Diane Bell, professor of anthropology and director of women's studies at George Washington University and one of 37 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows, will spend the current academic year in the provost's office at Virginia Tech, examining the globalization efforts of the university and its core curriculum as part of her ACE fellowship.
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 more responsible positions in college and university administration. Nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their own institutions, Fellows are selected in a national competition and are supported by their home institutions.
Bell, the only ACE Fellow in residence at a Virginia institution of higher education, is the author and editor of seven books, including Daughters of the Dreaming, a book about the religion of Australia's female Aborigines that was first published in 1983 and is still used in the classroom.
"We are very pleased to have Dr. Bell at Virginia Tech this year. She is a well known anthropologist and educator whose work as an ACE Fellow will benefit Virginia Tech, George Washington, and higher education in general," said Mark McNamee, Tech's provost and vice president for academic affairs. McNamee is serving as Bell's mentor during her stay at the university.
Bell was educated in her native country of Australia and holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the Australian National University in Canberra. The recipient of a number of awards and honors, she was inducted into the Golden Key Honor Society last year as an honorary member for her "commitment to higher education and an outstanding job in capacity as director of Women's Studies" at George Washington University. She received the American Association of University Women 2000 Senior Scholar Special Commendation of Honor and the New South Wales Premier's Gleebook Award for cultural and literary criticism for her book Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: A World That Is, Was, and Will Be. She is the first person from George Washington University to serve as an ACE Fellow.
Throughout her year at Virginia Tech, Bell will be included in the highest levels of decision-making, will participate in administrative activities, and will be working on the issues of globalization and core curriculum. She has attended the first of three week-long ACE-organized seminars on higher education issues, has begun reading extensively in the field, and has been engaging in other activities to enhance her knowledge about the challenges and opportunities confronting higher education today and in the next century.
Bell said she selected Virginia Tech as her host institution because she was interested in globalization, information technology and diversity and was attracted by the activity in those areas at the Blacksburg university. She said she was also attracted by the university's land-grant status, local enthusiasm for the school and its goal of reaching the top 30 research schools in the country.
During the month she has been in Blacksburg, Bell said she has found the university community "very committed to Virginia Tech" and the students "uniformly engaging and open."
Bell will return to George Washington University for at least a year after her fellowship ends, a requirement of the ACE Fellows Program. She is then free to pursue other positions, either at her own institution or elsewhere. According to Marlene Ross, director of the program, most previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration. In the 38 years of the program's existence, 250 have become chief executive officers and more than 1,300 have become provosts, vice presidents, or deans.
"We're extremely pleased with this class of Fellows," Ross said. "The individuals selected have demonstrated strong leadership ability. The Fellows program will sharpen and enhance their leadership skills and prepare them to address issues of concern to the higher education community."
Founded in 1918, ACE is the nation's largest higher education association, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide.