UNC Charlotte professor Jeffrey Leak has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year. He is one of 39 individuals selected nationwide for this prestigious professional development opportunity.
Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Fellows are selected through a rigorous process after nomination by their institution’s leader.
Leak joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1998 and is a faculty member in the departments of English and Africana Studies. During his University tenure, he has served in a number of capacities, including director of the Center for the Study of the New South and president of the faculty. In 2016, Leak was part of the inaugural class of Emerging Leaders for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Currently, he is faculty representative to the NCAA and faculty fellow for the Martin Scholars Program in the Honors College.
“One of my goals during my fellowship year is to observe another senior leadership team at a different kind of college or university and possibly incorporate a practice or perspective at UNC Charlotte in one of my current or future roles upon my return,” said Leak.
A graduate of Campbell University, Leak completed a master’s degree from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. from Emory University. He has authored numerous publications, including Visible Man: The Life of Henry Dumas and “Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature.” Visible Man was the subject of a Personally Speaking community talk in the 2015-2016 season of this series of published scholars’ conversations.
The ACE Fellows program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.
ACE President Ted Mitchell stated, “The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline. Each year, I am impressed by how many former Fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exciting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these Fellows end up?’”
More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows program during the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows undertaking positions as senior leaders of colleges and universities.
UNC Charlotte has hosted a number of ACE Fellows during the tenure of Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, including current Fellow Karen Morgan from New Jersey City University.
ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, ACE represents more than 1,700 college and university presidents and related associations.
Images: Wade Bruton and Lynn Roberson