Hollie Chessman

Director & Principal Program Officer, Education Futures Lab

​Hollie M. Chessman is a director and principal program officer, and the resident college student mental health and well-being expert, at the American Council on Education (ACE). Chessman joined ACE in December 2017, bringing almost 20 years of professional experience in higher education. Prior to her current role at ACE, she was the director of research projects at the Council of Independent Colleges and a postdoctoral associate at ACE. Chessman earned her PhD from George Mason University in 2015, prior to which she spent 17 years as a student affairs professional serving in various roles and institutions—including 10 years in housing and residence life. Her primary interests include college student mental health and well-being, student affairs professional well-being, graduate student choice, and organizational change and leadership.

Chessman worked for over six years at George Mason University leading organizational change in the housing and residence life department. She implemented a training and professional development curriculum for staff, directly supervised five professional staff responsible for 12 professional resident directors and 142 student staff, and established key relationships with university support services. Chessman served in the primary role of interfacing with frontline housing staff and university support services to address mental health concerns, crisis management, and incident response. Her role on the campus case management team with counseling and conduct staff was instrumental in managing the many issues that arose on a campus of over 4,500 residents. Prior to George Mason University, she also worked at Loyola University New Orleans, Lake Erie College, Tulane University, and Kent State University.

Chessman’s dissertation research focused on the well-being of student affairs professionals. With a sample of over 2,100 professionals, she was able to discern the level of well-being of the student affairs respondents, along with analyzing the significant impact work has on their well-being. This research yielded proposals to present at national conferences, including those of the American Educational Research Association, American College Personnel Association, NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education. It has also been published in the January 2021 issue of the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.