About the Curriculum

Introduction & Terms of Use


Not since the 1960’s has there been a time of greater urgency regarding the leadership of America’s community colleges. It seems as though new presidential vacancies at community colleges are being announced every week somewhere in the country. And never before has there been such a dramatically changing environment within which community college presidents have had to lead. Fluctuating enrollments, increasing student diversity, shifting accountability, declining funding, and changing definitions of student success make the job of leading today’s community colleges more challenging than ever before.

Where will the tomorrow’s community college leaders gain the knowledge and skill that will enable them to navigate these uncertain and challenging waters? A partial answer to that question comes from The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program which has developed Leading for Community College Excellence: Curricular Resources for organizations and programs seeking to develop the next generation of community college leaders. Community college executive development programs, professional development conferences, and university graduate programs alike will find valuable facilitator guides, case studies, videos, and activities that can supplement and enrich their leadership development efforts.

The resources and activities of Leading for Community College Excellence are designed primarily to help develop new community college presidents but they can be easily adapted for use with sitting presidents, community college executives, and even institutional teams leading efforts to achieve higher levels of student success and college excellence. The Aspen curriculum is not designed to address every aspect of community college leadership, but critical issues such as foundational principles of leading for student success, core student success strategies, and evidenced-based reforms are all presented within a framework that emphasizes improving student outcomes in college access and equity, learning, completion, and employment.

I encourage all who are interested in the future leadership of America’s community colleges to review Aspen’s Leading for Community College Excellence: Curricular Resources and to consider adapting appropriate portions of this curriculum into their leadership development program and activities.

Bob Templin; Senior Fellow, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute; President Emeritus, Northern Virginia Community College


Terms of Use

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program carries a Creative Commons license, which permits noncommercial re-use of any of our content when proper attribution is provided. You are free to copy, display, and distribute our work, or include our content in derivative works, under the College Excellence Program’s following conditions:

Attribution and Notification: You must clearly attribute the work to the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program or any other attributed organizations. You must also provide a print or digital copy of the work to keith.witham@aspeninstitute.org.

When citing the materials, we prefer that the following citation is used: Source: College Excellence Program, Leading for Community College Excellence: Curricular Resources, The Aspen Institute (2017).

You may not remove, obscure, or modify the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program logo, or any other organization’s logos that appear in the curricular materials.

Noncommercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Written permission must be obtained from the owners of the copy/ literary rights and from the College Excellence Program for any publication or commercial use of reproductions.

Additional materials and support: Facilitation materials and handouts are provided here in pdf form. Materials in editable forms (word documents, powerpoints, etc.) can be requested from the College Excellence Program. If you are interested in obtaining additional support or resources for utilizing these materials, please email keith.witham@aspeninstitute.org. We encourage adaptation of these materials under the Creative Commons license.

For the full legal code of this Creative Commons license, please visit creativecommons.org.

The development of these curricular resources was made possible by generous support from the AACC Pathways Project, Lumina Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.