Dr. David L. Rule has resigned as the president of Bellevue College. On Wednesday, Aug. 3, the Board of Trustees accepted Rule’s resignation and appointed Dr. Gita Bangera, interim vice president of instruction and Aaron Hilliard, vice president of human resources as acting co-presidents.
Rule joined BC’s community in January of 2013 after five years at Portland Community College. His appointment as president came a year and four months after Jean Floten’s resignation. When he became BC’s president, Rule had a few visions for the college such as developing new degrees as well as growing and diversifying the college community. As he ascended into his position, Rule’s main focus was to not make BC “the best-kept secret” but to “have a more outward focus.”
With Rule as president, BC opened a new Health Sciences, Education and Wellness Institute building, offered new baccalaureate degrees and began discussions of a partnership with Washington State University. Although Rule has resigned, BC’s community shared his goals and visions and hopes to continue them.
“This is not an easy decision for the board. It was, though, a firm commitment after a long process to reach this mutual understanding,” explained Steve Miller, co-chair of the Board of Trustees. “Working with Dr. Rule was a good experience for all of us and as part of that I would observe that there were no disagreements with Dr. Rule with regard to the direction of the college or the values that the college wants to hold and continue.”
The Board of Trustees will soon search for a new president. During the Board of Trustees meeting, Miller urged the community to participate and give their input during this search in order to find the perfect candidate that can lead the community.
“We’re asking somebody to have managerial skills, visionary skills, political skills and we probably cannot find the perfect person that can do all that. So what are the skills that are non-negotiable? The community forums is trying to identify and prioritize the skills a president needs,” said Miller.
However, Miller finds this task formidable. “We’re asking someone to manage a very large organization and trying to make sure people feel heard and have real ownership of what goes on,” explained Miller. “We’re looking at trying to be something that maybe doesn’t exist – a hybrid institution. An institution that is going to be the community college of the 21st century, which means we’re going to have a different array of degrees. A commitment to open access. A commitment to social justice.”
Rule’s resignation will not affect the discussions with WSU. Miller shared that much of Rule’s vision was shared with the board as well as most of the BC community. WSU also recently completed their search and has appointed Kirk Schulz as the new president following Elson Floyd.
“We really are grateful to Dr. Rule for his contributions and leadership to the college,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Lisa Chin. Though his resignation leaves BC without a leader, Chin believes the faculty and staff will continue to hold the college’s mission to its community.
“At this time, I know that everyone in this room is absolutely committed to our students, to our community, and to move the college forward with all the best possible advantages and the pathways for the students and for the community,” explained Chin. “It’s now time for a different leadership to move the college forward.”