Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence

Developing exceptional leaders focused on student success.

Fellowship Overview

Apply or Nominate for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet Our Current Fellows

Nationwide, community colleges are being called upon to dramatically improve student outcomes while maintaining the longstanding commitment to open access and low costs. While the sector is benefitting from strong momentum for reform, community colleges also face dramatic turnover in leadership. Over the next decade, more than 80 percent of presidents are projected to retire, creating an opportunity to develop leaders with the tools and vision needed to lead transformational change aligned to student goals and community needs. The Aspen Presidential Fellowship aims to respond by recruiting and developing exceptional leaders—a cadre of diverse, student-success focused reformers who collectively can push the field forward.
Number of Aspen Presidential Fellows who are now sitting community college presidents
Number of students served
This new fellowship program is one of the most hopeful signs I’ve seen in years for the development of community college leaders who can make a difference. There really are powerful skill-sets for leading mission-centered changed in our colleges, but until now, they had to be discovered on the job. I believe this kind of formation for our emerging leaders will accelerate our progress toward moving the needle on student outcomes.
President Sandy Shugart, Valencia College
The Aspen Institute is giving me the training, teaching, and tools I need to hit the ground running as a new community college president. Its commitment to developing a new generation of leaders is just what our community colleges need in order to achieve our collective mission.
President Meghan Hughes, Community College of Rhode Island,
Aspen Presidential Fellowship Class of 2016 – 2017
Thinking about student success by including learning, completion, labor market, and equitable outcomes as equal parts in measuring the whole of success has challenged and enlightened me. My new definition of student success is one that focuses on the goal of making the middle class possible for our students.
– Dr. Michael A. Baston, Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Provost, LaGuardia Community College
As I reflect on the Aspen Fellowship, it has changed me. The fellowship has literally changed how I think. The four principles of student success; learning, completion, labor market outcomes, and equitable outcomes, are the prism by which we now make every decision at Tulsa Community College.
— Leigh Goodson, 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellow, President and CEO, Tulsa Community College
My membership in the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship has affirmed my vision for Amarillo College and been transformational in my ability to lead the college towards that vision.
— Russell Lowery-Hart, 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellow, President, Amarillo College
I’ve learned that to effectively increase student success, community college presidents will need to communicate effectively, master creative and innovative solutions, build collaborations for impact across diverse organizations, and create a vision focused on common goals, all while effectively managing what the college may be experiencing at the moment.
— Kristen Westover, 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellow, President,
Mountain Empire Community College
I expected, like in most fellowships, to spend more time working on my application, resume, and interview. Instead, I experienced much more – an introspective look at my beliefs, values, and abilities; deep discussion about perceptions, challenging higher education issues, foundations of teaching and learning, critical thinking, leading change, leadership style, and how to set the vision.
— Tonjua Williams, 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellow, President, St. Petersburg College
My Aspen experience has allowed me to more effectively lead through transformational change. It allowed me to examine the status quo and recognize that doing the same things and expecting different results is indeed insanity.
— Michael Gutierrez, 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellow, President, Sacramento City College