Tunjarnika L. Coleman-Ferrell

2022-23 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Tunjarnika L. Coleman-Ferrell, EdD., is vice president of academic affairs at Palm Beach State College, the fourth largest in the Florida College System. In this role, she oversees all academic disciplines across a multicampus system, encompassing associate and baccalaureate degrees, certificate programs and workforce training.

A transformational leader, Coleman-Ferrell is a champion for students of diverse backgrounds. Growing up in Riviera Beach, Florida, Coleman-Ferrell was inspired by her mother, a U.S. Army veteran and licensed practical nurse, who taught her to never shy away from challenges. These lessons, along with her passion to help students reach their full potential, shaped Coleman-Ferrell into a well-respected and visionary leader. Affectionately known as “Nika,” her daily mantra is #MakeItHappen.

Coleman-Ferrell has 30 years of academic, student services and administrative experience in higher education centered on improving educational quality and access for all students. Her K-12, community college and university positions include professor, chair, associate dean, dean of academic affairs, dean of student services, provost and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) visiting team member. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in public administration, an educational specialist postgraduate degree and a doctorate in education, all from Florida Atlantic University. Her expertise spans strategic planning, curriculum programming, resource development, fiscal management, grants oversight and team building.

Coleman-Ferrell initiates community partnerships between Palm Beach State College, the school district, businesses and municipalities statewide that advance student outcomes. She prides herself on being committed to her community as a champion of equal access to education and a change agent for underrepresented students. Her board memberships include the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, YWCA of Palm Beach County, Max Fisher Boys and Girls Club and the Palm Beach County School District Advisory Board. She has been recognized for her achievements by Leadership Palm Beach County and the State of Florida Chancellor’s Leadership Council programs. Coleman-Ferrell previously served as statewide president for the Association of Florida Colleges, representing 28 institutions, and is the recipient of several awards, including the Woman of Excellence, Leadership Excellence and Legacy awards.