PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University History Professor Marcia Schmidt Blaine has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2015-16 academic year. Blaine is one of 47 individuals selected for the prestigious leadership development program that prepares senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities.
As an ACE Fellow, Blaine will focus on an issue of concern to Plymouth State University while spending the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution. The program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single semester or year.
"As a Fellow, I can research and study, observe mentors and understand national policies," Blaine said. "I'll have the time to think and write while exploring a variety of leadership styles. An ACE Fellowship will give me the opportunity to tackle the challenges facing higher education."
After joining Plymouth State University as a full-time faculty member in 2002, Blaine was elected chair of PSU's Executive Council, where she worked to improve inclusiveness in faculty governance. She served as head of the University Steering Committee and then as Faculty Speaker. In 2010, she helped to form a new department, combining history with the disciplines of philosophy and social studies education; she has served as department chair since its inception. Blaine notes that she is ready to investigate other university cultures and leadership positions in the experiential mode offered by ACE.
PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, a former ACE Fellow, said Blaine is a great choice for the leadership development program. "Marcia is both thoughtful and effective," Steen said. "She combines reflection with energy and the ability to see a path and bring others together to accomplish goals quickly, a combination needed in higher education leadership. The ACE Fellows program will offer her an opportunity to learn from the nation's best. It is a competitive national program, and I am pleased to see her excellence recognized."
ACE President Molly Corbett Broad noted that the Fellows Program, established in 1965, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this academic year, and that over those five decades nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated, with more than 300 Fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.
"The ACE Fellows Program enters its second half century committed to further growing and strengthening the nation's premier higher education leadership development program," Broad said. "The diverse and talented 2015-16 Fellows class embodies why the program has been such a vital contributor to expanding the leadership pipeline for our nation's colleges and universities."