Julie Coonrod, dean of Graduate Studies at The University of New Mexico and professor of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, has been named by The American Council on Education (ACE) as a Fellow for academic year 2022-23.

Nominated by UNM President Garnett Stokes, Coonrod is looking forward to learning from other universities and leaders. Serving on UNM faculty since 1996, Coonrod said she is excited to experience the strategies and decision-making processes of another institution and contributing to UNM with new insights and perspective. 

Julie Coonrod

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in U.S. 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. About 2,500 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

“It’s an honor to be selected. I’m a Lobo through and through, but look forward to the opportunity to be immersed in a different institution and bring back new and fresh ideas,” said Coonrod who has been serving as dean of Graduate Studies since 2013.

During that time, many processes have been streamlined with electronic forms, better data + documentation, and better reporting, she noted. Under her leadership, the Shared Knowledge Conference has become a hallmark event featuring the work from graduate students across campus and communicating that work to community judges and participants.

Coonrod is the past president of the Western Association of Graduate Schools (2019-2020). Their annual conference was held in Albuquerque and hosted by UNM just under the "COVID wire" in March 2020. An active participant in the Council of Graduate Schools, Coonrod has served on its board for three years and is the 2022 Chair. 

“The ACE Fellows program embodies ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of agile leaders to problem-solve and innovate, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Fellows continue to excel in prominent leadership roles, and the potential of this new cohort to bring strong leadership to institutions across America greatly excites me.”

The 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.

During the placement, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institution with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts and a network of peers across the country and abroad.

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. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

For more information, please click here.

Related article