UW News

November 4, 2004

UW Bothell, Tacoma, plan major growth

News and Information

Both UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, in self studies mandated by the state legislature, plan dramatic growth over the coming decade to meet the higher education needs of their communities.

The University will forward these studies to the Higher Education Coordinating Board next month after they are reviewed and approved by the Board of Regents.

UWT would grow from 2,100 students now to more than 6,000 students by 2014. UWB projects growth from about 1,300 to 6,000 by 2019. Both plans assume that enrollment in Seattle will remain relatively constant.

“The alternative to aggressive growth,” according to the UWT self-study, “is to ration higher education.”

The self-studies, the result of several months of work by committees that received input from individuals on campus and in the community, were mandated by the state legislature.

UW Tacoma
UWT would like to strengthen its connections with transfer-bound community college students through stronger advising programs, more communication among faculty members, and the creation of early- and dual-admission programs.

UWT also has proposed improving the “two-plus-two” system of higher education in the state by defining lower-division and upper-division campuses “in terms of the students they serve, not the courses they teach.” The report points out that some upper division students need lower division courses to complete their education, and that the current structure makes that difficult. For example, a student majoring in international business at an upper division campus might wish to study a foreign language, the first two years of which would not be available there under current rules.

The UWT report also states the two-plus-two model is less effective when knowledge in a major is cumulative and courses need to follow a linear progression, such as in the sciences, math or computer science. These majors require a “unified, integrated learning experience,” suggesting all courses in those majors would work better if offered by the same institution.

Accordingly, UWT is proposing to admit 100 freshmen a year starting in 2006-7. The number of freshmen and sophomores would rise to 550 by 2014-15. But the report points out that UWT 10 years from now will still be “largely, if not primarily, a transfer institution.”

The report proposes that UWT evolve into a four-year institution even as it increases the number of transfer students it accepts. The report states that Tacoma is one of just three of the 100 largest cities in the country without a four-year institution within 20 miles. If UWT were to become a four-year institution, it would offer talented students from the region the opportunity for a four-year baccalaureate experience without relocating, it would better serve transfer students, and it would make UWT a stronger academic institution.

UWT plans to expand the range of its academic offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, developing programs that prepare students for rewarding careers in fields that public and private employers need.

The report notes that UWT is developing as a “metropolitan university, combining the University of Washington’s long and rich tradition of high quality teaching and research with a growing tradition of public service and community involvement.”

UW Bothell
UWB’s study highlights the unmet need in higher education in its region: “Combining freshmen and transfer applicants, the region will produce between 1,600 and 2,200 students during each of the next six years who have taken the difficult courses and done the work to qualify for University of Washington admission, but who cannot be accommodated either on the Seattle campus because of space constraints or on the Bothell campus at its current level of FTE funding.”

UWB’s plan has four priorities. First, the campus “should remain a critical component of the University of Washington with the same expectations for teaching, learning and scholarship that have shaped campus development to date.”

Second, the plan proposes expansion of upper-division programs in partnership with the community colleges. UWB also proposes more extensive use of co-admission and co-enrollment, which, by allowing students to register simultaneously in lower- and upper-division courses, gives potential transfer students clear pathways to a bachelor’s degree and more flexibility in choosing options at the community college and UWB.

Third, UWB proposes a small, targeted lower division program. “Many students find it difficult to complete a full 90 hours of lower-division courses before beginning their upper-division work,” the report states. “Lower division authority will allow us to create several alternative pathways to baccalaureate degrees.” The campus also is proposing the creation of a full lower-division program for what it calls a “leadership class of new freshmen who qualify for UW admission and are more likely to succeed in the small personal environment offered by UW Bothell.” This would include first-generation college students, and other qualified students whose personal or work commitments create a challenging environment in which to pursue a degree.

Fourth, UW Bothell plans to expand its graduate and professional programs in ways that address regional needs. “Further program growth will allow UW Bothell to sustain its close connections to regional organizations and employers, and to contribute to regional advancement through both its graduates and its scholarship.”

UWT estimates that its operating budget would need to increase by $54.6 million by 2014, with about $36 million coming from increased state support. UWB’s 2019-20 operating and maintenance budget would grow by $67.5 million under the plan, of which about $44.9 million would come from the state.

The full report for UWT is available at http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/uwtfuture/. UWB’s report is at http://www.uwb.edu/hb2707/masterDoc10.17.04.pdf.

The legislative mandate also required similar reports from WSU Vancouver and WSU Tri-Cities.