Changes planned for Willamette Academy

Contact: Marlene Moore

The academy, Project Promise will transition to a new program model this year.

Dear Willamette Community,

I am writing to share an important update on the future of the Willamette Academy and Project Promise programs. After careful review of both program’s goals and enhanced resources available through the Salem-Keizer School District, the academy and Project Promise will transition to a new program model at the end of this academic year. By partnering more closely with the school district, we can provide stronger programs for the students based on the strengths of each partner. Willamette Academy and Project Promise will transition from general higher education support programs to a single, focused academic preparation experience for students from the Salem-Keizer School District interested in attending Willamette University. 

Jacqueline Rushing, a member of the Willamette University Board of Trustees, volunteered to lead this transition as interim executive director of Willamette Academy. Rushing, herself a graduate of Willamette, is currently the director of an award-winning college access program in the San Francisco Bay area and has more than 23 years of experience in creating programs to advance underrepresented groups. We are grateful for her time, talent and dedication to make this transition as smooth as possible.

The preparatory academy for Willamette will enroll 10th - 12th-graders who have demonstrated the potential to be successful Willamette University students. They will receive priority consideration for admission and aid (meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need) and additional support services through their first two years as Willamette University students. Recruiting for the new program will begin this spring, and the program will start in September 2016. Current Willamette Academy students and families are being informed of these changes by mail and are being invited to an information session on Feb. 6, 2016. 

Willamette is working in partnership with the Salem-Keizer School District and Education Foundation to provide college preparatory support for those who will not enroll in the new Willamette Preparatory Academy. The implementation of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Access to Student Assistance Program In Reach of Everyone (ASPIRE) programs by the school district make this partnership possible. We will work with current Willamette Academy students not graduating at the end of this academic year to incorporate AVID classes within their school schedules for the spring and will work with ASPIRE to provide additional services. Also, Willamette will honor its extraordinary commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of current academy students admitted to and enrolling at Willamette.

Our first priority is to continue to support current students in the programs’ existing formats through this year’s graduation ceremony on May 20, 2016. Rita Moore will serve as the on-site associate director for the current programs. With her previous experience as professor and interim dean of the Graduate School of Education and service on the Willamette Academy Task Force last fall, Moore has both the expertise and local relationships to guide the existing programs and assist with transition to the new program. She will be supported by the curriculum coordinator, Rebecca Moore, and the administrative support coordinator, Nicole Rodgers. Current academic support coordinator, Emmanuel Macias, has accepted a position at Western Oregon University. His last day at Willamette will be Friday, Jan. 15, and there will be a farewell reception for him at 4 p.m. that day.

With the vision and expertise of the new interim executive director, Jacqueline Rushing, Rita Moore’s leadership and the assistance of staff and her student interns, Willamette Academy is in good hands. We will share details about the new program as they are finalized. 

Sincerely, 

Marlene Moore, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dean of the College