Apply or Nominate for the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship 

Applications for the 2021-2022 cohort are now closed.

Nominations are accepted year-round.

Please note that nominees will be contacted on a rolling basis beginning Winter 2022.

Who are we looking for?

Ideal candidates are motivated by the potential of community colleges to impact the lives of students and to grow the health and vitality of communities. Aspen fellows aspire to be transformational community college presidents—those who will lead their institutions to achieve significant improvements in student outcomes and greater equity in educational access and success. They possess the willingness to take risks to lead transformational change and are strategic, reform-minded thinkers and innovators. Applicants should aspire to enter a presidency within five years of completing the fellowship.

The Rising Presidents Fellowship program is committed to identifying and developing talented leaders that reflect the diversity of the communities and students that the nations’ community colleges serve, and we strongly encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds and from all groups representative of varying race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, culture, religion, and physical abilities. We also encourage applicants from a variety of professional backgrounds, including:
  • Campus presidents, provosts, or vice presidents at a community college
  • Senior administrators in other higher education institutions or K-12 systems
  • Executives from outside of education with deep commitment to ensuring students’ success

Program Benefits

The Rising Presidents Fellowship provides a perspective and skillset that equips fellows to become innovative and highly effective leaders of community colleges that achieve exceptional results for students and communities. Fellows will:
  • Work with national leaders who are shaping and implementing at scale best practices for community college success
  • Build a network of forward-thinking peers to support and challenge one another in the pursuit of broad change
  • Apply grounded and innovative strategies to meet student success challenges at their home colleges
  • Be recognized and promoted as highly promising candidates for future presidencies
The year-long fellowship includes:
  • Seminars led by Aspen Institute and Stanford University faculty, as well as some of the nation’s top community college professionals and higher education experts. Each of the sessions features presentations of ground-breaking research, extensive hands-on time working in small groups with peers and mentors, and the opportunity to learn from veteran college leaders.
  • A capstone project that offers participants a structured process, with feedback from peers and mentors, for crafting and extending their own distinct presidential perspective on community college student success. Culminating in a presentation to peers and mentors at the conclusion of the fellowship, the capstone project leads participants through rigorous analysis of data and inquiry into the student experience, developing and refining of a vision for community college excellence, and advancing of their ability to communicate and build urgency around a vision for transformational change.
  • Mentorship by an exceptional, nationally recognized current or former community college president who engages participants in a dynamic exchange of ideas and helps to draw connections across the seminars, portfolios, and participants’ own professional experiences. Through both formal and informal mechanisms, mentors offer support and guidance to fellows throughout the year, including through a series of interactive webinars on topics related to leading change to improve student success.
Contact us for more information.
Monica Clark, Director