Dr. Richard Fulton
Richard Fulton grew up in the Flathead Valley of Northwestern Montana in a family of teachers. He attended Eastern Montana College on a music scholarship and later accepted a teaching assistantship in the English Department at the University of South Dakota. During his teaching tenure, he discovered he had a passion for teaching college students. Discovering that completing a doctorate would lead to more opportunities and growth in his career, he signed on for a teaching assistantship in English at Washington State University (WSU).
Just as he was about to start his doctorate, he received his draft notice in 1969. However, “Hemingway-itis” suddenly struck after failing the physical exam. He arrived at the conclusion that he had to experience the great adventure of his generation for himself. Postponing his pursuance of a doctoral program, he signed on with the University of Maryland to teach on military bases in the Far East, with teaching tours at Bien Hoa and Phu Cat in Vietnam. In 1972, he returned to Pullman to finish his doctorate, focusing on the changing standards of poetry criticism in middle class periodicals in the 1870s.
He completed his degree in 1975, and was appointed Assistant Dean of the Graduate School at WSU. He spent 9 years as Assistant Dean, learning graduate administration, teaching when he could, and conducting research and publishing.
In 1984, he began his career odyssey, starting at Iona College as graduate studies director for the school of Arts and Sciences, then Provost at Rocky Mountain College. Determined to help under-served, under-supported, not privileged, but conscientious and hard-working students, he accepted the position of Academic Vice President at Clark College, the community college serving the fast-growing Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. He moved from Clark to Whatcom Community College in 1998, a relatively new college on the Canadian border 90 miles north of Seattle. Finally, in what he thought to be one last professional adventure, he moved to Kaneohe, HI, to serve as the Academic Vice Chancellor at Windward Community College, a struggling little Hawaiian-native serving institution across the Koolau Mountains from Honolulu. And yes, it was an odyssey: he set out from Pullman and after many adventures in strange lands, found himself at home on Oahu.
During a WASC accreditation visit his last year at Windward, he was convinced by one of the commissioners to do interim work. She emphasized the importance of helping community colleges succeed during key transitions, which essentially is the job of an interim chief academic officer. After retirement, he made himself available and served as interim VPAA at Brookdale CC in Lincroft, NJ, and later as VPAA at Mercer CC near Princeton, NJ. He has decided that for his final adventure, he wants to work in a similar role at NLC in San Antonio.
Throughout his professional sojourn, he has continued to conduct research, teach when he can, write, publish, and stay active in his academic field of Victorian Studies. He has served as President of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals and the Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States, and as editor of Victorian Periodicals Review. He jointly edited Oceania and the Victorian Imagination (Ashgate, 2013) with Peter Hoffenberg, and is currently preparing a sequel, South Seas Encounters: Oceania, Britain, and America in the Nineteenth Century currently in the hands of Routledge editors.
He looks forward to working with the faculty and leadership at NLC for the next year to continue the college’s successful upward trajectory.