Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., Lorain County Community College’s provost/vice president for Academic and Learner Services, has been named the recipient of the esteemed Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. The announcement was made by the Aspen Institute on April 7.
The Aspen Institute decided to include Ballinger to the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows, a group of 40 leaders that are instrumental in the betterment of community colleges across the nation, in recognition of her extreme devotion and progress she has made during her time at LCCC.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Their main goal is to encourage leadership based on set values and to provide a nonpartisan avenue for dealing with current pertinent issues. This is the first set of 40 fellowships they have awarded.
Ballinger has pursued many projects and initiatives during her nearly 30 years of experience working in community college settings in leadership roles. Some of her achievements include leading the development of LCCC’s University Partnership program, aiding in the planning and growth of the Early College High School, serving as LCCC’s lead for Completion by Design by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, leading LCCC’s Achieving the Dream initiative, and repeatedly showing goal-oriented economic and community development strategies that support both students and local cities.
The success of a leader can often be seen in the results of the demographic they cater to, and Ballinger’s accomplishments at the college can be cited with statistics. During her time at LCCC, she has lead the effort of encouraging student completion. The recent years have seen a 63 percent increase in three-year graduation rate for full-time students, as well as a 44 percent increase in associate degrees and credentials since 2011. Ballinger’s goal since the beginning of her time at LCCC has always been as an advocate for the students, and that is reflected even in her receiving of the honor bestowed from the Aspen Institute. “The real honor of this is what it means for the students,” said Ballinger.
Many can attest to Ballinger’s deservingness of the fellowship, coworkers and campus community alike. “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 Dr. 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.”
Due to Ballinger’s work ethic and diligent pursuance of making the college as great as it can be, LCCC has made great progress in the various initiatives that she has led. “Being able to demonstrate and think collectively is key, as is developing strategic partnerships with the external community,” explained Ballinger, “This [award] is very reflective of the tremendous progress that our institution has made. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Ballinger’s was selected as one of the 40 fellows through an intense process that included factors such as the ability to take strategic risk, emphasis on strong leadership in teams, demonstrate results, create partnerships and lasting relationships with the internal and the external communities, and a strong focus on result-oriented betterment to the college and an increase in student success.
As well as the honor of being selected by the Aspen Institute, Ballinger is currently one of the three finalists in the LCCC presidential search. Three open informational sessions will take place on April 8. The session for students will be held from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in iLoft, room 207. Faculty and staff will hold their session at the Spitzer Conference Center, room 117 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Finally, a session for Lorain county residents will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Spitzer Conference Center, room 207. All are encouraged to attend and participate in these question and answer sessions.