On Monday, officials with the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program announced that, Dr. Julie Penley, Vice President of Research, Accreditation & Planning at El Paso Community College, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2020-21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship.
“The Aspen Rising President’s fellowship cadre of mentors and program leaders will undoubtedly contribute to changes in community colleges across the country and I am honored to be part of this cohort,” Dr. Penley said. “The Aspen Fellowship will help me to grow as an employee and leader, which in turn will impact the work I do on behalf of students.”
According to EPCC, the fellowship is a “highly selective 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.
Penley has worked at EPCC since 2000. Prior to advancing to her current role in 2017, Penley has served as Associate Vice President of Instruction and Student Success, as a Dean at the Mission del Paso Campus, and as a Psychology Professor at the Valle Verde Campus.
“Dr. Penley has a sincere appreciation for serving community college students and is uniquely positioned with robust understanding of higher education needs,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “Her valuable experience will serve the program and her colleagues well.”
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.
“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.”
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.
For more information, visit highered.aspeninstitute.org.