Left: Professor Andrea Kaston Tange. Right: Professor Duchess Harris.

Macalester Professors Andrea Kaston Tange and Duchess Harris are among 10 faculty from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) to be designated as inaugural ACM Mellon Academic Leadership Fellows. Funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, the two-year program is meant to familiarize humanities faculty with academic leadership at the highest level through immersion in the workings of upper-level academic administration on each host campus. 

“Now more than ever, colleges need strong academic leaders who can think strategically and apply an equity lens to their work. The ACM Mellon Academic Leadership Fellows will help Macalester and other ACM member institutions build and support a cohort of faculty who are well prepared to lead on new and emerging challenges facing our campus communities,” said President Suzanne Rivera. 

The fellows are tenured faculty who have demonstrated leadership capabilities, a commitment to diversity and inclusive equity, and the potential to have a transformative impact through leadership at their current or future institutions. As contributors to senior leadership discussions, each fellow will lead a discrete project or portfolio of responsibilities as identified by the host college’s senior leadership team. 

During her fellowship, Professor Kaston Tange aims to create a web-based interface where students can explore what alumni who majored in humanities disciplines are doing now with their careers. The goal is to help students imagine their own career paths and to demonstrate how majors that are not obvious job titles can take them to all sorts of interesting places. More broadly, the fellowship also offers Dr. Kaston Tange an opportunity to explore what an upper-level leadership position might look like at this stage in her career. 

“My interest in serving in an administrative role is to work towards leveraging my extensive experience in national conversations about higher education and the state of humanities study in practical ways that will benefit our students and our campus, and by extension, also provide important counterexamples to the dismal assumptions about the relevance of humanities study that so often make the news,” she said.

Professor Harris has served in numerous leadership roles on campus during her nearly 30 year tenure at the college. As one of Macalester’s four faculty strategic planning champions, she is currently focused on implementing curricular changes in accordance with the college’s new strategic plan. For Dr. Harris, the fellowship offers an opportunity to further explore what a higher-level role in curriculum development might look like.  

“I am interested in ensuring that all students have access to internships, community engagement, study away, and entrepreneurship experiences that prepare them for life after Macalester,” she said. “It’s no secret that higher education is in need of new ideas, particularly coming out of this pandemic, and this fellowship will allow me to really explore what that means and how to be a leader in this new space moving forward.”

Through participation in the ACM Mellon Academic Leadership Fellowship program, Professors Kaston Tange and Harris will gain a better understanding of institutional cultures and the complexities of academic leadership, and explore how their commitments to diversity and inclusive equity can enhance their leadership potential. Macalester will benefit by building leadership pipelines among faculty. 

The fellowships provide the participating colleges with partial funding for two years of each fellow’s salary and benefits. Fellows also receive a reduced teaching load, mentoring by senior ACM and external faculty colleagues, and leadership development workshops and convenings in collaboration with the ACM’s peer colleges in the Associated Colleges of the South and New York Six. 

May 2 2023

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