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Bright College plans to open fall of 2021


Starting in the fall semester Drake University will open up its campus to the first class of Bright College students. The estimated 25 to 35 students will be working towards obtaining a two-year associate degree. The John Dee Bright College will offer associate degrees in integrated arts, sciences, and humanities, as well as business, organization, and professional studies. 

Drake Professor of English Craig Owens has been working on the college since 2019 and will serve as the school’s dean. Owens will work closely with the students and work to retain consistency in the school, over the year, since there is currently no permanent teaching faculty. 

The college offers two programs geared towards busy individuals. Classes meet three times a week for three hours in a cohort- based structure. This means students can continue working while receiving an education as well as make greater connections with their peers. The annual cost of tuition will be $18,678. 

“The goal is to make a high-quality educational experience available to those who might not have thought college was in reach for them, for whatever reason,” Owens said. 

The college received its name after Drake alum “Johnny Bright” who played football for the university. Upon graduation, Bright used his education degree to teach, coach and work as a school administrator for public schools in Canada. Bright’s legacy as being a resilient Black man is just one of the qualities Bright College hopes its students will learn during their two years on campus.

Professor of Political Science Debra DeLaet will be co-teaching the first cohort at Bright College with Professor of English Megan Brown. Their course is titled “Racial Justice and Human Rights in the United States.” This interdisciplinary seminar will cover topics ranging from the right to vote to the coronavirus.

As a political science professor at Drake, DeLaet has been committed to working on issues of equity and inclusion throughout her career. She saw Bright College as an opportunity to advance the goals of access to higher education. 

“I just think it’s a really innovative and ambitious initiative to expand access, and as someone who’s really committed to those goals, I wanted to be a part of it,” DeLaet said. 

Bright College’s physical location will take place on the first floor of Meredith, where students are planning to attend in person this fall barring any complications with the coronavirus.

Students who attend Bright College and receive their associate degree, have the opportunity to continue their education at Drake or any other four-year institution to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. Graduates of Bright College who chose to continue pursuing higher education, will have their general education requirements filled. 

“This is an opportunity for anyone who feels like a highly supportive, two-year program, that is structured to give them plenty of time to continue to fulfill family, or community, or work responsibilities outside of school, is the right next step for them,” Owens said. 

For more information about Bright College, visit Drake.edu/Bright


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