Through this program, Fellows experience a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the day-to-day activities of their host institutions, develop sustained relationships with Mentor(s) and other administrators and faculty, and maximize learning opportunities.
Fellows design an individualized Learning Contract that articulates their plans for the year. This Contract identifies issues jointly highlighted by the nominating institution and the Fellow. Some of the issues that Fellows have addressed in recent years include: internationalizing the campus; recruitment and retention of faculty of color; establishing and improving teaching and learning centers; and establishing policy and procedures for post-tenure review.
In addition to working on the issue(s) identified with the nominating institution, the plan includes immersing oneself in the opportunities available at the host institution, reading professional literature, visiting colleges and universities throughout the country and abroad, attending national meetings, and other activities that provide learning opportunities to further the Fellowship goals.
The contract includes immersing oneself in the off-campus experience, working on the issue(s) identified with the nominating institution, reading professional literature, visiting colleges and universities throughout the country and abroad, attending national meetings, and other activities.
The ACE Fellows Program staff organizes three retreats to address critical leadership issues in higher education; to inform and draw on the experiential learning from the Fellows' placements, campus visits and other Fellowship experiences; and to foster collegial exchange and shared learning opportunities among the Fellows. The Opening Retreat, which prepares the Fellows for their placements, takes place in August; the Mid-Year Retreat, addressing diversity,leadership and change, takes place in January, and the Closing Retreat, looking at higher education beyond our campuses, takes place in June.
To broaden and deepen the Fellows' perspectives on higher education, the retreats include topics such as:
- Leadership and institutional change.
- Planning processes.
- Financial management and resource allocation.
- Academic programs and policies, including faculty, curricular, and student issues.
- Diversity on campus.
- Technology issues.
- Personal and interpersonal dimensions of leadership.
- Higher education policy.
These week-long sessions, which take place at various locations throughout the United States, incorporate active-learning opportunities (e.g.,case studies, simulations, problem-solving workshops, role-playing, lectures/small-group discussions) and pre-seminar readings and multimedia resources. Free-flowing dialogues among Fellows, national leaders, former college and university presidents, and other experts enrich the unique learning experiences at the seminars.
The Off-Campus Learning Experience
Fellows work with their nominating institutions to design an off-campus learning experience built upon a placement of up to a year at a host institution(s). This aspect of the program is intentionally designed to help the Fellow enhance concrete skills and acquire information that they can then take back to their nominating institution upon completion of the Fellowship. This extended learning experience enables Fellows to observe firsthand how another institution and its senior administrators lead the institution and deal with change. The Fellows are mentored by a team of experienced administrators—usually the president and vice presidents. The ACE Fellows Program is the only national, individualized, long-term professional development program in higher education to provide on-the-job learning.
This component requires one academic year of off-campus placement at another institution.
This component requires one semester of off-campus placement at another institution. During the semester at the home institution, Fellows also engage in Fellowship-related learning through specially designed opportunities at the home institution, in addition to participation in the Fellows’ Retreats, campus visits, and other Fellowship learning experiences.
Periodic Visits to Another Institution
These brief but intense visits enable the Fellow to remain on the nominating campus for most of the year. Ideally, visits to the host campus last for one month, three times per year. As with the semester placements, while on the home campus, Fellows are expected to engage in learning opportunities that are consistent with the goals of the Fellowship.
Council of Fellows: The Alumni of the ACE Fellows Program
ACE Fellows become part of a prestigious network of highly talented and motivated individuals working in senior positions at public and private institutions across the country and internationally. This network gives the Fellows access to professional colleagues—presidents, provosts, vice presidents, and academic deans—who are willing to share their best ideas and perspectives, and to help former Fellows seek new career opportunities and challenges. Most importantly, the network enables Fellows to advance their leadership objectives in higher education.
National Association Meetings
Based on the belief that effective local leadership depends on knowledge of the national and international environments, ACE urges Fellows to attend national meetings, particularly the ACE Annual Meeting. At this meeting, Fellows learn how federal policy affects day-to-day campus life, and they gather information that helps their institutions strengthen campus policies and practices.
ACE encourages Fellows to visit other campuses to enhance their learning about particular strategic issues of interest and to broaden their perspectives. ACE also encourages Fellows to spend time in a corporate setting and/or a university abroad. These experiences offer unparalleled opportunities for Fellows to learn about different models of leadership and decision making, and to explore potential partnerships for the nominating institution.