In the midst of Seattle’s booming economy, many citizens find themselves struggling with a widening socioeconomic gap. Sheila Edwards Lange (PhD '06) is working to create education and career opportunities for those whose future in the city is at risk.
Since her appointment as president of Seattle Central College in 2015, Lange’s focus is making sure that all Seattle residents have access to education, earn a living wage and contribute to a vibrant community.
“For me, education is about civil rights and providing equal access in underserved communities," said Lange, a long-time University of Washington administrator who earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from UW College of Education.
As a graduate student, Lange valued the UW’s innovative approach to training students as educators. “Faculty at UW seemed highly engaged in supporting graduate students as partners,” Lange said. “They were willing to let students ask research questions based on their own interests.”
Lange said engaging in evidence-based practice and data collection during her studies at the College played a significant role in her growth as an academic leader and are skills that guide her work today.
“At Seattle Central [for example], we are starting a program for formerly incarcerated students,” Lange said. “I am looking for the data on these individuals to figure out how we can serve this population in the best possible way.”
As Seattle Central continues to advance its mission to provide education for traditionally underserved populations, Lange’s passion for social justice has found a perfect match.
“As far as social justice, some people march in the streets and some people write letters,” Lange said. “My activism is to be a good academic leader and policy maker. In that role, I can make just as much of a difference as others.”
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications