David Rule, the president of a branch of Portland Community College, has been chosen as the next president of Bellevue College.

Share story

Bellevue College trustees have chosen David Rule, the president of a branch of Portland Community College, to be the next president of the largest community college in Washington.

Rule leads the Rock Creek campus of Portland Community College, which has 26,000 students and a working farm, and is near businesses such as Intel, Columbia Sportswear, Solar World and Nike’s world headquarters.

“We spent some time on Dr. Rule’s campus and we were really blown away by some of the initiatives he’s put together,” said Bellevue trustees Chairman Paul Chiles.

Chiles said Rule and one other candidate were the overwhelming favorites among students, faculty and staff. Four men were vying for the position; Chiles declined to name the other candidate who was favored.

Monday’s vote gives the board authorization to begin contract negotiations with Rule. He is expected to start the job in January.

Rule has been president of the Rock Creek campus for five years. Bellevue officials described that school as on the cutting edge of academic program development, student services, sustainability and workforce development. The college offers courses in manufacturing, microelectronics and biosciences, and Rule was also in charge of implementing a $53 million bond measure.

In August 2011, longtime President Jean Floten left Bellevue College to become chancellor of the newly formed Washington branch of Western Governors University. Floten had been president of Bellevue College for 23 years.

The college’s first search for a president was scrapped when the trustees couldn’t come to a consensus on a final candidate, Chiles said. In May, the college launched a second search.

Bellevue College, founded in 1966, has an enrollment of about 37,000 students. Under Floten’s leadership, the college began offering bachelor’s degrees in some subjects and dropped the word “community” from its name.

It is seeking approval to offer four more bachelor’s degree programs in the next two years.

Before coming to Oregon, Rule was president of Muskegon Community College in Michigan, where he made changes in technology, strategic and academic planning. He is originally from the Lake Placid region of upstate New York, and has a doctorate in educational psychology from the State University of New York in Albany.

Four candidates for the job had been considered. In addition to Rule, the trustees had interviewed 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.

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or klong@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @katherinelong.