After thirteen and a half years as the vice president of economic and workforce development, Paula Boyum is leaving her position to become the associate dean of the Northeastern University graduate campus in Seattle. Northeastern is a private, not-for-profit research university based in Boston, with a graduate campus in Seattle. “It’ll be a different kind of a role in terms of the level of the programs, because they’re graduate level and the students do research projects so, what I’m most excited about is I’ll have an opportunity to work more closely with students again, and I haven’t had that in my current role as much,” said Boyum
As the VP of economic and workforce development, Boyum’s role at the BC is to “oversee programs and grant funding that help provide resources for students in a college, for programs that prepare people for jobs […] The area I work with are the professional technical programs, also, we have continuing education at our north campus and I oversee all of that as well.” Boyum works to “receive funding from the state, and we apply for other grants to provide financial assistance to students who are in low-income status or have lost their jobs and need to get retrained. Those are the types of things that we do.” In addition to giving assistance, funding “helps support some of the staff who provide students directly for students. We also bring in funding from federal or state grants for our programs so we can keep our programs up to date. that includes developing new curriculum for the programs or upgrading faculty skills, helping them learn about the new technologies, we’ll send them to workshops and training so our faculty can stay up to date as well.”
Part of Boyum’s role is to strengthen the local economy, by educating workers with skills desired by the job market. “The community and technical college system in the state of Washington is, I would say, a key player in helping the economy of the state by preparing a skilled workforce, so it’s my position, my unit represents the college’s role in developing the economy by helping our programs and developing graduates who can go out into jobs,” elaborated Boyum.
Boyum has “been working in the community and technical college system now, counting my Bellevue experience and my previous employer for about 25 years. I have this wonderful opportunity for the last thirteen and a half years here at Bellevue to oversee these programs and watch them grow, and it’s just been the best job I’ve ever had in my career.” Boyum also gains satisfaction from student success: “One of our staff in one of our departments sent me an email and said a couple years ago at graduation, I was up there helping hand out the diplomas and she said ‘I was so glad I was on your side because you gave me a big hug’ and that was the highlight of my evening, and I was so proud of her, that she finished her associate’s and now she’s going on to earn a bachelor’s degree, so it’s awesome. That’s what it’s all about. Education is the key to success, it really is, as I live and breathe, I have a passion for education, so this gives me an opportunity to move into a new arena.”
Boyum will be replaced by an interim vice president to be decided, and then a search will begin to fill the position permanently.