Aspen selects two RCBC leaders to participate in national fellowship
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2022

Headshot of Dr. Cioce and Dr. Archambault

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program announced on Monday that it selected two Rowan College at Burlington County executives to be part of national fellowships designed to support new and prospective presidents achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.

RCBC President Dr. Michael A. Cioce is one of 26 selected for the 2022-23 class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship and RCBC Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Dr. Karen Archambault is one of 31 selected for the 2022-23 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. 

The program is made possible with support from JPMorgan Chase. The fellows, selected through a competitive process, will work closely with other transformational community college presidents and Aspen leaders over nine months to learn from field-leading research, analyze their colleges’ student outcomes and clarify their visions for excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

Of the 54 institutions represented in these classes, RCBC is one of three that had a representative selected in each group.

“Rowan College at Burlington County is the top community college in New Jersey and among the best in the country,” said RCBC Board Chair Dr. Anthony Wright. “Earning an Aspen Fellowship is quite impressive. Having two leaders from the same institution really speaks to the RCBC’s dedication to self-improvement and commitment to improve student outcomes.”


RCBC President Dr. Michael A. Cioce

Dr. Cioce was installed as RCBC’s sixth president in 2018 after rising from Financial Aid director to Enrollment Management executive director, Enrollment Management and Student Success vice president and interim president.

As a first-generation college student, Dr. Cioce believes that success hinges upon work ethic, creativity and a refusal to accept the status quo, which explains his many accomplishments at RCBC including:

  • Served a pivotal role in launching RCBC’s 3+1 program that allows students to earn a Rowan University bachelor’s degree for less tuition than most universities charge for a single year. Students have saved more than $16.5 million in the program’s first five years.

  • Played a critical role in forming a task force of New Jersey community college presidents predicated on implementing a new funding formula that offers fair representation to all students in the state. This initiative led to a $10 million increase in operating aid to county colleges and grew RCBC’s state aid by 20%, making it the first increase of its kind in 13 years.

  • Launched the first Saxbys Cafe at a community college, which provides students with the opportunity to gain academic credit, real-life entrepreneurial skills and competitive wages.

“I look forward to learning from some of my peers who face many of the same challenges and have found their own creative solutions to benefit students,” Dr. Cioce said. “This is a unique opportunity to learn directly from innovative leaders and develop new ways to improve how we serve our students.”


RCBC Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Dr. Karen Archambault

Dr. Archambault joined RCBC in 2015 as dean of Enrollment Management before becoming vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success in 2018.

As leader of the largest division on campus, Dr. Archambault has focused her efforts on improving student performance, especially among communities that have been underrepresented in higher education.

Fostering an inclusive and collaborative approach, Dr. Archambault has been instrumental in a number of RCBC accomplishments including:

  • Earning selection into the American Council on Education’s Learner Success Lab cohort. RCBC is one of nine colleges in the country participating in this effort, which includes an 18-month inclusive learning community that integrates evidenced-based practices for retention and completion, career exploration and workforce skills development.

  • Securing a five-year, $2.2 million federal grant to improve RCBC’s ability to help students succeed by increasing the number of students who complete 30 credits in their first year, improving retention and graduation rates among low-income and minority male students, creating a more meaningful orientation process and investing in technology and faculty training to create more high-tech classrooms and low-cost course materials.

  • Obtaining a $375,000 federal grant to open the Center of Excellence for Veterans Student Success as part of an initiative to improve retention and graduation rates among veteran students.

Dr. Archambault has co-edited a book “Comprehensive Advisor Training and Development” for NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising, which will be available in September.

“I’m honored to join the 2022-23 Aspen Institute Rising Presidents Fellowship and look forward to developing new ways to increase student success and equity at Rowan College at Burlington County,” Dr. Archambault said. “We’ll learn from national leaders, build a network of forward-thinking peers, and apply grounded and innovative strategies to meet challenges facing our students and institutions.”

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society and democracy.

“On behalf of our entire board we would like to congratulate President Cioce and Vice President Archambault,” Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell said.