Starting to Plan for BC’s Next Building

Collaboration across cultures, disciplines, and international boundaries is becoming a significant part of how we work today.  More disciplines are being influenced by each other—art and technology both shape the design of hand-held devices; virtual reality brings together computer science and creative visualization to innovate in multiple fields.  How do we effectively employ these technologies across disciplinary boundaries?  How do we get out of our silos and start working together?  What if we eliminated the silos?  Literally.

The construction of a transdisciplinary center for innovation on the Bellevue College campus is an exciting opportunity to explore the intersection of creative methods and technologies in Art, Interior Design, Digital Media Arts, Engineering, Robotics, and Computer Science.  This co-location of “maker” programs, students, and faculty with spaces and technologies that support a collaborative cross-pollination of ideas will build a culture of innovation, shared opportunities and resources, community outreach, and enriched learning experiences.  We want to build a place where partnering on project-based learning will better prepare our graduates as leaders in the creative workplaces of the future.

What has been done on the project so far? The Washington State budget recently signed by the governor authorizes Bellevue College to begin designing a new “Trans-Disciplinary Innovations Building.”  The college is thus approved to receive funds for pre-design and design in the 2019-21 biennium.

Members of the Transdisciplinary Visioning Team visit shop spaces at Stanford University. From left to right: Chad White, Art; Frank Lee, Engineering; Dan Beert, Interior Design; Anjali Grant, campus architect; Gita Bangera and Michael Reese, RISE Learning Institute; Jody Laflen, IBIT; Jessica Hardin, Interior Design.  Members of the team who could not make the trip include Will Tribble, Campus Operations; Liz Hollerman, Digital Media Arts; Sylvia Unwin, Robotics; and James Riggall, XR Lab.

We are thus in the earliest planning and visioning stages of the project.  The visioning team has been thoughtfully collecting input from listening sessions with the departments involved—the future partners in innovation.  We’ve visited facilities, both locally and in the San Francisco Bay area, that provide similar resources and opportunities to their students.  We’ve been looking for space configurations and support systems that work, and department chairs have been keeping their faculty informed.  We have been gathering input and holding listening sessions with BC faculty along the way. Ideas for space utilization, culture-building activities, potential trans-disciplinary projects, and support systems for managing the facility are being identified.

What are the faculty and departments looking forward to with this facility?

“I’m looking forward to working/collaborating with colleagues and students from other programs, [and doing] joint projects.”

“Co-location! People, equipment, resources; support for collaboration and activity; a space that reflects what do and who we are – who we are becoming!”

“Making the creative process visible.”

Flexible work spaces for student project work at the California College of the Arts

How will the new building be used?

The details of this question are still being determined. The intent of the building is creating a place that allows for hands-on learning, creative innovation, and transdisciplinary collaboration.  While there will be space dedicated to programs partnering in the building’s approved mission, this is envisioned as a campus and community asset. The facility will likely have open lab hours for project and maker spaces, allowing students from any major/program to access hands-on experience creating things.

What happens next?

Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco.  Members of the group liked the idea of flexible entry space that could be shared by departments, host community events, facilitate collaboration, and make the creative process visible. 

This summer, campus architect Anjali Grant and our visioning team will release a brief report summarizing our findings.  In addition, the college will apply for pre-design funding from the SBCTC and hopefully select a pre-design firm in the next few months.  Next academic year, the team is planning to hold listening sessions with students and the broader campus community.  These sessions will gather information about the ideas that are most important to our students, as well as collect input about the concepts that we’ve generated thus far.  There will be several opportunities for the campus community to engage with this planning work in the 2019-20 academic year as the work of pre-design and design begins.  Pre-design and design will take place over the next two years.  The soonest that construction could begin would be July 1, 2021.

What do you think?

Have you seen buildings or spaces that encourage collaboration?  How do they do that?  Are there innovative educational spaces we should thinking about as models?  Do you have questions about the project?  You can use the conversation bubble to post questions and comments.

BC’s Achieving the Dream Teams Launch Action Plan

More than thirty faculty and staff members from offices and departments across the campuses have developed a draft student success action plan. Achieving the Dream team members examined college data, grassroots perspectives, and input gathered from the ATD Institutional Capacity survey and Capacity Cafés to create the draft plan.

The BC Student Success Action Plan will be posted for review and comments throughout the month of June. (Use the conversation bubble to post questions and comments.)

ATD co-leads will read, compile, and direct comments to the appropriate work groups for consideration and incorporation.

Send us your feedback on the Strategic Plan Update

Last November, President Wakefield convened a Strategic Plan Update Steering Committee to build on the accomplishment of the original Strategic Plan Task Force and to keep our planning current and effective.

Strategic Plan Update for College Review 3-29-17

Each week we’ll be highlighting the priority initiatives related to one of the four core themes. Use the links below to comment on the plan.

Teaching and Learning Excellence Priority Initiatives Feedback
Student Success Priority Initiatives Feedback

College Life and Culture Priority Initiatives Feedback
Community Engagement and Enrichment Priority Initiatives Feedback

Use the Strategic Plan Update tab above to find more information.




The Road to a Good Plan

At the first meeting of the Strategic Plan Update Task Force we asked the members to share their experience with a “plan that worked”. Members shared a lot of examples of personal plans that they had made and what aspects worked well for them.  Although it was not initially our goal to record this information (we really just wanted to use it as an icebreaker), it really generated a great list of components of any good planning efforts.  Below is a list of some of the key components I was able to distill from the discussion.  My hope is that we can learn from them and use them to help guide our future planning efforts.  Please feel free to comment if there is something that I have missed.

Good planning should:

  • Be done in “bite-sized” pieces that (if necessary) increase in complexity through time
  • Be consistent and follow agreed upon “rules”
  • Have specific goals in mind
  • Have realistic timelines, but also be flexible to allow for adaption to change
  • Be developed in context with the environment/community in which they exist
  • Focus on what needs to get done
  • Leave room for uncertainty
  • Recognize and incorporate physical and personal connections with related plans and people
  • Incorporate reminders and a physical component (its not all mental)
  • Involve teamwork

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and experiences!

Strategic Plan Update in process during Winter 2017

Dr. Jill Wakefield has convened a Strategic Plan Update (SPU) Steering Committee to review and revise the Strategic Plan. Key tasks for the group will include:

  • Develop an updating process for annual reviews,
  • Create a clearer alignment between the plans, particularly between the Strategic Plan and the re-envisioned Academic Master Plan,
  • Utilize new information and feedback, including the summary findings from Opening Day,
  • Link strategic planning more closely with our core themes,
  • Utilize our existing core theme indicators to establish benchmarks for measuring success,
  • Make it easier to link operational plans to the Strategic Plan, and
  • Update the five-year plan as appropriate.

The Designing Our Future blog site was originally published in AY 2013-2014 to support the strategic planning process. Since then, it has been used to solicit college-wide input on the eLearning Plan, the Equity & Pluralism Plan, and BC Governance. Information about the SPU process will be posted here.

Comments on the blog site or strategic planning are welcome at any time. 


Seattle Times article emphasizes the importance of a college degree

An article by Katherine Long “State’s students falling short in level of education for jobs” shows the importance of college attainment to residents of Washington State and local businesses. According to a recent report conducted in the state, “69 percent of high-school students from 2006 have no degree, not even a certificate from a community college or a professional license.” The Washington Roundtable estimates that 740,000 jobs are expected to open in Washington in the next five years and well over half will require a college degree, certificate or apprenticeship.


BC Governance webpage goes live

For the past two years, this Designing Our Future commons website has been used to post documents and solicit comments about a new governance system for Bellevue College. Last spring, elections were held and appointments made to launch BC Governance (BCG). The official BCG webpage can now be found on the main Bellevue College website ( Please visit that site to find out what’s happening in governance and how you can participate.

President Rule Announces Strategic Priority Initiatives for AY 2016-17

President Rule sent the following letter to the college community, emphasizing key aspects of the Strategic Plan for AY 2016-16.

“This is an exciting time to be at Bellevue College as we embrace a myriad of opportunities to collectively develop and implement key initiatives that are aligned with our Strategic Plan. Our new governance structure reaffirms Bellevue College’s commitment to and investment in a collaborative process that is broad based. This update is provided to communicate recent outcomes from the summer retreats of the Board of Trustees and President’s Cabinet.

During the Board retreat the objectives from our strategic plan were discussed and objectives with higher priorities were identified and grouped.  Further refinement followed at the President’s Cabinet retreat.

Listed below are the key strategic priority initiatives that will be the foundation for our academy-wide planning and implementation throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Each of your divisions will meet to determine their contributions and overall foci for moving the college toward achieving these initiatives.

These priority items, in particular 1.1 and 3.1, will also provide an opportunity for continued work that advances the 2015-16 priorities (5% increase in retention and completion) and to continue to use those as indicators/measures of progress.

§  SP 1.1. Create an organized and efficient environment where students are able to set and meet their goals.

§  SP 1.2. Forge leadership and participation in new initiatives, certificates, and degrees that meet the needs of the region such as expanded baccalaureate programs.

§  SP 3.1. Offer equitable opportunities: affordability; programs to support success and retention; initiatives such as closing the gap.

§  SP 3.2. Provide equitable services through the practice of universal design and accessibility.

§  SP 3.4. Integrate the principles of social justice into the everyday college operations.

§  SP 5.2. Create uniform and efficient processes based on guiding principles and best practices.

This is an investment in and commitment to student success, access, and affordability as we strengthen the operational infrastructure at Bellevue College. Your support of and participation in making this year’s work plans a reality will be the key to successfully serving our entire community at BC.

I look forward to the next steps as we serve with a spirit of social justice and ensure that the educational experience at Bellevue College is indeed exceptional.”

College Assembly officers elected

The BC Governance College Assembly met Monday, June 13, for the first time and elected the following officers for 2016-2017.

Chair: Jason Fuller (faculty)
Vice chair: Sam Akeyo (student)
Secretary: Becky Turnbull (classified staff)

The election of the Assembly officers completes the election and appointment process. Members are seated for positions on the Assembly and all councils. Council membership rosters and a list of council officers can be found on the BC Governance page.

The Governance Development Team would like to thank everyone who participated in the election and appointment process. Additional opportunities to serve on committees will arise in the coming months.