Veteran educator, prolific researcher named ACE Fellow

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Headshot of Dr. Andrea Beach.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Andrea Beach, Western Michigan University professor of educational leadership, research and technology, has been named a fellow of the American Council on Education for the 2018-19 academic year.

The prestigious ACE Fellows Program strengthens institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. In that way, it serves as a powerful engine fueling the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline.

Although details about her fellowship assignment have yet to be announced out, Beach will join just 44 other fellows who were selected following nomination by the senior administration of their institutions and a rigorous application process to spend 2018-19 working at another college or university.

"I follow in the footsteps of WMU colleagues I deeply respect," Beach says of the University's previous fellows, "and I look forward to this opportunity to help WMU grow as much as I do personally."

ACE Fellows program

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.

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. They also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement.

More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.


Beach, who joined WMU's faculty in 2003, is co-director of the Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education, which she co-founded in 2014. In addition, she founded the Office of Faculty Development and was its director from 2008 to 2015.

Her research centers on organizational change in higher education, support of innovation in teaching and learning, faculty learning communities, and faculty development as a change lever. She has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several NSF-funded grants.

Beach has been PI and co-PI on several NSF-funded grants focused on instructional change strategies that have produced articles and book chapters, as well as instruments to self-report instruction and academic department climate for instructional improvement.

As co-director of the Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education, she helps lead an organization that has a portfolio of projects totaling $6.7 million. Beach serves as co-principal investigator for development of the Accelerating Systemic Change Network, a national network funded by the NSF and also directs a $3.2 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's First in the World program. That program seeks to undertake, document and measure outcomes of institutional transformation aimed at improving the persistence and academic success of students from low-income backgrounds.

Beach earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University.

American Council on Education

ACE, which is celebrating its centennial this year, is the major coordinating body for all of the nation's higher education institutions and represents nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

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