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Dr. Pamela Lau of Parkland College Chosen for National Presidential Fellowship for Community College Leaders
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Dr. Pamela Lau of Parkland College Chosen for National Presidential Fellowship for Community College Leaders

40 Aspiring Community College Presidents to Participate in 2021-2022 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today announced that Pamela Lau, Executive Vice President at Parkland College, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, a highly selective leadership program preparing 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 College Excellence Program. "We have selected these fellows because they share that commitment and are well-positioned to become transformational leaders."

"Dr. Lau is the right choice for this prestigious honor," said President Ramage. "No one is more prepared to rise to the challenges facing community colleges today and lead our campus into the future. I am confident that Dr. Lau will become a leader among the next generation of community college presidents. Her participation in this fellowship will result in innovative, adaptive strategies that will support the continued success of Parkland students."

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.

Parkland College is a fully accredited public community college serving the needs of District 505, Illinois' third largest community college district. Offering 130+ degree and certificate options for career placement or academic transfer, Parkland has provided vocational-technical skills training and traditional academic instruction to more than 350,000 people since 1967. Parkland College's mission is to cultivate inquiry, practical application of knowledge, and broad enrichment across the community to better serve the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of the district.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

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