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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2021 Features

Coffee Chats:
WSU Everett’s Culture of Access Ensures Students Aren’t Short Changed

By Sue McMurray • Photos by WSU Photo Services

A bachelor’s degree in business administration is the Carson College’s newest offering at WSU Everett. The program is the second Carson degree option there, joining hospitality business management. Both programs will draw talent to the region, according to WSU Everett Chancellor Paul Pitre and Chip Hunter, Carson College dean.

To publicize the new program, Pitre and Hunter recently addressed the benefits of business education upon Everett’s community during an Economic Alliance Snohomish County Coffee Chats virtual session.

“Our graduates are competitive; we just don’t have enough of them in the pipeline,” said Pitre. “Most employment requires some type of postsecondary training.”

An Affordable, Accessible Education for Those Who Work for It

“We’ve always aimed for education to go beyond the walls of WSU Pullman,” said Hunter. “Growing programs at WSU Everett moves the college closer to becoming the first choice for undergraduate business education in the Pacific Northwest, and it supports WSU’s land-grant mission of providing an affordable, accessible education for those willing to work for it.”

The college’s undergraduate program is the same across all WSU locations. Students graduate with communication, teamwork, professionalism, ethics, and other skills employers value. Seventy-nine percent of Carson students have jobs after graduating, he said.

Pitre shared additional information: Those with a two-year degree earn 19 percent more than those with a high school diploma. Those with a bachelor’s degree earn 67 percent more. This challenges the widely accepted cultural notion that a college degree isn’t relevant to today’s workforce, he said.

The Sky’s the Limit for Growth Opportunities

While many Washington colleges experienced lower enrollment due to the pandemic, enrollment across the WSU system fell just 1.4 percent in fall 2020—and the University’s Global Campus had record gain. WSU Everett experienced a 3 percent growth.

Pitre attributed this uptick to WSU Everett’s affordability and efficiency model. The campus capitalizes on nearby community colleges, designing programs specifically for transfer students but also welcoming Running Start participants and others who haven’t completed a degree. Financial aid packages, local internships, group projects, and activities often inspire students to earn a minor in another program or double major, he said.

The Carson College’s effort to accommodate different learning styles sweetens the deal.

“Some students prefer working online at their own pace,” Hunter said. “Others prefer classes in real time. We’ve been able to pivot and work toward more options for different learners.”

The college’s strong research output benefits WSU Everett and facilitates further economic and community development, he said. The college also plans to offer a successful capstone class that pairs student consultants and local businesses to help with operational needs.

“The sky’s the limit as far as our growth horizon,” said Pitre. “Our partnership with the Carson College provides our students with an excellent education, and we’ll continue to strengthen and grow opportunities.”