October 2, 2020 (Denver, CO) – Community College of Aurora (CCA) President Dr. Betsy Oudenhoven will step down on July 31, 2021 as part of her planned retirement, concluding 10 years of leadership at the college and a remarkable 42-year career in higher education that includes various leadership roles at 2 and 4-year colleges in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, and Illinois.

During her tenure, CCA has been recognized for its trailblazing leadership and innovation across a wide range of key student success areas including equity and inclusive excellence to close achievement gaps, and hands-on programs including its nationally and internationally recognized Film School, award-winning Model United Nations simulation team, NASA-funded space program, and regionally-renowned Disaster Management Institute for emergency first-responder training.

Dr. Oudenhoven started at CCA as the Vice President for Student Affairs in 2011 and became President in December of 2013 after serving as the interim president for five months. Today, she made her retirement announcement in a heartfelt message to employees and students. She will continue leading CCA through the academic year as the institution embarks on plans for the spring semester amidst COVID-19.

“Serving at CCA has been the greatest honor of my 42-year career in higher education,” said Dr. Oudenhoven. “I am incredibly proud of all that has been accomplished over the past ten years and I know that our hard work will continue to provide transformative opportunities for our students and our communities for years to come.

Our successes are the collective result of the dedication and hard work of CCA’s senior leaders; the commitment, creativity and student-centered focus of our talented faculty and instructors; the passion and compassion of our dedicated staff; and most importantly, the resolve, resilience and hard work of our incredible students.”

Among Dr. Oudenhoven’s major accomplishment are:

  • Advancing CCA’s leadership and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Over the course of several years, CCA pioneered a comprehensive approach to becoming a more equity-minded institution, diversifying their workforce, and closing the equity gap for students of color. CCA’s equity work has become a resource for institutions across the nation and received national recognition with the American Association of Community Colleges’ prestigious Advancing Diversity Award.
  • Overseeing comprehensive academic transformations to support student success through CCA’s developmental education redesign and implementation of a Guided Pathways approach that reimagined college advising and created a more transparent career mapping model.
  • Reaffirming CCA’s support to the surrounding community by significantly increasing concurrent/dual enrollment for high school students, and community enrollment in English as a Second Language (ESL) and High School Equivalency programs.
  • Expanding resources to increase support services for students by securing federal designation for CCA as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and acquiring a number of grants, including several high profile federal grants: National Science Foundation, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Grant; National Science Foundation, S-STEM Grant; U.S. Department of Education, TRIO Student Support Services (Regular and ESL) Grants; U.S. Department of Education, Title V HSI Grants; and the U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Working Families (SWFI) grant.

The early announcement allows the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) time to conduct a comprehensive search for CCA’s next president during the 2020-21 academic year and have a successor in place as Dr. Oudenhoven departs. CCCS will make more details available regarding a search committee and opportunity for community participation in the coming weeks.

“Dr. Oudenhoven will be tremendously missed,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. “Her insight, her genuine care and concern for others, and her ability to expertly move forward the priorities of equity, inclusive excellence, and student success has left a lasting legacy that will benefit CCA, the surrounding region, and the higher education sector for decades to come. We are deeply grateful for her exceptional service, and we appreciate that she will continue to lead CCA through this challenging and unprecedented time in the college’s history.”

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About the Community College of Aurora

The Community College of Aurora (CCA) provides high-quality instruction and student support services to Aurora and Denver, Colorado. The college offers courses on two campuses, online and through its high school concurrent-enrollment program, helping students prepare for employment or transfer to a four-year institution.

 

About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 40 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college.