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CLC president selected to join Aspen New Presidents Fellowship

Hara Charlier
Hara Charlier

Central Lakes College President Hara Charlier was selected by the Aspen Institute to join the 2020-21 inaugural class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship, a new initiative designed to support community college presidents in the early years of their tenure to accelerate transformational change on behalf of students.

Charlier is one of 25 Aspen Fellows selected from more than 100 applicants for this opportunity, which is fully funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and run by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. The leaders, all of whom are in their first five years as a college president, will engage in a seven-month fellowship beginning in June 2020.

โ€œIโ€™m truly excited about this opportunity,โ€ Charlier stated in a news release. โ€œAt Central Lakes College, we take our mission to โ€˜build futuresโ€™ seriously, putting students at the center of all that we do. Our focus of advancing student success aligns well with that of the Aspen Institute, and I look forward to learning and growing with other fellows from across the nation.โ€

The fellows were selected for their commitment to student success and equity, willingness to take risks to improve outcomes, understanding of the importance of community partnerships, and ability to lead change.

โ€œWe know more than ever before about how community colleges can improve outcomes for students, both in and after college,โ€ Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, stated in the release. โ€œAnd the urgency for them to do so only increases โ€” especially for students of color and low-income students. These fellows have shown they are fully, urgently committed to excellence and equity, and we look forward to working alongside them.โ€

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Nearly 80% of community college presidents nationwide plan to retire in the next decade. Through this fellowship and its other leadership programs, Aspen is committed to helping replace those exiting the presidency with an exceptionally capable and highly diverse talent pool. According to the American Council on Education, only 36% of community college presidents are female and 20% are people of color. The incoming class of Aspen fellows, however, is 48% female and 40% people of color. Their institutions span 15 states and vary widely, from a rural college with fewer than 2,000 students to a statewide system that educates more than 150,000.

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