By Brook Stallings.
BCC has begun the process of developing three new degrees in progressive fields: Green business practice, Dissymmetry, (a new technology in nuclear imaging), and a four-year radiologist assistant degree similar to that of a nurse practitioner.
Jean Floten, BCC president announced Jan. 20 that bills were being sponsored in the Washington state legislature to make BCC a four-year college-a move that would make attaining these degrees viable. Sen. Fred Jarrett and Rep. Marcie Maxwell of the 41st legislative district sponsored the bills.
The proposed law would give the Bellevue College Board of Trustees the authority to grant any baccalaureate degree, subject to Higher Education Coordinating Board approval. The law would also give students a seat on the Board of Trustees and expand it from five members to eight.
Sen. Jarrett said that he introduced the bill because neither students nor businesses are having their needs met by area schools. Eastside businesses need more workers with four-year degrees, while many students are rejected by local universities and can’t relocate.
“BCC proposed a unique way to meet the need on the Eastside,” he said. “BCC has a unique tradition of providing opportunity to students and skills to industry. No one does it better.”
Room is being left in BCC’s plans for later, degrees to be chosen by local business leaders, college faculty, and staff. Floten’s office reported that BCC won’t duplicate existing bachelor degree programs. Next year’s new degrees would need no new state funding.
BCC already grants a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in the field of radiation and imaging sciences, and is a candidate for regional accreditation to offer four-year degrees.
The bills under consideration do not grant any additional funding to BCC. However, the Times quotes Floten as saying BCC would need $42 million for new facilities over the next decade if the plan is approved. BCC would have around 1500 juniors and seniors enrolled in ten years in this scenario.
The University of Washington has opposed the bill, the Seattle Times reported. UW representatives testified against the measure in a senate hearing in Olympia on Friday.
On Jan. 29 the Board of Trustees voted to direct Floten to “take all necessary actions” to officially change BCC’s name to Bellevue College. The board will hold public hearings on the name change at the Library Media Center on Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Floten wrote in an email that community and business leaders took the initiative to get support for the measure, along with ASG President Amanda Alva.
By Brook Stallings.