KALAMAZOO—Dr. James P. Cousins, an associate dean at Western Michigan University, has been named an American Council on Education Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year.
The ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration.
Fellows are nominated by the senior administration of their institutions and selected following a rigorous application process. Just 39 fellows were selected this year.
"This is an incredible opportunity," Cousins says. "As an ACE Fellow, I'll be able to gain in-depth knowledge of innovative programs and learn from the nation's most influential academic thought-leaders."
The program, in which participants work with executives at colleges other than those that employ them, is known as a stepping stone to top positions in higher education. More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, and more than 80 percent of fellows have gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.
As associate dean of the WMU College of Arts and Sciences, Cousins oversees curriculum development, retention, program assessment and undergraduate student services. He was appointed to the post Jan. 1, 2017, after having served in the position since 2015 on an interim basis.
Previously, Cousins served as director of undergraduate studies and a tenured faculty member in the Department of History. He has written two books as well as numerous articles, essays and reviews. He was a 2012 scholar in residence at Transylvania University, a 2015 WMU Center for the Humanities Fellow, and a 2018 recipient of WMU's Assessment Excellence Individual Award.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and a master's and doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky.
ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, ACE represents more than 1,700 college and university presidents and related associations.
It's fellows program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, organization visits 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.
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.
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