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University of Denver Welcomes ACE Fellow Melanie Harris

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Madeline Phipps

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Melanie Harris

Melanie Harris, founding director of African American and Africana Studies and professor of religion and ethics at Texas Christian University, recently began a year-long American Council of Education (ACE) Fellowship at the University of Denver.

“The ACE Fellows program is one of the premier programs in the nation for preparing the future higher education leaders of tomorrow,” says Frank Tuitt, senior advisor to the chancellor and provost for diversity and inclusion, and professor of higher education. “We are excited and truly humbled that such a talented scholar like Dr. Melanie Harris would choose DU as the location for her ACE fellowship, and we look forward to a mutually enriching year as we contribute to her overall professional development and at the same time benefit from her knowledge and expertise.”

Harris is one of 46 emerging college and university leaders selected as an ACE Fellow from across the United States. The program focuses on developing the fellows’ administrative leadership abilities; while at DU, Harris will observe and learn from members of DU’s senior administration.

Harris says she was interested in completing her fellowship at DU because of its innovative approach to inclusivity. “The University of Denver is leading a path in higher education with its commitment to inclusive excellence,” Harris says. “As colleges and universities across the country prepare to face demographic shifts, learning communities will have to do more than teach exceptional skills in technology, business and global economics. It will be imperative for leaders in the 21st century to have skills in cultural competency, be aware of the impact of environmental disparities and embody the courage to stand with communities facing social injustice,” she adds.

During her year at DU, Harris will focus on inclusive excellence, strategic planning, finance and leadership. “I will have the pleasure of working with a dynamic leadership team at DU,” she says. “The ACE fellowship program is designed to invite fellows to observe and learn from an institution while also contributing their expertise, and as the founding director of African American and Africana Studies at TCU, I hope to share in conversations about program and curriculum development.”

In the next few months, Harris will participate in the Roger Salters Writing Institute at the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE). She will also observe DU’s strategic planning efforts and join the Diversity Summit planning team.