Dean tapped for prestigious fellowship's inaugural class

  • Harper College News Bureau
  • April 18, 2016

The Aspen Institute announced Dr. Mark Mrozinski, Harper College’s Dean of Continuing Education Mark Mrozinskiand Business Outreach, is among its inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.

The Washington, D.C.-based educational and policy studies organization selected a diverse group of 40 extraordinary leaders with the drive and capacity to transform community colleges to achieve higher levels of student success. Mrozinski, who also serves as Assistant to the President for Special Projects at Harper, is the lone Fellow from Illinois.

“I believe that Mark has the skills, passion and focus necessary to be an effective president at a 21st century community college,” said Harper College President Dr. Ken Ender. “The Fellowship will allow him to develop additional expertise in the area of student success strategies, an essential skillset for today’s community college leaders.”

Over the next decade, the majority of current community college presidents are expected to retire. At the same time, increasing numbers of students are flocking to community colleges to earn degrees that lead to good jobs, but too few actually graduate.

The Fellowship aims to equip college leaders with the tools they need to dramatically improve student outcomes. The highly selective year-long program will prepare leaders aspiring, or recently appointed, to the community college presidency. Beginning in July, Fellows will participate in a series of innovative seminars and ongoing mentorship focused on a new vision for leadership, delivered in collaboration with Stanford University faculty and top community college leaders.

“This class of remarkable Fellows will expand the talent pipeline to the presidency at a time of dramatic presidential turnover and urgent need to improve student outcomes,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “These individuals are deeply committed to making a difference – they are eager to take bold action to help more students, especially those facing the greatest odds, earn credentials that reflect rigorous learning and lead to well-paying jobs.”

The Aspen Institute said the rigorous selection process considered Mrozinski’s abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

Mrozinski holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wilkes University, a Master of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Doctor of Education degree from National Louis University. His post-doctoral studies include the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University.

Mrozinski said he sees community colleges as essential catalysts for social change and devotes his leadership to realizing that vision. He aspires to lead a community college focusing on affordability and student success.

Postsecondary education, he believes, has moved from desirable to indispensable. It’s up to community colleges to become more responsive to students and the rapidly changing workforce.

“I believe the Aspen Institute will work to develop a cohort of transformational leaders who can in turn help community colleges transform themselves,” Mrozinski said. “This is an exciting opportunity and I’m honored to be part of it.”

Media contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159