Academic Programs, Institutes, and Centers at Western Washington University (WWU)

University Programs and Courses to 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.

Border Policy Research Institute

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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.

Center for Canadian-American Studies

Two flagpoles, one with a Canadian flag and one with an American flag.

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.

Center for Cross-Cultural Research

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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.

Center for Economic and Business Research

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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.

Center for Economic and Financial Education

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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.

Center for Education, Equity and Diversity

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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. 

Center for Innovation in Education

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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.

Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment (CIIA)

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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.

Center for International Business

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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.

Center for Law, Diversity and Justice

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.

Center for Operations Research and Management Science

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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.

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

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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.

Center for Performance Excellence

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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.

College of the Environment Spatial Institute

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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.

Compass 2 Campus

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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.

Global Learning Program

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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.

Institute for Energy Studies

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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. 

Institute for Watershed Studies

An instructor and group of students stand at the banks of a waterway.

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.

Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (IETC)

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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.

Internet Studies Center

Students sit at computers in a lab.

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.

Leadership & Community Engagement Center

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Leadership and Community Engagement houses five programs: Fall Info Fair, the Community Service Center, the Literacy Tutor Program, the Western Hub of Living Essentials (W.H.O.L.E.), and Leadership Connection.  All of these are unified under the common goal of empowering students through leadership, volunteerism, and service. Whether it is providing for critical student needs, offering community service opportunities, or networking students to the club that’s right for them, the Leadership and Community Engagement department seeks to strengthen the bond between students and the community.

Marine and Coastal Science Program

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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.

Morse Leadership Institute

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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.

Palliative Care Institute

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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.

Ray Wolpow Institute

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

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.

Resilience Institute (RI)

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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.

Salish Sea Institute

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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.

Small Business Development Center

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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.

Student Technology Center

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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.

Washington Campus Coalition (WACC)

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Washington Campus Coalition 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.