Schools and Colleges

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, SU’s chair of political science, named ACE fellow for 2017-18 academic year

Courtesy of Stephen Sartori

The ACE program offers candidates the chance to shadow the president or provost of a college or university and learn from them on a daily basis over the course of a year.

A Syracuse University professor has been selected to join a group of college and university leaders for the 2017-18 cohort of the American Council on Education fellows program.

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, chair of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was nominated to the fellowship by SU Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly, according to an SU News release.

Boroujerdi, who is also a provost faculty fellow at SU, said he is excited to be an ACE fellow, as the fellowship is prestigious and well-known among academic leaders. To earn the fellowship, Boroujerdi had to write several application essays and go through an interview process in Washington, D.C. with six current and former presidents from different universities for the fellowship.

The ACE program offers candidates the chance to shadow the president or provost of a college or university and learn from them on a daily basis over the course of a year. Boroujerdi said this is one of the most important aspects of the program. He added that the fellowship provides intensive on-the-job training.

The ACE Fellows Program has been running for 52 years. Over 80 percent of fellows to date have become chief executive officers, chief academic officers, other cabinet-level positions and deans, according to the ACE website.

Boroujerdi was one of 46 fellows selected for the 2017-18 cohort.

ACE fellows should have the opportunity to engage in frank conversations with the administrators they shadow to learn about different challenges they face, whether those be financial or political, he said. Administrators deal with a range of different of constituencies, students, faculty, staff, board of trustees and politicians, and Boroujerdi said he wants to learn how to manage all of that.

During the program, fellows are supposed to visit 20 to 30 other institutions and learn from them as well, Boroujerdi said. He added that for 14 out of his 25 years at SU he has held mid-level management positions, such as his current position as chair of the political science department.

Each of the selected ACE fellows chose 12 institutions that they would want to be placed at, he said, and they will later narrow their choices down to three. During this period, Boroujerdi said candidates meet with the presidents of those universities to see if they have a good rapport.

Boroujerdi has been teaching at SU, a large research university, for more than two decades. He said he would like to learn the administrative challenges of a smaller liberal arts school. He has mostly chosen small liberal arts colleges to potentially shadow administrators at, he said. He also has excluded community colleges from his search because “it’s a whole different ball game.”

Boroujerdi added that he has more flexibility than other fellows regarding the geographic location of the school he selects. His selections include institutions in both New York and California, he said.

David Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School, said in an email he was delighted that Boroujerdi has been accepted into the ACE Fellows Program. Van Slyke added that Boroujerdi is a natural leader in higher education.

Van Slyke said he believes Boroujerdi will use the ACE Fellows Program to help Maxwell and SU compete in an increasingly competitive higher education environment. Boroujerdi will also help place Maxwell and SU at the forefront of international education, Van Slyke said.

Van Slyke also said Boroujerdi understands that “we must innovate and provide a strong learning experience and environment as a School and University.”

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