The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program recently announced the 2019-2020 class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a leadership program aimed at preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success, both in college and in the labor market.
Chris Cathcart, vice chancellor for student success at Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne, is among those selected. The select group of 40 Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2019. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will work with mentors – current and former community college presidents – who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers. Fellows will also learn from national experts about ways to harness data to assess student success outcomes, strategies for internal change leadership, and how to create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, and employers.
“I am honored to have been selected for this highly competitive program,” says Chris Cathcart. “I look forward to learning from seasoned professionals in the community college industry. I hope to apply that learning to our work at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne with the ultimate goal of helping our students achieve greater success.”
The Aspen Presidential Fellowship responds to a specific and growing need for a new generation of leaders who are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade. With this program, the pathway to replace them is to provide additional training and encourage diversity and inclusion at the institutions nationwide.
Cathcart is the second representative in four years to be selected from Ivy Tech, with the first being Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Bowne.
“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,” says Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s 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.”
With the average community college enrolling approximately 14,000 students, each fellow who becomes a president has an opportunity to improve outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students over his or her career. To date, 33 Aspen Presidential Fellows are now sitting community college presidents at institutions that collectively serve more than 450,000 students nationwide.
- Aspen Institute’s release from April 12, 2019.
- William (Chris) Cathcart’s bio and photo.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices and leadership strategies that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit highered.aspeninstitute.org.
Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative (SELI) strives to help education leaders further develop their ability to transform education systems and drive meaningful change. SELI programs bring together the strengths of Stanford Graduate School of Education and Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as additional Stanford faculty and resources, to offer multidimensional and immediately impactful professional development programming for practicing leaders in preK-12, higher education, and policy. By fostering collaboration and building relationships between existing colleagues and among new peers, SELI programs create networks supporting participants’ continued learning and organizational improvement. For more information, visit https://seli.stanford.edu/.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.