Bellevue College
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Bellevue College
Bellevue College
Bellevue College seal.svg
PresidentDr. Jerry Weber
Studentsapprox. 31,200 for 2016-17 school year[1][needs update]
Location, ,
United States

Coordinates: 47°35?06?N 122°08?57?W / 47.584964°N 122.149304°W / 47.584964; -122.149304
Campus100 acres (400,000 m2)
Student gender balance57.4% women, 42.6% men[1][failed verification]
Bellevue College logo.svg

Bellevue College (BC) is a public college in Bellevue, Washington. With an annual enrollment of 31,200 students, Bellevue College is the largest of the 34 institutions that make up the Washington Community and Technical Colleges system and the third-largest institution of higher education overall in the state (behind the University of Washington and Washington State University).

The institution offers transfer associate degree programs that cover the first two years of a college education, bachelor's degree programs, professional-technical degrees and certificates, a large continuing education program, and pre-college programs. The college also has a variety of distance education and online learning options. Since 2007, BC has offered bachelor's degrees.

BC's service district includes the public school districts of Bellevue, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Skykomish and Snoqualmie Valley.


Bellevue College campus in 2005

Bellevue College was established in 1966, originally under the auspices of the Bellevue School District, as an institution of higher education for residents of the Eastside of Lake Washington. The college opened with a total of 464 students and 37 instructors, with a curriculum that included classes in the social sciences, trigonometry, physics, botany, and English, among others. Vocational classes initially offered included nursing, basic aircraft blueprint reading, and food service management. Dr. Merle E. Landerholm was appointed the college's first president.

The college graduated its first class in June 1967, with 10 students earning degrees and certificates, and 15 earning high school diplomas.

Also in 1967, the Washington State Legislature passed the Community College Act, which created a statewide community college system and separated Bellevue Community College from the Bellevue School District.

In December 1969, Bellevue Community College was dedicated, and in 1970, the institution received accreditation for the first time from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools (now the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities).

By the early seventies, the college had grown to encompass nine instructional divisions: Allied Health; Business; Creative Arts; Home and Community Education; Humanities; Individual Development; Physical Development and Performance; Science; and Social Science.

The number of students grew steadily through the '80s and '90s as the campus grew, and peaked during the 2000-01 academic year with 39,300 students.

In 2009, the college officially changed its name from Bellevue Community College to Bellevue College, to reflect the fact that it now offered four-year bachelor's degrees in addition to its traditional offerings of two-year associate degrees and certificates.

As of 2017, more than 460,000 people had taken a class at Bellevue College, and 58,515 students had earned 50,562 degrees, certificates, and other awards since its founding in 1966.


Main Campus

The college initially operated in portable classrooms on the campus of Newport High School. In December 1967, ground was broken for the first of three phases of construction of a new campus, on land purchased a few years earlier by the Bellevue School District. In 1969, construction was completed, and BC began the fall quarter on its new campus, with 2,200 full-time students. Phase two of construction, completed in 1973, doubled the size of the campus, and included a 300-seat theater (the largest public theater in Bellevue at the time), 2,500-seat gymnasium and sports complex, planetarium (the first in the Puget Sound region), daycare center and greenhouse. The third construction phase was finished in 1974 and added 24,000 square feet of space, along with a running track and other facilities.

Nearly 20 years later, the first building added to campus since the initial construction boom in the seventies was completed, with a new student services building in 1993. From 1998 to 2001, three new buildings (N, L and R) opened on campus.

In 2009, the Science (S) building was completed. In 2015, the Health Technology (T) building was completed.

Bellevue College now has 16 total buildings, including 12 academic buildings and one parking garage, with more than 813,309 square feet of space. Of that, 742,784 square feet is dedicated classroom/instructional space.

The 100-acre (400,000 m²) campus includes a planetarium, gymnasium, fitness center, art gallery, library, cafeteria, coffee shops, theater, and a variety of common areas.

Student housing is currently open after construction in 2018.

North Campus

In 2011, BC's Continuing Education division moved from a former Microsoft building it had occupied since 2001 into a larger 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m²) building that the college purchased and renovated.

East Campus

In an effort to make Bellevue College's classes more accessible to residents in the eastern part of its service district, BC purchased 20 acres (81,000 m²) of land in 2010 in the Issaquah Highlands development in the city of Issaquah, Wash., for a future "East Campus." The college is currently creating a master plan for developing the campus.


Bellevue College's instructional programs are structured into five major divisions: Arts and Humanities; Health Sciences, Education and Wellness Institute; Institute for Business and Information Technology; Science; and Social Science.

Transfer degrees

Many Bellevue College students earn their college freshman and sophomore credits (and receive an associate degree), and then transfer with junior status to participating four-year colleges and universities to continue their education. Specific transfer degrees are offered in Arts & Sciences, Business, Elementary Education, Math Education, Music, and Science. In the 2009-10 academic year, Bellevue College produced nearly 10 percent of all transfer students to public four-year institutions in Washington, more than any other community or technical college in the state.

Non-transfer degrees

Bellevue College offers an Associate in Arts General Studies that grants academic recognition for the completion of 90 applicable college-level credits and is not designed for students intending to transfer to a university/college in pursuit of a bachelor's degree.

Another non-transfer program awards an Associate in Occupational and Life Skills, the only one of its kind in the United States. The course of study helps adults with certain developmental disabilities become independent by developing their interpersonal and career skills so they can become responsible, self-determined citizens.

Professional-technical programs

BC offers Professional-Technical programs in 99 different fields, with 23 awarding associate degrees and 76 awarding certificates. These programs prepare students for specific careers. Its highest enrolled programs are: Business and Accounting; Information Technology; Interior Design; Nursing; and Radiation and Imaging Sciences.

Bachelor's degrees

Bellevue College offers twelve bachelor's degree programs with more under development. Bellevue College also offer bachelor's degrees through their partnerships with Eastern Washington University, University of Washington, and Washington State University.

Continuing Education

The Continuing Education division, the largest among the state's community and technical colleges, is housed in Bellevue College's North Campus, a 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m²) building in north Bellevue, along the Washington State Route 520 corridor. The division offers classes (and awards non-credit certificates) in computing and technology, business and workplace skills, music, and personal enrichment, and specializes in developing and delivering customized onsite training programs for workers at various companies throughout the region.

Other programs

Bellevue College also offers Adult Basic Education, GED preparation, English for non-native speakers, worker retraining, courses to improve reading, writing, grammar and math skills, and programs geared for high school students, including Running Start.

Student life

Bellevue College has more than 80 student clubs and programs, including Athletics, Music Activities, Black Student Union, El Centro Latino, BC Association of Veterans, Muslim Student Association, Jewish Student Union, First Nation Student Association, Asian Student Association, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and DECA.

The Associated Student Government (ASG), whose members are elected by popular student vote each year, allocates money to clubs and programs. Funds come from the Services and Activities Fee (S&A) that all tuition-paying students pay each quarter. The fee is subject to the approval (via campus vote) of the student body and is meant to enrich the lives of students on campus.

The Watchdog (formerly The Jibsheet) is the weekly English-language student-run newspaper.

Campus media

Bellevue College operates FM radio station, KBCS, from its campus as a public service to the community. It is the only non-commercial community radio station in King County and can be heard at 91.3 FM in Bellevue, Seattle, and other communities in King County and northern Pierce County. The station began broadcasting on Monday, February 5, 1973 as a 10-watt, student-run station, and has grown over the years to comprise a full-time staff and a large roster of community volunteers. It is primarily listener-supported, with two-thirds of its budget coming from listener donations; the balance comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and sponsorships from local businesses and organizations. The station's programing consists of a mix of news and music, with musical genres including jazz, hip hop, soul, bluegrass, rock, gospel and an assortment of world music. The station moved its broadcast tower/antennae from its campus to a place near the summit of Cougar Mountain near Issaquah. This move dramatically increased the strength of the station's signal, improving reception in areas that currently receive it, and pushing the signal into areas that previously could not pick it up, including Tacoma and other parts of Pierce County.

Also as a public service, Bellevue College broadcasts select classes, lectures, games involving BC athletic teams, and other programming via its television station, called the College Channel, which can be viewed on Comcast cable channel 28 in certain communities on the Eastside of King County, including Bellevue.


The award-winning Bellevue College Music Department includes multiple nationally acclaimed, award-winning ensembles including: The Bellevue College Jazz Singers (Celebration) directed by Tom Almli, The Bellevue College Jazz Band directed by Jim Sisko, and The Bellevue College Concert Choir directed by Tom Almli. The Vocal Ensembles have performed all over the U.S. at National Choral and Jazz Conferences including ACDA (The American Choral Directors Association), IAJE (The International Association for Jazz Education) and JEN (The Jazz Education Network).


BC's athletic teams compete in the Northwest Athletic Conference, also known as the NWAC, in the following sports: baseball, softball, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's golf, and women's tennis.

Campus athletic facilities include a 1,000-seat baseball field (Courter Field), a soccer field, and the Courter Family Athletic Pavilion, which contains a 2,500-seat gymnasium. Notable former athletes include Major League Baseball all-star pitcher Evan Meek, who currently plays for the Texas Rangers, pitcher Blake Hawksworth, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and actor Jim Caviezel, who played basketball at BC.

Expansion of four-year degree programs

Bellevue College currently offers a dozen bachelor's degree programs: Bachelor of Applied Art in Interior Design; Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Nursing (RN-BSN; Bachelor's of Applied Science degrees in Applied Accounting, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing, Health and Wellness, Healthcare Informatics, Healthcare Management and Leadership, Information Systems and Technology, Molecular Biosciences, Radiation and Imaging Sciences; Healthcare Technology and Management.

In 2005, the Washington State Legislature authorized a limited pilot program that allowed community and technical colleges, which historically have granted only certificates and two-year associate degrees, to offer four-year bachelor's degrees. The major impetus for this legislation was studies concluding that Washington state needed to produce more graduates with bachelor's degrees to meet the needs of the growing economy, both now and in the future.

Proponents of the pilot program cited several reasons: many community college students are place-bound and cannot move elsewhere to attend a university; many of the state's residents live in areas without access to universities; particular programs may not be offered at nearby universities; increased competition for fewer slots at universities were shutting out many students; and some career-oriented bachelor programs were not offered anywhere in the state.

Bellevue College was one of four schools - along with South Seattle Community College, Peninsula College and Olympic College - chosen to participate in the pilot program. The bachelor's degrees were to be "applied" in nature, meaning they would be directed at people already working in specialized fields and who want to advance their careers. In order to participate, colleges had to demonstrate the following: sufficient student and employer demand; similar degrees were not offered elsewhere; the college had the expertise to offer the degree; and an independent accrediting agency had to approve the degree.

In 2007, Bellevue College began enrolling students in its first four-year program, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiation and Imaging Sciences, currently, the only degree of its kind offered in the state.

In 2009, BC proposed legislation that would have allowed it to award a range of Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees, creating a hybrid community-college model, but the measure failed to pass in committee in the legislature. Yet public comment and community response to the college's request for expanded four-year programs has been overwhelmingly positive. Despite this setback, BC announced the addition of its second four-year program that year, a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design. Also in 2009, BC changed its name, from Bellevue Community College to Bellevue College, to reflect the evolving nature of the institution, which now offered bachelor's degrees in addition to associate degrees and certificates.

In 2010, the legislature made permanent the pilot program allowing the state's community and technical colleges to offer bachelor's degrees, and any community or technical college could now develop a four-year degree program. That same year, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredited Bellevue College as a baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

BC added its third degree in 2012, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Technology and Management.

In late 2012, Bellevue College won approval from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to offer two additional degrees: in Nursing, and in Information Systems and Technology.

By 2017, Bellevue College added a new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Digital Marketing.

Partnership with Eastern Washington University

In 2005, Eastern Washington University partnered with Bellevue College to offer a limited number of bachelor's degrees on campus. EWU established a university center in a leased building on BC's campus. The degrees are structured in a 2 + 2 format, meaning that a student takes the first two years of classes through BC, and then completes a bachelor's degree by taking junior and senior level classes under the auspices of EWU, but on BC's campus. EWU bachelor's degrees currently offered on BC's campus include Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Applied Technology, Psychology, and Interdisciplinary Studies.


Bellevue College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), initially in 1970 as an associate degree-granting institution, and in 2010 as a four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Additionally, the following programs are accredited individually (year denotes first accreditation):

Focus on science education

"COMGEN: Community College Genomics Research Initiative" is a Bellevue College program where biology students in certain classes conduct original genomics research as part of their coursework. Using specialized DNA sequencing instruments, students sequence the genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens, a bacterium that fights off a fungus that attacks wheat. Results of students' research, published at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, can be used by scientists and others in the worldwide research community to develop ways to improve grain production.

This research component of biology classes is normally reserved for upper-level students at research universities, or for graduate students, and is unique for community colleges. The National Science Foundation awarded two grants totaling over $1 million to Bellevue College to support this approach and to develop similar programs in Washington state's other community and technical colleges.


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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