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Nukhet Sandal named American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow

The American Council on Education, or ACE, has selected Ohio University’s Nukhet Sandal as one of 26 emerging college and university leaders for the 2024-25 class of the ACE Fellows Program, the longest-running leadership development program in the United States.

“The American Council on Education Fellows Program is one of the nation’s most prestigious professional development programs for college and university administrators,” President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said. “As a highly respected teacher and researcher, Dr. Sandal has distinguished herself as an exceptional leader not just at OHIO but across the higher education landscape. We are proud that she’s being recognized with this prestigious fellowship.”

Since its creation in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions in American higher education by identifying and preparing over 2,500 faculty, staff, and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership through its distinctive and intensive cohort-based mentorship model. More than 80 percent of the Fellows who have participated have gone on to serve as chief executive officers, chief academic officers, other cabinet-level positions, and deans. 

Sandal is associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at OHIO’s Athens campus and also serves as a professor of Political Science. She earned her Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations from the University of Southern California in 2010, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University from 2010-2013. Her research focuses on the dynamics of peace and conflict; religion and politics; political competition and outbidding; minority rights; and Turkish politics. 

“I am honored to be named an ACE Fellow, and I am grateful for all the support I have received from our university leaders,” Sandal said. “I have colleagues who have done this before, and they all say that it is a transformative experience, which makes me even more excited.”

The 2024-25 class represents the diversity of this country’s higher education institutions by gender, race/ethnicity, institution type, and disciplinary background. The class also reflects a wide array of geographies and institutional missions, including several Fellows with international backgrounds. Seventy percent of the cohort are from public institutions and 30 percent are from private institutions.

"Dr. Sandal has excelled as a faculty member, department chair, and associate dean,” Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said. “An ACE Fellowship will help her develop a deeper understanding of higher education leadership and enable her to work on a project that effects positive change at OHIO. I was honored to support her nomination and know she will maximize this opportunity to prepare for the next steps in her stellar career.”

The program incorporates its signature features such as retreats, interactive and virtual learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution. All these experiences are condensed into a single year, providing the Fellows with years of on-the-job experience and skills development.

“We are delighted and honored that Dr. Sandal was selected for the ACE Fellows Program,” Vice Provost Katie Hartman said. “Dr. Sandal has been an invaluable leader at OHIO for years. Her work has advanced student success, student experiences, curriculum innovation, and faculty development. I am confident that she will bring the same passion and dedication to this new opportunity.”

As an ACE fellow, Sandal will work at another institution for part of the year while still serving in her current roles at OHIO. 

“One of my passions is connecting advancement, industry partnerships, and alumni relations to student success, so I expect I will be working on a project along those lines,” Sandal added. “There will also be retreats, workshops and lectures that I will be attending to learn more about the many dimensions and processes of higher education.”

During the placement, Fellows observe and work with senior officers at their host institutions, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest that will benefit their host and nominating institutions. The year ahead will offer many opportunities for ACE Fellows to view leadership in action. Placement institutions will benefit from having an experienced leader who can lend a fresh perspective to emerging or ongoing institutional challenges.

Although she has extensive administrative experience, especially at OHIO, Sandal is looking forward to learning about another institution’s processes and working with higher education leaders from all around the country. 

“I find higher education administration fascinating, but as everyone knows, it has its challenges. I look forward to the formal and informal opportunities of networking and learning ACE fellowship will provide. I am committed to making the most of this opportunity and to using the perspectives I gain from this experience to contribute to Ohio University in new and meaningful ways.”

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows will return to their home institutions with new knowledge, skills, and a network of peers across the country and abroad.

In addition to being named an ACE Fellow, Sandal was also the recipient of the 2022 Global Access Award, 2021 CIS Advising and Mentorship Award, 2019 Cutler Scholars Distinguished Mentor Award, 2019 Outstanding Research in Social Sciences Award, 2017 University Professor Award, 2017 Honors Tutorial College Best Tutor Award, and 2016 Jeanette G. Grasselli Brown Faculty Teaching Award.

“Dr. Sandal is an inspiring scholar and teacher, and she has been and continues to be a transformational leader for OHIO and its College of Arts and Sciences,” Matthew Ando, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “It is a privilege to work with someone who works so energetically and imaginatively to advance the institution and support its people--faculty, students, and staff. She is an ideal ACE Fellow. I congratulate her on her selection, and I look forward to all that she will achieve there and thereafter, with the experience, knowledge, and connections that she gains from the program.”

Click here to learn more about the ACE Fellows Program.

March 22, 2024
Staff reports