Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship aims to address the dramatic turnover in the community college presidency by recruiting and developing exceptional leaders—a cadre of diverse reformers who can push the field forward and advance student success. The Aspen Institute engages a select group of fellows each year in this intensive, applied executive leadership program, delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative.

The fellowship includes residential seminars, mentoring by veteran college presidents, and the development of a strategic leadership vision through a capstone project. The curriculum centers on broad themes drawn from the work of excellent community colleges: equitable student success strategies, leadership of cultural change, and partnership for collective action.

Meet the 2021-2022 Fellows

Meet the Fellowship Alumni

Apply or Nominate for the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship FAQs

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


Atlantic: Colleges are no match for American poverty
Chronicle of Higher Education: What will It take to change the presidency?
Chronicle of Higher Education: What should a college president do in year one?
The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship is made possible by generous support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the College Futures Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Contact us for more information.
Monica Clark, Director