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Cuyamaca College president selected for Aspen Institute fellowship

Posted on: Feb 4, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Contact: Anne Krueger anne.krueger@gcccd.edu

Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes has been selected by the Aspen Institute to join the 2020-21 inaugural class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship program.

 The new initiative is designed to support community college presidents in the early years of their tenure to accelerate transformational change on behalf of students. Barnes is one of 25 college leaders selected from more than 100 applicants for the Aspen Fellowship, which is funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and run by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The leaders, all of whom are in their first five years at their post, begin their seven-month fellowship in June. Their institutions span 15 states and vary widely, from a rural college with fewer than 2,000 students to a statewide system that educates more than 150,000.

“I am truly honored to be selected for this prestigious program that will benefit our students and, in turn, our community,” Barnes said. “The Aspen Presidential Fellowship’s focus on student success and equity resonates with the mission and vision of Cuyamaca College which is a higher education leader. I cannot wait to learn all I can to make certain the college remains on the cutting edge in meeting student needs.”

Barnes began her tenure as Cuyamaca College president in October 2015. Under her leadership, Cuyamaca College instituted reforms that have markedly increased the number of students completing transfer-level math and English classes. The college was honored with the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award from the California Community Colleges and recognized nationally by Excelencia in Education.

Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, said that kind of leadership is critical. “We know more than ever before about how community colleges can improve outcomes for students, both in and after college,” he said. “And the urgency for them to do so only increases – especially for students of color and low-income students. These fellows have shown they are fully, urgently committed to excellence and equity, and we look forward to working alongside them.”

JPMorgan Chase is funding the Aspen Presidential Fellowship as part of New Skills at Work, a five-year, $350 million investment to support community colleges and other pathways to great careers and economic mobility.

“By preparing students and workers for in-demand jobs and meeting the training needs of businesses, community colleges are critical institutions for their regions’ prosperity and development,” said Jennie Sparandara, head of workforce initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program to build the next generation of diverse community college leaders.”

The program for new presidents complements the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, which has been serving aspiring presidents since 2016. Of the nearly 160 fellows who have taken part in the Rising Presidents Fellowship, 41 are now community college presidents.

Julianna Barnes

Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes

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