Northeastern moves forward with new Seattle graduate campus

Inno­vating at the cross sec­tion of acad­emia and industry, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is launching a grad­uate campus in Seattle — the second in a series of grad­uate cam­puses that strate­gi­cally align the university’s edu­ca­tional and research strengths with the needs of regional economies nationwide.

The new Seattle campus, which will offer 16 grad­uate degree pro­grams begin­ning in Sep­tember, fol­lows the launch of Northeastern’s Char­lotte, N.C., grad­uate campus, which opened last fall. The uni­ver­sity also announced the appoint­ment of Tayloe Wash­burn, a well-​​known busi­ness and civic leader in Seattle, to serve as dean and campus exec­u­tive officer.

The pro­grams offered in Seattle will range from cyber­se­cu­rity and com­puter sci­ence to health infor­matics and engi­neering, all designed to meet the needs of Seattle’s inno­v­a­tive tech­nology sector, anchored by employers such as Microsoft, Amazon​.com and Boeing, and fueled by a vibrant startup cul­ture. Despite these indus­tries requiring advanced degrees, only 13 per­cent of Seattle pro­fes­sionals hold graduate-​​level degrees.

Northeastern’s pres­ence in the Puget Sound region will also gen­erate inno­v­a­tive research part­ner­ships — a strategic staple of the grad­uate campus initiative.

“We are living in a period of knowl­edge explo­sion, and higher edu­ca­tion must do its part to develop the human cap­ital needed to power the indus­tries of today and tomorrow,” said North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun. “Because of our his­tory and our link­ages to thou­sands of employers around the world, North­eastern is ide­ally suited to take on this challenge.”

Pro­grams offered at Northeastern’s grad­uate cam­puses pro­vide stu­dents with flex­ible and spe­cial­ized grad­uate degree oppor­tu­ni­ties. Northeastern’s existing fac­ulty will teach courses both online and on site at the grad­uate cam­puses. This hybrid learning approach is ideal for working pro­fes­sionals because it com­bines the tra­di­tional ben­e­fits of face-​​​​to-​​​​face instruc­tion with the flex­i­bility of online learning.

Although under­grad­uate edu­ca­tion is not offered at the grad­uate cam­puses, the sites will strengthen Northeastern’s under­grad­uate pro­gram, which is built on placing stu­dents in co-​​op posi­tions with employers. The grad­uate cam­puses will deepen rela­tion­ships with cur­rent co-​​​​op employers and help to develop rela­tion­ships with new employers rep­re­senting Seattle’s booming tech­nology sec­tors, espe­cially in the tech­nology, life-​​sciences and health-​​care areas.

Upon receiving licen­sure from Washington’s Higher Edu­ca­tion Coor­di­nating Board to begin offering degree pro­grams in Seattle, North­eastern appointed Wash­burn to lead the new grad­uate campus.

“North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will be the per­fect com­ple­ment to the Pacific Northwest’s existing higher-​​education system,” said Wash­burn. “As the first major pri­vate research uni­ver­sity in the Pacific North­west, North­eastern will bring the aca­d­emic capacity, market align­ment and research focus needed to help solve many of the chal­lenges facing our region and create new oppor­tu­ni­ties, including cor­po­rate and research partnerships.”

Wash­burn has most recently been a senior member of Foster Pepper PLLC, a Seattle law firm spe­cial­izing in large and com­plex pri­vate and public infra­struc­ture projects. In his dis­tin­guished legal career span­ning three decades, he has been rec­og­nized nation­ally as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” and region­ally by Wash­ington Super Lawyers.

Wash­burn has recently served as a senior adviser to Wash­ington Gov. Chris Gre­goire on the suc­cessful statewide effort to secure the Boeing 737 MAX pro­duc­tion in the state. In this capacity, Wash­burn worked with edu­ca­tors and leg­is­la­tors across the state to secure increased funding for K-​​12, com­mu­nity col­lege and higher-​​education pro­grams to help bridge the talent gap in the aero­space industry.

The former chair of the Seattle Met­ro­pol­itan Chamber of Com­merce, Wash­burn was recently named Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Cham­pion of the Year by enter­pris­e Seattle, a regional eco­nomic devel­op­ment council. He holds a law degree from the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ington. He has a master’s degree in edu­ca­tion and a bachelor’s degree in his­tory, both from Stan­ford University.