Teacher profile: Allen Farrand

Faculty and staff  in the science division are there to be the motivation for students to learn the “what” that happens in the physical world, but also encourage students to learn the “why” and the “how” to always question and contemplate. One such member of the science division staff is Allen Farrand. For the past 20 years, he has primarily taught biology at BC, but has also taught chemistry and nutrition courses. He marks the end of his legacy and the beginning of his retirement at the end of this spring quarter by moving from his home in Olympia all the way to a grand new home in eastern Washington.

At the start of his college education, Farrand studied for an architecture major until he was suddenly drafted into the Vietnam War in 1972. After his service in the navy and starting a family, he pursued a biology degree at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash. “I fell in love with it and for a good portion of my life, it took up all my focus,” he said, explaining his passion for his work. Sometime after that, Farrand was involved earning a master’s degree at Western Washington University and starting work for a Ph.D in biochemistry, even diving into Olympia Brewing Company—a brewery firm in Tumwater, Wash. With his skills and knowledge, Farrand also worked at the Fred Hutchinson Research Facility and at Swedish Medical Center, both in Seattle and in charge of similar tasks. “I spent time working with 20 to 30 samples a week. My primary job was as a sort of filter for other researchers and colleagues. They bring me the sample to sequence and manipulate and whatnot.”

Farrand is also an avid member of the Christian community, studying for the past three years to become more knowledgeable of his faith. When asked how he connects the sciences and religion, Farrand explained that “they are two concepts separated completely. A lot of Christianity is outdated and should be put into the context of its time. Societal and scientific things today are very different from 2000 years ago, when the Bible was approximately written so when you acknowledge science concepts on its own and Christianity on its own, they don’t conflict.” In addition to his faith, Farrand also plans to spend more time with his wife and his family while continuing with his hobby of historical reenactments—especially reenactments of the American Civil War as a Civil War Union general.

The first thing Farrand has declared to do that will mark his retirement is to do absolutely nothing for two weeks. “I don’t want to do anything else. I just want to be in my pajamas and lay around for two whole weeks,” he said. “I’ve worked very hard for over 40 years and I think taking two weeks isn’t too much to ask for.” He’s spent the days on campus when the S building was nonexistent, and when much of the campus was just a little group of buildings. After being such a long-term instructor, Farrand will be keeping in touch with BC faculty by instructing several online classes for another quarter or two.

“Something I really love about Bellevue College is its closeness. I’m very hopeful of where BC will go in the future [in terms of expanding its campus and degree options], especially when it comes to maintaining the teacher-student relationships.” With the smaller classes, it allows students with the ability to be more than just a face to their instructors. As more competition and pressure is put upon students to get a higher education and get the “high-paying job”, Farrand’s advice to students is to “get rid of all the distractions.” He explained the day when he used to come home from school and have three whole hours to spare before his parents came home from work. There was no colored television, no internet or computers or cell phones. The free time he had was spent actually doing homework and finishing his household chores. “Turn of the phone. Turn off the Facebook, the messenger, even the music and just pour all your focus into your schoolwork. It will pay off in the end and you’ll learn better that way. It’s tough, but you can do it.”