Aspen New Presidents Fellowship

"Leading a college is both rewarding and challenging—and leading a college from good to great is an even bigger task. We can, and must, explore every opportunity to strengthen our skills. I have experienced many leadership programs, but nothing impressed me as much as the program offered by Aspen. The curriculum and format prepares you extremely well for transformational leadership as a college president."
— Amit Singh, Aspen Presidential Fellow 2017-18
President, Edmonds Community College
"Aspen gave me a deep and lasting connection to a group of leaders who are fiercely committed to equity, believe our students can achieve remarkable outcomes, and believe community colleges represent tremendous opportunity and import for this country. Every day I approach my work with the Aspen teachings embedded in my thinking and my practice."
— Meghan Hughes, Aspen Presidential Fellow 2016-17
President, Community College of Rhode Island
"The important student success and organizational development curriculum I encountered through Aspen is useful to me every day in my role. I would not be an effective college president without my deep engagement in Aspen's leadership programming."
—Steve Robinson, Aspen Presidential Fellow 2017-18
President, Owens Community College, Ohio
Serving as a community college president is a hard job—and it's even harder for those trying to advance an ambitious student success agenda. To support these leaders, we have added a new initiative to the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence: the New Presidents Fellowship.

Each year, Aspen will select 25 exceptional leaders in the first five years of a college presidency for this intensive executive leadership program. Participants will:
  • Attend two residential seminars led by Aspen Institute faculty and top community college professionals
  • Deeply analyze their colleges’ student outcomes in a focused, comprehensive way
  • Devise concrete plans to tackle student success challenges with structured support
  • Join a network of forward-thinking peers who support and challenge one another in pursuit of broad change
  • Engage in learning between sessions that includes peer consultancy, webinars, and mentorship 
Applications open September 16 - October 30.
Nominees will be contacted on a rolling basis.
Watch the recorded webinar and Q&A.
Who can apply?
Applicants should currently be the president or chancellor of an accredited public community or technical college and should have no more than five years’ cumulative experience as a college president before June 2020. Alumni of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship are eligible.

Ideal candidates are motivated by the potential of community colleges to advance the lives of students and to grow the health and vitality of communities. They aspire to be transformational presidents—those who will lead their institutions to achieve significant improvements in student outcomes and greater equity in educational access and success. They are strategic innovators who are willing to take risks.

Presidents must attest that the chair of their board of trustees supports their participation. They must commit to attending and being fully engaged in the two residential seminars, and engaging in activities before each session to explore quantitative and qualitative information about student success challenges. Other learning opportunities, such as webinars and one-day Aspen Institute topical seminars, are optional.

The Aspen Institute is committed to developing talented leaders who reflect the diversity of the students and communities that community colleges serve. We strongly encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds and from all groups representative of varying races and ethnicities, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, nationalities, cultures, religions, and physical abilities.
When will the New Presidents Fellowship be held?
A four-day residential session will be held in late June 2020 and a three-day session in January 2021.
What is the cost to participate?
Thanks to the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., there is no tuition for the New Presidents Fellowship. Lodging and on-site meals are also included. Participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their travel to and from the seminars. Need-based financial aid is available to offset travel costs; applications are available after selection.
How does the New Presidents Fellowship differ from other presidential leadership programs?
This program is entirely focused on helping presidents advance student outcomes in completion, learning, transfer, employment and earnings for graduates, and equity for low-income students and students of color. Other leadership programs—many of which offer significant value in other leadership competencies—include some focus on student success, but none shares the New Presidents Fellowship’s singular focus.
How does the New Presidents Fellowship differ from the Rising Presidents Fellowship?
While the Rising Presidents Fellowship serves aspiring presidents, the New Presidents Fellowship is designed specifically for sitting presidents, providing actionable guidance to plan and execute transformational change in real time at the institutions they lead. If you have question about which program to select, please contact us.
How can I apply?
The online application is available here. The application requires short essays and an updated resume. The application deadline is October 30, and finalists will be interviewed by video call in December 2019 or January 2020.
How can I nominate a great candidate?
Aspen strongly encourages nominations of exceptional leaders who are well positioned to benefit from the New Presidents Fellowship. The online nomination form is available here and open year-round. Nominees will be contacted on a rolling basis.
The New Presidents Fellowship is made possible by generous support from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Contact us for more information.
Linda Perlstein, Associate Director