September 22, 1997
Volume 50, No. 5
When Betty Jones received her fellowship from the American Council on Education a few months ago out of approximately 200 applicants, she saw a lot of opportunities, one of which was the chance to come home again.
The ACE fellowship has given her an opportunity to study higher education administration, leadership, decision-making and governance. Jones, on leave from Morris Brown College as former vice provost for academic affairs, had been working in Washington as senior program director for the National Science Foundation since 1992.
After spending her time in Washington evaluating and funding proposals across the country for NSF, it became time for Jones to evaluate her own options.
A colleague and mentor from the University of Alabama-Birmingham mentioned the ACE fellowship as a possibility, and Jones decided to inquire about it. Within two weeks, she'd put together a 42-page application, complete with letters of recommendation from college presidents and a nomination from the new president of Morris Brown, Samuel Jolley.
Jones will be at Emory until May 1998 observing the day-to-day activities of the University's highest administrators. "Cozily" ensconced in the outer office of her mentor, University Secretary Gary Hauk, Jones accompanies Hauk in his daily routine of meetings and appointments. She also meets weekly with President Bill Chace and is in contact with the Board of Trustees.
"I will be exploring academic and research relationships, partnerships, collaborations and exchange programs between Emory and Morris Brown College,' Jones said. "From an administrative perspective, I will be reviewing Emory's organizational structure, the University's strategic plan, University governance mechanisms and the strategic plan for development and institutional advancement."
The ACE fellowship program, which is sponsoring 34 fellows around the country this year, is basically an apprenticeship for future upper-level administrators in higher education. Jones' job is, in effect, to learn what it takes to be president of a university. To that end, she does "a lot of listening" to the wheels of decision-making, and she hopes to spend time with outside entities closely affiliated with Emory like the CDC and the Coca-Cola Foundation.
"Emory was always my first choice because I knew I had to be in a comprehensive institution that had a full array of [units], so I could really see how Bill Chace functions with all these entities." Dr. Jones is Emory's first ACE Fellow.
Chace wanted Jones here too, because of her outstanding credentials as an administrator and a scientist. Among other accomplishments, she founded the electron microscopy (EM) center at the Atlanta University Center, the first such resource center in the country devoted to increasing the participation of minorities in that field of research. The center is just one example of what will make Jones a valuable resource who learns from her mentors, to be sure, but can also lend her own expertise in EM and her other areas of specialization in infectious diseases.
Jones spends most of her time in meetings with Hauk, Chace and others. Some of the meetings include committees of the Board of Trustees and special presidential commissions. She also does some traveling. ACE requires that fellows attend weeklong seminars around the country. Jones plans to tour historically black colleges and universities around the Southeast with two other fellows placed at Georgia State and Auburn universities.
"[The fellowship] is the only program in higher education at the national level to provide on-the-job learning for an extended period of time," Jones said. "It's exciting. It's good, intense training."
Jones hopes to return at some point to Morris Brown and put to use the administrative skills she's worked so hard to hone the past several years.
"I've met so many wonderful people," said Jones, who's not just speaking about her contact with top executives and administrators. "We went to the dormitories one afternoon and met a lot of the students, and that was really exciting."
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