Graham to offer fresh perspective

Dr. David Graham is visiting ECU as an ACE Fellow, a program for senior faculty and administrators in higher education. The program enhances skills through interaction with another university's leadership team. (Photo by Jay Clark)

Dr. David Graham is visiting ECU as an ACE Fellow, a program for senior faculty and administrators in higher education. The program enhances skills through interaction with another university’s leadership team. (Photo by Jay Clark)


By Spaine Stephens
For ECU News Services

Dr. David L. Graham believes time spent with East Carolina University administrators will ultimately make him a better leader.

Graham is a 2013-14 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, visiting ECU from the Ohio State University, where he serves as assistant provost and associate athletics director for student athlete success. A former student-athlete himself, Graham brings to campus more than 20 years of higher-education experience and dedication to student success.

“ECU is a great university filled with great people doing great things,” Graham said. “Through this experience, I hope that I can be of service by providing a fresh perspective to areas that will ultimately enhance the student experience.”

The ACE Fellows Program identifies and prepares promising senior faculty and administrators for key positions in college and university administration. Graham is one of 50 Fellows nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions and selected this year in a national competition.

The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another college or university for a single semester or year. Graham will be included this year in the highest level of decision-making—the Chancellor’s Executive Council—while focusing on academic planning and innovations, budgeting and institutional advancement.

“A critical aspect to the Fellow’s experience is mentoring,” Graham said, “and I believe that Chancellor Ballard and his leadership teams will provide me the mentoring that will enhance my learning and professional development.”

Along with Graham’s accomplishment for participation as a Fellow, it is also an honor for ECU to be chosen by a Fellow as a host university.

“Selection as a host institution is a sign of the standing and reputation of the university,” said Margarita Benítez, interim director of ACE’s Emerging Leaders Group and the ACE Fellows Program. “An ACE Fellow chooses an institution for its rigorous academic environment and high-quality efforts to educate students.”

Graham’s interest in ECU stemmed from “the commitment to the eastern region of North Carolina by providing access to higher education and health care,” he said.

Since his arrival in August, Graham has set out to strengthen his strategic planning skills and to study revenue generation and philanthropic giving, crucial because of rising costs of higher education.

The fellowship also will provide a reinforced skill set Graham can apply at Ohio State. While he works to make both universities even better for students, he will reap benefits himself as well. “As an educator,” Graham said, “I am committed to being a life-long learner.”

Other ACE Fellows hosted by ECU include Dr. Charles Cullop (1971-72) and Dr. Rosina Chia (1980-81), who were also nominated by ECU for the honor and chose to spend part of their fellowships at ECU. The fourth fellow hosted by ECU, Dr. Daniel Robison (2007-08), was nominated by North Carolina State University.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.