Soraya M. Coley to Receive 2023 ACE Donna Shavlik Award
March 16, 2023

ACE is proud to announce that Soraya M. Coley, president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, has been selected to receive the 2023 ACE Donna Shavlik Award.

headshot of Soraya M. Coley

​​Soraya M. Coley

“Throughout her decades-long career, President Coley has demonstrated a sustained and continuing commitment to the advancement of women through actions or initiatives enhancing women's leadership development,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “President Coley’s unwavering dedication to advancing women in higher education exemplifies the spirit behind the ACE Donna Shavlik award.”

ACE established the Donna Shavlik Award to commemorate the long and outstanding service of Donna Shavlik, former director of ACE's Office of Women in Higher Education. Presented annually, the award honors an individual who demonstrates a sustained commitment to advancing women in higher education through leadership and career development, campus climate, and mentoring.

Coley is the first woman and first African American scholar to be named president of Cal Poly Pomona, the most diverse polytechnic university in the nation with nearly 30,000 students and 2,700 faculty and staff.

Coley is committed to promoting the advancement of women to leadership in higher education. At Cal Poly Pomona, the composition of her President’s Cabinet leadership team is currently 75 percent women. As the ACE Southern California Women’s Network presidential sponsor for four years, she has devoted resources to the professional development of women and is currently overseeing a new strategic direction for the network that focuses on creating multiple leadership pathways for women at various stages in their academic careers.

Coley has spent nearly her entire career in the California State University system, rising from lecturer to a tenured faculty member, department chair, dean, provost, and president. Throughout her career, she benefitted from the mentorship of other female leaders in higher education, and that has influenced her commitment to mentoring others.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Coley to the California Future of Work Commission, which was charged with making recommendations to the governor and legislature regarding, among other things, raising the quality of jobs and modernizing the worker safety net.

The Donna Shavlik Award will be presented next month at the Women’s Leadership Dinner during ACE2023, ACE’s annual meeting that will take place in Washington, DC, April 13-15.

2023 ACE State Network Leadership Award

The recipient of the 2023 ACE State Network Leadership award is Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) at Drexel University. Launched in 2012, ELATES is a national leadership development program designed to promote senior STEM women faculty and faculty allies into effective institutional leadership roles. This program has graduated 191 Fellows from over 64 sponsoring institutions.

The ACE State Network Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding and innovative program sponsored by an ACE State Network or by a college or university that helps advance or support women or women's issues in higher education.

ELATES is a one-year, part-time program that focuses on equipping Fellows with skills for increasing personal and professional leadership effectiveness, leading and managing change initiatives within institutions, using strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions, and creating a network of exceptional women who bring organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and society they serve.

Facilitated by leaders in the fields of STEM research and leadership development, the curriculum includes classroom lessons and activities, online instruction and discussion, and on-the-job application at each Fellow’s home institution.
ELATES has been recognized with awards from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Women in Engineering ProActive Network.

“The ELATES program offers an extraordinary opportunity for senior women faculty to hone their leadership skills and learn how to address the many challenges facing higher education today,” said Kim Lee, ACE’s director of community strategy and engagement. “It’s a perfect example of how we hope to expand the leadership pipeline for women to include more women from all backgrounds.”

The State Network Award will be presented at the Women’s Network Reception at ACE2023. Accepting on behalf of ELATES Executive Director Sharon Walker will be the program’s campus sponsor, Provost Paul Jensen.

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