Follow us:

Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Author archives

You are currently viewing all posts written by Katherine Long.

July 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

More for your money: UW-Bothell ranked best in the state

The UW Bothell campus. Photo by Jim Bates / The Seattle Times 2008.

The UW Bothell campus. Photo by Jim Bates / The Seattle Times 2008.

A new national ranking of college quality scrambles the usual rating of Washington state’s colleges and universities, making the University of Washington-Bothell the top-rated school in the state.

The ranking, by Money magazine, aims to tell students and parents which schools give the best value for the money, and looked at metrics such as the quality of the education, affordability and outcomes, which were based in part on how much graduates were making five years after they left school.

The UW-Bothell ranked above the main campus because it “dramatically outperforms its peers on graduation rates and alumni financial success indicators,” the magazine writes. Although UW-Bothell isn’t particularly selective, more than two-thirds of freshmen go on to graduate, and earn salaries averaging about $52,000 within five years of graduating.

In the survey, UW-Bothell came in 37th in the nation overall, earning an A- for value. The main UW campus in Seattle ranked 47th in the nation, getting a B+ for quality. The Seattle campus appeared to rank slightly lower than the UW-Bothell because the average annual salary within five years was slightly lower ($49,300) and the school is more selective.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, rankings, UW

July 28, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Free textbooks: New website helps profs find best e-books and videos

The OPEN Washington website

The OPEN Washington website

Building on several years of work with free textbook development, the state’s community college board has created a website that highlights the best available free- and low-cost textbooks and other educational resources from around the country.

The website is called OPEN Washington, and its aim is to help professors and college instructors find free or low-cost online textbooks, videos, curricula and other resources from a wide variety of sources.

It was created by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

Along with everything else in higher education, textbooks have zoomed in price in recent years; some studies suggest that the average college student spends as much as $800 to $1,000 per academic year buying textbooks. And students are often stuck with books that they can’t sell back to the bookstore because versions change from year to year.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks

July 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Liberal-arts consortium knits together 5 small colleges

This summer, three small Northwest liberal arts colleges are teaching a course together as part of a five-college collaboration that could eventually help the schools deliver education more efficiently and provide stronger class offerings to their students.

It’s a move that reflects a growing national trend  among colleges to pool talent and resources.

The schools — including the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and  Whitman College in Walla Walla — established the consortium three years ago, and this summer will offer their first class, in local food systems.

The project is called the Northwest Five Consortium, and it also includes Lewis & Clark College and Reed College, both in Portland, and Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, liberal arts

July 7, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Mellon grant will boost humanities studies at UPS

Students read outside on a warm spring day at the University of Puget Sound. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times 2013.

Students read outside on a warm spring day at the University of Puget Sound. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times 2013.

Who says the humanities are dead? Last week, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a $600,000 grant to the University of Puget Sound for use in the school’s new humanities and honors-program initiatives.

UPS officials say they’ll use the grant to develop new classes and to explore new ways of learning.

With the grant, UPS will expand and restructure interdisciplinary classes in the humanities, arts, culture and technology. Classes will be taught across disciplines, and experiential learning will be expanded to involve hands-on projects or community activities.

The grant money will also allow UPS to involve more students in honors and humanities studies. The school will develop classes in film, video and new media, and the study of queer cultures will be included as integral to the study of humanities.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, humanities, University of Puget Sound

June 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New course can help vault students into college-level math

Photo by Eric Jacobs for The Seattle Times 2006

Photo by Eric Jacobs for The Seattle Times

One of the most vexing problems for community colleges is the number of first-year students whose math scores don’t measure up.

About half of all students who graduate from Washington high schools and immediately enter community college require remedial math  usually called “developmental math”  before they can begin fulfilling their college-level math requirements.

This fall, though, 11 school districts are piloting a new math class for high-school seniors who have struggled with the subject. Under an agreement with the state’s public colleges, students who get at least a B in the class, called “Bridge to College Mathematics,” will be admitted into college-level math, said Bill Moore, who is overseeing the project for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

The course is being developed in cooperation with the SBCTC, the state’s four-year public colleges and with high-school math teachers, Moore said. Several Seattle public high schools are part of the pilot.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: common core, math

June 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

WSU program helps migrant farm workers get high school diplomas

Washington State University has been awarded a 5-year, $2.3 million grant to help migrant and seasonal farm workers, and their immediate families, get a high school equivalency diploma.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Education, and it will be used to serve 65 participants a year at WSU.

There’s a bit of history involved. Nearly 50 years ago, WSU was chosen by the U.S. Department of Labor to create one of the nation’s first high school equivalency programs. The program ran for 42 years, until 2009, when the money was not renewed.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, Washington State University

June 16, 2014 at 5:00 AM

College aerospace programs to add slots for 1,000 students

Twenty-one of Washington’s community and technical colleges will share $8 million in funding to grow programs that teach students skills needed in the aerospace industry.

The funding was part of the Legislature’s package to persuade Boeing to build the 777X in Washington. It will create slots for more than 1,000 students  in high-demand fields, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges said last week. The programs will begin in the 2014-15 academic year.

One of the beneficiaries is South Seattle College, where the funds will be used to expand the aviation maintenance technology and aerospace composites technology programs. The school will receive money to buy new equipment, expand class times and pay for faculty salaries.

More

Comments | More in News

June 2, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Too many classroom decorations may distract youngest learners

Education experts sometimes tell parents that the way a teacher decorates his or her classroom may say something about that teacher’s ability. A good teacher, the thinking goes, will cover the walls with high-quality student work, meaningful projects and other resources.

But what if decorations, even those meant to serve an educational purpose, are doing more harm than good?

A new Carnegie Mellon University research paper suggests that, at least for young children, an over-decorated classroom can actually make it harder to learn.

The paper, published in Psychological Science, found that children in highly-decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed.

Here’s a short video of the report’s authors discussing their research, which also shows examples of both types of classrooms:

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: classroom decorations, early education, K12

May 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM

WSU holds special Spanish-language orientation in May

WSU campus in Pullman (Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011)

WSU campus in Pullman (Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011)

Sending a son or daughter off to college for the first time is a gut-wrenching experience for any parent, but that’s particularly true when the child is the first in your family to attend college. And a language barrier only adds to the anxiety.

That’s why Washington State University has offered a special Spanish language session during its mandatory student-parent orientation in summer. Now it’s doing even more, offering an all-Spanish orientation in May.

Why May? Many Spanish-speaking parents of incoming freshmen work in the agricultural industry, said Marcella Pattinson, coordinator for WSU Outreach and Undocumented Initiatives. Those parents often find it hard to leave work in July and August, when the harvest of many crops is in full swing.

La Bienvenida, the May orientation, was scheduled this past weekend, and will be offered to Spanish-speaking parents next May as well.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: Washington State University

May 18, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Sunday story: Fewer dropouts, more degrees at Walla Walla Community College

At the end of spring quarter, student Cody Janett, left, and assistant enologist Sabrina Lueck help press caps on freshly filled bottles of Champagne in Walla Walla Community College’s viticulture and enology program. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

At the end of spring quarter, student Cody Janett, left, and assistant enologist Sabrina Lueck help press caps on freshly filled bottles of Champagne in Walla Walla Community College’s viticulture and enology program. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

WALLA WALLA — With its picturesque main street and pleasant, tree-lined neighborhoods, Walla Walla was recently named the friendliest small town in America.

The epicenter of a celebrated wine industry, its All-American atmosphere also harbors a soul that’s ambitious and entrepreneurial.

It’s an attitude that extends to the local community college, too. So when Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) took a hard look at the number of students it was losing every year — students on the verge of completing their degrees, but who instead simply drifted away — administrators knew they needed to take action.

Why did students quit?

Why didn’t they transfer to four-year colleges, or finish the credentials that would add heft to their résumés?

The questions, while vexing for college leaders, were not new, or even unique.

Nationally, only about 40 percent of first-time, full-time students at community colleges complete a degree or transfer within three years.

Go here for the full story.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: community college, higher ed, Walla Walla

Next Page »