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Weber State University: A Dual-mission University Integrating Learning, Access, and Community

Weber State University

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Located in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University is one of the oldest and most admired universities in Utah. Founded in 1889, the university prides itself on teaching, providing access to educational opportunities, and its active role within the community. WSU provides educational experiences in communities across Utah with a vision to be the national model for a dual-mission university that integrates learning, access, and community.

From Weber Stake Academy to Weber State University

Over the span of 132 years, WSU’s name has changed six times as the institution has evolved and grown to meet the needs of its region. It started as Weber Stake Academy in 1889. The institution’s history and existence is rooted in its strong ties with the community as it was originally established to meet the educational needs of the city of Ogden, Utah, and the surrounding area. In those early days, the school primarily offered high school coursework to area youth from Weber County. Later, the school’s name was changed to Weber Academy in 1908, before being renamed Weber Normal College in 1918. This reflected the institution’s shift towards offering a more college-level curriculum.

In 1923, the Utah Legislature established Weber College as a junior college in the state system. After nearly 40 years, in 1954, the main campus moved to its current location, branching out to begin offering four-year degrees as Weber State College in 1963. It added its first master’s degree in 1988, and in 1991, recognizing the institution’s role in serving the educational needs of the tri-county area, its name was changed to Weber State University. Presently, the university has campuses in Ogden and Layton, Utah, along with centers in Davis, Morgan, and Weber counties. Inspired by the vision of its founders, WSU continues to meet the educational needs of more than 29,000 students.

Meeting the Needs of Local Industry

Being a regional university, WSU has been providing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees to meet the needs of the local industry for more than 50 years. The university offers more than 225 degrees. Some of these undergraduate programs include,

  • Business Administration & Finance
  • Communication & Marketing
  • Computer & Information Systems
  • Education
  • Engineering & Technology
  • General Studies & Pre-Majors
  • Health Professions
  • Political and Social Sciences
  • Professional Trade
  • Science & Math
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Writing, Literature & Languages, etc.

Alongside these, WSU offers 17 graduate degrees including a doctor of nursing practice. The university is acclaimed for its nursing and health professional degrees, as well as for its business, professional sales, teaching, and criminal justice programs. It also offers interdisciplinary programs such as Asian Studies, Biotechnician Training Program, Ethnic Studies, European Studies, First Year Experience, Latin American Studies, Legal Studies, Linguistics Minor, Neuroscience Program, Urban & Regional Programs, and Women & Gender Studies.

Moreover, WSU has led the state of Utah in producing computer science and engineering graduates over the last five years. The university recently introduced a new environmental sciences degree in 2020, which is attracting a lot of interest. Presently, the COV

ID-19 pandemic has disrupted the schedules and operations of the educational institutes across the globe. The pandemic forced WSU to move to online-only instruction in March 2020. Consequently, for fall 2020, the university has offered six formats of course delivery, including face-to-face, online, virtual, hybrid, and flex. Approximately a third of Weber’s courses are taught face-to-face during fall 2020.

The ‘Teaching First’ Culture

Weber State Universityhas been committed to its core themes of access, learning, and community since its inception. The university offers personalized learning experiences and is known for providing quality education at an affordable price. The classes are taught by experienced faculty who ‘put teaching first.’ Especially when the transition to online instruction mid-semester presented challenges, WSU’s faculty retooled their courses to create dynamic learning experiences and continued to personally engage students. The university was one of the first in the state to offer online degree programs and continues to pioneer in online delivery.

Preparing Students for Industry

Weber State Universityis an open-enrollment institution. Even in its early days as an academy, the school promoted that – anyone regardless of age or circumstance – could attend a class at Weber to improve a skill or learn a new subject. Consequently, Weber continues to attract students who are tenacious and persistent and don’t let setbacks deter their educational goals. The university strives to be a national leader in taking students where they are and guiding them to where they want to be.

Students at WSU receive practical experience through internships, practicums, and undergraduate research, which makes them highly sought after by employers and grad programs. Moreover, the university provides numerous opportunities for students to learn and grow outside the classroom. From undergraduate research, community engagement to study abroad, students can explore the world around them and engage in finding solutions to problems. One of WSU’s students said, “Take advantage of the opportunities. Jump in. Get involved. Leadership opportunities will happen.”

Mentoring and Personal Attention

WSU’s students often praise the personal connections they make with faculty and the staff. Students form relationships that last for decades and help with post-graduate studies and job placements. Faculty at the university prioritizes teaching; thus, students learn from experts in their field of study. The university has been constantly empowering students with mentoring and personal attention to nurture them as future leaders. Some of the notable alumni of the university are J.Willard Marriott (Founder of the Marriott International Corporation), Todd Rose (an internationally recognized professor at Harvard), and Damian Lillard (NBA All-Star).

Accommodating the New Normal

Being a financially sound institution, Weber State University is well-positioned to adapt to the needs of the students as well as local employers. It is constantly working with its professional advisory boards to ensure its graduates are ready to meet the needs of the community and economy. The university is in the process of adding a physician’s assistant degree in its Dumke College of Health Professions.

Despite the pandemic, the university is on an ever-upward trajectory. The enrollment figures at the university remain steady. Enhancing their capabilities moving forward, WSU’s faculty have learned the ways to make online course offerings more engaging. WSU is looking forward to the day COVID-19 is no longer a threat and is eager to welcome its students back to campus in larger numbers. It anticipates the online education delivery format developed this past year will help it better serve students who are seeking flexible options.

Weber State University

Read Full Post, The 10 Most Admired Universities and Colleges to watch in 2020



The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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