Educational Philosophies Compete Within College

My feature story for the May 2014 Central Circuit issue.

Central Circuit

By Josh Kelety

What is the role and purpose of community colleges? Are they educational institutions, providers of workforce training, or both?

Here at Seattle Central differing educational philosophies are abundant, giving off the impression that our school is in the middle of an identity crisis.

The Mission (and mandate)

The Seattle College District (SCD) has a very clearly outlined mission statement and vision for the role Seattle’s community colleges will play in society. “It’s the workforce mission, it’s the transfer mission, it’s the basic skills mission,” says SCD Chancellor Jill Wakefield.

According to Seattle Central’s mission statement, the college provides “opportunities for academic achievement, workforce preparation, and service to the community.”

All community colleges in the State are defined in almost identical terms, with the Washington State Legislaturerequiring, since 1991, that all these institutionsoffer comprehensive education in the form of transfer degree education, workforce training, and…

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