Bellevue College Governance is the school’s new system of policy development. Created with the goals of transparency and accountability, BCG replaces the previous means by which faculty, staff and students crafted and presented their plans to the college’s management. Consisting of four elected constituency councils and four appointed functional councils, the new system has replaced the previous All College Council with a democratic form of governance.
Documents detailing BCG’s structure, bylaws and schedule can be found at commons.bellevuecollege.edu/ourfuture/governance. All members of the college are invited to engage in the new system by directly contacting council members, attending council sessions or by submitting a contact form on the BCG website.
Though the chairmen and chairwomen of the councils may call for a private executive session if need be, all currently scheduled meetings posted on BCG’s website are completely open to the public. On Monday Sept. 26, the faculty council held their first meeting of the fall academic quarter. The agenda for the day included appointing a new vice-chair for the council. Chairman and Campus Security Sergeant Eric Peterson left the role vacant after he replaced Jason Fuller who was appointed to Chairman of the College Assembly, the body which all of the constituency and functional councils report to. “There’s a lot of structural things that are still being determined,” said Peterson. The final agenda item of the day was a vote to extend the next faculty council meeting which is scheduled for Oct. 10, where they plan to discuss goals and priorities for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Gary Gibson, an adjunct faculty member who has taught at Continuing Education for the past two years, explained his goals for his work with BCG: “I chose to run for the BC Governance Faculty Council because I want to increase and improve the participation and communications between the administration, faculty, and students at both Continuing Education (CE) and Main Campus. It appears there are some disconnected gray areas between CE and the other BC colleges. I want to help address that.”
Gibson, a member of the faculty council, was appointed to the Infrastructure council as well and he believes “Administration, faculty and students all working together toward shared common goals can only make Bellevue College a better place to get a great education.”
Addressing the councils’ open door policies, Peterson said “absolutely that’s the ideal way. Because what I don’t want to see happen with this system is exactly what goes on in our full system in our regular government.” The councils are designed to provide several environments for discussion of issues that affect various groups at the college differently. The four constituency councils are faculty, classified staff, exempt staff and students. With each group facing their own challenges, the College Assembly serves to ensure all affected groups have a say in drafting policy suggestions for the president’s office.
“If you let the voice of the folks on the frontline and the folks on the day-to-day, let those voices bubble up, then you can have opportunity for some good policy changes and things that will really serve the community well,” said Peterson. “That’s all we want to do, serve the community really well.”
“The governance system is built to help create a transparent public accountability for policy creation that we can hold the management accountable for, because it was an authentic organic creation.”