The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) has announced the selection of 10 academic leadership fellows, following a competitive selection process among its member institutions. The program, supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, is aimed at providing leadership experiences to a diverse cohort of humanities faculty members and thereby expanding the demographics of academic administration at ACS colleges and eventually beyond.
The Mellon Foundation’s focus on accelerating the demographic transformation of institutional leadership, both to better reflect the population and to center humanities expertise, is certainly forward thinking and deeply needed as higher education continues to prepare today’s students for the complex world of the future,” says Stephanie Fabritius, President of the Associated Colleges of the South.
The program will combine leadership training, mentoring and hands-on leadership experiences for a diverse group of tenured humanities faculty as they enter administration leadership. Each fellow will take on a two-year role at their institution involving a portfolio of responsibilities or a distinct institutional project. Fellows will receive a release from certain teaching responsibilities, along with a stipend and a small professional development fund. Each fellow will also benefit from two mentors—one on their home campus and one external expert in higher education administration.
The fellows will take part in cohort programming and professional development aimed at fully supporting their transition into higher education leadership. Fellows will participate in meetings with experts on topics relevant to higher education administration, campus visits to participating institutions, and monthly virtual gatherings for networking and sharing experiences and best practices. In addition, there will be periodic gatherings of fellows from ACS, as well as from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium.
This next level of collaboration among these three consortia of higher education is especially exciting,” says Beth Adcock Shiroishi, Director of the ACS Mellon Academic Leadership Fellows Program.
The 10 ACS Mellon Academic Leadership Fellows and their institutions are:
Centre College: A writer herself, Dr. Azita Osanloo teaches creative writing, film, and English. Her work and research focuses on the craft of fiction, screenwriting, and Iranian film. She is also director of the Writing Center.
Davidson College: Dr. Caroline Fache is the Chair of French and Francophone Studies, and a member of Africana Studies and the Humanities Program. Her scholarship focuses on film and TV representations of immigration in France.
Millsaps College: Dr. Judith Caballero is a member of the Modern Languages Department. Her research focuses on cognitive literary studies, sartorial relevance, and marginalized voices in Early Modern Peninsular literature.
Rhodes College: Dr. Eric Henager, a member of the Spanish faculty, has interests in contemporary Latin American narrative, popular culture in literature, and Spanish in the United States.
Rollins College: Dr. Eric Smaw is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. His research focuses on human rights, medical ethics, and African Philosophy. Also, he is the Director of the Rollins College Debate Team and the Pre-law Program.
Sewanee: The University of the South: Dr. Andrea Hatcher’s research and teaching interests focus on American political theories and institutions, with a particular focus on religion.
Southwestern University: Dr. Laura Senio Blair teaches Spanish and Latin American and Border Studies, with an interest in 20th- and 21st-century Spanish American narrative, drama, and film.
Spelman College: Dr. Michelle S. Hite is director of both the honors program and the international fellowships and scholarships program. She is also a member of the English department.
Trinity University: Dr. Anene Ejikeme teaches African history at Trinity University where she also serves on the International Studies Committee. Her research interests include issues of identity, and she has written about women’s groups and boxing.
Washington and Lee University: Dr. Adedayo “Dayo” Abah is head of the department of journalism and mass communications. Her research interests include online anonymous speech, international defamation law, copyright issues, Nollywood in African cinema, women and Nollywood, and religion and the media.
Each role and project that the fellows will take on has been individually designed by their home institution. The projects include a wide range of areas and approaches, including using data-informed recommendations for student persistence and success; leading policies and governance updates; researching and developing curricular innovation recommendations for the humanities; internationalizing the campus; recruiting and retaining faculty of diverse backgrounds; and developing and implementing strategic initiatives around Diversity Equity and Inclusion issues.
The ACS member institutions and selected Fellows are immensely grateful for this generous grant from the Mellon Foundation,” says Christopher Holoman, ACS Board Chair and President of Centenary College. “It will allow us to cultivate and prepare the diverse leadership that higher education will need to survive and thrive.”
About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.