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How Far Can the ACE Fellows Program Take You?

July 02, 2018

Applications are now open for the next class of the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program

​Joe Bertolino, president of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) and member of the 2010-11 class of Fellows, thinks the answer is pretty far: “I can say with certainty that I am a university president today because of the superior mentorship I received as part of the ACE Fellows Program. Without a doubt, the Fellows Program positioned me to be a better president, professional, and person in the service of students.” 

Bertolino’s participation in the ACE Fellows Program while vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Queens College (NY) helped him secure his current CEO role at SCSU, as well as a previous CEO role at Lyndon State College (VT). 

The application for the 2019-20 Class of Fellows is now open, and individuals and institutions can participate in three ways: as a Fellow, as a nominator, or as a mentor. Each option affords valuable opportunities for professional and institutional development. For more information on participation options, see here.

This unique program condenses years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year. As a result, it is the most effective, comprehensive leadership development program in American higher education today. Of the nearly 2,000 Fellows to date, more than 80 percent have served as chief executive officers, chief academic officers, other cabinet level positions, and deans.

While ACE Leadership in April announced plans to transform its suite of leadership development programs in line with revamping the Council’s strategic priorities during its centennial year, the ACE Fellows Program will remain unchanged and continue to serve as a cornerstone of ACE Leadership.

In 2017, ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy and ACE Leadership released a report sharing select findings from a comprehensive review of the program. Titled “Looking Back and Looking Forward: A Review of the ACE Fellows Program,” the report found 98 percent of Fellows agreed that the program prepared them for a senior leadership position, and over 85 percent of stakeholders surveyed agreed that the program is worth the cost.

Kenya Ayers, Fellows Class of 2015-16 and vice president and chair of the Board for the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success, agrees wholeheartedly: “The fellowship experience validated my ability to lead at the highest levels within the academy and allowed me to see future possibilities with great clarity.”

The 2018-19 class of ACE Fellows was announced in March of this year. Click here to see the members of the class, which will kick off work this fall.

The application process is lengthy and requires extensive preparation, so consider starting your nomination or application early. For additional information or to speak to a staff person, please email us at​ ​or call 202-939-9376.

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