Friday Sep 21, 2018

"Bellevue College, The Future is Now"

Dr. Jerry Weber

President Bellevue College

Introduced by: John Martinka

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Our speaker was Dr. Jerry Weber, President of Bellevue College, introduced by John Martinka, to discuss “The Future is Now” at Bellevue College. He shared that Bellevue College (started as Bellevue Community College) is 52 years old, the largest “community college” in the state and has 33,000 students. The student body includes full-time students, part-time, students, high school Running Start students and International students. They have a diverse student population 49 percent Caucasian, 51 percent other races. Continuing education offerings include teaching options – in the classroom, online or a hybrid (a combination of the first two)!

Why is Bellevue College no longer called Bellevue Community College? With the advent of 4-year bachelor degrees in Applied Science, Nursing, Applied Arts and Computer Science, the name change was logical to recognize the higher level of education provided by the school! It would also create doubt with recruiting staffs of companies if the degree was a BS or BA and the college was named Bellevue Community College as they normally offer only Associate (2 year) degrees.

What’s new at Bellevue College?

  • Student housing – 2 Residence Halls have been built to accommodate 400 out of area and International students.
  • The construction of a Student Services Center is in process to consolidate services for students.
  • In the initial stages of developing a strategic plan for the school.

Dr. Weber also shared the biggest challenges at Bellevue College. They are housing (for both students and staff), salaries for staff and competition in the higher education field for students, faculty and curriculum. He discussed the changing landscape in education and the increased competitiveness from both traditional colleges / universities, online education, internet-based question answering options and free online courses from schools around the country.

If you are interested, Dr. Weber shared with us how to get involved with Bellevue College thru: internships for their students and Alumni; Advisory Committees for their Professional-Technical programs (Terri Tanano 425-564-4088); events year-round open to the public (; athletics; and the annual Become Exceptional Luncheon (April 24, 2019. At the end of his talk, Dr. Weber stated “Bellevue College is dedicated to educational excellence”.

Other BBRC news from the meeting! Neil Bretvick is engaged and will marry next summer! Congratulations Neil!

Also, Eli Egner and Doug Pinkley gave their new member talks to share more about themselves.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jerry Weber is the president of Bellevue College, and a strong advocate of community colleges as affordable, open-access pathways for students to achieve their life and career goals. Previously he served as president of the College of Lake County just outside of Chicago, Illinois, (2009-2017), and before that as president of Kankakee Community College (2001-2009). He began his career in higher education as an English faculty member, and has taken on a number of administrative and executive roles in instruction, student services, academic support and competency-based learning.
He took a leadership role in his greater community as well, serving on a number of local economic boards and committees including the Lake County Workforce Development Board, Lake County Community Foundation, Lake County Partners for Economic Development, and Health Professions Education Consortium. Regionally, he served on and chaired the Economic Development Committee of CMAP, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
His dedication to the value of community colleges and workforce development was recognized by his peers when he was elected to the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He is the founding chair for the Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) Center in which colleges commit to sharing information and resources for developing a sustainable campus and workforce, and has served as adjunct faculty at Harvard University in the continuing education program of Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership.
Weber holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and an M.A. in Educational Measurement and Statistics from the University of Iowa. He has also earned an M.A. in Linguistics and English Literature and a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University.