ACE Fellow chooses NAU for mentorship experience

Jan Bowers

After considering more than 20 universities, Jan Bowers, who in July was named a 2011-12 Fellow by the American Council on Education, has chosen to spend her prestigious one-year fellowship at Northern Arizona University.

The fellowships allow promising higher education faculty and administrators to work with a mentor at a host university. Bowers directs special programs and projects for the president and provost at Central Washington University, where she also serves as chair of family and consumer sciences. She will be guided by NAU President John Haeger and other top administrators over the next academic year.

Bowers was one of 50 fellows named by the council. In her explanation of why she chose NAU, she identified “the depth of NAU’s aggressive and successful infrastructure changes” as a compelling factor.

“I admire President Haeger’s approach,” Bowers said. “As he has said, higher education is changing, and we need to be part of that change.”

In particular, as the academic leader of Central Washington’s Student Success Council, Bowers said she wants to learn more about NAU’s programs to improve student recruitment, retention and program completion.

That interest, Haeger said, stems from NAU’s progress in those areas. “It’s worth noting that our focus on student success drew the attention of Dr. Bowers. I look forward to hosting her on our campus as she learns firsthand about our programs and initiatives.”

According to ACE, the 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 year.” ACE also notes that more than 300 of its previous 1,500 Fellows have served as chief executive officers at more than 350 institutions.

Bowers hopes to apply the knowledge she gains to her work at Central Washington, where she serves a relatively new president encountering many of the same budgetary and demographic challenges that have been experienced at NAU.

Although Bowers will interview all of NAU’s vice presidents to “see how they run their programs,” she plans to give particular emphasis to enrollment management and student affairs. In addition, she looks forward to sharing details about her successes in academic service learning and civic engagement. As she put it, “I also want to help while I’m here.”