Original Date: 5/22/1996 * Last Revision Effective: 10/15/2015
Policy Contact: Vice President, Institutional Advancement
The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing policy #6650 – Communications and Publications.
Publications Content Approval Procedure
To ensure that all official Bellevue College publications meet the following requirements:
- All information about the college is accurate and up-to-date.
- All legal and regulatory requirements are met.
- All program and course information is accurate, complete and consistent with that on file in the office of instruction, which serves as the official record of the college for purposes of state auditing.
- All claims or statements about programs, course transferability and any completion, placement, salary or employment-on-completion data are accurate and have adequate supporting documentation on file.
- Information on program prerequisites or other admissions requirements is complete.
- Any need for a student to obtain post-graduation licensure or certification in order to be employable is clearly described.
- All documents include statement of equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation.
- All official publications and websites include the college logo, full college name and address, revision or creation date, official Bellevue College website address and a contact person’s phone number and email address.
Bellevue College policy requires three approvals of the content of every official college publication. In academic divisions, these approvals must come from: 1) program chair, 2) dean, 3) institutional advancement. In non-instructional departments, the publication content must be approved by 1) the department head, 2) the organizational unit administrator, 3) institutional advancement.
The document originator must retain copies of each approval message.
To provide a checkpoint, printing services (PS) will require confirmation of full content approval before printing begins. For ease of communication with PS staff, work order forms may include boxes to be checked by the customer prior to graphics or print production work, confirming approval from the appropriate people.
Suggestions to document authors, editors and reviewers:
Improper and unsubstantiated claims in publications can not only confuse and annoy readers, but as happened nearby a few years ago, lead to legal action against the college. To avoid problems:
1. Don’t make broad claims or provide explicit assurances about course or program results. For example, never state or imply that taking a particular class, degree or certificate will get a student a job or enable them to pass a certification exam.
- “leads to employment as…”
- “with immediate placement upon completion.”
- “prepares students to pass the XYZ exam.
- “intended for people considering work in fields of…”
- “helps ready graduates to complete for jobs in…”
- “helps prepare students to take certification exams in…”
- “successful students learn the skills needed to become competitive in…”
- “95% of our 2004 graduates passed the certification exam…”
Even better, quote students and employers on the value of a Bellevue College education (but be sure to get permission from the person quoted before using his or her words, name or photo):
- “Thanks, Bellevue College! I got three job offers within a month of graduation!” Suzy Student, 2000.
- “When we’re hiring, we always look at students coming out of Bellevue College. The training they get there allows them to contribute from the get-go.” Ellen Employer, Good Company, Bellevue, 2005.
2. Be sure that statements about job placement and salary expectations are accurate and that all claims can be substantiated. Preferably, documentation should be kept on file. If possible, cite the source of the data.
- “Graduates of this program earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year.”
- “90% of our 2005 graduates were employed within three months of graduation, at salaries averaging $47,000” (Source: XYZ Survey, 2005.)
3. Don’t promise that classes will transfer to another college or university unless Bellevue College has a signed articulation agreement with that institution.
- “This course transfers for humanities credit at four-year colleges.”
- “The University of Washington has agreed to accept this course in fulfillment of their humanities general-education requirement.”
4. Don’t claim that classroom tools, technology or teaching methods are “state of the art” or describe them with superlatives such as “latest,” “best” or “finest.” Such claims, if ever true, are unlikely to remain so throughout the life of a publication.
- “Bellevue College has the most successful radiation therapy program in the region.”
- “You will learn up-to-the minute skills on state-of-the-art equipment.”
- “You will train on the type of equipment often found in…”
- “We employ such inventive teaching methods as…”
- “We work with industry professionals to keep our curriculum in line with changing workplace needs.”
Superlatives are okay it they appear in a documented quote from an outsider:
- “The Bellevue College radiology program turns out the best techs in the regions.” (Johnny B. Goode, M.D., medical director of Highbrow Hospital, quoted in Hospital Helper, January 2005)
5. Be careful with any work expressing an absolute – it only takes one instance to prove it incorrect.
- always, never, all, every, none
- usually, typically, generally, often, almost never, rarely, most
6. Avoid describing a collaborative project with another entity as a “partnership,” as that implies a legal arrangement involving sharing of profits and debts. State agencies are not authorized to enter into partnerships.
- strategic alliance
- cooperative project
7. Avoid any content that might be interpreted as advertising for another organization. For example, another organization’s logo, even without accompanying ‘advertising text,’ should not be shown unless it is there to identify a group that is directly involved in the program or event being described. State funds may not be used to promote any private interests. Also, the presence of advertising content can increase postage costs. If your material is going to be sent through the mail, consult the mail center or publications manager for advice.
If you have questions about how these procedures apply to your publication, contact the Bellevue College public information director (X3081) or publications manager (X2283) in the Institutional Advancement Office.
Revisions 5/10/2005; 1/8/2007; 5/21/2009; 9/24/2012; 10/15/2015
Last Updated October 15, 2015