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CIGE Staff Bios

December 30, 1899


​Patti McGill Peterson, Ph.D.
Presidential Advisor for Global Initiatives

Dr. Peterson is a member of the senior leadership team at the American Council on Education (ACE).  ACE is the major coordinating association for higher education institutions in the United States. As Presidential Advisor for Global Initiatives, she oversees the Council’s work on the internationalization and global engagement of higher education.  This includes a broad spectrum of programs and services for U.S. colleges and universities as well as ACE’s outreach to institutions, governments and associations of higher education around the world.

Prior to joining ACE, she was Senior Associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).  The Institute’s mission is to increase access and success in postsecondary education through research and programs that inform key policy makers.

From 1997 – 2007, Dr. Peterson served as Executive Director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) and Vice President of the Institute of International Education (IIE) .  CIES coordinates international educational exchange with approximately 155 nations and has administered the Fulbright Scholar Program since 1947. The Fulbright Scholar Program added notable dimensions during her tenure at CIES.  In addition to its core exchange programs that annually involved over 1600 U.S. and Visiting scholars and professionals, new programs were developed to foster greater cross-cultural collaboration on topics of global significance and to encourage higher education development through academic exchange.    

Dr. Peterson is President Emerita at Wells College and St. Lawrence University where she held presidencies from 1980 to 1996.  As a tribute to her leadership at Wells, an endowment was established for the Patti McGill Peterson Chair in the Social Sciences and at St. Lawrence, the Center for International and Intercultural Studies was named in her honor.  Her faculty appointments have included the State University of New York, Syracuse University and Wells College.

She has held prominent international, national and statewide leadership positions.  She served as Chair of the U.S. - Canada Commission for Educational Exchange, the National Women's College Coalition, the Public Leadership Education Network, the American Council on Education’s Commission on Leadership Development and Academic Administration and is a past President of the Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New York. She has served on the advisory boards of The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program.  Her current board memberships include the Alliance for International Education, Council for North American Higher Education Collaboration, the National Research University of Russia, HSE and the Roth Endowment.

Dr. Peterson holds a B.A. degree from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship for post-graduate study at Harvard University.  She was also a Senior Fellow at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs.

Brad Farnsworth
Assistant Vice President

Brad Farnsworth is assistant vice president of ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement.  He is responsible for several programs, including the Internationalization Collaborative, the Institute for Leading Internationalization, and engagement with the Washington-based diplomatic community.  He is also responsible for implementing the Center's fundraising strategy.

From 1991 until joining ACE in early 2012, Brad was director of the Center for International Business Education in the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan. The center's programs included faculty research projects, foreign language courses, education abroad, executive development programs, and student internships. The Michigan CIBE was known for its strong ties to the liberal arts; Brad helped to establish the program in international studies, serving as its director while developing and teaching one of its core courses. Brad also taught courses on international management, the world economy, and business in China to MBAs, undergraduates and executives.

From 1982 to 1991, Brad was associate director of the Yale-China Association, an educational organization based at Yale University that was established in the early 20th century. During that time he developed one of the first management training programs with foreign cooperation in mainland China. Brad has focused on China throughout his career, visiting the country frequently and serving as a faculty associate in the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.

He holds master's degrees in business and Chinese studies from Washington University in St. Louis, both awarded in 1981.

Barbara Hill, Ph.D.
Senior Associate for Internationalization

Barbara Hill is the  senior associate for internationalization at ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, working with U.S. and international institutions to promote global learning and to help leaders think strategically about comprehensive internationalization.

Barbara has served as a senior consultant to the Higher Education for Development program (formerly the Association Liaison Office for University Development), working to develop organizational infrastructure to serve international development through university partnerships and organizing conferences to disseminate expertise in international development. She was a participant in the Visiting Advisors Program of the Salzburg Seminar, consulting with universities in Russia and Eastern Europe about governance, management, finance, academic structure and program quality. Barbara continues to moderate the Intellectual Renewal Seminars for Leaders, begun at Radcliffe College/Harvard University, which are seminars on leadership, ethics and the good society for various professional groups. She has also served as chair of the board of directors of the Maryland Humanities Council.

Barbara earned a bachelor's degree in English literature with honors from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and master's and doctoral degrees in English literature from the University of Washington, Seattle. She has held senior level administrative positions at several higher education institutions, including acting director of admissions at Hood College (1979-1980), associate dean of the faculty at Barnard College/Columbia University (1984-86), provost of Denison University (1986-1990), and president of Sweet Briar College (1990-1996). Barbara was an ACE Fellow in 1979-80.

Robin Matross Helms, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Research

Robin Matross Helms is the associate director for research at ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement.  She joined CIGE March 2012, and currently focuses on CIGE's research initiatives, including the CIGE Insights and International Briefs for Higher Education Leaders series. Her previous experience includes international program management for the Institute of International Education, EF Education and CET Academic Programs, and faculty development program management at the University of Minnesota.

Robin has also worked as a consultant to a number of organizations in the international and higher education fields, including the World Bank, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, and the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her publications include "Inhabiting the Borders: Foreign Language Faculty in American Colleges and Universities" (Routledge 2005), "University Admission Worldwide" (World Bank, 2008), "New Challenges, New Priorities: The Experience of Generation X Faculty" (Harvard University, 2010), and "Overcoming Publish or Perish: Fostering Faculty Engagement in Internationalization through Tenure Codes and Other Employment Policies" (Institute of International Education, 2012).

Robin holds an AB degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, and an MBA and PhD in higher education administration from Boston College. She has lived in China and Japan and speaks French, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

Heather H. Ward

Senior Program Specialist

Heather H. Ward is senior program specialist at ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement. Before joining ACE in 2014, she served as associate director for internationalization and outreach at George Mason University and as director of international programs at Mary Baldwin College. Heather’s prior experience in international affairs and public policy involved work with the Vera Institute of Justice, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, U.S. Department of Justice, Americas Society, and U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Heather was selected to participate in the Fulbright-Nehru Institute Education Administrators seminar in India in 2012, and the DAAD Germany Today program on higher education internationalization in 2015.

Heather holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and a master of international affairs degree from Columbia University. She has lived in Ecuador and participated in education abroad programs in Guatemala and Spain; she speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Portuguese.

Ronna Eddington
Program Specialist

Ronna Eddington is the program specialist for ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement. Her work focuses on the Internationalization Collaborative, the Institute for Leading Internationalization, and the Washington International Education Group. Ronna also implements overall CIGE marketing and web strategy. Her previous experience includes nine years working with Higher Education for Development; another unit of ACE devoted to the strengthening of higher education in developing countries; where she coordinated daily operations and staff travel, and orchestrated international meetings. She has also served as a meetings coordinator for the ACE annual meeting.

Ronna holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and business management from York College of Pennsylvania and has attended The George Washington University for professional meeting management.

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