PORT ANGELES — The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has selected Steven Thomas, Peninsula College’s vice president of instruction, for the 2022-23 class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship.
Thomas is one of 31 selected nationwide for the fellowship, Peninsula College announced in a press release.
“We are thrilled Dr. Thomas was selected to participate in Aspen’s highly regarded program,” said Suzy Ames, college president.
“He is clearly an up-and-comer in community college executive-level leadership and has a lot to offer. The Aspen Institute is renowned nationally for preparing future community college presidents.”
The program, delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, aims to prepare the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.
Many sitting community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade, creating vacancies and an opportunity to diversify college leadership, according to the press release.
“Aspen Presidential Fellows represent the next generation of college leadership,” the release said.
“This incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is 70 percent female, and 54 percent are people of color. The institutions they represent are also diverse, located in 16 states, from small rural colleges to large urban campuses.”
The fellows, who were selected through a competitive process, will work closely with community college presidents, Aspen leaders and Stanford University faculty over 10 months to learn from field-leading research, define and assess student success at their colleges, and clarify their visions for excellent and equitable outcomes for students.
Rising Presidents Fellows aspire to enter a college presidency within five years of completing the fellowship. As fellows, they join a network of more than 300 peers — 122 of whom are sitting college presidents.
“I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to grow as a leader, and I am excited about the possibility of leveraging this fellowship experience for the benefit of Peninsula College and the community that the college serves,” Thomas said.
The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship is made possible by the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation College Futures Foundation, Joyce Foundation and JPMorgan Chase.