History professor Ian F. McNeely, the UO’s associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named an American Council on Education Fellow for 2016-17.
"I can't think of a more exciting opportunity than this,” McNeely said. “Both as a scholar and as an administrator, I have become intensely interested in the ways UO's challenges and opportunities register broader changes in higher education nationally. The ACE fellowship offers a chance to learn how our peers have adapted to and often thrived amidst these changes.”
The council’s fellowships are designed to prepare emerging higher education leaders for positions in university upper administration. Through a series of retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and placement at other institutions, the fellows condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.
A UO faculty member since 2002, McNeely was appointed associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences in 2012. In that role, he focuses on curriculum development, enrollment planning, student advising, special teaching initiatives and other aspects of undergraduate education.
McNeely has been one of the architects, along with biology professor Karen Sprague, of the UO’s General Education Renaissance initiative. That effort is reimagining the university’s core, general education curriculum with an eye toward making it more engaging and inspiring.
McNeely is currently looking at institutions where he could spend up to 12 weeks shadowing a president or provost and other senior leaders to develop a deeper understanding of university administration. He said he’s looking mainly at public universities in the Association of American Universities, as well as some private schools and smaller liberal arts colleges.
The American Council on Education will act as a matchmaker to help McNeely find a partner institution where he can pursue some of his interests. He wants to look at leadership training for department heads, the way provost’s and academic affairs offices are organized and carry out new initiatives, and related topics.
McNeely said he’s received help from the UO’s president and provost on areas that could help the university once he completes the fellowship.
“While I will continue my work here in support of undergraduate education, I'm eager now to learn how other universities support and cultivate their faculty, prepare faculty for leadership positions and organize their central administrations to promote academic initiatives,” McNeely said. “Especially now that the UO is poised to move forward decisively under President Schill's leadership, I hope that whatever I learn from my experiences elsewhere will end up benefiting UO when I return."
Two other UO leaders, Vice President for Student Life Robin Holmes and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh, are previous recipients of the ACE fellowship.
The council selected 33 emerging university leaders for this year’s fellows program. This year’s class represents the diversity of America’s higher education institutions by gender, race, ethnicity, institution type and disciplinary background. More than half the members of the 2016-17 fellows are women and 42 percent are of minority descent.
"The ACE Fellows Program cultivates leaders prepared to meet the constantly evolving challenges of today’s higher education landscape,” said council President Molly Corbett Broad. "The diverse and talented 2016-17 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has been such a vital contributor for more than a half century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities."