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Leading a college committed to equity, diversity and inclusion

Julie White
From the Warner School to community college chancellor and CEO: A Q&A with alumna Julie White

Julie White ‘13W (PhD) was appointed the next chancellor and CEO of Pierce College District in Washington, effective Jan. 1, 2023. She has served as president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom president since 2019, providing transformational and collaborative leadership for the campus.
As a first-generation student from a rural community, White understands the life-changing power of higher education. She has served at various institutions, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and research universities, with roles in student services, academic administration, research administration, health education, and women’s services.
White holds a PhD in education with a specialization in higher education from the Warner School of Education. She shares more of her experiences at Warner and her leadership roles, as well as offers advice for future higher education leaders.

As the next chancellor and CEO of Pierce College, what will your new position entail?
As Chancellor and CEO of the Pierce College District, I will lead the college district in becoming an anti-racist institution and achieving its institutional outcomes to fulfill the district mission: to create quality educational opportunities for a diverse community of learners to thrive in an evolving world. The Pierce College District includes Pierce College Puyallup, Pierce@Joint Base Lewis McChord, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, numerous extended learning sites, and a robust e-learning program.
How did your Warner School experience help prepare you for this next career stage?
At Warner, I was able to engage with a community of scholars/practitioners who were committed to research and practice toward the goal of racial and social equity. This strengthened my own resolve, skills, and capacity to do the same. In addition, it was my dissertation advisor, Dr. Andrew Wall, who first said to me, “You could be a community college president!”
How do you hope to make a difference in your new leadership role? 
Pierce College already has amazing faculty, staff, and students, and has been recognized by the Aspen Institute twice as a Top 10 community college, and once as a Top 5 and Rising Star. My goal is to build upon this work to further our goals as an anti-racist college and to become a hub of equitable access and success, in order to build and strengthen thriving communities.
What advice do you have to help inspire future leaders as they look to grow and move into new higher-ed leadership positions?
Build your networks. Seek out mentors, sponsors, and colleagues in leadership, for guidance and support. Ultimately, though, always be true to yourself and know that you have a unique contribution to make!

Learn how the Warner School’s doctoral programs in higher education prepare graduates for a variety of career opportunities in colleges and universities, community colleges, professional schools and other educational organizations.