Aparna Palmer, PhD, joins FRCC to take on leadership role.
Front Range Community College’s campus in Longmont will soon have a new vice president—Aparna Palmer, PhD. She will also oversee the college’s nearby Center for Integrated Manufacturing.
As a new member of FRCC’s leadership team, Palmer brings with her more than 20 years of experience in higher education. She currently serves as the assistant vice president of academic affairs at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) and Western Colorado Community College (WCCC).
“Dr. Palmer has extensive experience in developing partnerships, implementing student success initiatives and nurturing an inclusive environment on campus,” said FRCC President Andy Dorsey. “Her expertise in building relationships with local businesses will help us to develop new opportunities for our students. Expanding our partnerships with industry and local school districts will help to strengthen the local and state economies.”
“Access to higher education expanded my world immensely and enabled me to reach my goals,” says Palmer. “My vision as an educator and leader is about increasing access to higher education for everyone who wants to work hard to earn a degree or credential.”
Palmer’s Background and Experience
In order to help CMU best meet the needs of its students—while responding to the workforce needs of the community and local employers—Palmer’s work has included:
- Leading several student success initiatives
- Helping develop new academic programs
- Managing professional development for faculty
- Overseeing two TRIO programs that serve students who have limited incomes, are first-generation college students and/or have documented disabilities
- Representing CMU/WCCC to the Colorado Department of Higher Education on academic matters
- Partnering with the local workforce center and chamber of commerce to expand internships
- Overseeing the creation of CMU’s new office of Student Success and Engagement
- Chairing the university’s Open Educational Resources Committee
Before that, Palmer taught biology at CMU, mentoring dozens of students through undergraduate research projects. She has served as president of the faculty senate and on CMU’s board of trustees. She also worked as director of the university’s academic honors program.
Vision for FRCC-Boulder County
Palmer’s experience as an administrator has focused on creating an academic environment that nurtures student success—helping students to stay in college and successfully reach their educational goals. She stresses the importance of “infusing educational experiences with rigor, creativity and innovation.”
Over the years, Palmer has helped lead CMU and WCCC’s efforts to make the campus environment both equitable and inclusive. “Diversity is one of the most important contributors to the richness of a learning institution,” she says. “It enables students to be better prepared to function in an increasingly interactive and globally-connected world.”
Palmer envisions herself contributing to FRCC’s ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence, educational equity and advancing opportunity for all. She is also passionate about recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce at the college. “I am passionate about creating a campus atmosphere that is accepting and inclusive so that all students, staff and faculty feel welcome on campus and are able to succeed.”
Palmer has a PhD in zoology from Washington State University, and both a BS in biological sciences and a BA in English from Colorado State University.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.