Academic Programs, Institutes, and Centers

Amplify Your Degree

Western’s university-wide Academic Programs, Institutes, and Centers (APICs) exist to leverage, support, and develop connections across traditional academic boundaries. By working together to promote inclusion across disciplines, we benefit Western students, as well as on- and off-campus communities. APICs aim to inspire, build synergies for success, and strengthen each other through a collaborative and convivial culture. We achieve our goals through co-creative and dynamic strategies, outreach, programming, and partnership.

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BPRI Mark: Red and Blue flags

Western established The Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI) in 2005 to further a mission of promoting research, academic programs, and public programming on critical policy issues affecting the Cascadia region. BPRI is a multi-disciplinary institute that undertakes research to inform policy-makers on matters related to the Canada-U.S. border, particularly in the British Columbia-Washington State region. Priority focus areas include trade, transportation, economic relationships, human mobility, and border security. BPRI works closely with cognate programs at Western and collaborates with many public and private entities within the region.

Two flagpoles, one with a Canadian flag and one with an American flag.
Canadian-American Studies mark: red maple leaf split with blue star

The Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University supports critical and interdisciplinary inquiry into the historical construction and modern constitution of Canada and its relationship with the United States. The Center places particular emphasis on the interaction of diverse identities and claims to belonging in northern North America.

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The Center for Cross-Cultural Research is a collaborative intellectual space that provides opportunities for the professional growth of WWU faculty and students who are culturally-oriented, research-focused, and psychologically-grounded.

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The Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) at Western Washington University works in partnership with businesses, non-profits, government/quasi-governmental entities and tribal communities to respond to data and analysis needs.

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The Western Washington University Center for Economic and Financial Education provides in-service and pre-service training of elementary and secondary teachers in economic and financial education.

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The Center focuses on issues related to equity, diversity, self-exploration and identity, inter-group relations, multicultural education and democratic empowerment and civic engagement; particularly focusing on issues of retention and success for historically underrepresented populations. 

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The CIE is committed to enabling and enhancing creativity and innovation in education and fostering engagement through partnerships among the business community, students and faculty to drive long term career and life success.

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The Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment (CIIA) is dedicated to the enhancement of teaching and learning on the campus of Western Washington University. The Center promotes discussion and debate about teaching and learning, provides support to faculty in instructional innovation and course development, and helps nurture a culture of educational innovation and instructional excellence across disciplines.

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CIB is dedicated to the creation and dissemination of research and teaching materials to assist students, faculty, and private and public sector decision-makers to better understand the contemporary international business environment and best international business practices. While CIB takes a global perspective on international business issues, it particularly focuses on issues related to trade and investment with the Pacific Northwest's primary international business partners - Northern Pacific Rim Countries such as Canada and Japan.

A group of students carry signs and flags through Western's campus, one sign reading "Everyone is Welcome, Everyone Belongs".

The Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice (CLDJ) provides an interdisciplinary approach to law, diversity and access to the legal system for under-served communities. The curriculum emphasizes critical examination of how race, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability intersect with the legal system.

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The Center for Operations Research and Management Science (CORMS) promotes international collaboration and networking to support Operations Research and Management Science research.

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The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies seeks to foster greater understanding of the region’s past and present through archival collections which document significant developments in the region stretching from Alaska to Northern California, and from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, with a particular focus on northwest Washington, the Olympic Peninsula, British Columbia, and Alaska.

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The Center for Performance Excellence (CPE) is operated by the sport and exercise psychology graduate program (Department of Health and Human Development) at Western Washington University. Our mental strength coaches offer a variety of individual and team services for athletes, exercisers, and performers.

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The Spatial Institute is an interdisciplinary center for spatial research in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geography, Resilience, and related fields. Housed within the College of the Environment, the Institute provides opportunities for collaboration within the College, across Western Washington University, and with the broader community.

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Compass 2 Campus

Compass 2 Campus mark, a blue compass with a C in the middle

Compass 2 Campus increases access to higher education for students in Whatcom and Skagit counties who have been historically excluded from higher education by providing low-income and Black, Indigenous, and students of color with trained college student mentors.

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Global Learning Program

Western’s faculty-led study abroad programs are called Global Learning Programs. Most programs average two to three weeks, but some are as short as one week and as long as eight weeks. What makes these programs special is that you will get to study your academic discipline in an applied way with your professor and a cohort of ten to 15 peers.

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Institute for Energy Studies mark: blue dots arranged in a diamond shape

The Institute for Energy Studies (IES) at Western Washington University (WWU) is a multi-college collaboration that offers interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees to address the science, technology, policy, business and economic aspects of energy systems. 

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Institute for Watershed Studies mark: simplified landscape featuring mountain and trees

The Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) exists to support research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands. Affiliated with the College of the Environment , IWS provides support to all Western faculty and students with an interest in watershed problems.

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The Institute of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (IETC, “the Institute”) promotes the mission of the university by supporting instructional programs, as well as conducting research in the field of environmental toxicology and chemistry for the benefit of undergraduate and graduate students, visiting scholars, professional colleagues, and grant-funding entities.

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Internet Studies Center

The Internet Studies Center aims to foster an interdisciplinary approach to the study and design of digital technologies. The ISC offers a minor program in Internet Studies and courses and certificates in web development that help WWU students leverage the value of their four-year and graduate degrees. Students who complete one of the three ISC certificates will receive an industry-certified certificate in conjunction with their WWU degree.

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We provide opportunities to campus students including highly experiential courses and training, innovative lectures and events, creation of a leadership e-portfolio through a developmental learning process, and participation in collaborative learning/service-learning on and off campus that prepare students to be successful leaders now and after they graduate.

Marine and Coastal Science mark: Mountain behind a bay

Marine and Coastal Science (MACS) is an interdisciplinary program at Western Washington University with core and affiliated faculty in units across the university, drawing together the wealth of expertise in multiple departments and at Shannon Point Marine Center.

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Morse Leadership Institute mark: A blue arrow pointing right that resembles a paperclip

The Morse Leadership Institute’s mission is to develop student leaders who can work collaboratively and inclusively with others by honoring diverse leadership values, styles, and perspectives, which can result in more equitable solutions and communities.

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The Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University is a partnership with Northwest Life Passages Coalition and other community agencies and volunteers to transform palliative care in Whatcom County and support our human responses to living and dying. Our goal is to create a healing community by providing a space where people living with serious illnesses or facing the end of life don’t have to be cured to heal. We build on collaborations among those both inside and outside of the medical industry, reclaiming palliative care as a community responsibility.

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Ray Wolpow Institute

For the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity

Ray Wolpow Institute mark: abstracted swooshes around a blue circle

In line with the university’s focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world by engaging our students in cross- and interdisciplinary undergraduate programs and extra-curricular development opportunities. Our mission is to advance knowledge about the Holocaust and genocide, including ethnic and religious conflict as well as attendant human rights abuses.

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The Resilience Institute is part of Western Washington University's College of the Environment. It facilitates scholarship, education, and practice on reducing social and physical vulnerability to natural hazards. Hazards like earthquakes, floods, climate change, hurricanes, and landslides can have devastating impacts on communities, causing deaths, injuries, destruction of property, and the fraying of social connections. Furthermore, they can create and expand social inequality.

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Salish Sea Institute

Salish Sea Institute mark: dark blue, blue, and red semicircles intertwined

Western Washington University is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe. Coast Salish Peoples have lived in the Salish Sea basin from time immemorial.

Given our placement on the edge of the Salish Sea, in Coast Salish territories, and near the international border, Western Washington University created the Salish Sea Institute to raise awareness and protection for the Salish Sea.

At the Salish Sea Institute, we work to share knowledge across disciplines and borders.

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Your Western Washington University Small Business Development Center: National, regional and state-wide resources, delivered locally – confidentially.

The Western SBDC brings a consortium of business development resources to your community. These assets are delivered to you through one-on-one counseling with our certified business advisors, our popular and proven training events and our best-in-class small business market and strategy research.

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The Student Technology Center supports the advancement of student knowledge of technology from fundamental skills to advanced applications. The STC is a place where students attend workshops, schedule peer tutoring, and make use of manuals, tutorials and other advanced equipment and software to promote their learning. Working with faculty from all disciplines, the STC compliments Western’s curriculum by offering training in support of course requirements.

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Washington Campus Coaltion is a coalition of higher education institutions committed to advancing the public purpose of colleges and universities, educating students for civic and social responsibility, and working in partnerships to cultivate vital and sustainable communities.