FOLLOWUP: South Seattle College finalizes decision to close Pastry and Baking Arts program

(WSB photo from April)

Despite a community outcry, South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) will close its Pastry and Baking Arts program. Back in April, the recommendation to close the well-regarded program to save money was announced, and led to impassioned pleas, including those made at an impromptu meeting that included many local baking/restaurant luminaries. The timeline for the decision was extended, but now it’s been made. Here’s the statement we just received from SSC:

South Seattle College has decided to close the Pastry & Baking Arts program. The decision comes after assessment of findings from a year-long program viability review that all programs go through, extensive discussion and analysis with stakeholders, and weighing a variety of factors, including:

*Declining enrollment over the past several years and low student-to-faculty ratio

*High instructional costs

Students, faculty and staff have been notified of the closure and the college is focused on providing support to those directly impacted:

The college will provide our current cohort of 17 pastry students with support to complete their education. Instruction and Student Services will work collaboratively in that effort and a student success team is in place to specifically support our students on an individual basis. Those students will start class the first day of Fall Quarter.

Campus administrators, human resources and union representatives are in the process of meeting with program faculty and staff to discuss options and make plans.

Statement from South Seattle College President Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap:

“As a member of South’s community for 18 years, I witnessed and truly valued the Pastry & Baking Arts program’s contributions to our college history and student success. It serves as a good example of how we support our community’s career interests and industry workforce needs through the programs we offer. Those interests and needs evolve over time, and with the serious challenges facing Pastry & Baking Arts today it is, unfortunately, no longer fiscally responsible to continue running the program. It is paramount that we be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and student tuition.

“I greatly appreciate the students, staff, community members and pastry industry representatives taking time to share their perspective on the quality and value of the pastry program, and every student who chose our program to pursue their passion in pastry and baking arts. South continues to operate a great Culinary Arts program, and I want future pastry chefs to know Seattle Central College – our sister institution – has an excellent pastry and baking program.

“South Seattle College remains committed to offering a comprehensive range of programs that meet demand from students, community, and industry partners, and ensuring resources are used effectively.”

In a recent interview with WSB (story later this week), the new president said the program had “more than double the average cost per student” compared to other SSC programs.

11 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: South Seattle College finalizes decision to close Pastry and Baking Arts program"

  • kumalavula September 17, 2018 (4:02 pm)

    an absolute shame!

  • coffeedude September 17, 2018 (5:14 pm)

    This is sad sad sad news

  • Railroaded September 17, 2018 (5:38 pm)

    That is very unfortunate, indeed. But I do understand it.

  • ExAlum September 17, 2018 (8:30 pm)

    The Culinary program is on life support.  Could be the next victim of budget cuts. When I was at school, I never thought I’d see the day those programs would disappear.  Truly sad.

  • ACG September 17, 2018 (9:09 pm)


  • Joan September 18, 2018 (8:57 am)

    Very sad news. People go to college to learn, and here’s a college denying them that in order to save $$. What’s the priority here? Education, service to community, or profit?  I understand schools must cover their costs, but there seem to be options for doing this. Corporations saved the fireworks, they can save this program.

  • Jenny September 18, 2018 (12:51 pm)

    Sorry to hear this, unfortunate that the program could not be restructured to keep this important and awesome training program. ☹

  • Mj September 18, 2018 (5:56 pm)

    A benefit for peoples waistlines, kidding aside this is too bad.  Teaching the next generation a marketable skill is important and many bakers can end up owning their own shop!

  • Lucia September 18, 2018 (10:44 pm)

    Typical of Seattle Colleges administration.  The entire system is in peril.  There will be more and more closures of programs at North, Central and South.  It is a system about to tumble.  Take heed.

  • Amy September 18, 2018 (11:29 pm)

    That’s what the college is known for, and what makes it unique. My daughter would have liked to do this program, and she is starting college there soon.

  • Seattle Central RN Grad September 24, 2018 (10:09 am)

    oh for heavens sake! Investing in young people is a very wise use of public money.Pastries and baking are on the rise so to speak despite gluten-free and low carb diets.  Its a useful, marketable skill. Training folks is the mission of a Community College. If its too expensive adminstrators need to hotfoot it to Olympia and get more money–or start looking at their own perks and salaries.

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