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BCC's rock star
In 1998, Rolling Stone magazine listed its 10 best two-year institutions of higher education and placed Bellevue Community College at the top of the list.
Rocker Marilyn Manson graced the cover of that famed October issue, but eight years later we all know who the real rock star is, at least in higher education: BCC President Jean Floten. For her longtime stewardship of BCC, Floten has been awarded the 2006 John L. Blackburn Award for Exemplary Models of Administrative Leadership.
A Grammy it is not, but a national award from a respected body, the American Association of University Administrators, offers further evidence that Floten has been good for BCC and the Puget Sound region.
The school, along with three other community colleges, plans to offer four-year-degree programs, a move that adds to the relevancy and visibility of two-year schools.
In its recognition, Rolling Stone singled out BCC for offering "some of the best computer-technology instruction anywhere." This is true. BCC's affiliation with Microsoft and Nintendo and its state-of-the-art computer facilities have long distinguished the school.
Floten also handled a recent controversy with aplomb and smart, workable solutions. An instructor wrote a racially insensitive math question involving U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and watermelon. The hoopla that followed echoed nationwide. Floten deemed the question, while not maliciously intended, as nonetheless evoking a racist caricature of blacks.
But the mark of a leader is how well they use controversies as teachable moments. Floten moved public debate past the instructor's single transgression to the more-critical issue of doing more to create an inclusive community at BCC.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company