Bellevue College selects David L. Rule as new president
The Bellevue College Board of Trustees voted Monday to select David L. Rule, Ph.D., to become the institution’s fifth president in its nearly 50-year history. The vote gives the board authorization to begin contract negotiations with Rule. Once finalized, he is expected to begin in January.
“The Board of Trustees had an important job: to identify the next leader of Bellevue College who possesses the leadership qualities, values, talents and abilities that are needed to build upon the great strides this college has made over the years,” said Paul Chiles, chair of the board. “I’m happy to say that we’ve found this leader, among a pool of very strong candidates, in Dr. Rule. His extensive experience, his record of creating innovative programs and his focus on student success best position him to lead BC at this critical point.”
Rule will lead the largest community college, and the third largest institution of higher learning, in Washington state, with 37,000 students annually. The college is currently expanding its four-year bachelor’s degree offerings: a Healthcare Information Technology degree that enrolled its first class this fall joins two existing bachelor’s degrees, and the college is seeking approval for four more degrees over the next 12 to 24 months. BC offers a wide range of professional-technical degree and certificate programs in fields such as health sciences, information technology, business, criminal justice and early childhood education. The college is also the source of more transfer students to Washington’s public four-year colleges and universities than any other community or technical college in the state.
“I am thrilled to have been chosen as the next president of Bellevue College. I look forward to beginning this new adventure and working with the trustees, students, faculty, staff, businesses and the community to build on the strong foundation that already exists at this institution,” Rule said.
Rule comes to Bellevue College from the Rock Creek campus of Portland Community College in Portland, OR, where he has served as president for the last four years. Under his leadership, the campus, with 26,000 students, has increasingly put itself on the cutting edge of academic program development, student services, sustainability initiatives and workforce development. It boasts innovative new curricula in solar-voltaic manufacturing, microelectronics and biosciences. One of his primary responsibilities as president has been to oversee the implementation of a $53 million bond measure.
Previously, he spent nearly four years as president and CEO of Muskegon Community College in Muskegon, Mich. In this role, Rule implemented a new strategic plan; reorganized the Enrollment Management Division to better focus on service; and oversaw the completion of a new $7.2 million Library/Information Technology Center.
Before Muskegon, he served as vice president for academic affairs and assistant vice president for curriculum and instruction at Orange Community College; director of institutional research and program development at St. Thomas Aquinas College; and professor of educational psychology and director of the graduate program in educational psychology at Marist College. All institutions are located in New York state.
Originally from the Lake Placid region of upstate New York, Rule holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the State University of New York in Albany. He also earned both a master’s degree in educational psychology and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the College of St. Rose, also in Albany. In addition, Rule is a community college graduate, earning an associate degree in performing arts from Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady, N.Y. He is married to wife Jean and has three school-aged children.
Rule will be just the second president in more than two decades at Bellevue College. Jean Sarto Floten, who had led the college for 23 years, stepped down in May of 2011 to become chancellor of Western Governor’s University – Washington. In June of that year, the board appointed Laura Saunders, a former vice president of administrative services at the college, to serve as interim president until a permanent successor was named.
The selection of Rule was the result of an extensive national search directed by the Board of Trustees, with assistance from ACCT, a professional search firm that has worked with many community colleges to choose presidents. Multiple candidates were interviewed for the position, and in October, the board announced four finalists, including Rule, who were invited to campus for official visits. Each candidate met with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community in a series of forums, in addition to official interviews with the trustees.
“The board listened carefully to the campus community to ensure the search was a thorough, inclusive and transparent process. From the beginning, people on campus and the public had an opportunity to offer input on what qualities they would like to see in the next president. And those who attended the forums could submit written feedback, which was communicated directly to members of the board,” Chiles said.