Columbia Basin College’s president has retired after nine years overseeing the Pasco school to serve as chancellor for Western Governors University Washington.
Rich Cummins will oversee the nonprofit online university, taking over from Jean Floten, who recently retired from the chancellor post she had held since 2011.
WGU Washington has more than 10,000 enrolled students and nearly 7,400 graduates throughout the state. It conducted a national search before choosing Cummins.
“Rich Cummins is well known in Washington as a higher education innovator who has leveraged data to improve student success,” said WGU President Scott D. Pulsipher in a news release. “His ability to build partnerships that benefit students, graduates, and the community will enable WGU Washington to continue its growth and success throughout the state.”
Cummins, who has worked at CBC since 1990 as a faculty instructor, dean and vice president, became the college president in 2008.
Cummins is credited for leading CBC’s charge for improved and expanded programs and facilities. The Social Sciences and World Languages Center, Wortman Medical Sciences Center and the Student Housing Center are or will be completed this year. In addition, he worked with the city of Kennewick to propose a culinary education center in Kennewick.
Cummins has been a commissioner for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 2014. He holds a doctorate in leadership studies from Gonzaga University.
CBC offers seven bachelor degree programs with an eighth pending. Cummins led CBC’s efforts to increase fall-to-fall student retention from 47 percent to 60 percent.
The CBC Board of Trustees is exploring options for an interim president and plans to engage a search firm to begin the process, with the goal of having a new president on board by September.
Cummins’ last day at CBC will be March 30. He starts April 10 at WGU.