JMU hosts American Council on Education Fellow from VSU

by Eric Gorton


Nicolle Parsons-Pollard has enjoyed her first two weeks living in Eagle Hall and is confident JMU was a good choice for her.

However, unlike most residents of Eagle Hall, Parsons-Pollard is not pursuing an undergraduate degree. Instead, she will spend the school year living in a faculty apartment in Eagle while she completes a year of professional development as an American Council on Education Fellow.

Dr. Parsons-Pollard is assistant vice provost for academic operations at Virginia State University in Petersburg, where she also is an associate professor of criminal justice. Parsons-Pollard received word last spring about her selection as one of 31 college and university senior faculty and administrators for the 2014-15 class of the ACE Fellows Program

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program focuses on identifying and preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation's colleges and universities. The fellows are assigned to work for a year with a senior administrator at another institution, while also attending special educational programs. Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception, with more than 300 Fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities, and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.

Parsons-Pollard said the program addresses professional and personal goals. For her professional goal, she is looking at the way JMU addresses professional development for faculty and staff. "At VSU, our plan is to re-energize and re-imagine what we call professional and faculty development," she said. "So I will spend the next year, not only here, but I will get to travel to other institutions as well, in order to figure out what that's going to look like when I get back to Virginia State."

As for addressing personal goals, Parsons-Pollard said she wants to get a better understanding of university budgeting and higher education policy.

Parsons-Pollard is the first ACE Fellow hosted by JMU since the 1989-90 school year.

Dr. Sonya G. Baker, associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, was an ACE Fellow during the 2012-13 academic year. At the time, she was an associate dean and professor at Murray (Ky.) State University and spent her year as a Fellow at Rhodes College in Memphis.

"I know that Dr. Parsons-Pollard is in for quite a learning experience this year," Baker said.

Published Sept. 10, 2014

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Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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