Move to president's office easy one for Fuller
Final two EWU presidential candidates speak
Rex Fuller brings familiarity to his candidacy to be EWU's next president.
Becoming the next president of Eastern Washington University would seem to be a simple transition and easy move for Rex Fuller.
The office vacated in July by Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, is just a few doors away for Fuller, EWU's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs since Jan. 1, 2011.
But it's not just the proximity that made Fuller one of three finalists for the job to become EWU's 26th president, a decision that is expected to be made by the end of this month in advance of Arévalo's mid-July departure.
Fuller attracted the largest crowd of any of the candidates, June 3, for the second of three public forums at Showalter Hall where he outlined what the university might look like if he gets the promotion.
He brings some solid knowledge in both business and academia. Fuller earned his B.A. in Public Administration from California State University, Chico in 1975 and his Ph.D in Economics from the University of Utah in 1982.
Fuller came to Eastern in 2006 after serving as Dean of the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University -Pueblo, and became the Dean and a professor of Public Administration, College of Business and Public Administration.
The No. 1 role of the new president, Fuller said, would be to focus on student success. He also addressed the topic du' jour of the other finalists, student retention and some ways he thought could make it easier to acquire a degree.
Fuller said it was important to assess the needs of employers who might hire EWU grads in crafting the various courses of study the university offers.
But he also stressed the need to provide both early-warning and safety nets including a summer bridge program - a boot camp he called it - that would focus on the high risk population and the 55 percent of first-generation students enrolled at Eastern.
"It's a long race, we must be persistent," Fuller told the audience.
Another area of emphasis Fuller spoke of was how EWU caters to students who have careers interrupted and need to return to school at a potentially difficult time in their lives.
While he didn't address in his opening remarks the outreach Eastern does outside of Cheney, Fuller did emphasize in a vision statement letter on the presidential search website, "I would continue Eastern's efforts to be a visible and leading partner on the Riverpoint campus." That's important to the many students whose schedules do not allow attending class on EWU's campus.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.