After four decades in higher education, Dr. Richard Cummins joined Academic Search as a Senior Consultant in 2021. From teaching as a graduate assistant to serving as a college president—while earning advanced degrees along the way—Dr. Cummins has dedicated himself to accessibility in higher education. As a consultant for Academic Search, he is motivated to enrich institutions by finding the most qualified candidates and assisting search committees as they hire esteemed individuals.
Dr. Cummins was President of Columbia Basin College, a baccalaureate-granting community college in Pasco, WA, from 2008 to 2017. He served as the Washington Chancellor for Western Governors University for the subsequent year (2017-2018) before retiring and entering the realm of higher education consulting. Before his appointment to the presidential position at Columbia Basin College, Dr. Cummins started as an English department faculty member in 1990 and subsequently served as an academic dean, executive vice president, and Acting President (2006-2007). He was named President in 2008 and worked diligently to increase CBC’s outreach and retention strategies to increase student success. As a result, CBC achieved Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) recognition in 2008.
As a student, Dr. Cummins earned a B.A. in English from the University of Cincinnati, an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association.
With a sharp eye for detail and a penchant for meticulous organization, Dr. Cummins’ consulting style pays close attention to guidelines and steps while remaining flexible and intuitive. Throughout the consulting process, Dr. Cummins works closely with the school’s faculty and administration and finds deep satisfaction in assisting search committees as they select outstanding candidates. After an extensive career in community colleges, Dr. Cummins is especially fond of searches that serve open-access institutions, as he believes they are engines for social mobility and economic empowerment that transform lives. However, in every search Dr. Cummins performs, regardless of the institution type, he applies the same level of passion for recruiting the best candidates.
Dr. Cummins received numerous recognitions for his presidential work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tri-Cities (WA) Hispanic Chamber, induction into the Mid-Columbia Agriculture Hall of Fame, the Leadership Excellence Award from the Association of Community and Technical Colleges, the Science Advocate of the Year from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and the Crystal Apple Award from the school districts in southeastern Washington.