Guttman Dean Selected For 2018-2019 Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence



April 26, 2018 | Awards, Fellowships

Marissa R. Schlesinger

Marissa R. Schlesinger, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Guttman Community College, New York, NY, April 26, 2018 – Marissa R. Schlesinger, Associate Dean of  Academic Affairs at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY, has been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a leadership program aimed at preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions across the nation to help students be more successful both in college and in the workforce.

The fellowship is awarded by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., that aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes.

“Marissa now has a unique opportunity to build upon her leadership and administrative talents. We look forward to her continued achievements in the Program in the coming year,” noted Guttman President Scott E. Evenbeck.

Schlesinger and the 39 other Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning July 2018. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the Fellows will be mentored by community college leaders who have had outstanding results for their students, learn from national experts about ways to use data to make their students more successful, and learn how to create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, and employers in their community.

About the Aspen Presidential Fellowship

The Aspen Fellowship responds to a growing need for a new generation of leaders who are well-equipped to meet the challenges facing community colleges:

  • Nationally, nearly 80 percent of sitting presidents plan to retire in the next decade.
  • Traditionally, the path to college presidency has excluded women and people of color: Currently, 71 percent of sitting community college presidents are white and 64 percent are male.
  • The incoming class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is composed of 65 percent women, 43 percent people of color, and represents institutions of varying size and geographical spread. Marissa R. Schlesinger was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

With the average community college enrolling about 14,000 students, each Fellow who becomes a president has an opportunity to improve outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students over his or her career. To date, 20 Aspen Presidential Fellows are now sitting community college presidents at institutions that collectively serve more than 250,000 students nationwide.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, College Futures Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About Marissa R. Schlesinger

Marissa R. Schlesinger spent 13 years at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, where she taught Art History from 2002-2010, and from 2010-2015 served as Associate Director and then Director of Academic Affairs and de facto Chief of Staff to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Marissa’s areas of specialization in academic administration include enrollment management, academic scheduling, equity, and learning communities. She is on the editorial board of Learning Communities Research and Practice and has been a member of the resource faculty of the Washington Center’s National Summer Institute for Learning Communities. She is a national speaker on topics such as Collaborative Leadership, Institutional Change, Program Implementation and Institutionalization, and Learning Communities pedagogy and administration.

Although a native Brooklynite from a CUNY family, Marissa received her A.B. in the Art and Archaeology of the Near East from Smith College, her M.A. in Ancient Studies from the University of Toronto, and is a doctoral candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She studied Egyptology at University College London, received field archaeology training through Harvard University, and has excavated in Israel and Greece. She regularly lectures on ancient Egyptian art and culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at GCC, Marissa is responsible for class scheduling, faculty workload, all matters related to adjunct faculty, curriculum administration and the First Year Experience (FYE) program.

About Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College is CUNY’s first new community college in over four decades. Inspired by former CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s desire to drastically improve graduation rates for students with a diverse range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds who have often been underserved by higher education, the College officially opened its doors in midtown Manhattan, overlooking Bryant Park, on August 20, 2012.

The College offers associate degree programs as part of an innovative model with an emphasis on experiential education, the adoption of learning communities and instructional teams, and a strong value placed on being simultaneously “high tech” and “high touch.” The College provides a supportive environment that nurtures student success with the goal to increase the graduation rate for our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. All students begin in the required Summer Bridge Program and engage fulltime in a city-centered first-year experience before starting their major coursework in one of five degree programs. Instructional teams comprising faculty members, student success advocates, graduate coordinators, peer mentors and library staff create a rich classroom environment complemented by an integrated advisement program to help students stay on the path to graduation.