ACC leaders selected for Aspen Presidential Fellowship

Austin Community College’s Vice President of Student Services Dr. Virginia Fraire and Vice President of Institutional Planning, Development & Evaluation Dr. Mary Harris have been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. The renowned leadership program is aimed at preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions across the nation to help students be more successful both in college and in the workforce.

“Drs. Fraire and Harris have dedicated their lives to the mission of the community college. They are truly instrumental leaders who demonstrate every day a drive to reshape higher education in ways that help us better support our students and the economy,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “I am proud to support them in this incredible journey.”

Fraire, Harris, and the 38 other Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the Fellows will mentor with community college leaders who have had outstanding results for their students, learn from national experts about ways to use data to make students more successful, and learn how to create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, and employers in their community.

The Aspen Fellowship responds to a growing need for a new generation of leaders who are well-equipped to meet the challenges facing community colleges:

  • Nearly 80 percent of current presidents plan to retire in the next decade.
  • The path to college presidency traditionally has excluded women and people of color — 71 percent of current presidents are white and 64 percent are male.
  • The incoming class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is composed of 65 percent women and 43 percent people of color.

The fellowship is awarded by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., that aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes.  For more information, visit the Aspen Presidential Fellowship website.

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