SOE News

Eileen Parsons selected as an American Council on Education Fellow

Eileen Parsons, professor of science education, has been named an American Council on Education Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year.

Portrait of Eileen Parsons

Eileen Parsons

One of 39 Fellows selected from across the country, Parsons was selected following a nomination by the senior administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a rigorous selection process.

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

“The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” ACE President Ted Mitchell said in a news release. “Each year I am impressed by how many former Fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exciting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these Fellows end up?’”

Parsons, who has been teaching at Carolina’s School of Education since 2005, studies the influences of socio-cultural factors, specifically race and culture, on learning in STEM subjects.

This month she assumed the role of president-elect of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, a worldwide association that works to promote improvement of science teaching and learning through research. She will serve in that position for one year before becoming president of NARST. After serving for one year as president, she will serve for another year as immediate past president.

Parsons has also served as a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The ACE Fellows 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.

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.