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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

ACE Fellow follows president’s schedule

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 28, 2004 -- Anyone watching University of Rhode Island President Robert L. Carothers these days may notice that he has a shadow even when it’s overcast.

That shadow’s name is Dorothy Escribano, associate vice president for academic affairs at Worcester State College, and an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2004-2005 academic year.

The ACE Fellow program, a top leadership development program in higher education, is rigorous and competitive. Candidates must be nominated by the president of their institution and undergo a series of interviews by three teams of university presidents.

Escribano, a Putnam, Conn. resident, was one of only 34 ACE Fellows selected from a national pool of candidates for this academic year. By witnessing and discussing different issues at URI, Escribano will be able to apply that experience to her two-year-old position at Worcester State. Founded in 1874, the College has 3,500 full-time undergraduates, and approximately another 1,000 undergraduate and 700 graduate students attend classes on a part-time basis. The college awards bachelors’ and masters’ degrees in education and in the arts and sciences.

Competition for placement with Carothers was stiff. “Many of candidates knew of Bob because he has been a mentor to 10 ACE Fellows and there are glowing reports about him. I ‘m lucky to get the placement,” says Escribano.

The ACE Fellow is familiar with the University. She earned one of her two master’s degrees at URI and she was a lecturer in Spanish here from 1992 through 1995.

Since her position at Worcester is relativity new, Escribano opted for the ACE periodical option, meaning she comes to the URI campus once a week. In addition, at three different intervals, early fall, mid-winter and late spring, Escribano will spend five weeks at the University.

The ACE Fellow hopes to gain expertise in areas where she has little experience: the budgeting process, legal issues, and fundraising.

For her project, Escribano is focusing on freshmen. “URI’s University College has developed an impressive program for freshmen with learning communities,” she says, noting that during the year she will look for best practices at URI and beyond in order to incorporate them into Worcester State’s first-year program.

Escribano is enjoying her University experience. “Everyone is so open and welcoming,” she says. “As an ACE Fellow, I cannot ask questions while attending meetings since I am here to observe not debate. However, when others in meetings note my presence, they go out of their way to fill in background for me.

“Also President Carothers is incredibly open with me. He will even share what he considers missteps and ask for my feedback,” the ACE Fellow says.

Founded in 1918, ACE fosters greater collaboration and new partnerships within and outside the higher education community. ACE members include approximately 1,800 accredited, degree-granting colleges, universities, and higher education-related associations, organizations, and corporations.