NAU associate dean selected as ACE Fellow

Denise Helm

Denise Helm, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Arizona University, has been named a 2012-13 Fellow by the American Council on Education.

“I am so honored to be selected,” Helm said. “I think it is an outstanding opportunity for individuals to explore senior administration, and ACE has an excellent reputation for guiding leaders in higher education.”

This year 57 fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were chosen. Helm was nominated by NAU President John Haeger, who said her selection “demonstrates the quality of our leadership team and shows the potential of our top administrators to advance their careers while benefitting the university.”

Each ACE Fellow spends an academic year working with a college or university president at a host institution. The ACE Fellows Program is designed to prepare promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration.

As part of the application process, Helm interviewed with six university presidents in January.

“For a long time, I’ve been interested in a deanship,” Helm said, “and as I met with the presidents for the ACE interviews, I became interested in exploring options as a university provost or president.”

Helm is assessing a list of institutions at which she might spend her fellowship and will submit a list of 12 potential sites in April. That list will be narrowed to her first choice by the time her fellowship officially begins in July.

“First and foremost, I’m looking for institutions where the president is an excellent mentor,” Helm said. “I’m also interested in institutions that have first-year retention rates and graduation rates above the national average.”

During the yearlong fellowship, Helm will make dozens of site visits to other institutions to identify best practices.

Upon returning to NAU from the fellowship, Helm plans to apply the knowledge she has gained to a project that involves the role of technology in blended learning.

Since fall 2011, NAU has hosted Jan Bowers, an ACE Fellow from Central Washington University.