March 21, 2013. Dr. Jeff Ramsdell, director of the Appalachian Energy Center and a professor in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design at Appalachian State University, is one of 50 individuals to receive an American Council on Education Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year.
“The 2013-14 class of Fellows is a talented, diverse group,” said Margarita Benítez, interim director of ACE’s Emerging Leaders Group and the ACE Fellows Program. “The ACE Fellows Program will strengthen their leadership skills, expand their networks and prepare them to tackle the wide array of issues facing the higher education community.”
ACE will match Ramsdell with a host institution and mentors with whom he will spend the fall semester studying interdisciplinary collaborations and the nexus of those collaborations with sustainability and globalization. A goal of his fellowship will be to develop a project to implement on the Appalachian campus after he returns. “I’m very honored and excited about the opportunity to work with mentors who have the vision and skills to lead their institutions to greatness,” he said.
Ramsdell said the fellowship also would allow him to explore future opportunities in higher education. “I look at this fellowship as a great learning experience,” he said. “I’m at a point in my career where I may have the opportunity to apply for administrative positions within a university and want to learn more about contributions I could make from those positions.”
Ramsdell earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida, a Master of Business Administration degree from Rollins College and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Central Florida.
His research has been supported by the University of North Carolina Research Competitiveness Fund, the Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina State Energy Office, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the Biofuels Center of North Carolina.
Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception. Of those, more than 300 Fellows have served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.
Past ACE Fellows now at Appalachian are Provost Lori Gonzalez (2002-03) and Hayes School of Music Dean Bill Pelto (2004-05).
“Participation in the ACE Fellows program was a life-changing experience for me,” said Pelto, who was an associate dean at Ithaca College at the time. “It encouraged me to develop an institution-wide perspective about administration. Perhaps more than anything, I strengthened my commitment to shared governance and processes that explore multiple solutions to institutional challenges.”
The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single semester or year. Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to their sponsoring institution while spending the next academic year or semester working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution.
Benítez said that the reach of the Fellows Program can be seen in the diversity of the participants – by gender, race/ethnicity, institution type, job function area, disciplinary background and international representation.
“That diversity helps create a unique professional and learning network that extends far beyond the one year of the fellowship,” Benítez said. “The 2013-14 class members will find that they are able to tap into their Fellows Program experiences for years to come.”
A complete list of the 2013-14 class of Fellows can be found at http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Class-of-Fellows-2013-14.aspx.