Dr. Levy Brown, Jr., vice president of learning, student engagement & success at Vance-Granville Community College, has been selected to participate in the 2021-22 class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, a national leadership program designed to prepare the next generation of community college presidents.
Brown is one of 40 community college administrators chosen for the 10-month fellowship, which begins in November. He is one of two from North Carolina to be selected.
Nationally, almost 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade, according to information provided by VGCC. The Aspen fellowship program works to equip the next generation of leaders to meet the challenges of the future.
“The opportunity to be a part of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship is something I do not take for granted,” Brown said. “I am truly humbled and grateful for the chance to develop lasting professional relationships, exchange innovative ideas and engage in deep thought about what community college excellence looks like, both now and in the future.”
Brown and the other 39 participants were selected because they share a commitment to make higher education better by being transformational leaders, according to Monica Clark, director of leadership initiatives at the College Excellence Program. “To become institutions that truly advance social mobility and talent development, community colleges must have presidents with a clear vision for equitable student success,” Clark said.
VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais said being selected is an honor for the college and for Brown, who has been with VGCC for four years.
“As an Aspen Community College Presidential Fellowship Cohort 2 participant, I know the incredible value and honor of being selected for this program,” Desmarais said in a statement to WIZS News. “On behalf of Vance-Granville Community College, I am incredibly proud that Dr. Brown has been admitted to this program and will benefit both professionally and personally from participation. Dr. Brown will be able to hone his transformational leadership skills amongst the senior fellows and incoming participant fellows in this auspicious program.”
During the program, fellows will be mentored by current and former community college presidents who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students during their careers in education. Through collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, participants 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 community partners.
Brown was vice president of student services at VGCC, and in his current role, serves as the college’s chief academic and student affairs officer. He is responsible for leading and working collaboratively with faculty and staff in the areas of academic programs, teaching and learning, student success, equity and inclusion, enrollment management, K-12 partnerships and other areas.
Before coming to VGCC, Brown was dean of arts & sciences at Lenoir Community College. He is a graduate of East Carolina University, and has a master’s degree in library science from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on higher education from East Carolina University.