Michael Romanella, ’13, Interim News Editor
The last thing Patricia Sendall thought she would be doing this past year was not teaching full time, a job she had been doing for over twenty years. “Giving up teaching full time was a tough decision,” Patricia explained. Patricia is able to still teach one class per semester at Merrimack, but she is thankful for the experience she has gone through over the past year through the fellowship program saying it was “life changing.”
Patricia was nominated by President Hopey to become a member of the Fellows Program or The American Council on Education (ACE). Patricia is only the second professor ever to be nominated at Merrimack. The ACE program enables participants to immerse themselves in the culture, policies, and decision-making processes of another institution.
“This unique program condenses years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year. As a result, the ACE Fellows Program is the most effective, comprehensive leadership development program in American higher education today.”
In November of 2010 Patricia learned she had made the first cut. In January of 2011 she went to an interview in Washington, D.C., where she was assessed by interviewers. She received the nomination into the ACE program later in March of that same year.
Patricia is one of fifty people who were chosen this past year to adventure off into this program. Colleagues of hers come from all around the world from different colleges and universities. “It was truly a special honor to be selected into this program and be nominated by President Hopey,” she said.
From September to December in 2011 she was able to meet with various college presidents and provosts. In all, she will have to travel to twelve different colleges/universities to go study ‘their’ structure. Patricia has already journeyed to the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Miami, Syracuse, Colgate and Hamilton College. In March, she will be attending the annual ACE meeting in Los Angeles where she will go to four more colleges/universities near LA.
In addition to traveling to these campuses, the program also allows each member to pick and institution of their choice where they can study for either a semester or a year depending on what their work schedules will allow them to do. Patricia chose Umass-Lowell as her place of study for last semester. She explained how Umass-Lowell was “very different from Merrimack,” because the campus is unionized and are supported by state funding in which Merrimack is not. She attends and acts in meetings Monday through Friday meeting with experts to gather information and some new ideas to bring back to Merrimack, mainly studying best practices in international and grad studies. “There are other ways for students to study in other countries versus your traditional study abroad programs.”
She is still planning trips to other colleges for her final visits. She hopes to travel off to South Africa to study in two different locations Cape Town and Johannesburg. Here she would like to study at Higher Education of South Africa (HESA), University of South Africa (UNISA), Tshwane University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Patricia has planned a trip for a small group of ACE colleagues to visit Merrimack along with other colleges/universities in the area this May.
In June, Patricia will be attending the closing seminar and graduation ceremony from the ACE program in Indianapolis.
“It’s a gift to be in this program and granted the opportunity to travel and learn about what other colleges/universities are doing,” Patricia stated, “It has been the best professional experience of my life.”