Rio Salado College’s Aaron Coe Selected into National Emerging Leaders Program
Purpose. Plan. Pivot.
Leadership at colleges and universities focus daily on their purpose, planning next steps months and years in advance. Members of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) bring together this planning community to share “perspectives, resources, best practices, and fresh ideas.”
SCUP selected Rio Salado’s Dr. Aaron Coe, program manager in the division of Strategy and Advancement, to join the next cohort of Emerging Leaders, a one-year program of learning and networking that began during the group’s annual conference this month.
Coe said the program offers an “opportunity to grow” as he develops additional skills to help craft future strategies for Rio Salado. It also creates a stage for Rio to shine as leaders from across the college share practices. Coe was joined at the conference by Janelle Elias, vice president of Strategy and Advancement, as well as Jason Reiche and Dr. Lily Davidov, who presented on the college’s Innovation Think Tank.
“I think that's one of the beautiful things about higher education as a whole,” Coe said. “Whatever it is you do - financial aid, academic advisor, admissions - all of those have communities, just like this planning community. This is an example of what’s out there for almost everyone in the college.”
The Emerging Leaders program includes participation in both this year’s conference and next year’s conference, as well as online meetings with all 30 leaders selected from across the country. Coe hopes to also come away with his own presentation proposal for the 2023 conference.
“Not only do they see your name and see Rio Salado, but they’re hearing our ideas,” he said. “I think that it’s significant in that we are doing things on the leading edge.”
Since joining Rio in 2018, Coe’s role puts him at the center of strategic planning, national partnership, and college improvement. He’s one of the college’s driving forces behind 4DX, a practice that encourages employees to focus much of their work on the steps that will help the college achieve its three strategic goals in the areas of student goal attainment, microcredentials, and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB).
"Aaron's program design and management skills have been critical for the college to implement systematic approaches to facilitate continuous improvement. Aaron led the college to realize our 4DX operating system and our department review process. I look forward to seeing how this opportunity refines his practice and also how his perspectives and expertise influence the SCUP community."
Coe said the lessons from 4DX help employees connect the data and their day-to-day work to the strategic plan and the goals of the college and makes it more meaningful.
The lessons he’ll learn from SCUP will enhance that, he said.
“We are trying to be as intentional as possible with planning,” Coe said. “How do we look ahead and behind? That becomes really important to us, as well. How do we connect in there and adopt best practices in the field? That’s how I look at it - as an opportunity to do that.”