Two Austin Community College leaders have been selected for the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. Dr. Dorado Kinney, Central Region Campuses executive dean, and Dr. Gaye Lynn Scott, Academic Programs associate vice president, are part of a cohort of 40 leaders who will take part in a 10-month leadership program.
"Drs. Kinney and Scott are dedicated leaders who are committed to the community college mission to help all students succeed," says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. "As Aspen Fellows, they will develop transformative models to help lift our most underserved students and build equity across the district. I'm proud to support them in this journey."
The Aspen Presidential Fellowship responds to a specific and growing need for a new generation of leaders. Fellows focus on initiatives to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success, both in college and in the labor market.
"Evidence shows that substantial improvements in student success are achieved only when presidents have the commitment and skill needed to lead change within their institutions and through partnerships in the community," said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program. "These fellows have been chosen because they embody that commitment and, we believe, will build their skills even further to become transformational presidents."
Scott recently led ACC's initiative to develop two Z-degree programs which offer students an entire degree plan made up of classes that use free materials and open educational resources. Z-degree classes have saved students more than $3 million in textbook costs and are having a huge impact on students' persistence and success. She also led efforts to embed equity in faculty hiring, develop eight-week programs, move to a more strategic approach to scheduling, and launch an early alert program.
Kinney has more than 20 years of experience as a student affairs administrator. At ACC, he oversees districtwide initiatives related to instructional testing and assessment, student rights and responsibilities, and veterans outreach. He also has been actively involved with outreach and retention for African American males at the college.
Beginning July 2019, Kinney and Scott will join other Fellows in a series of action-driven seminars, developed in partnership with Stanford University, and mentoring with top community college leaders.
Nationally, nearly 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade. The pathway to replace them has traditionally excluded women and people of color.
The incoming class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is 65 percent female and non-binary, 43 percent are people of color, and their institutions vary widely in size and location.
For more information, visit the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence webpage.