South Seattle Community College’s new name: South Seattle College

Community college isn’t just for 2-year degrees any more, so a new name is in the works for West Seattle-headquartered South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) – it will become South Seattle College. That’s part of a district-wide change, as this announcement explains:

At its meeting March 13, 2014, the Seattle Community Colleges District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the District to Seattle Colleges and to change the names of the colleges to North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, and South Seattle College.

The decision came after a year-long exploration of national and statewide trends; opinion surveys of students, employees and community partners; and consultation with business and civic leaders and representatives from Seattle Public Schools.

All three of the District’s colleges offer bachelor’s degrees now.

These Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree programs provide the third and fourth year of college work for people who have completed a two-year technical degree. Previously the two-year technical degrees were considered “terminal degrees” with no next educational step.

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.”

Changing the colleges’ names, she said, will “signal that we are part of the baccalaureate level program” and is a move to “raise the ceiling” for all our students.

In making its decision, the Board reinforced its commitment to the District’s mission to “provide excellent, accessible educational opportunities to prepare our students for a challenging future.” Albert Shen, Board Chair, said, “We believe that meeting that ‘challenging future’ means the colleges must continue to take new approaches and offer new pathways to access and completion.”

The name changes are expected to be fully implemented by September, in time for the start of the Fall Quarter.

15 Replies to "South Seattle Community College's new name: South Seattle College"

  • Anonymous March 14, 2014 (2:53 pm)

    Cool! Gotta update my resume to say “South Seattle College” now. :)

  • nwgardening March 14, 2014 (4:27 pm)

    Yes, me too! Much easier to say, also. I belong to the College’s Community Choir and repeating the word “community” twice was a little tedious. Btw, we have a concert coming up on Sunday March 23rd at 7 p.m. at Fauntleroy Church. The theme is Oh to be 30! The choir is celebrating our 30th year and all songs on the program were written by composers in their 30s. Come see us!

  • Phoebe March 14, 2014 (4:34 pm)

    Me too! I’m very proud of my A.A. & thankful for the vibrant campus, my teachers and the staff that helped me succeed. (After which, I transferd to and graduated from U.W. with a B.A. in speech-communication.) SCC is a great school!

  • lala2mom March 14, 2014 (4:39 pm)

    In truth, this is a sad change. What in the world is wrong with being a COMMUNITY college? I for one am very proud of the system of community colleges that allows all people access to college and meets the needs of many more populations than our 4-year colleges are able. COMMUNITY is important!

    I fear this is may be the start of one or more: limiting access to all, raising tuition because now it’s a “college” (as if it weren’t before), cutting down on programs within the school, or losing 2-year colleges altogether!


  • CandrewB March 14, 2014 (5:18 pm)

    lala2mom, since they are creating more and more four-year degree programs, it did the students a huge disservice by having a bachelors from a “community” college (even though its a nice word) on their resume. Lots of feedback about hiring agents putting those in the ?/liar pile never to be looked at again.

  • WestSeattleSince1979 March 14, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    Lala2mom, it’s because “community” college now is used to mean a 2-year college. They used to be called junior colleges back in the day.

  • Community College Teacher March 14, 2014 (7:42 pm)

    lalamom, I think this in response to the trend started at the former Bellevue Community College, when they got their first BA degree. They quickly changed to “Bellevue College.” Partly this is a desire to compete with the big kids, and partly to separate from the reputation of being a “vocational school.” Many would argue (the Obama administration included) that community colleges (and their vocational programs) give people an opportunity to become employable, and perhaps earn a living wage for their family. They are affordable and fill a much needed gap for students that cannot afford, or do not qualify for a 4-year college.

    And, tuition is set by the state, not the school. About 50% of the students who attend community colleges are enrolled in professional-technical programs (aka vocational programs). An even larger number are enrolled in adult basic education or ESL, and these numbers are not counted as “full time students.” The number of students enrolled in Bachelors programs at community colleges is very, very small.

  • Pat March 14, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    I wish that while they were at it, they’d just renamed it West Seattle College! That’s much more descriptive of where it is, and I imagine of the community it serves.

  • lala2mom March 15, 2014 (9:53 am)

    Folks, I teach at one of the COMMUNITY colleges. They offer so few 4-year programs that it is quite a stretch to say that they offer them in general. Only a small cohort is able to enroll in the programs anyway.

    The majority of faculty–at least at Central–was vocal about being against the change, as were the large number of students at the meeting of the board Thursday night.

    We are proud to be a 2-year program. We are proud to serve the community. We are proud of the special services that we offer as a COMMUNITY college that a “regular” college does not. Bellevue College does not invite the same people from the community as it did as Bellevue Community College.

    I’m not angry (in case you are thinking that); I’m sad. I’m saddened by the fact that our schools are playing the name game so that employers and other colleges don’t think that an applicant went to a “lowly” community college. The problem lies, I believe, in a public that is not willing to support or promote a wonderful program just because some uninformed types look down on it. Ugh.

  • Alan March 15, 2014 (1:47 pm)

    Pat, I agree completely about changing the name to West Seattle College. It would have also supported the immediate neighborhood which is frequently not considered to be part of West Seattle by those on the other side of 35th.

    The only problem with that idea is that South has both a Georgetown campus and a Beacon Hill campus, which are decidedly not in West Seattle and would probably be as insulted by having West Seattle College in their neighborhood as the people in Admiral were years ago when they got a “Queen Anne Thriftway”.

  • CandrewB March 15, 2014 (3:39 pm)

    Beacon Hill campus? You mean New Holly?

  • Joseph March 15, 2014 (8:57 pm)

    As a graduate and employee of (now) South Seattle College, I greatly welcome this change. The stigma of “community” and “junior” college is unfair to anyone working hard to get a college education at one of these schools. Plus, I don’t see drunk students stumbling around our school like I’ve seen at all the 4-year colleges I’ve been to.

  • Alan March 15, 2014 (10:11 pm)

    CandrewB – Yes, the New Holly campus is on Beacon Hill.

  • Carlos Hernandez March 16, 2014 (10:56 pm)

    I have been a student at Seattle Central COMMUNITY College for almost 3 years now. I start there at Basic Education study. I didn’t speak much English when I started to go Seattle Central COMMUNITY College, so I learned most of my English there. Now in days, I am getting my AA of politics Sciences. Anyway, most students and faculty in our COMMUNITY College where disagree and against the name change; we were against it, because they know better what where the real interest begin of the name change. The thing is that most of the students, staff, faculty and members of the community didn’t know anything about the name change. We know a little more about it, because our student Government board starts to inform us about it. I got to know about the change from a member of our student government, so it is a big lie what they said that they have informed all of us; because that is not true. In addition, at our COMMUNITY college we have a protest against the name change, we also where table ling, we have a COMMUNITY forum, and a Library presentation to inform student about what was happening, and what were the pros and cons of changing the name. I believe everyone in our COMMUNITY Colleges deserve to know about what was happening, but sadly they didn’t informed no one about it; the only thing they did was to send us by email a survey that was available for one week. This survey, just showed to everyone the “positive overcomes” of changing the name, but it didn’t show the negative impact that it may have in the community that our COMMUNITY serve. The COMMUNITY it serve is mostly low income students that can’t really afford to pay the tuition for a university, and the different programs as; GED, Basic Education Programs, Multicultural programs, Women Program, Disability Center etc. These programs are offer for our COMMUNITYES Colleges, and they really change the life of many people in our society; people that though, they couldn’t get higher education. We find here that opportunities that sadly are not offer elsewhere. A COMMUNITY college really gives you a sense of COMMUNITY, and I can say it because I have experience it in many different ways since I started to came to classes here at Seattle CENTRAL Community College.

  • lala2mom March 19, 2014 (1:21 am)

    Joseph–I respect your opinion about the name change, but isn’t the real unfairness that there is a “stigma of ‘community’ and ‘junior’ college” to start with? Why is there any shame in being part of one of the best opportunities that the United States offers: higher education for all instead of for the few who can test into and afford a university?

    COMMUNITY colleges ROCK!

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