The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, announced that Kimberlee Messina, President of Spokane Falls Community College, is one of 25 leaders selected for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship.
“I am grateful to have been selected to participate in the Aspen Presidential Fellowship, and to be part of this community of learning with such outstanding college presidents,” said President Messina.
This program supports community college presidents in the early years of their tenure as they aim to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success. The Fellowship’s philanthropic partner is JPMorgan Chase.
The 25 Aspen Fellows, who lead colleges that collectively serve more than 280,000 students, were selected through a highly competitive process. Starting later this year, the Fellows will engage over nine months in residential sessions and virtual learning to develop strategies to meet their goals for student success and equity with data to assess challenges and progress.
“It is with great pride that CCS celebrates the selection of Dr. Kimberlee Messina as an Aspen Institute ‘21-22 fellow,” said Community Colleges of Spokane Chancellor Christine Johnson. “The Aspen Institute’s community college leadership program is recognized as the premier fellowship experience that further prepares fellows to lead in challenging times. This unique leadership experience further moves the community college sector to ‘come through when it matters most’ as economic engines and engines of social change and mobility that get America back to work. President Messina will support our community during the challenges faced at this time in our history and contribute to the community college sector’s role as the backbone of higher education.”
As community colleges grapple with the impact of COVID and enrollment declines, turnover among presidents remains high. Aspen is committed to helping prepare the next generation of exceptionally capable and highly diverse leaders through its fellowship programs for new and rising presidents. This new class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is 48 percent female, and 64 percent are people of color. Located in 18 states, their institutions to are diverse, from a tribal college with fewer than 500 students to an urban college that educates more than 35,000 each year.
“Community colleges play a critical role in helping to prepare young adults and incumbent workers for in-demand jobs of the future,” said Monique Baptiste, Vice President and Head of Jobs & Skills for Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Ensuring that the leaders of these institutions are equipped with the support and training they need to develop equitable student success is an integral part of building capacity over the long run. JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with the Aspen Institute to build the next generation of exceptional college leaders as they work to advance the prosperity of the diverse communities and students they serve.”