Ten Bellevue College instructors and staff have been selected to work on a ground-breaking project, funded by $6.1 million in grants from the Gates and Ford foundations, to create new college-level course content modules with the goal of dramatically increasing student success rates.

Working in teams with peers from other Washington community colleges, and in collaboration with scholars from Carnegie Mellon University, the ten Bellevue College representatives will help to create a first-of-its-kind global educational resource:  a library of course content for 80 of the most heavily enrolled first- and second-year college courses, for use free of charge by instructors not only in Washington but around the world.

The modules will be constructed to enhance student success by using best practices in course design and by dramatically reducing costs for textbooks and other course materials. The goal for each course is to cost students no more than $30 for books and materials. Currently, students often pay $100 to $200 or more for books in any one course.

Known as the Washington State Student Completion Initiative and directed by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the project has awarded Bellevue College a grant of $110,000 to fund the participation of its faculty and staff.

Participants from Bellevue College are:

·       Chemistry Instructors Jennie Mayer, of Seattle; Jacqueline Drak, of Bellevue; Dan Mitchell, of Newcastle; and Gina Fiorini, of Bellevue; all working on a Chemistry II course;

·       Business Instructor Leslie Lum, of Bellevue, working on an introductory Business course;

·       Mathematics Instructor Dale Hoffman, of Bellevue, working on three courses: Calculus I, II and III;

·       Philosophy Instructor Mark Storey, of Shoreline, working on a course in Logic;

·       Librarians David Oar, of Renton, and Nicole Longpre, of Issaquah, who will join other librarians in helping faculty identify and acquire instructional materials and integrate information-literacy content and problem-based learning techniques into the courses.

·       Bookstore Manager Kristen Connely, of Renton, who will work to make course materials more affordable.

The 15-month project is supported by grants of $5.3 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $800,000 from the Ford Foundation.

Its goal is to achieve student completion rates of 95 percent in the 80 highest-enrollment courses that Washington community college students must take to earn a degree.

Together, these “gateway” courses draw more than 400,000 enrollments annually.

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