May 18, 2020
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. DeAnna Burt (‘09, PhD Education Leadership, Research and Technology), vice president of student and academic affairs at South Central College in Mankato, Minnesota, has been chosen as one of forty 2020-21 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows.
Dr. Burt was selected through a rigorous process that considered candidates’ abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams, cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student access and success. She has held varied progressive campus and system leadership roles across diverse campus settings in several states and her leadership has been pivotal to advancing key campus and system strategic priorities for student success, implementing operational efficiencies, and facilitating culture change. “Being selected as an Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow is a prestigious honor. It is the result of years of dedicated and comprehensive work leading to my selection as one of only 40 of the hundreds of applicants for this highly selective and competitive national fellowship. The gift of being mentored by the nation's most prominent community college leaders, innovators and champions will undoubtedly shape my leadership now and into the future,” shared Dr. Burt.
She is characterized as a visionary and authentic leader, an inspiration, a systems thinker, and a woman of integrity. She maintains a laser-like focus as an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, educational access and attainment, philanthropy, and workforce development at the local, state and national levels. “My career choices and research interests bear witness to my passion for student access and success, and particularly on the behalf of our nation's most vulnerable and at-risk student populations. It is my aspiration that through this fellowship, I will enhance, refine and intensify my ability to innovate and facilitate positive impact across higher education now and, in the near future, through the office of the presidency.”
The fellowship is delivered by the Aspen Institute in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative and aims to address the dramatic turnover in the community college presidency by recruiting and developing exceptional leaders. The fellowship includes residential seminars, mentoring by veteran college presidents, and the development of a strategic leadership vision through a capstone project. The ten-month fellowship begins in June.