WCC's Dr. Kimberly Hurns chosen for national presidential fellowship for community college leaders

August 6, 2021 Fran LeFort


Dr. Kimberly Hurns, Executive Vice President for Instruction & Academic Affairs at Washtenaw Community College, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has announced.

Dr. Kimberly HurnsThe highly selective leadership program prepares 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 the 10-month fellowship beginning in November 2021. 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.

“To become institutions that truly advance social mobility and talent development, community colleges must have presidents with a clear vision for equitable student success,” said Monica Clark, director of leadership initiatives at the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We have selected these fellows because they share that commitment and are well-positioned to become transformational leaders.”

“Dr. Hurns is a result-oriented, exceptional leader who has led the charge to actively focus on student success. Her excitement and drive related to access and success will benefit the entire program,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.

At WCC Hurns has scaled strategic initiatives and expanded the focus on student success by creating positions focused on retention and completion. She developed a comprehensive transfer strategy, adopted three-year cohort goals for completion and implemented professional development for teaching.

“I am honored to be in company with community college leaders from across the country in such a prestigious program," Hurns said. "I am extremely fortunate to have the support of President Bellanca and Washtenaw Community College and am looking forward to learning and growing as a leader.”

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 often excluded women and people of color, the incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is composed of 68 percent women and 70 percent people of color, and represents institutions of varying sizes and locations.

Together, the 2021-22 fellows are leaders at colleges that collectively serve more than 400,000 students. As well, 67 Rising Presidents Fellowship alumni have become presidents of community colleges that collectively serve an additional 953,000 students nationwide.

A complete list of the 2021-22 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship class is available on the Aspen Rising website.

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