President Denise Battles was elected to the American Council on Education’s Council of Fellows Board earlier this month. Battles will serve as Secretary on the board’s Executive Committee for the first year of her three-year term.
The American Council on Education represents the presidents of the United States’ higher education institutions. The organization has a membership of more than 1,700 institutions, both public and private.
Battles stated that the nominating committee of ACE asked her to serve on both the Fellows Board and in the secretary position. She added that generally the committee looks for someone who has been active in the organization, citing her past experience as chair of the Professional Development Committee, serving on the nominating committee and serving on the Fellows Board’s Executive Committee.
The Fellows Board Executive Committee consists of a chair, who is the head of the organization; the vice chair, who serves as the chair elect; the immediate past chair; and the secretary. Officer positions are each held for one year.
Battles will be responsible for recording minutes of the Council of Fellows Board and the Executive Committee meetings, collaborating with individuals in the ACE Fellows’ office and working with chairs of standing committees, including the Professional Development Committee, the Finance and Development Committee and Outreach and Engagement Committee. According to Battles, the board meets twice a year in person and there are often electronic meetings and conference calls.
The Fellows Program—which Battles will help oversee—consists of a class of 30–40 individuals who are placed at a higher education institution for a year. A fellow will shadow a member of the senior administration—such as the president, chancellor, vice president or provost—and learn about higher education.
Battles served as a fellow from 2000-2001 when she was a faculty member at Georgia Southern University. She visited approximately 12 institutions with other fellows to learn about higher education and shadowed former President of Auburn University William V. Muse. While shadowing Muse, Battles stated she worked on two projects that looked at how faculty can balance their responsibilities and strategies for a wireless campus.
As a fellow, Battles said she learned about the many facets of higher education institutions.
“You can get familiar with athletics. You can become familiar with student and campus life—student affairs. You can get familiar with development advancement and alumni relations,” she said. “You can immerse yourself in the operation side, the budget, the administration and finance side. So all of those are things I gained from my fellowship year.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Long—who is on the ACE Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement—stated that she believes Battles’ service as secretary on ACE’s Fellows Board will help make Geneseo more visible.
“I think any of us who are in these national organizations help to bring visibility to the campus,” Long said. “So when people are asked about Geneseo, they’ll remember that they’ve met Denise and that they thought highly of her.”
Battles said she hopes that her involvement with ACE has benefitted the colleges where she has worked.
“Being a part of the national conversation is something that I’ve really enjoyed and feel like I’ve benefitted from,” she said. “Hopefully, the benefit to me has been translated to the institutions that I’ve served.”