Leadership Imperative

The community college presidency is a different job today than it once was.  Reductions in public funding, greater diversity among students and their learning styles, increased competition from new delivery systems, ever changing technology, and increased demands for accountability and higher quality for lower costs make it necessary for presidents to apply new skill sets.  Based on research and reflection, ATD and The Aspen Institute conclude that there are five qualities, above all others, common among highly effective presidents, regardless of the context within which they lead:

  • Deep commitment to student access and success – persistent and almost  zealous drive to ensure student success
  • Willingness to take significant risks to advance student success – taking ownership of low success rates as a tactic to build urgency for an improvement agenda
  • The ability to create lasting change within the college – by building urgency, creating strong plans, collaborating with and listening to faculty and support staff, and implementing and evaluating change strategies
  • Having a strong broad strategic vision for the college and its students, reflected in external partnerships
  • Raise and allocate resources in ways aligned to student success – both entrepreneurial and strategic

Pilot symposia for Leader College and Aspen Prize presidents held in 2013 and 2014 have generated written and video materials that will be shared with graduate schools of education and national associations that offer preparation and professional development to community college leaders.

A partnership with AACC, ACCT, League for Innovation, and The Aspen Institute will further bring attention to the necessity for stronger investments in leadership preparation for the community college field, with attention to leadership at all levels including trustees, the presidency, and faculty and staff.

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