Launch Event for New State Online University Set for May 26 SEATTLE — WGU Washington, washington.wgu.edu, has tapped Bellevue College President B. Jean Floten to serve as its first Chancellor. Created by the legislature in partnership with Western Governors University, WGU Washington is the state’s only all-online competency-based university. Mrs. Floten’s appointment will be formally announced at the new university’s launch event, which will take place on Thursday, May 26, at Seattle Central Community College’s Broadway Performance Hall at 10:00 a.m. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Western Governors University to create WGU Washington,” Mrs. Floten said. “I am committed to higher education because it has the power to improve lives and livelihoods. WGU Washington gives more Washington students access to a high-quality, affordable education. Plus, students are recognized for what they already know and progress at their own pace to complete their degrees. High touch is another attribute that appealed to me—each student is assigned a mentor and subject-matter experts to guide them through their education at every step along the way. It is a great model that will benefit Washington students.” “Jean Floten has been a leading force in Washington higher education for many years, and her leadership will help ensure that WGU Washington meets the needs of our students and the businesses that will employ them,” said Western Governors University President Robert W. Mendenhall. “Her experience with the state’s community college system makes her an ideal fit for WGU Washington, which was created in part to offer additional transfer capacity for community college graduates to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Mrs. Floten brings great talent and broad experience in Washington higher education, and we know she will be instrumental in WGU Washington’s success.” Mrs. Floten joins WGU Washington after leading Bellevue College for more than 20 years, where she developed the college from Bellevue Community College into an innovative, nationally acclaimed institution. Recognized as a leader in higher education, she is often asked to speak throughout the state and nation on technology education, funding, innovations in teaching, diversity, student access, and other education issues. Prior to coming to Bellevue College, Mrs. Floten was Executive Vice President at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington, where she served previously as Dean of Student Services and Director of Student Programs. Mrs. Floten serves on the national community college advisory board of Educational Testing Service and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and the Key Bank Advisory Board. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by City University in 2006 and earned Master of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Portland State University. WGU Washington was established by the State Legislature in partnership with nationally recognized and accredited Western Governors University. The nonprofit university, which receives no funding from the state, was created to expand access to higher education for Washington residents. WGU Washington offers 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, information technology, teacher education, and health professions, including nursing. The university’s competency-based learning model is designed to meet the needs of working adults, offering them an affordable, flexible option for earning an accredited college degree that is recognized and respected by employers. WGU Washington’s academic model is unique—rather than earning degrees based on credit hours or time spent in class, students are required to demonstrate competency in degree subject matter. They advance by writing papers, completing assignments, and passing exams that demonstrate their knowledge of required subject matter. This allows students to move quickly through areas where they have prior work or academic experience and focus on the areas they still need to learn. Learning is individualized and guided by the one-on-one support of a faculty mentor. Degree programs are rigorous and challenging, but designed to allow students to schedule their studies to accommodate work and family obligations. Tuition is affordable, approximately $6,000 per year for most degree programs, and federal financial aid is available. A special event to celebrate the launch of WGU Washington and the new university’s partnership with the state’s community colleges will be held Thursday, May 26, at Seattle Central Community College’s Broadway Performance Hall, at 10:00 a.m. Governor Gregoire’s Education Policy Advisor Leslie Goldstein, State Senator Jim Kastama, State Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenny, Chancellor Floten, Western Governors University President Mendenhall, Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Executive Director Charlie Earl, and current WGU students will speak at the event. An informal reception will begin at 9:30 a.m. For more information regarding the event, call 206-388-8028. For more information, visit the WGU Washington website, http://washington.wgu.edu/.