Tammi Oyadomari-Chun, associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2020–21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. The highly competitive leadership program prepares the next generation of community college leaders to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program made the announcement on May 4, 2020. Rising Presidents 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.
“Tammi has been a driving force behind a number of initiatives at UH including Hawaii P–20, Returning Adults, and “Onramps 2020,” a new project to offer summer community college classes to 2020 high school graduates. This fellowship is an opportunity for Tammi and for UH to contribute to national conversations about transforming higher education, post-COVID,” said UH President David Lassner.
Oyadomari-Chun has held key positions in Hawaiʻi‘s government and nonprofit sectors, including assistant superintendent for the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance at the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education; vice president for programs at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation; policy analyst for the Office of the Governor; and executive director for Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education. Previously, she also conducted education and social policy research at the RAND Corporation and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship responds to the growing need for a new generation of leaders well-equipped to meet future challenges. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of sitting presidents plan to retire in the next decade. While the traditional pathway to the presidency has excluded women and people of color, the incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is composed of 70 percent women and 61 percent people of color and represents institutions of varying sizes and locations.
“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.”
Together, the 2020–21 fellows are leaders at colleges that collectively serve more than 500,000 students. As well, 42 Rising Presidents Fellowship alumni have become presidents of community colleges that collectively serve an additional 500,000 students nationwide.
—By Kelli Trifonovitch