Western Oregon University and Unitus CCU Partner to Expand Bilingual/Bicultural Teacher Scholars Program

Unitus Community Credit Union has pledged $75,000 to Western Oregon University’s Bilingual Teacher Scholars (BTS) Program to further expand its efforts and fund an additional eight-student cohort.

The BTS program provides scholarships and extra support for bilingual and bicultural students earning degrees for careers as Oregon K-12 teachers. Unitus’ gift over three years will specifically support eight transfer students from Oregon community colleges.

“Unitus is proud to help WOU prepare the teachers needed in Oregon,” said Steve Stapp, Unitus President and CEO. “It’s an honor to strengthen the efforts of the Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program and deepen their reach for this critical community need so we can begin filling in the gaps for this essential work together.”

“There is no higher priority in educator workforce development than preparing teachers with the cultural and linguistic assets that match our children, families, and communities,” added Mark Girod, Dean of WOU’s College of Education.

The Bilingual Teacher Scholars program — along with its related program Diverse Teacher Scholars (DTS) — provides bilingual and bicultural students with an annual scholarship of up to $3,000, professional development opportunities, academic support, and individualized advising. Graduates of the program earn a Bilingual/English for Speakers of Other Languages certificate and may receive preferred hiring in their school districts. BTS specifically supports students who are bilingual and bicultural in Spanish and English; DTS supports students who are ethnically diverse or heritage speakers of a language other than English in becoming Oregon K-12 teachers.

Both BTS and DTS are for Oregon high school graduates or Oregon community college students who are admitted to WOU and incoming students to WOU’s Master of Arts in Teaching (Secondary Education) or Master of Science in Education (Special Education K-12) programs.

“If it weren’t for the BTS program I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m thankful for the resources, friendships, and for the enormous amount of support that the program has given me,” said Cristina Olivares of Central School District and past BTS program scholar.


Posted in Member News.