OCCC Teaching Program


OCCC launches new ‘grow your own’ teaching degree program

College, School District, Western Oregon UniversityTeacher
join forces to help more local students
earn teaching degrees

To teach is to help build a better community for future generations. For too many local students, though, the cost of the four-year degree necessary to become a teacher is too great, despite the attractive wages and benefits packages available in the profession.

Now, students who aspire to become elementary school teachers right here at home in Lincoln County have a new pathway to follow to achieve their dream.

Thanks to a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, and through partnerships with the Lincoln County School District, Western Oregon University, and Tillamook Bay Community College, Oregon Coast Community College is launching a new elementary school teacher education program this fall. The announcement follows the revelation last spring that the Fall 2018 would also see the launch of OCCC’s first Early Childhood Education degree and certificate programs.

“Ever since I came to Oregon Coast Community College four years ago,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, President of OCCC, “I’ve heard from county residents, employers, and agencies asking for better, more affordable, and more accessible teaching and early childhood education degrees and certificates. I’m so pleased that, after a great deal of work, we’re able to announce the launch of this program.”


Earn a teaching degree

The new program is designed to help Lincoln County “grow its own” teachers, by supporting local students as they work towards their teaching degrees and assisting them in student-teaching and eventual full-time job placement here in Lincoln County. The goal is to help the school district recruit and retain teachers who are familiar with and grounded in Lincoln County and, through targeted outreach to underrepresented populations, help increase the diversity of teachers in K-12 classrooms to better reflect the demographics of the student population.

“Through this program, students will be able to earn the first two years of a Western Oregon University bachelor’s degree in education, by earning an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree (AAOT) here at OCCC,” said Dan Lara, OCCC’s Dean of Academics and Workforce.

In the third year of the program, students will transition to Western Oregon, where they will study for an academic year.  In the fourth and final year of the program, students achieving minimum performance standards will be placed into student-teaching positions by the Lincoln County School District while they continue remaining WOU courses online.  Upon graduation and certification by the state, program participants will receive preferential consideration for open teaching positions in the school district.

“By saving on tuition and housing by earning the first two years of this degree via the AAOT, and by requiring only one academic year away in Monmouth to attend WOU, this program slashes the costs one would traditionally expect for a degree like this,” Lara said, adding that some Lincoln County students may be able to arrange schedules so that they can continue living and working at home while commuting to courses at WOU during that third year.

“And,” he continued, “the automatic placement into student teaching positions in the fourth year of the program means this could be the quickest way for local residents to launch a brand new, immensely rewarding, and financially lucrative career. We’re thankful to the Meyer Memorial Trust for their support in delivering this innovative new option for local students.”

The Rural Teacher Education Pathway is available for high school graduates of all ages. Additionally, Juniors and Seniors in Lincoln County high schools can enroll via dual credit in core courses, further accelerating the program. Students interested in secondary education certifications should speak with their OCCC and WOU advisors.

The Meyer Memorial Trust grant also funded the two-year Early Childhood Education degree and one-year certificate programs that also launch in Fall 2018. Both are designed to provide new career opportunities to county residents, while also raising the quality and availability of child care services throughout the county.

Registration is now open for these programs. To learn more, contact Ben Kaufmann, OCCC’s Navigate Program Coordinator.


Summer Noncredit Courses


Pennywhistles, astronomy, painting … and Dungeons & Dragons?

Just another summer at Oregon Coast Community College

Make the most of your summer! Starting in July, Oregon Coast Community College’s North County Center in Lincoln City is presenting something fun, creative, and engaging each and every week.

Each of OCCC’s non-credit summer community education classes is one session – no need to schedule your busy summer around four or eight class sessions. These “one-and-done” courses are designed to entertain, educate, and inspire – and to do it all in one simple day.

Our summer lineup will help you get the most of your telescope, learn basic drawing techniques, learn to play the pennywhistle, sharpen your en plein aire oil painting skills, and even introduce you to the decades-old phenomenon that is Dungeons & Dragons.

The summer will also include some offerings catered to small business owners, including a series of one-session courses like Shoebox Accounting, Introduction to QuickBooks, and QuickBooks online, led by instructor Kathie Gordon-Brooks. The OCCC Small Busienss Center will also present an open house in the Digital Media & Marketing Studio, funded by the Lincoln County Economic Development Grant Program, where businesses can produce videos, record podcasts, and take studio-quality photographs of their products or artwork.

The schedule, subject to change, includes:

  • Shoebox Bookkeeping, July 10
  • Lincoln City Rec Kids Astronomy & Rocketry Day, July 12
  • Introduction to QuickBooks, July 17
  • QuickBooks Online, July 24
  • Kelp Weaving, July 26
  • Learn to use Your Telescope, July 30
  • Basic Drawing, Aug. 8
  • Beginning Watercolor, Aug. 13
  • Digital Studio Tour & Orientation, Aug. 13
  • Learn to Play the Pennywhistle, Aug. 23
  • An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, Aug. 27
  • Plein Aire Painting at SW 51st Street, Aug. 28

For schedule updates, as well as pricing and registration information, visit the OCCC Community Education page, here,  or call 541-996-6222.


Remembering Van

Edward van Aelstyn

Remembering Van

Edward Arthur “Van” van Aelstyn passed away peacefully on May 23, 2018.  He was at home and two of his children were by his side.

Van had a rich life as a theater director and actor, professor of English and film, editor, and activist.  His approach to theater was unique, as were his productions.  Van was an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and discriminating appreciator and supporter of the visual arts, music, theater, and literature.

While earning his Doctor of Arts in English and American Literature and Linguistics from University of Oregon, Van assembled and conducted a 17-piece orchestra and also served as the editor of the University’s Northwest Review.  Van transformed the Northwest Review into a leading literary voice, publishing numerous noted poets.  In writing of Van’s term as editor, David Schneider wrote, “Possessed of an excellent academic record, van Aelstyn also displayed native curiosity, absorptive openness, and enviable spine…” {Click here to read the rest of this feature, and to learn more about a new Memorial Scholarship program founded in Van’s honor.}

Mossy Creek

Mossy Creek Pottery Building



With a combination of innate grit and knowing where to turn when she needs help, Melanie Richardson has become the latest owner of Mossy Creek Pottery, a Lincoln City business that is an important part of the Central Coast’s creative community.

But she’d rather you not call her that.

Melanie Richardson

“I feel like I’m the keeper, not the owner,” Richardson said. “This is a business that’s been here for 45 years; some of our artists have sold their work here for more than 30 years.”

The first step of keepership for Richardson happened in 2014, after she had been working as a sales person at Mossy Creek for about four years. She purchased the rights to the business name, the relationship with the artists that sold their pottery there, and took over the lease of the building.

Three years later she decided to try to buy the building and the stunning six-acre riverside property it sits on, and to grow the business. But for that, Richardson realized she needed some help.

{Click to read the full story.}

Register for Advising for Fall Term

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to schedule your academic advising session as you plan to start your academic adventure at (or return to) Oregon Coast Community College.

Meetings with advisors Blake Hagan and Colleen Doherty can be booked online any time. To schedule your appointment, visit http://www.oregoncoastcc.org/advising-appointments/.

For more information, call Student Services at 541-867-8501.

OCCC Commencement Set for June 15

2018 banner commencement

OCCC Commencement
at the Newport Performing Arts Center

Oregon Coast Community College’s 30th Annual Commencement Ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. June 15, 2018, at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Commencement 2018

If you have already completed, or will be completing, graduation requirements for a degree or certificate this year (Summer 2017) please do the following:

1.  Login to your myOCCC.

2.  Click on 2017-18 Graduation Application.

3.  Complete and submit the electronic form.  Completion of this form is mandatory.

4.  Email your academic advisor to confirm your status. (Colleen Doherty or Blake Hagan.)

Your cap and gown can be ordered at Jostens.

OCCC supporters win accolades

OCCC partners honored at statewide event


NEWPORT – Recently, Oregon Coast Community College hosted the annual meeting Oregon Association of Community and Continuing Education at OCCC’s Central County Campus in Newport. The meeting was held April 30 and May 1.

Jim Kusz Alison Robertson

Jim Kusz and Alison Nelson-Robertson

The meeting attracted deans and directors of workforce development and community education programs from nearly every community college in the state, and culminated in the Association’s annual awards luncheon where, this year, two Lincoln County residents were honored for their contributions to the College.

Alison Nelson-Robertson, Lincoln City’s Director of Urban Renewal and Economic Development, was named “Oregon Business Partner of the Year.” Under her leadership, the Urban Renewal Agency has managed the city’s Economic Development “toolkit,” which includes scholarship support for local businesses located within the UR District, affording many local businesses the opportunity to take courses through the Small Business Development Center at OCCC that might otherwise be out of reach financially.

Captain Jim Kusz of the North Lincoln Fire and Rescue District was also honored at the awards ceremony, being named Oregon’s “Community College Community Educator of the Year.” Kusz has taught his “Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest” course at OCCC for more than three years, and has done so without pay, thus allowing the course to be offered free. The course has become the most-attended course in the history of the OCCC Community Education program.

“Surely, tsunami and earthquake preparedness are a big part of his two-night, six-hour class,” read the nomination letter submitted for Capt. Kusz’ nomination, but Capt. Kusz frequently notes, ‘the wildland fire will get you long before the earthquake will,’ referencing the many types of disruptions – from landslides to windstorms to flooding and more – that the coast can dish out to make transportation, and life in general, challenging for extended periods of time. If his classes were full of doom, gloom, and forecasts for disaster, Jim Kusz’s classes would be difficult to fill. Fortunately, word spreads, and attendance swells, term in and term out, because of the humor and energy he brings to each session.”

The next offering of Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest will be held on two consecutive Thursday evenings, June 14 and 21, at OCCC’s North County Center in Lincoln City. There is no charge for the class, but pre-registration is required. To register, call 541-994-4166 or visit oregoncoastcc.org/communityed.

Follow OCCC on Facebook, or find us on Instagram and Twitter, @occcsharks. Reach the College by phone at 541-867-8501.



PHOTO: Capt. Jim Kusz and Alison Nelson-Robertson pose with their awards outside the Oregon Coast Community College Central County Campus in Newport.

OCCC, LCSD to “Grow our own” teachers

Oregon Coast Community College with Newport Bridge

New teaching degree and Early Childhood Education Certificate programs launch Fall 2018

OCCC, LCSD and others build new track to teaching degree

Last year, Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) was awarded a major grant to help the region “grow our own” teachers for the K-12 schools that serve communities along the Central Oregon Coast.

In partnership with the Lincoln County School District (LCSD), Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC) and Western Oregon University (WOU), along with other supporters, OCCC secured a $250,000 Meyer Memorial Trust Grant to fill the educator workforce gap in Lincoln and Tillamook Counties with culturally responsive and prepared K-12 teachers.

“This grant will open new pathways for local students planning to begin their teaching careers right here in Lincoln County,” said OCCC President Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge. “It will provide our students with a direct path towards a teaching degree, while minimizing the time they are forced to spend away from home. And, it will help the school district add to the diversity of instructors serving Lincoln County’s children.” The grant also made possible a new Early Childhood Education Certificate Program, also launching this Fall term.

The first seeds of the project were planted in February of last year and, with the opportunity to apply for funding from Meyer Memorial Trust, the plan grew to include several other partners.

The school district has been involved in developing the project from the beginning and former Superintendent Tom Rinearson played a key role. “Lincoln County School District is excited about this partnership with OCCC to provide a pathway to grow our own teachers and early childhood educators,” he said. “There is a tremendous need for this labor force and it will be a benefit to the youth of Lincoln County. We thank Meyer Memorial Trust for entrusting us with this grant and we know the results will amazing.”

Western Oregon University has also been on board since the beginning with a goal of providing a seamless transfer from our local community colleges to the university program. TBCC was invited to join the project shortly after the grant proposal entered development. Their participation will help ensure sustainability of the program by increasing the total number of participants who form the WOU cohort. Though there is no guarantee, with enough participants, some WOU courses could be offered here on the coast, reducing the amount of time students need to spend away from home.

“This program is another of the College’s ongoing efforts to add to the career opportunities available to our students right here in Lincoln County,” said Daniel Lara, OCCC’s Dean of Academics and Workforce.

In a release, the Meyer Memorial Trust stated it strives to “advance equity across Oregon,” and works “to help build wealth in communities that have long experienced income disparities.” Income disparities are the norm here in Lincoln County, as evidenced by the county’s own “10-Year Economic Update” study, whose findings included 2012 median family income totals of $41,996 for Lincoln County as compared to $50,036 for the state.

One of the desired outcomes of the grant is to produce a more diverse teacher workforce and the project will include targeted outreach to underrepresented populations. OCCC is partnering with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and Centro de Ayuda to provide culturally appropriate outreach and student recruitment. The partnerships will also help support cultural representation on program advisory boards.


The teacher track

Through the program, local students can take core courses at Oregon Coast Community College and then transfer to Western Oregon University’s College of Education to complete a four-year degree and earn a teaching certification. The program also includes placement in student-teaching positions here in Lincoln County.

“Through this program, Lincoln County residents – whether they are new to the area or have deep roots and family ties here – can not only stay here, but can develop successful careers while they share their experience and local expertise in the classroom,” Lara said.

The program has been carefully designed to ensure that the courses taken at OCCC prior to transferring to WOU all apply directly to the eventual teaching degree, with no loss of credit.  As part of the partnership, TBCC will produce the required math courses and OCCC students will participate via videoconference at OCCC’s North County Center in Lincoln City. OCCC will reciprocate by producing the teacher education courses required for the associate’s degree program and TBCC students will participate via videoconference.

The Meyer Memorial Trust grant will help develop the program, and will also fund special advising and student recruitment materials tailored to the program. The grant will also fund improvements in OCCC’s distance-education infrastructure, ensuring smooth and convenient delivery of courses such as those mathematics courses produced by TBCC.

The new program marks an important milestone in Oregon Coast Community College’s growth. The 30-year-old college already presents robust clusters of programs in Business, transfer degrees, Aquarium Science, and Health and Human Services. Education will become OCCC’s newest cluster and now includes an early childhood education certificate program, also launching in the Fall of 2018. Thanks, in part, to this grant, the college will be able to offer new pathways for local students looking to earn college degrees, and launch their working careers, here at home.

Learn more about the Meyer Memorial Trust at https://mmt.org/. Watch for updates and details about the Lincoln County program at www.oregoncoastcc.org.

President Ryslinge’s Statement on DACA Announcement

US Capitol

Click to read OCCC President Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge’s statement on the Trump administration’s announcement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. {En Español}

Fall Community Ed Lineup Announced


Ready to learn something new? Something fun? There’s no better time than Fall 2017, when Oregon Coast Community College’s Community Education program will roll out nearly 50 classes to brighten our favorite season of the year!

Try Mosaics, Zen Meditation, Poetry Writing, Birdwatching or others — and click here to get the first chance to review the Fall Term lineup of classes, and the first chance to register while the most spaces are available! The Fall Term Schedule is now available online.

Use our handy online form to register any time. Our staff here in Newport or Lincoln City will be in touch soon to verify your enrollment and make payment arrangements.