Northeastern Illinois University President Sharon Hahs has announced that Elizabeth Ortiz, a 2014-15 American Council on Education Fellow from DePaul University in Chicago, will spend the next five months on campus. Her appointment runs through Jan. 30, 2015.
“Selection as a host institution is a sign of the outstanding reputation and commitment to excellence at Northeastern Illinois University,” said Margarita Benitez, interim assistant vice president of ACE’s Emerging Leaders Group and the ACE Fellows Program. “An ACE Fellow chooses an institution for its rigorous academic environment, high-quality efforts to educate students and willingness to invest in the future of higher education senior leadership.”
The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutional capacity and build leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Thirty-one Fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year in a national competition. Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception, with more than 300 Fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges and universities and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents or deans.
Ortiz joined DePaul University in 2002 and is currently the vice president of Institutional Diversity and Equity. Prior to her work at DePaul, she was the director of Affirmative Action, Diversity and Employee Relations at Northern Illinois University.
"I am excited and honored to be an ACE Fellow at Northeastern Illinois University," she said. "I am confident it will be a productive learning and mentoring experience."
Ortiz has worked on diversity initiatives in several areas including recruitment, retention, training, programming and climate issues for diverse students, faculty and staff. She also has worked extensively in issues of higher education and in particular in raising awareness for Latino students, educators, community representatives and others who are committed to Latino representation and advancement in all aspects of higher education.
Ortiz serves as the chair of the board of Diversifying Our Faculties in Illinois Program and is treasurer of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She also is the former president of the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education.
Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to the nominating/sponsoring institution while spending all or part of the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution. The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single semester or year. The Fellows are included in the highest level of decision-making while participating in administrative activities at their host institutions. Time is also spent learning about a specified issue of benefit to their host institutions for implementation upon the Fellows’ return to campus at the conclusion of the Fellowship year.
“We are pleased to launch this new class of Fellows,” Benitez said. “The members of the class of 2014-15 are a talented, diverse group eager to strengthen their leadership skills and prepare to tackle a wide array of higher education issues, while at the same time building institutional capacity via participation in the ACE Fellows Program.”
Fellows attend three retreats on higher education issues organized by ACE, read extensively in the field, and engage in other activities to advance their knowledge about the current and future challenges and opportunities confronting higher education.