RTC president awarded fellowship

Renton Technical College (RTC) President is one of 25 in the nation taking place in a prestigious fellowship.

Kevin McCarthy will be joining the 2020-21 inaugural class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship. A RTC press release that’s the new initiative is meant to support community college presidents so they can accelerate transformation change for their students.

Over 100 applicants applied to the program, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and ran by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. All fellows are in their first five years as college president, and seen as the future leaders of the nation’s colleges.

The release states that nearly 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next 10 years. This program makes sure younger college leaders, like McCarthy, are ready to move schools into the future. He started as president in July 2015 after serving as vice president of instruction at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, dean of the Health Sciences, Education, and Wellness Institute at Bellevue College and the associate vice president of instruction at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon.

“McCarthy is committed to student success and equity, and he has advanced both as president,” Frieda Takamura, chair of the RTC Board of Trustees, stated in a RTC press release. “This is a wonderful opportunity for him to learn even more about how to best serve RTC students now and in the future.”

The seven-month fellowship begins June 2020. McCarthy and others were selected for commitment to student success and equity, willingness to take risk for improving student outcomes and being able to lead change. A majority of students at RTC are people of color, 69 percent.

RTC has been named one of the 150 top community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute, the same group offering the fellowship, four times in a row. The community college has a 66 percent completion rate (the highest in the state).

“We know more than ever before about how community colleges can improve outcomes for students, both in and after college,” Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, stated in a press release. “And the urgency for them to do so only increases – especially for students of color and low-income students. These fellows have shown they are fully, urgently committed to excellence and equity, and we look forward to working alongside them.”

Other fellows from Washington state include Ivan Harrell at Tacoma Community College, Suzanne Johnson at Green River College and Kevin Brockbank at Spokeane Community College.