Pan-African studies chair earns fellowship

Bryan Wroten

Pan-African Studies Chairperson Diedre Badejo received a fellowship to study at another university from the American Council on Education.

The ACE Fellows Program gives higher education faculty and administrators a chance to learn from other universities, said George Alan Smith, associate director of the Fellows Program. The fellows stay at a host university for a year, observing the processes there. The university where Badejo will study has not been decided, she said.

Badejo said she is excited about the possibilities this experience will provide. She said she’s eager to work with colleagues at another institution and bring back to Kent State what she will learn in the program. She said she also hopes to use the experience to help further her own department.

“For people who are in academia, this is an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “I’m looking forward to returning to Kent after this experience and help to advance the agenda of the university.”

Badejo has participated in past ACE programs, a strategic planning committee and a seminar about chairing an academic department. This experience led her to talk to President Carol Cartwright and Provost Paul Gaston about recommending her for the fellowship.

With their recommendation, Badejo said she began the application process, which included interviews in Washington, D.C.

Smith said the Fellows Program receives applications from about 100 candidates every year. From there, a panel of past fellows and staff members narrows it down to 50 candidates, whom they bring to Washington for interviews.

Badejo said the panel asked her questions about her application and her views on education. She said they wanted to see how her being a fellow would benefit her home university as well as education nationally.

After the interview process, the panel chooses between 30 to 40 fellows. This year the panel chose 38, Smith said.

Along with attending a host university for a year, fellows must go to three seminars, Smith said. The topics relate to leadership, academic programs and policy and personal and professional aspects of leadership.

Jerry Feezel, interim dean of arts and science, said having Badejo chosen to be a fellow is a credit to her and the university. He said the fellowship recognizes her capabilities for leadership and her potential for further development.

Though the program will certainly benefit her, the department will miss her presence, Feezel said.

“For the year, it will be our loss,” he said. “It will be a benefit when she returns.”

The department of Pan-African Studies, which is part of the college of arts and science, will need a temporary chair while Badejo is away for her fellowship. Feezel said there will be discussions in the near future as to who will take her position for the year.

Contact minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at [email protected].