Every Fellow is expected to:
- Engage in a Mentor/Fellow relationship with a college or university president and/or other senior administrators.
- Participate in senior-level decision-making meetings at the host institution.
- Take part in three Fellows Program retreats.
- Attend national conferences and workshops, and visit other campuses.
- Focus on the strategic issue jointly defined as the Fellowship Project by the nominating institution and the Fellow.
- Respect the confidentiality of all information learned at the host institution, at other institutions visited, at the Fellows Program retreats, and in all Fellowship related activities.
- Study organizational structure and governance patterns.
- Observe how decisions are made, who makes them, and how leaders communicate their decisions.
- The focus is on the decision-making process, rather than the content under consideration.
- Observe the leadership styles of the individuals in each major administrative division, their effectiveness, and how they interact with one another.
- Schedule regular meetings with the mentor to discuss specific questions, issues, or concerns.
- Fellows who provide their mentors with an agenda in advance of a meeting help make effective use of valuable time.
- Complete individual and team assignments and projects in a timely manner.
- Return to the nominating institution for at least one year following completion of the Fellowship year.
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.
Learning Contract 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
- 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 3 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.
Year-Long Placement - This component requires one academic year of off-campus placement at another institution.
Semester-Long Placement - 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.
Other Visits 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.