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More four-year degrees may be coming to OC

POULSBO — The Olympic College Poulsbo campus isn’t filled to capacity.

After the nursing program moved back to the Bremerton campus in 2010, filling seats at Poulsbo is a goal.

Increasing enrollment is a priority, OC President David Mitchell said.

“I want to increase enrollment significantly,” he said.  “We have the capacity for more [students].”

One way to increase enrollment: Offer more baccalaureate programs.

Mitchell, along with Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and County Commissioner Robert Gelder, met with representatives from Western Washington University to discuss offering four-year programs at the Poulsbo campus.

The university is looking to increase its presence around Western Washington, said Steve Swan, Western’s vice president for university relations. This includes more outreach and partnerships.

However, the meeting between OC and Western, which took place Oct. 3, was a small step.

The meeting was “very exploratory,” Swan said. “We’re just going to continue conversations.”

OC’s Poulsbo campus currently offers environmental science through Western’s Huxley College of the Environment. A bachelor of science in environmental science and bachelor of arts in environmental policy studies are currently available.

A bachelor of science in mechanical engineering is offered at OC’s Bremerton campus, through a Washington State University program extension. Mitchell described the WSU program as a “win-win,” because it increased enrollment at Bremerton while giving the university more of a footprint in the area. Olympic College will determine what programs are in demand and what programs would be most sustainable, Mitchell said. One possibility is business degrees, he said.

The nursing program was moved to Poulsbo in 2004 to provide classes more space. The program was expected to return to the Bremerton campus, which has a larger reference library and is closer to the medical district and college’s child development center.

The program, which returned to Bremerton in fall 2010, accounted for 20 percent of Poulsbo’s enrollment at the time.  The Poulsbo campus draws many Running Start students and local high school graduates looking to transfer into larger schools. Excluding nursing students, about 60 percent of Poulsbo students are in transfer programs.

 

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