Bellevue College announces Interim President: Laura Saunders

(SOURCE: Bellevue College)

On Friday June 3, the Bellevue College Board of Trustees appointed Dr.. Laura E. Saunders to serve as interim president starting on July 17, 2011.

Saunders, who has over 40 years of experience in higher education, will replace President Jean Floten who recently announced to accept a new position as Chancellor at Western Governors University-Washington.

“She is known to Bellevue College’s faculty, administration and to some extent the students,” said Vijay Vashee, chair of the Bellevue College Board of Trustees, in an email passed around the campus.

“Her extensive background with the Washington Community and Technical College system will provide strong leadership and continuity for the college as we conduct our search for the permanent president. She will provide a smooth transition to the new administration.”

Saunders was Vice President of Administrative Services at BC from 2005 until her retirement in 2008. Prior to this position at BC, Saunders served a similar position for 15 years at Highline Community College, was Director of Planning and Capital Budget at the University of Washington, and was a staff member at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of California.

Not only that but Saunders also served as President of  the Association of Institutional Research (AIR) from 1987 to 1988 as well as president of the Society for College and University Planning. She also served on BC’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) as a Retired Community College Administrator.

In 2008, Rachel Solemsaas, doctoral-degree recipient, in community college leadership at Washington State University, replaced Saunders as Vice President of Administrative Services at BC.

According to Vashee, Saunders received her Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Berkeley, holds a master’s in economics from the University of Chicago and received her undergraduate degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

The BC Board of Trustees will soon start their national search for a new president. The first forum for community input is scheduled for June 15.

Details for this gathering will be announced in the next few days.

During the summer quarter, look out for updates on BC’s national search for a new president.