May 4, 2020 – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today announced that Dr. Naima Brown, Vice President for Student Affairs at Santa Fe College, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2020-21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, a highly selected leadership program preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.
The Rising Presidents Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2020. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will be mentored by esteemed current and former community college presidents who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers, and will learn strategies to improve student outcomes in and after college, lead internal change, and create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, employers, and other partners.
“Evidence shows that substantial improvements in student success are achieved only when presidents have the commitment and skill needed to lead change within their institutions and through partnerships in the community,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “These fellows have been chosen because they embody that commitment and, we believe, will build their skills even further to become transformational presidents.”
“Dr. Brown is an innovative and transformational leader that is unwavering in her commitment to access, learning and student success. She is a multi-talented leader whose impact spans throughout the college and the community we serve,” added SF President Paul Broadie II, Ph. D. “We are proud of her selection into this premier and highly competitive leadership program that has produced great leaders of higher education. Dr. Brown will undoubtedly be one of those future leaders. As she emerges from the Aspen Rising Presidents’ Fellowship and eventually assumes a presidency, I am confident that her contributions to the profession and the field of higher education will be great. I am looking forward to the future impact Dr. Brown will have across the higher education landscape.
The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship responds to the growing need for a new generation of leaders well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of sitting presidents plan to retire in the next decade. While the traditional pathway to the presidency has excluded women and people of color, the incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is composed of 70 percent women and 61 percent people of color and represents institutions of varying sizes and locations.
Together, the 2020-21 fellows are leaders at colleges that collectively serve more than 500,000 students. As well, 42 Rising Presidents Fellowship alumni have become presidents of community colleges that collectively serve an additional 500,000 students nationwide.