Dr. Ballinger Selected for Aspen Presidential Fellowship

Press Release

Posted April 7, 2016


Highly Selective Program Designed to Address Critical Shortage of Community College Presidents

Marcia Ballinger
Marcia Ballinger

Elyria, OH., April 7, 2016 – The Aspen Institute today announced that Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., Lorain County Community College’s provost/vice president for Academic and Learner Services, has been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence as one of 40 exceptional community college leaders in the country.  With nearly 30 years of experience in progressive community college leadership roles, Ballinger has demonstrated experience and results in advancing the comprehensive mission of community colleges, from education reform, policy-making, fund raising, economic growth and community development.

“Dr. Ballinger has been instrumental in spearheading the college’s strategic initiatives that have led to increased educational opportunities and student success,” said LCCC President Roy Church. “She has been a tireless champion working on behalf of Lorain County Community College on the local, state and national level on all fronts:  student success, workforce development, economic growth and contributing to the vitality of our community.”

Most recently, in her role as Provost/Vice President, Ballinger has led LCCC’s charge to improve student completion.  Efforts championed by her have seen a 63 percent increase in the three-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time students and a 44 percent increase in the number of associate degree and credentials awarded since 2011.

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., named Ballinger to the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows, a diverse group of 40 extraordinary leaders with the drive and capacity to transform community colleges to achieve higher levels of student success.

Over the next decade, 75 percent of current community college presidents are expected to retire, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence aims to equip college leaders with the tools they need to dramatically improve student outcomes. The Fellowship is a highly selective yearlong program to prepare leaders aspiring, or recently appointed, to the community college presidency. 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.

Ballinger was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams, demonstrate results, cultivate partnerships and focus on outcome-oriented improvements in student success and access.

Some of Ballinger’s achievements include:

  • Leading the strategic development of Lorain County Community College’s University Partnership Program, which offers more than 40 bachelor’s and master’s degrees at LCCC. Since its inception, Lorain County’s education attainment at the baccalaureate level has moved from last in the 17-county Northeast Ohio region to 7 in the region
  • Spearheading the establishment of learning centers throughout Lorain County to provide greater access to programs and services in under-served areas
  • Providing leadership for the planning, implementation and administration of the Early College High School for first-generation college students
  • Launching high school dual enrollment partnerships and strategies that have resulted in more than 20 percent of Lorain County high school students graduating with college credit
  • Championing the creation of the My University Guarantee that accelerates the opportunities for high school students, who are pursuing dual enrollment through College Credit Plus, to earn bachelor’s degrees by age 20 at 80 percent less cost that the traditional four-year degree
  • Serving as LCCC’s lead for Completion by Design, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative, and serves on the Completion by Design National Presidents and Chancellor’s group
  • Leading LCCC’s Achieving the Dream initiative to assist students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college credential. Using an evidence-based, student-centered model, and built on the values of equity and excellence, LCCC with the help of the Achieving the Dream and its member institutions, is working to close achievement gaps and accelerate student success by: 1) improving results at institutions, 2) influencing public policy, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public
  • Participating on national committees and panels for the American Association of Community Colleges, Jobs for the Future, Lumina Foundation, among others
  • Serving as one of six key strategists of the Ohio Association of Community College’s Performance Funding Consultation that was charged with the design of the system and metrics that led to the Ohio’s community college performance funding metrics, which were approved by the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and recommended to the Governor for adoption
  • Driving statewide policy development recommendations for student completion
  • Leading efforts to scale student completion strategies statewide and nationally.
  • Increasing college and foundation financial support through grants, tax levies and philanthropic fund raising.
  • Demonstrating results-oriented economic and community development strategies that support business and job growth and enhance the quality of life in our community.

The 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellows hail from 17 states and 30 community colleges of varying sizes and will begin their program in July 2016 at Stanford University with anticipated completion in Spring 2017.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.

Learn more about The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence
and the 40 leaders selected