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Leading in Central MA: Betsy Fuller, Dean of Becker College

Monday, November 25, 2013

 

Betsy Fuller, PT, EdD, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, joined the faculty of Becker College in 1996. She became Dean of Health Sciences in January of 2005 and has held a variety of academic leadership positions at Becker since then. Currently as the Vice President of Academic Affairs, she is responsible for traditional undergraduate programs.

A Conversation with Betsy Fuller

SW: Let’s talk first about your career as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Becker College. What are your major responsibilities?

BF: I manage the academic offerings of the College, from scheduling courses through hiring faculty and developing new programs. Becker offers a wide range of programs for both traditional undergraduate students and adults, including our nationally recognized animal studies and game design programs to nursing, business, education, exercise science, and more. I work closely with faculty and administration on academic program development, and also with students to ensure they will be academically successful at Becker. This past academic year was filled with a number of new initiatives, including launching the College’s School of Animal Studies and hiring Dr. Richard French as its Dean. Commencement is one of my favorite times of the year, as it represents the culmination of all the hard work we do in academics.

SW: What is on the drawing board for Becker College?

BF: Becker is well-positioned to continue to grow in a number of areas. This past year, we received our second consecutive recognition as a “best college” by The Princeton Review, and welcomed the largest class in our history—1,902 students. We will continue to ensure that students are well-prepared to be world ready for future success; we have a 99% placement rate for employment and future study. By the year 2020, we anticipate growth in a number of arenas—from offering graduate degrees to continuing to build upon our focus on global citizenship. We have already launched a number of new concentrations and specializations, and will continue to provide programs that will enable our students to meet the professional demands of the 21st century

SW: How did your career begin and where?

BF: My background is in physical therapy. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and my master’s from Texas Women’s University. My first position was at New Jersey Rehabilitation Hospital in East Orange. I moved from there to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and then to Houston, Texas. I returned to New England in the late 1980s and have been here ever since.

SW: What led you to your current career path?

BF: In physical therapy you are always teaching – patients, families, and students—if not all three at once. I started college teaching on a part-time basis when I was getting my master’s degree at TWU. Fast forward a decade or so; I was on the Advisory Board of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Becker when an opportunity to teach full time came up. It was the right time for me. I joined the faculty at Becker in 1996 and became an administrator in 2004. I was officially appointed the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College shortly after the arrival of our current president, Dr. Robert E. Johnson, in 2010.

SW: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Betsy Fuller?

BF: I try to get started fairly early, most often with email. I typically have several meetings, sometimes with a prospective faculty member, sometimes with a group of faculty working on program development, sometimes with other members of the College community or a student. If I am lucky I get to teach a class, but that is getting harder and harder to fit in. My day goes by quickly and is fast-paced, and I continue to work at night, at home at the kitchen table!

SW: What is the something that few people know about you?

BF: I played rugby for a club team at the University of North Carolina while I was living in Chapel Hill. Go Tarheels!

SW: How do you spend your free time?

BF: I enjoy a variety of activities, ranging from kayaking and gardening to quilting and tatting. I am usually reading something just for pleasure. And I try to spend time with my new granddaughter when I can.

SW: What is your advice for helping the city to reach its full potential?

BF: Worcester is an education destination for students from our neighborhoods as well as across the country and around the world. They like the community feel offered by Worcester and the wide array of activities, restaurants, and more. The city should continue to expand its offerings in the arts, in athletics, and in new businesses so it can continue to present great opportunities to draw students to the area, and also enhance their desire to stay in the greater Worcester community following graduation.

SW: You are active in the community. What other organizations are you involved with?

BF: My wife and I are active in our church, Hadwen Park Congregational UCC. We have also been involved in the LGBT Asylum Task Force. I am on the Board at Girls Inc. and try to increase the connection between Becker College and that organization.

SW: Any special plans for your future?

BF: Every now and then I think about doing some consulting in higher ed in my retirement. I’m not ready for that yet, but I’m trying to put some of the building blocks in place.

Susan Wagner is the president of Susan Wagner PR. In this challenging economy, she has begun a new division to offer affordable start-up packages to new and emerging small businesses and non-profit organizations that include professional writing services, websites, collateral, marketing, social media, grassroots outreach and PR campaigns.

If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
 

 

Related Slideshow: Top New England Colleges According to Business Insider

See how New England colleges ranked in the latest Business Insider.

Below is the list of how the region's representatives stacked up against each other -- as well as how they fared overall.  

Prev Next

#13 Wesleyan University

Overall Rank: 49

Location: Middletown, CT

Score: 2.73 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $47,244

Business Insider: "With roughly 2,900 undergraduates on a 316-acre campus overlooking the Conn. River, Wesleyan uses its small size to provide highly personal faculty support and customizable programs of study to students.

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#12 Boston University

Overall Rank: 45

Location: Boston, MA

Score: 2.79 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $44,910

Business Insider: "A concrete campus located in the bustling city of Boston, BU has nearly 100 study abroad programs in 23 countries, an active social media presence with more than 200 Facebook pages and groups, and 20-plus NCAA Division I varsity sports, including a multiple NCAA national championship-winning hockey team."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#11 Wellesley College

Overall Rank: 44

Location: Wellesley, MA

Score: 2.86 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $43,544

Business Insider: "Madeleine Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Diane Sawyer are among the nearly 37,000 living alumni of Wellesley College, an institute with an unwavering commitment to empowering women to make a difference in the world. Students are central to decision-making at this liberal arts college: They serve on major committees of the board of trustees, participate in faculty search, and contribute to strategic planning."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

Prev Next

#10 Middlebury College

Overall Rank: 40

Location: Middlebury, VT

Score: 2.94 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $57,075

Business Insider: "Renowned for leadership in language instruction and environmental studies, Middlebury emphasizes close interaction between students and faculty as the core of its education. All courses are taught by faculty members, rather than graduate assistants, and 65% of classes contain fewer than 20 students."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#9 Tufts University

Overall Rank: 37

Location: Medford, MA

Score: 3.07 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,598

Business Insider: "Tufts University encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary studies at its two colleges, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. An overwhelming 90% of students are enrolled in the first, which boasts a liberal arts college feel in a research-rich environment."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#8 Boston College

Overall Rank: 36

Location: Boston, MA

Score: 3.09 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,088

Business Insider: "Boston College jumps four spots on our list, thanks in part to its tremendous growth in recent years. Undergraduate applications have soared 75% over the past decade, and voluntary giving by alumni has increased the university's endowment to $1.9 billion."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#7 Amherst College

Overall Rank: 27

Location: Amherst, MA

Score: 3.31 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $58,744

Business Insider: "Ranked the second-best liberal arts school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, Amherst College climbed four spots on our list this year."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#6 Williams College

Overall Rank: 23

Location: Williamstown, MA

Score: 3.40 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,600

Business Insider: "Williams was number 27 on last year's list, but our readers voted it up to No. 23 this time around. A top liberal arts college, Williams is set to host its own TEDx conference for students and faculty in January 2014."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#5 Brown University

Overall Rank: 20

Location: Providence, RI

Score: 3.60 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $45,612

Business Insider: "Brown is known for being the most individualistic of the Ivies, and with some of the happiest students."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#4 Dartmouth College

Overall Rank: 9

Location: Hanover, NH

Score: 3.96 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,752

Business Insider: "At 4,200 enrolled undergraduate students, Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivies. But its size has no bearing on the prestige of its programs; the school was ranked No. 1 in undergraduate teaching courses by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth year in a row."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#3 Yale University

Overall Rank: 5

Location: New Haven, CT

Score: 4.25 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $44,125

Business Insider: "Our readers were not shy in praising Yale's hardworking professors: 'Yale is still the best ranking... school thanks to it[s] high profile faculty," one respondent pointed out. 'It's them who keep Yale in the top.'"

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#2 Harvard University

Overall Rank: 3

Location: Cambridge, MA

Score: 4.42 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $42,292

Business Insider: "For the third year in a row, Harvard has held fast at No. 3. Harvard's most popular majors (or "concentrations," as they're called there) are economics and political science, and the Crimson school has been hailed for its think-outside-the-box approach to learning."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

Prev Next

#1 MIT

Overall Rank: 1

Location: Cambridge, MA

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $42,050

Business Insider: "The tech school admits fewer than 9 percent of applicants, some of whom have gone on to achieve prestigious awards like Nobel Prizes, National Medals of Science, MacArthur Grants, and National Medals of Technology and Innovation."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

 
 

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