Portrait of Dr. Jonathan Woodward

Dr. Jonathan Woodward, Executive Vice President of Teaching & Learning/Community Campus at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, is one of 40 leaders across the nation selected for the 2020-21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship.  The fellowship is a highly selected leadership program preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.  Woodward is the only Mississippian to ever receive the fellowship.

“It is truly an honor to be named to the prestigious Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship,” Woodward said.  “I look forward to collaborating with other community college leaders, learning new ways of approaching the challenges higher education faces, and collectively finding creative strategies for student success and organizational excellence.”

As part of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2020. 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.

“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 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.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Dr. Woodward over the years and watch him grow as a leader and a mentor to those around him,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “His desire to help others, coupled with his innovative vision, make him the perfect candidate for this opportunity. Among his many attributes, Dr. Woodward’s work ethic and commitment to excellence truly set him apart as a leader in higher education, and I look forward to watching him achieve even greater success in the future. We are proud to cultivate strong, dynamic leaders at Gulf Coast, and Jonathan is exactly the kind of leader we need to propel community colleges and their students toward greater success.”

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices and leadership strategies that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses.

For more information on the 40 named to the fellowship this year, visit  https://highered.aspeninstitute.org/meet-the-rising-presidents-fellows/.

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