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WSU leadership at University Center means opportunities for students

  • Students in Washington State University-North Puget Sound’s mechanical engineering program listen during their first class at Everett Community ...

    Dan Bates / Herald file 2012

    Students in Washington State University-North Puget Sound’s mechanical engineering program listen during their first class at Everett Community College in 2012.

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By Bob Drewel and Paul Pitre
Published:
  • Students in Washington State University-North Puget Sound’s mechanical engineering program listen during their first class at Everett Community ...

    Dan Bates / Herald file 2012

    Students in Washington State University-North Puget Sound’s mechanical engineering program listen during their first class at Everett Community College in 2012.

Amid the celebrations by recent college graduates, one group deserves special recognition: the 23 recipients of bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering from Washington State University-North Puget Sound at Everett. In addition to their degrees, these students were inducted into the Order of the Engineer, a professional engineering association.
It was a momentous occasion and also one signaling success in the quest for quality higher education opportunities in North Puget Sound.
It is important to mark this occasion, as WSU officially took over management of the University Center of North Puget Sound on July 1.
WSU will now manage the day-to-day operations and logistics of the University Center, and lead the Coordinating and Planning Council, an engaged group that will help chart the center's growth. WSU is also designing a new University Center building to house classrooms and services geared toward helping students succeed.
Under WSU's leadership, students can choose from a variety of academic programs — including online options — offered by a consortium of six public universities and one private college. These efforts are critical steps toward bringing more baccalaureate and graduate degrees to North Puget Sound, one of the most chronically underserved regions in our state. It is also the result of years of collaborative work between local communities, higher education leaders, and state lawmakers, including the visionaries who passed Senate Bill 5636, paving the way for WSU to assume leadership of University Center.
WSU President Elson S. Floyd has pledged the resources of this state's only land-grant research institution toward building programs steeped in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and aligned with industry needs in the Snohomish, Island and Skagit Valley regions. WSU is keeping that promise.
Starting this fall, area students will be enrolling in WSU North Puget Sound at Everett to earn degrees in electrical engineering, communications and hospitality business management. The programs represent signature WSU programs, assuring both academic rigor and university-wide commitment. Our mission, as one of Washington's two research institutions, is to provide affordable and accessible educational options for students, including those who want, or need, to attend college closer to home.
Developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of North Puget Sound's fast-growing industries is a top priority for WSU. One of the most important ways higher education fuels Washington's economy is through the production of smart, skilled graduates ready to work in high-demand fields.
For WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, these STEM-based programs represent the signature strengths of the university. WSU is working collaboratively within the consortium and with state lawmakers to steadily grow the programs offered to students. The expansion of WSU's offerings will align with the economic vitality of the region in areas like aerospace, advanced manufacturing, the gaming industry and professional services.
Families and working adults living in the North Puget Sound region have new, burgeoning opportunities to stay in the community and seek four-year degrees, or earn a graduate degree. Students can choose to start their college experience at a local community college and finish with a baccalaureate degree in Everett. Those seeking options can earn their diploma online or through classroom-based instruction. The doors to higher education are opening like never before.
As WSU assumes the management of University Center, we want to assure our consortium partners and the North Puget Sound community of our steadfast commitment to opening the doors of higher education. Working together, we will ensure higher education opportunities are within reach of everyone in Washington state.
Bob Drewel is interim chancellor at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett. He served for 10 years as executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council and before that, he served three terms as Snohomish County executive. He was president of Everett Community College from 1984-1992.
Paul Pitre is campus dean at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett.
Story tags » EverettAerospaceCollegesWashington State University

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