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29 leaders from 25 universities selected for 7th cohort of Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership

December 10, 2019

Twenty-nine senior leaders from more than two dozen universities, including Cornell University, University of Michigan, University of Connecticut, Santa Clara University and Paul Quinn College, have been selected as fellows in the seventh cohort of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, co-hosted by Arizona State University and Georgetown University.

The eight-month program, which began Nov. 11 and takes place at Georgetown and ASU, focuses on preparing the fellows to lead organizational change at colleges and universities.

During four intensive sessions in the District of Columbia and Tempe, Arizona, fellows at the academy will be introduced to the latest thinking and research about change leadership, teaching and learning in a digital age, external challenges facing higher education and the financial sustainability of institutions.

Participants also will apply the principles of “design thinking” to reimagine the future of higher education. A mix of seminars, hands-on workshops, design sessions and fireside chats with leading thinkers from various industries will help the fellows prepare for leading innovation at their own institutions.

Academy faculty members represent a cross-section of higher-education scholars and leaders from other sectors of the economy that are facing similar challenges.

This year’s fellows are:

  • Haya Ajjan, faculty administrative fellow, assistant to the president, associate professor of management information systems, Elon University
  • Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University
  • Barbara Crow, dean, Queen's University
  • Robert Cummings, executive director of academic innovation, University of Mississippi
  • Cynthia Demetriou, vice provost, University of Arizona
  • Mary Dobransky, dean, science and technology, Bellevue University
  • Jennifer Drake, provost and vice president for student and academic life, The Evergreen State College
  • David English, chief financial officer, senior vice president for finance and management, Denison University
  • Patricia Friedrich, associate dean of academic programs and faculty affairs and professor, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University  
  • Cynthia Geer, associate dean, Xavier University
  • Nicole Gelston, general counsel, University of Connecticut  
  • Robert Hinde, vice provost for academic affairs, University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  • Mark Land, vice president for university relations, Clemson University
  • Mark Moller, dean of first-year students and director of academic advising and associate professor, Denison University
  • Mary-Ann Mycek, associate dean for graduate and professional education, College of Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Anthony Niedwiecki, dean, Golden Gate University
  • Michelle Pautz, assistant provost for the common academic program, University of Dayton
  • Karen Pedersen, dean, Global Campus, Kansas State University
  • Vijay Pendakur, Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley dean of students, Cornell University
  • Chris Plouff, senior associate vice president for academic affairs, Grand Valley State University                                                               
  • Kelly Pokrywka, associate vice president, enrollment management and student success, Xavier University
  • Daniel Mark Roberts, executive director, Virginia State University
  • Ellen E. Schendel, associate vice president for academic affairs, Grand Valley State University
  • Alexander Sens, Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos chair of Hellenic Studies and senior associate dean for program development, Georgetown Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Corlisse Thomas, vice chancellor for student affairs, Rutgers University – Newark
  • Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, dean, College of Innovation and Design, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Natalie Williams, chief of staff, Paul Quinn College
  • Kathryn Zimmerman, senior director, emerging initiatives, Lehigh University
  • Sabrina Zirkel, dean, School of Education and Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University

For more information, go to

Written by Jeff Selingo, executive director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership and special adviser to President Crow

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