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Highline VP Selected for Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

Home/News/Highline VP Selected for Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship
2024-06-03T15:28:44+00:00 May 8, 2024|News|
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Highline VP Selected for Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

  • Jamilyn Penn

Dr. Jamilyn Penn Recognized with Sought After Honor

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (Aspen) announced that Dr. Jamilyn Penn, Vice President for Student Services at Highline College, is one of 39 leaders selected for the 2024-25 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. Applying lessons from over a dozen years researching exceptional community colleges, the Aspen fellowship aims to select and prepare the next generation of presidents who can lead institutions to higher and more equitable levels of student success.

Many sitting community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade, creating an opportunity for college trustees and system heads to select leaders who have the skills and knowledge to achieve better outcomes for students. Aspen Presidential Fellows represent the next generation of college leadership: this incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is 58 percent women, and 55 percent are people of color. The institutions they represent are also diverse, located in 20 states, from small rural colleges to large urban campuses. The fellows, selected through a competitive process, will work closely with highly accomplished community college presidents and thought leaders over ten months to learn from field-leading research, examine demographic and labor market conditions in their communities, assess student outcomes at their colleges, and advance a clear vision for excellent and equitable outcomes for students while in college and after they graduate.

“My selection not only acknowledges my past achievements but also signals my readiness to contribute to future leadership,” Dr. Penn said. “This is an amazing opportunity that I eagerly embrace. Being accepted into Aspen Rising Presidents validates my potential and inspires me to develop it further.”

Rising Presidents Fellows aspire to enter a college presidency within five years of completing the fellowship. As fellows, they join a network of over 350 forward-thinking peers—175 of whom are sitting college presidents—who are applying concrete, grounded, and innovative strategies to meet student success challenges in their colleges.

According to Dr. Penn, a Steilacoom, WA resident: “College presidents today face multifaceted challenges, including evolving student demographics, financial constraints, and the imperative to adapt to rapidly changing educational landscapes. My diverse leadership experiences uniquely position me to address these challenges.”

“With so many community college presidents taking or nearing retirement, Aspen has a heightened sense of urgency to develop new leaders who are committed to systemic change,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “Community colleges have a unique opportunity to advance the talent communities need and enable the economic mobility that draws so many students to higher education. I am confident that these fellows can realize that promise—and in turn advance the entire field—by taking the lessons from the highest performing colleges and preparing to bring those lessons to their first presidencies.”

View Dr. Penn’s bio on the Aspen Institute website.