About The Research Institute


The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University improves the quality of life for individuals by facilitating positive change in education, health, and social service systems.


To attain this vision, TRI conducts a comprehensive multi-disciplinary program of research, evaluation, program/model training, development, technical assistance, direct service, and dissemination serving both typical and special populations of all ages at the local, state, regional, and national levels.

TRI is guided by partnerships with consumers, families, and practitioners and measures the effectiveness of its work by the impact on their lives.

Click here to see an overview of all our Centers and projects.

Our History

Todd Hall - Historical photograph

The Research Institute at Western Oregon University (formerly Teaching Research), was established in the early 1960s as a research and development arm of the Oregon University System’s (OUS) Chancellor’s Office. It has historically followed a course congruent with state and national issues in education and human services. In 1989, TRI was transferred from the OUS to Western Oregon University (WOU) and has since become an integral part of the campus community.

Throughout its history TRI has been a facilitator of educational and human service improvement with a national reputation in the field of education. TRI has fostered close working relationships with many schools, districts and teacher education programs. Although its foundation was in educational research, teacher education and instructional technology, a focus on special education in the mid 1970’s led TRI to its continued national prominence in early childhood special education and services to students with deaf-blindness.

As Oregon and the nation have expanded its view of attaining educational excellence to include the whole person, we at TRI have also expanded. With studies such as Project Executive Function (a study to assess executive function in babies born low birth weight) and the Qigong Massage Research Project (examining the positive effects of Qigong massage on children with autism) we are deep in the field of health. With CASA (the national campaign - Campus Against Sexual Assault) and TSE (leading the Traffic Safety Education program for the Oregon Department of Transportation) we have expanded into the realm of public safety and social services. All while keeping our deep, and historic focus on education.

The path that TRI has taken has mirrored the state and national focus of embracing Education, Health and Social Services as a way to create healthy communities and individuals.



TRI Today

Todd Hall today

TRI staff are housed in two locations on the WOU campus, in historic Todd Hall and in Maaske Hall. In addition, TRI has project offices in New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Tennessee.

Current work continues to align with local, state and national issues in regular and special education, as well as human services. TRI projects are working in every state within the country, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin.



TRI Fun Facts

Through its early work, TRI would influence the national view of early childhood education, as our own Dr. Edward L. Palmer created the foundational principles that would guide the Children’s Television Network, producers of Sesame Street and The Electric Company.


Many of TRI's staff are located in historic Todd Hall, which recently celebrated it's 100th anniversary. The building was originally used as a dormitory for women on WOU's campus, and is rumored to be haunted by its namesake, Jessica Todd.

Click to view a video tour of the history of Todd Hall.



The Teaching Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 | info@triwou.org