Lowell Davis named American Council on Education Fellow for 2018-19

WCU’s Lowell Davis (left) is one of 45 higher education leaders from across the U.S. chosen to participate in the American Council on Education Fellows Program.

The American Council on Education recently announced that Lowell K. Davis, assistant vice chancellor for student success at Western Carolina University, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year.

Established in 1965, 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 through an intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Following nomination by the senior administration of their home institutions and a rigorous application process, 45 Fellows were selected nationwide this year.

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.

“For more than a half-century, the ACE Fellows Program has been a powerful engine fueling the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “We are excited to welcome this new class of Fellows and look forward to each enjoying a transformative experience that will help advance individual leadership readiness while also enriching the capacity of institutions to innovate and thrive.”

Davis came to WCU’s Division of Academic Affairs in July 2013 from the University of Alabama, where he served as assistant dean of students and assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs. At WCU, Davis oversees the Registrar’s Office, One-Stop Student Service Center, Academic Advising and various student success programs including First Year Experience, Writing and Learning Commons, Math Tutoring Center, Student Support Services and Disability Services. He also is working to reposition WCU’s summer sessions as an integral strategy for success by encouraging students to reduce time to graduation and improve their GPAs by taking summer classes.

Davis’s selection as an ACE Fellow serves as national recognition of his status as an emerging leader in the field of higher education, said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, acting chancellor at WCU.

“Dr. Davis is highly regarded as an engaged campus leader at WCU, most notably for his recent work to support students who are foster children, orphans, homeless or wards of the state to help them overcome challenges that could derail their efforts to earn their degrees,” said Morrison-Shetlar, who nominated Davis for the program. “The Western Carolina University community is a better place because of the efforts of Dr. Davis, and we eagerly anticipate his continued and enhanced leadership through the knowledge he gains during this fellowship.”

The ACE 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, Davis will observe and work with the president and other senior officers at a host institution, attend decision-making meetings and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institutions and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, participants 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.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to expand my understanding of the important issues facing institutions of higher education and to help develop innovative new strategies,” Davis said. “Participating in this program will not only help me personally and professionally by allowing me to further hone my leadership skills, but it also will aid Western Carolina University as I return to campus to share what I have learned through the experience.”

Celebrating its centennial in 2018, ACE is a leading coordinating body for the higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. The organization provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, visit acenet.edu.