The Seattle Central Griot - July 2, 2020

A message from the president

Dr. Sheila Edwards LangeDear Seattle Central Community,

As I write these lines, the city of Seattle is winding down the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. 

These past few weeks have made history in Seattle and our nation. Black Lives Matter has become a mainstream cause. Calls for reform and to rethink the use of police are becoming policy and action in many cities and states. For the first time in decades, it seems that we have the eye and the ear of America about the need for change, for equity, and for respect for Black lives.

Our college has stood at the center of this movement, physically and in spirit. Many of our students, faculty, and staff, participated in the marches against police brutality. Our student leadership organized and operated a protester relief station. Our campus hosted health and healing events from Black Lives Matter of Seattle-King County. Our library created a resource guide for protesters, with tips for how to be safe while demonstrating, and with resource materials on anti-racism and police brutality. Our Board of Trustees issued statements in support of Black Lives Matter, and in opposition to the racialized impact of COVID-19 on Asian, African American, and all underrepresented populations.

This is a lot to happen in such a short time. But let us not be naïve or complacent about these actions and statements. They are small compared to the work still ahead of us to end racism and to bring equity and social justice to our city and our nation.

We are still an institution that fails to graduate too many of the Black male students who come through our doors. We still have a long way to offer a curriculum that addresses the effects of uneven access to wealth and resources. As the pandemic has shown, we are an institution on the edge of the digital divide, where some students have access to technology and connectivity, and others have to rely on their phones and difficult WiFi access to take exams and finish their school work.

As I said to you in my May 29 message to campus, the time to act is now. The place is here. Each one of us has a role to play in educating our students about the injustices of the past and present, and to inspire them to do better than we did in eliminating the systems and prejudices that support them. We must also look within ourselves, and become better and more understanding of their individual experiences and situations.

I hope you will join me in this work.

In solidarity,

Sheila Edwards Lange, PhD


a female graduate jumps as her teacher takes her picture under a white and blue balloon arch

Drive by commencement celebrates 2020 grads

Since we could not celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our graduates at the ballpark this year, we hosted a drive/walk by parade on our Broadway campus on June 25, the day our commencement ceremony would have taken place.

More than 150 students, their families, and friends came by the Harvard parking garage, where volunteers cheered them and gave them yard signs, “corona” graduation cords, sunglasses, and other mementos to help them commemorate their achievements.

The top of the parking garage was decorated with a balloon arch where students could pose with their family and friends. Most of them took the time to snap a few pictures and catch up with friends.

Our staff and volunteers followed safety precautions, wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and using sanitizer liberally.

For an album of photos for the event, visit our facebook page.

But that’s not the end of the celebration. In August, graduating students will receive a “graduation in a box” with their diploma case and other items, courtesy of the Seattle Colleges District.

The district also produced a celebration video, rented billboards offering congratulations, and is commissioning a mural painted by a student or alumnus, to be displayed on campus.

Class of 2020, you are UNSTOPPABLE!

Directed Self-Placement goes live

In April, Seattle Central launched its Directed Self-Placement (DSP) in English, to make it easier and faster for students to choose an appropriate level of English courses.

The DSP is a survey-like assessment that students can take on any device in about 20 minutes.

The tool was designed by Desiree Simons, English faculty, and Jesse Hernandez, instructional technologist with eLearning. Desiree grounded the DSP in countless hours of research about universal design and racial equity. To date, more than 700 students have used DSP to place into English courses.

EDGE program prepares faculty for excellence

Nineteen faculty members at Seattle Central College completed the eLearning EDGE (Education + Design = Excellence) program in the 2019-20 school year.

EDGE is a professional development curriculum that trains faculty in technology tools, pedagogy, and accessibility. Faculty who complete a minimum of 30 hours of training receive a $1,000 stipend. To date, 39 faculty members have completed the program since its launch in Fall 2018. 

Jung Ha Yoo and Omar Osman

Congratulations to Presidential Medal winners

Jung Ha Yoo and Omar “Afrikaan” Osman have been recognized as the 2020 recipients of President’s and Vice President’s Medal awards.

Similar to salutatorian and valedictorian, the award is measured by more than academic achievement. Students must also exemplify good citizenship and community advocacy that Seattle Central is best known for.

“These two students have been extremely valuable members of our community, and we are so proud to be able to recognize them for their efforts both in and outside of the classroom,” Associated Student Council’s Executive of Student Success Angela Blodgett said.

For more information about Yoo and Osman, read their story in the SCC Newscenter