Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, VCU Leadership Alumna, Selected as a 2014-15 American Council on Education Fellow

Posted 21 January 2015 by The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

The American Council on Education has selected VSU’s Dr. Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, VCU Leadership Alumna and Virginia State University Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Operations, as one of 31 college and university senior faculty and administrators for the 2014-15 class of the ACE Fellows Program. She represents one of three fellows selected from a Historically Black College or University.

“I am honored to be selected as a fellow and look forward to the experience,” said Dr. Parsons-Pollard.

Dr. Parsons-Pollard is the fourth VSU administrator selected as a prestigious ACE Fellow. She is the second to receive the honor while at VSU. VSU’s previous ACE Fellows were: Dr. W. Weldon Hill, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Muriel Hawkins, Associate Provost for Partnerships and Engagement; and Dr. Douglas Fiore, Professor of Education and Assistant to the Provost for General and Continuing Education.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program—the longest running leadership development program in the United States—focuses on identifying and preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation's colleges and universities. The fellows are assigned to work for a year with a senior administrator at another institution, while also attending special educational programs. Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception, with more than 300 Fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities, and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents, and deans.

“For nearly 50 years, the ACE Fellows Program has transformed lives and cultivated future leaders,” said Joan Wodiska, ACE vice president and chief leadership officer. “The ACE Fellows Program is unique. The program immerses Fellows in learning experiences to gain insight and understanding into the changing environment of higher education.”

The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings and focus on issues of concern. They conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship year. Projects have included developing an internationalization process, designing a post-tenure review policy, strategizing to create a teaching-learning center, and crafting an initiative to support the academic success of first-generation college students.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institution with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts. Wodiska noted the diversity of this year’s Fellows Program participants, by gender, race/ethnicity, institution type, and disciplinary background.