SEATTLE — With name tags clipped on and PowerPoint at the ready, officials from Northeastern University invited prospective students in one night last week for a peek at a new extension campus, 2,500 miles from the school’s home in Boston and about as far northwest as you can get in the lower 48 without swim fins. It is a trend that many colleges and universities have embraced in recent years — remote campuses to extend the brand and the flow of tuition checks.
But there was more going on here. And all the new dean, J. Tayloe Washburn, had to do to demonstrate that was walk to the bank of windows in the meeting room where the prospects and the staff had congregated and throw wide his arms: the headquarters buildings of the tech giant Amazon.com filled the view under a gray Seattle mist.
“We’re very aware we’ll be sitting across the street from 12,000 Amazon workers,” said Mr. Washburn, a prominent Seattle lawyer and former chairman of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
A Seattle branch campus for Northeastern University offers welcome help boosting the ranks of residents with graduate degrees.
Northeastern University’s expansion into Seattle is noteworthy, chiefly for its potential to broaden the pipeline of local talent in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
A branch campus thousands of miles from Northeastern’s Boston roots is an astute read of this area’s labor needs.
The private, nonprofit university’s plan to offer only graduate-degree programs in Seattle fills a niche for industries looking for employees with advanced degrees. The Puget Sound region has one of the largest concentrations of residents with bachelor’s degrees, but only 13 percent of local professionals have graduate degrees.
This region does not measure up well against the rest of the country. In 2008, Washington ranked 42nd among all states in advanced-degree production — 8.4 graduate degrees per 1,000 residents. But the national average is 12.8 such degrees per 1,000 residents.
Seattle Times higher education reporter
When he visited Seattle last week, the president of Northeastern University took pains to explain why the Northwest’s largest city — some 2,500 miles and three times zones away — was a logical site for a private research institution in Boston to open a branch campus.
“Why Seattle?” asked Joseph Aoun. “Because we like the fact that Seattle is a very vibrant urban center. It has industries that are very prominent, industries of the future.”
In January, Northeastern University will open a storefront campus across the street from one of Amazon’s many South Lake Union sites, in the same building as the Institute for Systems Biology. It will offer only graduate-degree programs, taught both online and on-site.
Northeastern’s move — it also has opened a branch campus in Charlotte, N.C. — has created a bit of a buzz among education watchers.
Colleges and universities rarely open branches clear across the country, said Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, an online news source that covers the higher-education industry. The Boston school, a 114-year-old nonprofit university, is well-known for studying its markets closely, Jaschik said.
Branch campuses are very expensive to open and “not easy to pull off — but, knowing Northeastern, they’re very big on studying markets, so they have done a calculation that makes sense,” he said.
Read full story on The Seattle Times website >> here.
Although Northeastern’s Seattle Graduate Campus will not open for classes until January, real progress has already been realized by the research connections developing through the Northeastern University-Seattle presence, especially in one key area: global health.
Seattle is a major global health hub. This is seen through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Washington Global Health Alliance of over 14 institutions deeply involved in the development and delivery of solutions to a wide range of global health infectious diseases, primarily in Africa.
The Dean of the Seattle Graduate Campus, Tayloe Washburn, recently learned from Steve Zoloth, Dean of Academic Affairs for External Programs and Vice Provost for Health Research, of the interest and research of Professor Mike Pollastri and colleagues in the Department of Chemistry in neglected tropical diseases. Pollastri’s work complements the pioneering research on malaria and other diseases by Seattle BioMed, whose research institute is just one block from our new Seattle campus. Steve andTayloe helped connect Mike with the founder of Seattle BioMed and former Northeastern alumnus, Ken Stuart. Subsequent discussions have culminated in two agreements to collaborate together. We will share more information on the details of this in coming months.
Professor Pollastri also is a driving force at Northeastern in the creation of the Northeastern Integrated Initiative for Global Health. On October 12, 2012, he spoke on the work presently underway at Northeastern in neglected tropical diseases, his work with Seattle BioMed, and plans for growth in a Global Health and Northeastern’s expertise in this area. You can view highlights from that presentation here.
The Integrated Initiative for Global Health, among other attributes, consists of a combination of a drug and diagnostics discovery platform, coupled with scholarship on critical topics that address socio-economic, political, ethical and legal issues that are intrinsic to global health. This combination will provide researchers and trainees a broad base for a holistic view towards global health.
Northeastern University – Seattle can help make research connections which foster interdisciplinary and national collaboration. We are honored to be collaborating in this way and look forward to more progress in globalhealth and beyond in the future.
In a recent survey by US News & World Report, Project Management was ranked one of the most desirable skills required by businesses, just behind leadership and business analysis. The demand for high level project management skills has exploded in the past few years. Practitioners have taken note and are ramping up their skills to meet the demands of the workplace. In a past survey by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) of PMI® members, 61,000 PMI® members said they intended to pursue an advanced degree and 32,500 of those respondents said they intended to pursue it in project management.
As practitioners are looking to return to school, they should be thinking of a few critical items. First, they need to find a program that will equip them and challenge them to standout in the workplace. With nearly 700 colleges and Universities in the U.S. offering either a certificate or advanced degree in project management, the selection process can be daunting. However, would be students can rely on PMI®’s Global Accreditation Center (GAC) to certify those programs that have met PMI®’s rigorous accrediting standards. In the U.S., currently, only 20 programs have achieved this level of accreditation through PMI®.
The program must also be flexible enough to meet the schedule of working professionals. Traditional graduate education doesn’t fit the life of today’s working professional. A program needs to adapt to the schedule of the student, not the life of the student to the academic calendar. Programs offering online and on-site degree completion tracks offer the most flexibility, meeting schedule demands and learning preferences and needs.
Third, the program must be practically focused. A strong set of theoretical principles and guidelines undergirds project management practices, but those theories cannot be the sole focus of the program. A program must be centered in the workplace. Course lectures, class activities, assignments, and other course work must show how one actually manages the work of the project. This is most often accomplished through a high level of class interaction that focuses on the real world experiences of the class. Therefore, classes are more interactive and collaborative than the freshman lecture hall most remember from their undergraduate days. The emphasis must be placed squarely on real world problems and applications.
Finally, the program must have a track record of success with alumni, providing them with a high degree of satisfaction and providing necessary career services. The alumni network and career services are two of the major areas that a program can continue to service its graduates, and these two areas are often overlooked during the program selection process. However, a strong alumni network can lead to a number of career opportunities, and a successful career services department can provide the necessary support for advancing one’s career throughout one’s professional life.
Each year the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce hosts a three-day Regional Leadership Conference with over 250 business governmental labor and environmental leaders outside of Seattle. Held again this year at the Suncadia Resort, this conference allows leaders to get together to brainstorm and hammer out ways to grapple with regional challenges in education, affordable housing, global health, transportation and other areas. The keynote speaker serves a key role in framing the discussion and serving as a catalyst for the group.
This year’s conference on October 17-19 will focus on the themes of education, infrastructure and creation of jobs. Northeastern President Joseph Aoun is a national leader in the higher education area and currently serves as Chair of the American Council of Education. He will speak on the state of higher education to an audience which is eager to hear new approaches on higher ed. Due to the national recession, both K-12 and higher education institutions have experienced a severe decline in funding just at the time that the student demand for higher ed programs has increased. President Aoun will also address why Northeastern University selected the Seattle region as part of its future, and how the university is already getting engaged in a range of regional issues. One example is STEM learning for K-12. Tayloe Washburn, the Dean of Northeastern – Seattle, will be moderating a session at the Regional Leadership Conference which intends to identify the top 2-3 actions the business community can take in the STEM area to make progress in student performance and outcomes.
Contact Dean Washburn at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on these STEM initiatives. He has been working with representatives of Boeing, Microsoft, the Center for Inquiry Science, local superintendents, and local and state education experts. Christos Zahopoulos from Northeastern’s STEM Center has also provided great ideas to this group based on Northeastern’s long-term STEM initiatives with the Boston public schools.
The Northeastern team had an active presence at this major annual gathering of the northwest tech community, hosted by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). Over 350 attendees networked and heard presentations on Next Generation Ecommerce, early stage and growth stage venture capital experts and Big Data analytics. Northeastern Seattle Dean Washburn introduced a panel of gaming experts (CEOs of Big Fish Games, Bungie and Harebrainer) on the latest developments in the Gaming industry. The Gaming sector is a thriving hub in this region, with over 350 companies and over $4 billion in revenue. The gaming discussion covered the exponential growth in use of mobile devices (for Big Fish Games it went from 3% to 25% of its sales in one year), the increased use of the Cloud, the advent of “freemium” or free to play gaming devices and the future use of consoles.
Northeastern is very active in the Gaming area. Many colleges at Northeastern’s Boston campus are engaged in a cross-disciplinary approach which includes Media and the Arts, Immersive Storytelling, Game Planning, Programming and Computation, Image Creation, Game and Interactive Media Hardware, Behavior, Applications, and related business and legal issues. Recent public products include Magy Seli El Nasr’s Lab: Games User Experience and Research lab , and a “serious gaming” STEM product, STEM brochure.
Contact Dean Washburn at email@example.com to learn more about our Gaming areas of excellence and how you can get involved with researchers or the academic programs in this growing field. Game on!