Western Washington University presentation shows Poulsbo as the epicenter of education for WWU on the peninsulas. WWU/Contributed

Poulsbo the epicenter of education on the peninsulas

From Port Angeles to Gig Harbor, “College Town” is shaking up education with its 2+2 programs

POULSBO — Poulsbo is at the epicenter of an integrated education system that will enable students to progress from kindergarten to a four-year college degree right here on the peninsulas, according to Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern, an advocate of Poulsbo becoming known as “College Town.”

Students can progress through elementary school to middle school to high school to a two -year associate’s degree at Olympic College, and then on to a bachelor’s degree at Western Washington University through WWU’s “two plus two” degree programs.

Marlene Harlan, WWU senior director of Puget Sound West, presented the university’s vision — and its latest degree programs — at the March 15 Poulsbo City Council meeting.

The new degrees in Poulsbo are a bachelor of science in cybersecurity (begins in fall 2017) and a bachelor of arts in multidisciplinary studies. Harlan also announced the creation of a cyber range on the Poulsbo campus. (See “Poulsbo cyber range is a first for Washington.”)

Stern said almost the entire North Kitsap School District board was present at the meeting, as well as Tribal leaders.

“The Tribes are excited about programs for its use that are close to the reservations,” he said.

Candice Merrill, director of Western on the Peninsulas, then introduced a new community program, The Academy for Lifelong Learning, for adults age 50 and older.

Merrill also introduced new staff and faculty at the Poulsbo campus:

Sylvia Yang, Ph.D., director of the SEA Discovery Center.

Effie Eisses, director of community outreach and engagement.

Heather Mackley, office manager.

Heather Hutchins, program coordinator and advisor.

Faculty member Erik Fretheim, Ph.D., WWU’s program director for computer information systems security. Fretheim is directing the development of the cyber range, the first such public range in the state.

Finally, as a demonstration of the importance WWU attaches to its new programs on the peninsulas, the WWU board will meet on the Poulsbo Campus and at Suquamish Clearwater Resort, and host a reception at the SEA Discovery Center on April 20 and 21.

“This is the first time they haven’t met in Bellingham,” Stern said.

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