Dr. Jessica Clark Selected as New Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bellevue College

After a lengthy interview process, Dr. Jessica Clark has been selected as Bellevue College’s new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, effective May 1, 2024. Dr. Clark has extensive experience in academia, previously serving as the Vice President of Instruction at Walla Walla Community College and Vice President of Learning and Student Services at Northland Pioneer College. 

An email from Bellevue College President Dr. David May announcing her selection notes that “she also has a strong background in collaborating with tribal partners from her time at Northland Pioneer College where she spent just under two years as the college’s Vice President of Learning and Student Services.” The official statement Bellevue College released following her selection reported that “Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Central Washington University, a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history both from North Dakota State University, and a post-doctoral graduate certificate in higher education leadership from the University of Wyoming.”  

The role of Provost and VP of Academic Affairs is, as described in the Candidate Profile, “has overall responsibility for Academic Affairs, including Effectiveness, Research & Analytics and the Grants Office. This leader will advance and inspire action for visioning and planning activities; explore programmatic growth while continuing financial sustainability; foster and support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; expand efforts to maximize student success, retention, and enrollment; and promote faculty development as part of institutional mission. In the absence of the President, the Provost will serve as the designated administrator of the College.” The candidate profile also detailed that the position “requires a master’s degree; a doctorate or terminal degree is preferred. The ideal candidate will have prior administrative and academic leadership experience from within higher education that shows increasing complexity and progressively responsible duties,” specifically in the Washington technical college system.

On Oct. 30, 2023, the search began for a Provost and VP of Academic Affairs. At the time the search began, the position had been vacant for 18 months. The number of candidates was eventually narrowed down to four. Open forums were held in the last month featuring the final four candidates, where Dr. Clark highlighted her goals if selected, notably her commitment to equity and her goal of maintaining open lines of communication within all departments at Bellevue College. She also talked about working under the constraints of a budget, citing anecdotes from her experience at Walla Walla as examples of effectively using funds and maintaining transparency with a team and student body throughout.  

Dr. Clark has expressed gratitude and joy following the selection, saying, “I’m genuinely excited to join Bellevue College as its next provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, a role that feels like a homecoming, not just in geography but in values.” Dr. Clark adds, “Bellevue College’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion deeply resonates with me, echoing my personal and professional ethos of seeing people as people — each with unique stories, challenges, and dreams.”