Staff profile: Nora Lance, associate director of Student Programs

Nora Lance, associate director of Student Programs has worked at Bellevue College for 20 years. In that time she has developed a love for the school, its faculty and especially its students.

She started work at the college in the student services office in registration, answering telephones at the time when the only way for a student to register for classes, other than in person, was over a landline utilizing touch-tone. Nora explained that if a student using the automated system had a problem, “they’d hit operator and I’d come on and assist them.” Her interactions with students would only become more personal when she transferred to the International Student Programs office.

There she earned the title of Associate Director. She coordinated events and advised BC’s international students. She still maintains a special fondness for foreign students, as she was schooled in Japan prior to attending the University of Washington for her bachelor’s. “I worked in International Student Programs for a long time, and I lived in a foreign country, so I really know what it’s like to live in a place far from your family. For these international students to come here, study in a foreign language and try to make friends, it’s very difficult for them. So I do really encourage them to come to Student Programs so that they can meet other people. If they have any problems, there are many people who can help them, maybe even someone from their native country.”

As the associate director of Student Programs, Nora coordinates many of the office’s activities for BC’s many clubs and programs. She ensures that policies are followed and that the budgets of the various clubs are capable of fulfilling their members’ needs. Nora is responsible for overseeing Brian Lueken, program coordinator for ASG and the OSLA. Her central role and caring demeanor has earned her the nickname “the mother of Student Programs” amongst many members of the office. Paul Bell, Legislative Director for the OSLA, praised her, saying, “She’s very empathetic and thoughtful. If I can say something to my mother I can say it to Nora.”

Prior to coming to BC, Nora had traveled frequently, volunteering with students around the world.

“My job is the best job,” Nora said. “The day goes by so fast. I really enjoy being with students.” She has found her joy is often reciprocated and that those who leave her motherly care find a world of closed offices and cold shoulders. “I’m in contact with a lot students after they graduate. Many of them have said they didn’t appreciate it while they were here, the opportunities, the services. They just thought that all schools provided this, where they can come to see faculty without appointments.” Nora’s guidance of Student Programs has resulted in a welcoming office, a variety of successful clubs and an effective student government.