NAU VP Chad Hamill named American Council on Education Fellow

Chad Hamill

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced that Chad S. Hamill, vice president for Native American initiatives at Northern Arizona University, has been named an ACE Fellow for academic year 2018-19.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American 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. Following nomination by the senior administration of their institutions and a rigorous application process, 45 fellows were selected this year.

More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program in the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows going on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

“For more than a half-century, the ACE Fellows Program has been a powerful engine fueling the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” ACE President Ted Mitchell said. “We are excited to welcome this new class of fellows and look forward to each enjoying a transformative experience that will help advance individual leadership readiness while also enriching the capacity of institutions to innovate and thrive.”

The Office of Native American Initiatives, the area Hamill supervises, is tasked with advancing NAU’s strategic goal to become the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans. With initiatives focusing on Native American student retention, tribal leadership, environmental stewardship in Native communities, culturally responsive K-12 pedagogy and Native mentorship, the ACE fellowship will provide Hamill with additional tools to bring NAU within reach of this goal.

“While we are pleased with the progress we are making in serving Native American students and their communities, the ACE fellowship will give me an opportunity to observe what another institution is doing to increase educational access and equity for Native Americans, as well as other underserved populations,” Hamill said.

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.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Chad to share his expertise and leadership as well as get new ideas to improve on what NAU is offering to its Native American and other underserved populations,” said NAU President Rita Cheng. “As an ACE fellow he joins an elite group of educators and leaders, and I am excited to see all that he will experience during this yearlong fellowship.”

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

About ACE
Celebrating its centennial in 2018, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

NAU Communications