Drake University has officially started the John Dee Bright College, a two-year associate program in Meredith Hall this Fall 2021 semester.
Named after Drake football alum John Dee Bright, Bright College provides flexible learning opportunities and offers two associate degree programs.
“Bright College is a two-year degree program that provides an innovative pathway through a really excellent educational experience for students who want something other than the traditional college experience,” said Craig Owens, dean of Bright College.
The associate of arts program is inclusive of a business, organization and professional studies degree along with an integrated arts, sciences and humanities degree.
“Especially when it comes to the curriculum and the structure of the learning, so our classes are all high-impact, interdisciplinary, active learning experiences and our students move through the program as part of a cohort so they begin to build community on day one and that community persists through both years of the program,” Owens said.
In this inaugural semester, there are 28 students in the Bright College cohort.
Bright College student DeShana Taylor said, “I am extremely proud to be a part of the inaugural college.”
Taylor found out about Bright College approximately 30 days before the start of school and said there was a mad rush to apply for FAFSA. Finding out that she would be a part of the inaugural class pushed her much further.
Taylor is a 45-year-old non-traditional student who also holds a full-time job and a full-time status as a mom.
According to the Bright College website, Bright classes meet three hours a day, three times a week.
“Having many full-time statuses, the schedule can be tough, but I am learning and growing in ways that I could not even have ever imagined. This experience is so dope to me,” Taylor said.
According to Dean Craig Owens, students who graduate from Bright College will be able to continue their four-year education at Drake with guaranteed admission or can continue elsewhere with complete fulfillment of general education requirements.
“I have a lot more pride being in the inaugural cohort and in this classroom spectrum and area and being able to speak out about what’s going on in the classroom and how the classroom is interacting within the Drake community as a new college,” Bright College student Kat Fortin said.
Fortin is currently running for Bright College Senator.
“I made an acronym, “JDBC” which is John Dee Bright College, which is [also] Justice, Diversity, Bravery, and Community. Those are the four real pinpoints that I am trying to accentuate if I am elected as senator.”
Kat wants Bright College to be heard both on- and off-campus.
“We need to make sure people understand that Drake is not unattainable and you are able to be [here] no matter who you are,” Fortin said.
Owens challenges Drake’s faculty, staff and students to make an effort to get to know Bright College students and learn from them.
“Invite them into the spaces that you inhabit, learn from them, find ways of interacting with them that challenge the unspoken assumptions a lot of us come in with about what education is for, how it’s done, and who it serves,” Owens said.
Bright College meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Meredith Room 104. More information on Bright College admission and programs can be found at https://www.drake.edu/bright/.