Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Special session continues, community, technical college issues highlighted nationally

Legislators continue budget negotiations on 2015-17 operating and capital budget proposals as the first special session nears an end on Thursday, May 28. If legislators are unable to agree on a state spending plan, the governor may call another 30-day special session.

Senate committee hears transfer presentation

May 14 — The Senate Higher Education Committee held a work session on Washington’s nationally recognized transfer system. Speaking on behalf of the two and four-year higher education systems were Dr. Joyce Hammer, SBCTC transfer director, and Dr. Jane Sherman, Council of Presidents associate director for academic policy and WSU vice provost for academic policy and evaluation. They shared how the two sectors work together to make sure credits transfer and students know which courses to take. Among the highlights:

·         Transfer students earned 40 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded at Washington public colleges and universities with emphasis in business, allied health, education, biology and social science.
·         71 percent of community and technical college students who transfer with an associate degree successfully complete a bachelor’s degree.
·         Direct transfer agreements and common course numbering create a clear route for students to continue their college education in upper division coursework.
·         Work groups such as the Joint Transfer Council bring together college and university representatives to solve issues and further improve Washington’s transfer system.

Sherman and Hammer also explained work is underway to create a major-related transfer pathway in computer science and fine arts.

Also presenting were Jim West, Washington Student Achievement Council associate director of academic affairs; Tom Fitzsimmons, Independent Colleges of Washington vice president; and Ben Laskey, University of Washington Tacoma student.

PACTC meets with key legislators

Representative Chris Reykdal and presidents' assistants
Representative Chris Reykdal and PACTC
May 15 — The Presidents’ Assistants for Community and Technical Colleges (PACTC) recently met to discuss Washington’s rulemaking process and learned more about the SBCTC. Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director, took PACTC members on a tour of the capitol, where they met Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, and Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Representative Ross Hunter and presidents' assistants
Representative Ross Hunter and PACTC

Community and technical colleges highlight college and career pathways in D.C.

May 5-7 Jon Kerr, SBCTC Basic Education for Adults director and Alison Grazzini, SBCTC legislative director, accompanied Seattle Central College graduate Taleah Mitchell to Washington, D.C. to discuss college and career pathways for nontraditional students.

Senator Murray with Seattle Central alumna Taleah Mitchell, SBCTC Basic Education for Adults Director Jon Kerr and Government Relations Director Alison Grazzini
Senator Murray with Taleah Mitchell, Jon Kerr and Alison Grazzini
Mitchell was invited by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) regarding her pathway to college through Seattle Central’s I-BEST program. Mitchell also discussed how a comprehensive financial aid package coupled with advising services led to her successful completion of a Business Technology certificate.

Sen. Murray and members of the HELP committee are holding summer work sessions to discuss reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). This Act is important to the higher education system as it funds the Pell Grant and other important programs.

Future editions

Future editions of Legislative News will be published as more news unfolds in Olympia relevant to community and technical college issues.