions in the region, WSU has recently experienced a decline in public support while student enrollments have increased.
[passage above extracted from Year One report filed with NWCCU September, 2011]