UW News

October 14, 2016

A new way to ‘college’: University of Washington Continuum College

University of Washington Educational Outreach is now University of Washington Continuum College, a new name for a new era of higher education.

“We live in an ever-changing world where continuous learning isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Rovy Branon, vice provost, UW Continuum College. “While college degrees remain the essential core of higher education, succeeding in the new economy requires new pathways for people to thrive. At UW Continuum College there is ‘a new way to college,’ where college is a verb – making education accessible anywhere, anytime, to boost people’s careers, inspire their curiosity, and make their lives more meaningful.”

Since 1912, University of Washington Continuum College has helped people in the U.S. and globally learn new skills and gain experience in areas of high demand. Each year, 50,000 students of Continuum College earn professional certificates and advanced degrees, and take part in enriching short programs in-person and online. Program lines of the college include Early Fall Start, International & English Language Programs, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the UW, Summer Quarter, Summer Youth and UW Professional & Continuing Education (PCE). A full listing is available here.

In support of the change, Continuum College is introducing its first-ever public giving fund to provide financial aid to learners pursuing non-credit education. The UW Continuum College Founders Scholarship will add to the program’s $200,000 in seed money from an unrestricted endowment granted to the university in the 1960’s to serve adult students. Future Founders Scholarships will open up access to UW programs for the non-traditional learners the college serves. The goal is to award the first scholarships in the 2017-18 school year.

Elizabeth Kennedy earned three certificates from Continuum College in human resources management, nonprofit management and project management. Even with an elite undergraduate education, changes in her life led to a period of homelessness and poverty. Kennedy credits the college’s PCE programs with helping her re-enter the workforce, and helping boost her wages by 57 percent.

“Education was my ticket out,” Kennedy said. “If not yet out of financial poverty, then out of poverty of mind. Through the darkness of my experiences, I followed the light of affordable professional education. It opened the door for me to pursue new dreams, and to make meaningful contributions to the world.”

Continuum College is a vital part of the UW’s commitment to its mission of serving the public and improving the lives of people in Washington State and around the globe. The new name reflects the spirit of innovation at the UW, which was recently ranked the fifth most innovative university in the world, highlighting its forward-thinking approach toward making education accessible and relevant to learners throughout their lifetime.