Lake Worth, Fla. – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (Aspen) has announced that Tunjarnika L. Coleman-Ferrell, Ed.D., vice president of academic affairs at Palm Beach State College, is one of 31 leaders selected for the 2022-23 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship.

The program, delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, prepares 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.

Aspen fellows represent the next generation of college leadership: The 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, selected through a competitive process, will work closely with highly accomplished community college presidents, Aspen leaders, and Stanford University faculty over ten 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 while in college and after they graduate.

Ava L. Parker, PBSC president, said she is pleased that Coleman-Ferrell was selected among a distinguished group of leaders.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Nika to continue to grow as a higher education leader. Her energy and commitment to student success is evident on campus and among her peers. She has over 30 years of higher education experience and this program will enhance her amazing foundation. I’m confident that she will continue to excel and make us all proud.”

Rising Presidents Fellows aspire to enter a college presidency within five years of completing the fellowship. As fellows, they join a network of over 300 forward-thinking peers – 122 of whom are sitting college presidents – who are applying grounded and innovative strategies to meet student success challenges in their colleges.

Coleman-Ferrell is a champion for students of diverse backgrounds. Growing up in Riviera Beach, Fla., she was inspired by her mother, a U.S. Army veteran and licensed practical nurse, who taught her to never shy away from challenges. Affectionately known as “Nika,” her daily mantra is #MakeItHappen.

Coleman-Ferrell has 30 years of academic, student services and administrative experience in higher education centered on improving educational quality and access for all students. Her K-12, community college and university positions include professor, chair, associate dean, dean of academic affairs, dean of student services, provost and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) visiting team member.