Dr. Susan Lewis, vice provost at Abilene Christian University, was selected as one of 52 emerging college and university leaders for the 2021-22 class of the ACE Fellows Program, the longest-running leadership development program in the U.S.
Since 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty, staff, and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership through a distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Of the Fellows who have participated to date, more than 80 percent have gone on after their fellowship to serve as chief executive officers, chief academic officers, other cabinet-level positions, and deans.
As vice provost, Lewis works closely with the provost and is responsible for academic initiatives on both the main and branch campus: curriculum and instruction, institutional effectiveness, registrar, faculty development, disability services, tutoring, three federal TRIO grants, residential graduate programs, experiential learning and faculty-led study abroad programs. Lewis is also associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she has taught since 1998.
“The opportunity to engage with senior leaders at another institution through the ACE Fellowship is a tremendous honor,” Lewis said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to sharpen my view of the future of higher education with colleagues and mentors from a variety of institutions and to returning to ACU ready to contribute to our mission here in new ways.”
ACE, Lumina Foundation, and education and technology company Cengage have partnered to offer this unique learning experience and a generous grant to selected ACE Fellows who are interested in addressing educational quality and equity in student success as part of their Fellowship.
“ACE Fellows gain career-enriching experience in leadership, innovation, and problem-solving,” said ACE president Ted Mitchell. “These are just the kind of skill sets that will be absolutely essential for moving higher education forward during difficult times.”
The 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.
During the placement, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. The year ahead will present many opportunities for ACE Fellows to gain an even closer view of leadership in action. Placement institutions will have the benefit of an experienced leader who can lend a fresh perspective to emerging or ongoing institutional challenges.
At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institution with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.