Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia College’s Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana campuses, has been awarded the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC, today announced that Plinske joins the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows, a diverse group of 40 extraordinary leaders with the drive and capacity to transform community colleges to achieve higher levels of student success.
Over the next decade, the majority of current community college presidents are expected to retire. At the same time, increasing numbers of students are flocking to community colleges to earn degrees that lead to good jobs, but too few actually graduate. The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence aims to equip college leaders with the tools they need to dramatically improve student outcomes. The Fellowship is a highly selective year-long program to prepare leaders aspiring, or recently appointed, to the community college presidency. Fellows will participate in a series of innovative seminars and ongoing mentorship focused on a new vision for leadership, delivered in collaboration with Stanford University faculty and top community college leaders.
“Dr. Plinske is already an amazing and impactful leader as a campus president at Valencia’s Osceola and Lake Nona Campuses,” said Valencia College President Sandy Shugart. “The Aspen program will give her an opportunity to grow both her leadership skills and her professional network among emerging leaders who, like her, will be important agents of transformation in higher education.”
Plinske was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.
The 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellows hail from 17 states and 30 community colleges of varying sizes and will begin their program in July 2016 at Stanford University with anticipated completion in Spring 2017. Applications for the second class will be available by September 30, 2016. For more information, visit: http://aspeninstitute.org/pres-fellowship.
The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.
Valencia College is one the nation’s largest and most recognized community colleges with more than 68,000 students. In 2011, Valencia won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence based on the strength of its graduation and transfer rates, as well as the high job placement rates of its workforce training programs. Valencia operates seven campuses and centers in Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties.