Prospective StudentsCurrent StudentsBusinessesCommunityDistanceA to Z Index
TSS Today
News Home Search
* SCC students win international DECA title



 Alex Chan             David Lim


Stacking the DECA


Shoreline Community College has a long and successful history at state, national and international DECA competitions.


This year, the largest group in more than 20 years - 19 students - competed at the College DECA International Conference with 15 earning honors, including:

  • David Lim and Alex Chan, 1st Place, International Marketing
  • Yasuhiro Sumino and Crystal Ng, National Finalists, International Marketing
  • Chris Brunstad and Christina Lazarakis, National Finalists, Sports Marketing

Students earning Awards of Excellence are:

  • Alyson Hensell and Breanne Lucero, Advertising Campaign
  • Gordon Chu, Kathy Li and Janice Lo, Advertising Campaign
  • Tri Cendani and Fitri Ardani, Business Ethics
  • Katherine Martin, Hospitality Marketing
  • Dan Swanson, Marketing Management

Serving as SCC DECA advisers are David Starr, Laura Portolese-Dias, Stephen McCloskey and Mona Starr.


College DECA, also know as Delta Epsilon Chi, has more than 13,000 members, serving its diverse international membership as a professional association, providing leadership and career opportunities to develop and enhance the leaders of tomorrow.


Delta Epsilon Chi’s renowned Competitive Events program uses interviews, role plays, simulations and project reports to evaluate students’ marketing and management skills.  The competition includes 25 different events, judged by business professionals.

 Looking for a good international marketing idea? David Lim and Alex Chan have one, in fact, it’s a national award-winning idea.

Lim and Chan were among 19 Shoreline Community College students competing April 22-25, at the 2009 College DECA International Conference, in Anaheim, Calif. Fifteen of the SCC students earned conference recognition and honors with Lim and Chan leading the way, winning first place in the International Marketing category.


Lim said he likes the competition.


“It makes you think,” the 17-year-old from Kuala Lumpur said after returning from the event. “How do you go about solving this problem?”


The problem facing Lim and Chan in the final round involved how to market an educational product in Asia. The teams got to study the details of a case study for an hour and come up with a solution. “No Web,” Lim said. “Just figure it out.”


Their solution involved T-shirts.


The idea was to have the company sponsor what would basically be a series of small entrepreneurships, offering cash to students to design, produce and sell limited runs of 50 shirts advertising the product. Lim said the plan also uses cultural differences to help make a splash.


“Here, everyone wears T-shirts with something about their school, the UW, (a fraternity),” Lim said. “In Asia, students don’t do that.”


SCC business faculty member and DECA adviser David Starr said the program teaches the students to use any advantage that comes their way.


“In this case, David and Alex used their personal knowledge and the judges saw that,” Starr said. “We also teach them a process that can be used in any situation. One year, a team had a case study about truck bed-liners. They placed third, came back and asked, ‘What’s a bed-liner?’”


The competition draws thousands of people and teams from schools across the country, including major universities. Lim said that he heard participants say the nature of the event makes preparation impossible, that it is just a test what the person or team has learned. It’s an approach with which he disagrees.


“We prepared, even how to shake hands,” Lim said. “You prepare as much as you can and you get to another level.”


Starr said he certainly saw that attitude in Lim and Chan. “They had a standing appointment with (faculty member and DECA coach) Laura Portolese-Dias since January,” Starr said. “Sometimes they’d practice presenting, sometimes other things.”


Chan, 20, and from Hong Kong, said the practice and compatibility with his partner paid off.


“When we walk into the room, we give it 1,000 percent,” Chan said. “Then, when we leave, we tell ourselves we didn’t do well and think about how we can work to be better.”


Chan said he met Lim literally as he stepped off the plane from Hong Kong a year and a half ago. “David was there to meet me,” Chan said. Eventually, Lim moved in with Chan and his host family. “We call ourselves brothers.”


All of that helps during the competition. “We read the case study and don’t even have to talk. We know what to do and just start working on the presentation,” Chan said.


Chan said DECA is an important part of his education. “I don’t want just a good GPA. DECA is not theory, it’s experience that will help you in the real world,” he said.


Lim said the team’s victory says something about him and SCC.


“This is something good to tell, this is what Shoreline Community College can do,” he said. And about himself? “It means that when I want something, I’ll work for it. It isn’t always about talent, it is about work.”


Starr said Lim is being too modest, but it is the attitude that allows him to be.


“I don’t think he gets it that he is the best,” Starr said. “They competed against university students, but he is the competition. He’s going to do very well.”


When it came to the awards ceremony, all 10 finalist teams were on stage as they called up the third-place winners, then second place, Lim said. “We knew we’d either won or at least get a finalist medal,” Lim said. And when their names were called, was there shouting and jumping?


“Of course not, you show people you’ve won before,” he said, smiling. “I’m not some rookie.”






* Trustees OK graduation credit change

Another cut is coming to Shoreline Community College, but this one has nothing to do with the state budget and will help students.


The SCC Board of Trustees at the April 22, 2009, meeting unanimously approved a plan that will trim the college’s most popular transfer degree - Associate in Arts and Sciences, Option A - to 90 credits by dropping Physical Education and Intra-American Studies as graduation requirements.

Students have graduation
requirement choice


So, the transfer degrees at Shoreline Community College are moving to a 90-credit requirement. That’s good news for incoming students who had been faced with the prospect of taking and paying for more than 90 credits, but what about current students?


The answer, says SCC Vice President of Academic Affairs John Backes, is on page 42 of the current college catalog, which says:


“Continuous Enrollment refers to the option students have to elect to graduate under the provisions of the official catalog in effect at the time they first started at SCC or at the time they apply to graduate, providing ten years have not lapsed and they have remained continuously enrolled at Shoreline Community College.”


The college generally produces a new catalog every two years, but most of the time there are minimal changes. However, with the move to 90-credit degrees, the catalog scheduled to be published later this spring will have an impact.


Current students who anticipate graduation after the new catalog is published can choose to meet the new 90-credit requirement instead of a potentially higher credit threshold.


“This should help students,” Backes said.


“The state requires 90 credits, but over the years, Shoreline Community College has added requirements that made our degree 95 credits,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs John Backes who proposed the change. “That’s more than any other (community and technical college) in the state. Requiring 95 credits puts SCC at a disadvantage in the competitive Puget Sound region.”


Faculty Senate Council President Amy Kinsel told the Trustees it was a long difficult process, but that students would be the beneficiaries. “We want our students to be as competitive as possible,” Kinsel said. “This will put them in a much better spot when they compete for spots at the University of Washington and other four-year institutions.”


The written presentation to the trustees says that reducing the required credits to 90 would:

-         Better meet the requirements of state-negotiated Major-Related Program (MRP) Direct Transfer Agreements (DTAs);

-         Increase opportunities for transfer students to be major-ready when they arrive at four-year universities;

-         Not require students to earn more credits than they are permitted to transfer to baccalaureate institutions;

-         Compare favorably with degrees offered by competing institutions;

-         Match the number of credits required in SCC’s Associate of Science degrees;

-         Cost students less in time and money.


In addition, Kinsel wrote that she anticipates the change will increase degree completion rates, an important consideration because the state funding model for community and technical colleges includes degree completion as a factor.


Backes has said that such a basic change couldn’t have occurred without strong involvement from faculty. He also said that it didn’t come without much conversation and a full airing of concerns. “I deeply appreciate the difficult work done by our faculty,” Backes said after the meeting. “More importantly, I’m sure our students will appreciate their work.”


Illustrating the close involvement of faculty, Kinsel wrote and presented most of the material and responded to questions at the Board meeting.


The issue is a math problem: too many course requirements to get to the 90-credit goal. Transfer degrees have specific requirements including general education and so-called distribution requirements. Those generally add up to 60 credits, but SCC required an additional five credits in multicultural courses, five credits in Intra-American Studies and three credits in Physical Education for 73 credits. SCC students then had 22 credits of electives available for a 95-credit degree. In addition to being over 90 credits, a number of programs require students have at least 25 elective credits.


“We were requiring students to take more than 90 credits to get our degree, but they can transfer only 90 credits to four-year schools,” Backes said. “Students just need the credits, not the degree, so many were leaving before they qualified for our degree.”


The process to get to 90 credits began this past fall with information gathering and discussions to weigh alternatives.


In February, the Faculty Senate Council circulated a list of 14 options and ultimately sent three to Backes for his review. “As you can imagine, it was very difficult to come to a single recommendation,” Kinsel told the Trustees. The three options were:

1)      Remove Intra-American Studies as a degree requirement and keep electives at 22 credits;

2)      Remove Physical Education as a degree requirement and reduce electives to 20 credits;

3)      Remove both Intra-American Studies and Physical Education as degree requirements and increase electives to 25 credits.


Not on the table at the recommendation of faculty was removal of the multicultural component. “One of the most significant pieces of feedback we got from faculty was to not change or touch in any way the multicultural requirement,” Kinsel said. Board Chair Shoubee Liaw asked about the differences between the multicultural class and Intra-Amercian Studies.


“The multicultural class provides base level understanding,” Kinsel said, adding that Intra-American Studies classes are aimed at specific pieces of the broader area of study. “Kind of like English 101 vs. a literature class.”


After review, Backes picked Option 3 and informed the Faculty Senate Council which then polled all faculty members. That poll resulted in a 93-22 vote in favor of the change that was adopted by the Trustees.


Despite removal as degree requirements, Shoreline will continue to offer classes in both Intra-American Studies and Physical Education. Kinsel said Intra-American Studies classes do satisfy Social Science and Humanities requirements. “I’m very optimistic that the multicultural requirement will give students the foundation to further explore Intra-American Studies,” Kinsel said. “And, PE will satisfy the elective requirements.”


Backes said this won’t be the last credit-requirement change for SCC transfer degrees. While the Associate in Arts and Sciences - Option A degree is the most popular transfer degree, there are other degrees that also carry more than 90 credits. At the meeting, Kinsel used the business degree, which requires 98 credits, as an example.


“Our goal is to get all the degrees reviewed and revised by the end of spring,” Backes said, adding that potential changes must still go through a review process.

SCC/Jim Hills

* SCC International Students David Lim and Fitri Ardani get high five from Gov. Chris Gregoire

Shoreline Community College students David Lim and Fitri Ardani had the opportunity to shake hands with Governor Chris Gregoire at the 14th Annual All-Washington Academic Team celebration at South Seattle Community College on Thursday, March 26.  The two international students joined some 60 other students from across the state to be honored for their academic accomplishments and volunteer efforts. 

The 17 year-old Lim hails from Kuala Lumpur.  He appreciates that his parents held high expectations of him academically and says it’s because of this and their belief in him that he is studying in the United State today.  When he arrived at Shoreline Community College, he immediately joined the Delta Epsilon Chi (DECA), the college’s business club, and the political science and economics clubs, and took on as many responsibilities as possible while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average.  Although getting a topnotch education was paramount, Lim also recognized the value of gaining leadership skills and he found the opportunity to facilitate meetings and organize and promote college events as a volunteer International Peer Mentor.  Lim led his business team to third place at an international DECA conference last year.      


Fitri Ardani is equally interested in developing her language and communications skills as she is earning her degree in accounting.  Although only 18, Ardani left her homeland in Indonesia to study abroad, where she could experience people and customs from around the world.  Although she expected it to be difficult adapting to the newness of living and studying in the U.S., she was surprised at how challenging it was learning conversational English and about classroom culture.  When she became more confident in her English and classroom skills, Ardani started helping other ESL students gain confidence.  She and her team members won second place in Business Ethics at the DECA State Career Development Conference.


Lim and Ardani each received $750 scholarships from KeyBank and the Northwest Education Loan Association.  They will be introduced at the April Board of Trustees meeting.


SCC/Donna Myers
SBCTC/Sherry Reichert