Bellevue College selects president; Issaquah campus is on horizon

November 6, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 6, 2012

Bellevue College trustees selected a Portland Community College administrator Monday to lead the local institution.

David Rule

The choice of David Rule to lead the largest community college in Washington came as Bellevue College envisions a campus in the Issaquah Highlands. City officials said college administrators intended to select a permanent president before delving deeper into the plan.

Rule, president of Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus, oversees 26,000 students. The campus boasts innovative curricula in solar-voltaic manufacturing, microelectronics and biosciences.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen as the next president of Bellevue College,” Rule said in a statement. “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.

Bellevue College serves about 37,000 students each year. Only the University of Washington and Washington State University outrank Bellevue College in size.

Rule is expected to start in January as the fifth president in the college’s 46-year history. The trustees’ vote authorized the college to start contract negotiations with Rule.

“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,” board Chairman Paul Chiles said in a statement. “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 succeeds longtime Bellevue College President Jean Floten.

Floten arrived at Bellevue College in 1989 and transformed the community institution into a college offering bachelor’s degrees before she resigned in August 2011 to serve as chancellor of WGU Washington, a nonprofit online university.

The college selected Florida-based Greenwood/Asher and Associates, a veteran in Washington State University and Western Washington University presidential searches, last year to find potential successors to Floten.

Laura Saunders, a former Bellevue College administrator, is serving as interim president.

Besides Rule, Bellevue College trustees also considered other candidates for the top post. Ronald T. Brown, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit; Terrence J. Burgess, president of San Diego City College; and Jack E. Daniels III, president of Los Angeles Southwest College, also received interviews from the board.

“The board listened carefully to the campus community to ensure the search was a thorough, inclusive and transparent process,” Chiles said. “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.”

In August 2010, college administrators announced plans to purchase 20 acres in the highlands and create a satellite campus in the burgeoning neighborhood. Floten offered a bold vision for the proposed campus in the months after the deal closed.

Officials plan to construct a single building in the highlands for the initial phase and then add space in the years ahead, as resources and demand increase. In September 2011, officials said construction could start on the campus in 2012, but planners later revised the ambitious timetable.

In May, college leaders held a forum in Issaquah to gather input about the proposed campus.

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