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Randolph College Professor Receives Prestigious ACE Fellowship

Jennifer Abbassi, political science professor, one of just 38 educators nationwide awarded the fellowship.

4/1/2009 4:27:04 PM


Jennifer Abbassi

LYNCHBURG — A Randolph College professor is one of just 38 educators selected nationwide for a competitive fellowship by the American Council on Education (ACE). Jennifer Abbassi, associate professor of political science, was named an ACE Fellow for the 2009-10 academic year. She is the only Fellow from a Virginia institution.

Molly Corbett Broad, ACE president, announced the achievement this week.

The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Thirty-eight Fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year in a national competition.

Sharon A. McDade, director of the ACE Fellows Program, noted that most previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration. Of the more than 1,500 participants in the first 44 years of the program, more than 300 have become chief executive officers and more than 1,100 have become provosts, vice presidents, or deans.

"We're extremely pleased with the incoming class," McDade said. "The individuals selected have demonstrated strong leadership. The Fellows Program will sharpen and enhance their leadership skills and their network, and prepare them to address issues of concern to the higher education community."

"Abbassi has taught at Randolph for 12 years and chairs the college’s Global Studies Program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles and holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Riverside.

Abbassi is “extraordinarily honored to have been selected” and hopes to make new contributions to Randolph following her ACE year.

Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to the nominating institution while spending the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution. The ACE Fellows Program combines seminars, 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. As a Fellow, Abbassi will be included in the highest level of decision making while participating in administrative activities and learning about an issue to benefit Randolph College.

Fellows attend three week-long retreats on higher education issues organized by ACE, read extensively in the field, and engage in other activities to enhance their knowledge about the challenges and opportunities confronting higher education today.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

For more information, please contact Brenda Edson, strategic communications manager, at (434)947-8142 or

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations