Louisiana Delta Community College's new chancellor Dr. Scott Rule plans to establish new programs that would help the workforce in northeastern Louisiana.
“Let’s find the programs that we still need,” Rule said. “There are some programs out there that are exciting, they might be fun, they might be very lucrative, but there aren't necessarily jobs in our area for them.”
Rule, 53, began work as the college's new chancellor on Jan. 1 after his hiring was unanimously approved by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System's Board of Supervisors.
“I want to be very intentional about our programs,” Rule said. “That is my goal.”
For example, the college is currently preparing more agricultural focused programs for its students, Rule said.
Paul Price Jr, chair of the board for Louisiana Community & Technical College System, commended Rule for seeking to produce graduates who coudl help rural communities.
“As a former instructor at the old vo-tech in Winnsboro, it’s great to see that he understands how important these schools are to the rural communities they serve,” Price said.
Rule pointed to the college's recent addition of a pharmacy tech program at the West Monroe campus and a heavy equipment operator program in Winnsboro. Rule explained he wants to bring attention to programs such as the LDCC center for adult development, which helps adults earn a high school diploma equivalency.
“I want to make sure the word continues to get out that LDCC is a huge resource for this entire area,” Rule said.
Meanwhile, Rule took over as chancellor at a time when the college's student enrollment had dipped across all the school’s campuses.
“Unfortunately we are down,” Rule said. “This semester we have just over 3,000 students enrolled college-wide. Typically we are about 3,500 to 4,000.”
Rule added, “About a thousand of those are here in Monroe.”
Rule explained the COVID-19 pandemic was the leading cause for the decrease. According to Rule, many universities waived their ACT score requirements for admission because of COVID-19, resulting in a cancellation of the exams. In light of the lower admission standards, students who might have applied to the college applied to other universities.
“So they got in, and great for them,” Rule said. “That’s wonderful, but that took away some of our population.”
Rule’s journey to becoming chancellor began some eight years ago when he first sought out a presidency role for a college in Georgia.
“Well eight years ago, going on nine now, I actually looked into and researched a number of colleges out of state,” Rule said. “It was one of the closer ones and off of I-20.”
Rule explained LDCC caught his attention because the college was far from what he calls the college hub in the southern part of the state, and it was similar to a college he had worked at in Georgia.
“I did some research and I said you know the program mix is right,” Rule said. “The community and the number of parishes that were involved felt very similar and very comfortable to me as far as what I was used to while working at Chattahoochee Tech at the time. I never lost sight of that.”
Rule was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rule began his career in higher education as a computer programmer for Kennesaw State University after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University.
“I was just looking for a computer programming position and it happened to be at a college and university,” Rule said. “And I was very fortunate because you can see where it led me, I stayed in higher education ever since.”
Rule obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University in 1997.
In 2009, Rule earned his doctorate in higher education policy from Georgia State University.
According to Darian Atkins, LDCC executive director of community and public relations, Rule proved his commitment to LDCC by moving his family with him to northeastern Louisiana.
“I don’t like to take half steps,” Rule said. “When I go somewhere, I’m all in.”
Rule’s wife, Linda Rule, is a school teacher in Georgia and will be joining her husband in Monroe when the school year concludes in May.
“It’s unfortunate that Louisiana Delta has a history of leaders who may not have committed to that move, but I firmly believe in it,” Rule said. “I’ve always done it. I will continue to do that and I’m here, and I’m here to stay.”
Amanda Edge, president of the LDCC Foundation Board, said she is excited about the selection of Rule and his experience in higher education.
“As president of the LDCC Foundation Board, we are thrilled to have such a capable, experienced chancellor in Dr. Rule to drive LDCC into its next chapters,” Edge said.
Rule has two grown children and a wife.
“My time and effort has always been about them,” Rule said.
Rule noted he is an avid motorcycle rider.
“I did ride a (Suzuki) Hayabusa at one point,” Rule said. “It was a 2000 Hyabusa. In 1999 and 2000 were the two years where Suzuki made the Hayabusa where there was no limit on the engine, so it was the fastest production motorcycle in the world.”