ACE Fellow Spending Year at NMU

Northern is hosting one of the 36 faculty and administrators selected nationwide as 2008-09 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows. The higher education leadership development program combines placement at another institution with seminars and interactive learning experiences to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

Emmanuel Awuah, associate vice president of diversity services at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., is enjoying direct access to NMU President Les Wong and Provost Susan Koch.  

“I get to observe them in their natural work settings, ask questions, meet with them privately to discuss the decision-making process and participate in key meetings,” Awuah said. “The understood confidentiality of the mentoring relationship gives me insight into aspects of the university’s operation that most people normally are not privy to.

“It is a very collaborative environment here that promotes teamwork and is inclusive. There is a lot of consultation with stakeholders before decisions are made. That is one element that will stay with me. It is not the top-down leadership style you see elsewhere.  I have also realized that much of a president’s time is spent demonstrating the relevance of the institution to the community and establishing those connections beyond campus.”

Working at a two-year college in a state system, Awuah said he was eager to be placed at a four-year university that operates autonomously with its own board. He is able to gain a broader perspective and NMU administrators benefit from his community college expertise in regard to the transfer process.

Awuah also is undertaking a special project on behalf of NMU: developing a model for bridging the gap between multicultural education and internationalization, which is consistent with the Road Map to 2015.

“This is not about integrating the two, but exploiting the common ground between them and creating a better experience for students,” he added. “People typically think of multicultural education only as diversity within the United States and internationalization only as global in nature. Students need both. There needs to be something in the middle—activities, programs or courses—that incorporate both and connect them to each other.”

As he makes his way around campus and becomes a familiar fixture at meetings and events, Awuah said he will take advantage of any opportunity to educate faculty and staff on the value of the fellowship. According to ACE, of the 1,500 fellows who have participated in the program since 1965, more than 300 moved on to serve as chief executive officers at institutions.

“It is the best method for preparing leaders,” Awuah said. “And for the rest of my career, I will be able to tap into that network of fellows. It has also been especially helpful here because President Wong is on the ACE board and highly regarded and Dr. [Raj] Sanyal (Business) is a former ACE fellow and has been advising me on how to get the most out of this opportunity. I want to express my thanks to the entire Northern community for being hospitable, kind and generous. It is a privilege to be here.”


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Updated: October 16, 2008

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