Jones-Branch Among 52 Emerging Higher Education Leaders Named ACE Fellows

JONESBORO – The American Council on Education has selected 52 emerging college and university leaders for the 2021-22 class of its ACE Fellows Program, including Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, a faculty member at Arkansas State University since 2003.

Jones-Branch, the James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Professor of History, became dean of the reestablished Graduate School at A-State last July.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be selected as an ACE Fellow and excited about the opportunity to learn more about how higher education functions,” she said. “I am further proud to represent A-State as I engage in a robust and diverse network of college and university leaders from around the country and the world.”

She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, and her doctorate in history from Ohio State University.

Jones-Branch is the author of Crossing the Line: Women and Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II and the co-editor of Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times. Her second manuscript, titled Better Living By Their Own Bootstraps: Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1913-1965, will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in June.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse noted the significance of Jones-Branch’s selection for the program.

“It’s a profound honor to be selected as an ACE Fellow, and I’m very excited that Cherisse will have this opportunity not only to expand her administrative skills but to represent Arkansas State at events associated with this prestigious program,” he said.

Since its inception in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions in American higher education by identifying and preparing over 2,000 faculty, staff and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership through its nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model.

“It was an honor to nominate Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch to the ACE Fellows Program,” added Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Alan Utter. “She will make significant contributions to the cohort of individuals selected while concurrently expanding her leadership skills to advance our Graduate School and graduate student population here at Arkansas State University.”

“ACE Fellows gain career-enriching experience in leadership, innovation and problem-solving,” added ACE President Ted Mitchell. “These are just the kind of skillsets that will be absolutely essential for moving higher education forward during difficult times.”

The program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations effectively condensing years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows bring new knowledge and skills to their home institution, and enjoy a network of peers across the country and abroad.

ACE, based in Washington, D.C., represents its 1,700 accredited college and university members, both two-year and four-year, public and private. More details about ACE and the fellowship program are available on its website.

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