SEATTLE – The word “community” is being stripped from the names of Seattle’s three community colleges, part of the evolution of institutions once known as junior colleges that now have broader missions, including granting bachelor’s degrees.
The three will be known as Seattle Central College, South Seattle College and North Seattle College.
All three now offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, with additional third- and fourth-year coursework for students who have completed a two-year technical degree.
In the past, that two-year degree was as far as those students could go.
The Seattle Community Colleges District board of trustees, which will become Seattle Colleges, voted unanimously Thursday to approve the change.
In her presentation to the board, District Chancellor Jill Wakefield said, “We believe this will inspire prospective students to reach higher than they thought possible.
“With the same open-admissions policies and the same low tuition, local students can start at a local college that can eventually take them all the way to a bachelor’s degree.”
The name changes are expected to be fully implemented by September, in time for the start of the fall quarter.
The change reflects an evolution of these institutions, which were known as junior colleges, with the goal of preparing students for four-year institutions. They began a push in the 1960s to become community colleges, with the broader focus of providing basic, career and continuing education.
Changing demands of the American workforce – where a bachelor’s degree has become the floor for many competitive jobs – are forcing them to continue to respond.
Among the 11 state colleges in Washington that now offer bachelor’s degrees, only two – Green River and Highline, which only recently began offering bachelor’s degrees – still have “community” in their name.