Dear Colleagues –
Today is my first official day on campus. Yesterday, I felt like a new student as I searched for a parking spot, had to rely on a faculty member to help me find my office, wandered around the campus talking with students, and met with the leadership team. I was so impressed with the professionalism and helpfulness of everyone I met and by my good conversations with students, all who spoke of their positive experiences at Bellevue College. They were clearly happy to be here, as am I.
I feel so honored to join the Bellevue College family for the next several months. I want to offer my thanks for the opportunity to serve this remarkable institution. During my tenure at the Seattle Colleges, BC always stood out for its innovative approaches to higher education and its deep commitment to student success. BC has challenged commonly held beliefs about community colleges by redefining what’s possible. Colleges around the country have benefited from BC’s visionary programs and services.
A little about my background. I recently retired from the Seattle Colleges where I worked in roles ranging from veterans advisor and vice president for instruction, to president and chancellor. I love the community college, our mission, our students, and our commitment to meeting the needs of our communities. I’ve also worked as a faculty member at WSU, Seattle University, and several community colleges. I have been involved in a number of initiatives, from applied baccalaureate degrees, the development of I-BEST, student success, and the health care training center at Pacific Tower. I have two sons, Matt, 35, and AJ, 24, and will have a new daughter-in-law on October 15. I was so fortunate to spend most of September walking the Camino trail across Spain with them (watch “The Way”).
My goal as interim president is to support your good work and to provide leadership and stability during the next year as we search for a permanent president. My hope is that the permanent president will be able to hit the ground running. This is not a time to press the pause button, but to keep working together to move the college forward, addressing challenges and opportunities. I look forward to learning more about this unique community, and hope that my “fresh eyes” might surface even more opportunities to help students meet their goals, and the college meet the needs of its community. I want to learn more about your work on student success; BC Governance; social justice; fostering existing partnerships and building new ones – all to serve the institution, our students and our community, both now and into the future.
As I wander around the campus, please introduce yourself. Let me know about your department or program. Faculty, I would love to visit your class, as you feel appropriate.
Basically, I want to hear more about the people and programs that make Bellevue College such a special place.
I’m very excited to be here during BC’s 50th anniversary, and the activities planned for Homecoming Week. There is no place I’d rather be right now than here, celebrating your achievements with you. Thank you for the warm welcome I’ve already received. I look forward to seeing you on campus and to working with you to serve students and the community.
Dr. Jill Wakefield