Menon named American Council on Education Fellow

GVL / Courtesy GVNow
Shaily Menon

GVL / Courtesy GVNow Shaily Menon

Beginning this summer, Grand Valley State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty member Shaily Menon will serve as one of 46 American Council on Education Fellows for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Menon has been at GVSU since 1998. She currently teaches classes in the biology department and the natural resource management program. She is also the CLAS associate dean for professional development and administration.

“As associate dean, my responsibilities include faculty and staff development, research and grant support, strategic planning, space design and resource allocation and outreach within campus and in the community,” Menon said.

The ACE Fellows program, Menon explained, was created to prepare leaders for senior positions in higher education. People who are chosen attend retreats and visit campuses, among other learning activities.

“A major component of the program is placement of fellows at one or more host institution, where they have the opportunity to observe and work with the president and other senior officers, attend meetings of senior administrators and learn about issues of interest,” she said. “We are in the process of figuring out our placements, based on the best fit for my area of interests and what will be most useful for Grand Valley.”

Menon said that while she is a fellow, she plans to focus on the larger issues in higher education, as well as the university’s design thinking and community engagement initiatives. She added that finding “creative solutions” to problems is important.

She also expressed her readiness to take on the new role.

“I am honored and grateful to have been nominated for this opportunity and for the support I have received at Grand Valley,” Menon said. “I am passionate about liberal education, interdisciplinary thinking, social innovation, access and equity and the idea of locally and globally engaged universities. I am excited to learn more about these issues and contribute to Grand Valley and to higher education these areas. The ACE fellows experience will help me in this journey.”

Provost Gayle Davis and CLAS Dean Frederick Antczak nominated Menon for the position.

The application process was very intricate and Menon “had to advance through several highly competitive stages” before a decision was reached, Antczak said.

Menon explained that the process began with GVSU administrators sending letters to the ACE office on her behalf. The final candidates were invited to Washington D.C. for interviews with former ACE fellows who are current university presidents.

Antczak explained that Menon’s new position will involve her traveling to another university to examine how it operates on the administrative level. After a year, she will bring what she learns back to GVSU.

Antczak said he recommended Menon because of her admirable work in education.

As an award-winning educator and scholar, Menon has received the Outstanding University Service Award, Barbara Jordan Award for Contributions to Women’s Scholarship and Leadership and the Glenn A. Niemeyer Outstanding Faculty Award.

“Dean Menon is one of the most remarkable administrators I have known,” Antczak said. “(She has) Extraordinary people skills—most notably her ability to listen empathetically for what really is the issue and her imagination, which allows her to see solutions that no one had the vision to foresee. She is a scientist who embodies the values and powers of a liberal education.

“Dean Menon has a future bristling with opportunities ahead of her,” Antczak said. “Whatever she chooses to do, she will have great success.”

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