Question of the Week: Community Connections

The second major foundation of the strategic planning “arch” is “Community & Regional Needs”. Given the importance of our “community” in planning for the future, please consider sharing your thoughts on this week’s Question of the Week:

In the near future, what are some ways Bellevue College should engage and integrate with local cities, schools, non-profits, businesses and the region as a whole? [Use the speech bubble to the right or the reply link below to respond]

Please feel free to think of this question in terms of the college as a whole, as well as in relationship to your own discipline, expertise, or experience.

For inspiration, see the resources provided by Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts Рone example of an organized community engagement effort that spans the campus.

7 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Community Connections

  1. Bellevue College has some tremendous assets for community outreach and service, but they are under-funded and under-utilized:

    The Carlson Theater is a beautiful venue and COULD be used for weekly free concerts and events for the public. How about a family-friendly music series every Saturday morning? How about public lectures or community forums?

    KBCS is the college’s own public radio station. We could support all kinds of events on campus, but we can’t do it for free. We’re a self-support division and rely on listener donations to fund the station (we receive no cash funding from BC.) However, if the college were to support an expansion of our services, there’s a lot more we could do for the community AND spread the good word about BC.

    BC has it’s own TV station, but there’s almost no staff or funding to speak of. With an investment from the college, the station could be producing tons of video promoting campus events, highlighting the good works of the college, and bringing valuable programming to the community.

    Those are some obvious programs that already exist and wouldn’t require building from scratch. Adequate funding and support would create quick return on investment.

  2. We can integrate service learning and internships throughout our curriculum.

    We can build on joint-venture intiatives with community and city/county partners. For example, the City fo Bellevue and Office of Sustainability have put together a concept to host a Bellevue Center for Sustainability Practices at BC, to facilitate knowledge sharing, service/internships, host speakers, etc.

    We can start integrating planning with the community, city, county. We need to project enrollment growth and assess our needs in relation to the larger systems that surround us to be able to collaborate succesfully, for example transportation, affordable housing, social services, water, energy, waste and reuse.

    We need to advocate and get students and or staff on city/county/community boards and comissions to advocate for the issues important to us as an institution, access to education, social justice, and sustainability for example.

  3. We should be asking businesspeople in the community what they need in employees. We do this already with the BTS department, consulting our advisory committee, but it would be great if we just had *more* of this kind of feedback from more businesspeople.

    Then we should tailor our instruction to what those businesses are looking for.

  4. The Bellevue College Parent Education Program has been connecting with local communities since 1966. Our classes provide information for parents along with learning environments for children ages birth through 7 years. We currently offer programs in Bellevue, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Renton, Sammamish, Snoqualmie and Carnation.

  5. I’d like to echo Deric’s sentiments. Service-Learning can be a powerful to build classroom-community connections and allow our students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom. We already have some strong partnerships that we can leverage further. However, it is important to realize that building campus-community relations takes work, and that means dedicated staffing to forge and sustain these partnerships.

  6. I’d like to echo Deric’s sentiments. Service-Learning can be a powerful way to build community connections and allow our students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom. We already have some strong internship partnerships that we can leverage to help expand this Service-Learning. However, it is important to realize that building campus-community relations takes work, and that generally means dedicated staffing to forge and sustain these partnerships. Northern Essex’s community engagement model is a very impressive one, but it was build slowly in a step-wise fashion and we should aim to do the same.

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