At the end of winter quarter, EWU’s campus at BC reached a full decade of being operational in the Eastside. Since the introduction of the satellite campus, EWU has provided at least 1,000 students with a four-year college degree without having to leave the comfort of home.
The idea of an EWU satellite campus on BC grounds wouldn’t be possible without the work of Neil McReynolds and Chuck Morgan. McReynolds at the time was the editor for the weekly Bellevue American, while Morgan was the publisher of the Kirkland Eastside Journal. Together, the two newspapermen came together to create an institute of higher education for the immediate area.
For two years, McReynolds and Morgan lobbied, campaigned, networked and worked together for what would eventually be Bellevue College. In 1965, the idea of a community college in Bellevue was approved by the legislature.
Up until a few years ago, McReynolds was an active member on the BC college board, and saw the culmination of Eastern coming to BC.
“Where Bellevue College is now has exceeded my expectations. The most difficult part of bringing EWU to this campus was getting people to open their mind to something that hadn’t really been done before. But it was a commitment from the top to make it work,” said McReynolds. “With Eastern, we were trying to meet a need that wasn’t being met otherwise – a four-year degree in a public setting, for people who have families and who have to work.”
Currently, EWU at BC offers five degrees, in Interdisciplinary Studies, Business Administration with a major in Management, Children’s Studies, Psychology and Applied Technology.
According to John Neace, EWU Senior Director of Interdisciplinary Studies and Off Campus Programs, EWU is looking to offer a Justice Studies degree in the fall of 2015, as well as a Communications degree in 2016.
“We are always looking for options and opportunities for our students,” said Neace. “I think that for right now, though, all of the degrees we offer are complementary to BC’s two-year degrees.”
McReynolds hopes to see EWU at BC do some research and collaborate with major companies in the area, “such as Amazon and Microsoft,” to see what degrees they should be offering to help students get jobs immediately after graduation.
Tuition for this satellite campus is more expensive than it is to go to school in Cheney, where the main EWU campus is.
“Our campus here is self-supported, meaning we don’t have any allocated state funds. The tuition had to take a jump in order to meet our operational cost and staff needs,” said Neace.
Tom Pritchard, a tenured faculty member in BC’s Criminal Justice department, was also essential in helping develop the Eastern satellite campus and the degrees that are offered.
10 years ago, Pritchard was the dean of Social Sciences, and was given the task along with Dr. Jim Bennett, who was the dean of Instruction at the time, to review what Eastern had to offer and what would match up well with BC.
In Jan. of 2015, the idea of a WSU satellite campus coming to BC was announced. Pritchard sees the idea as something that would open more doors for students rather than serving as competition for EWU.
“Universities and programs are very mindful and respectful of each other and their programs. BC is also very respectful of what WSU could offer and what Eastern is offering the campus today,” said Pritchard. “Whatever is going to be created is going to be synergistic of each other.”
Neace said that the WSU and BC collaboration is still in the “dialogue stage.”
“There’s a lot of vocabulary with that going on right now, meaning there’s a lot of talking, but there’s nothing really, nothing formal. Our plan is to continue moving forward for opportunities for Bellevue students,” said Neace.
On top of a potential WSU satellite campus, the goal for BC is to offer more four-year degrees. “I think we can all be complementary to each other. We can all bring the Eastside baccalaureate and graduate programs,” said Neace.
One thing that Pritchard, Neace and McReynolds said of the Eastern satellite campus is that it’s completely for the convenience and opportunity of the students.
“They might be placebound here. They might have kids here, their jobs here, their families here, whatever it may be. Moving to Cheney, or Western, or wherever it may be is just not an option. I like what we’re doing here,” said Pritchard.
As for students who don’t feel like leaving home, McReynolds said, “It’s nice having a campus just right here. For some students, it’s just not an option to pick up and move to Cheney.”
The EWU satellite campus has approximately 300 students enrolled. The goal, according to Neace, is to see that number grow.
“Options and opportunities and student success is what we aim for here,” said Neace.
To find out more about transferring to EWU at BC, direct all questions to (425)-564-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.