Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education (ACE), announced today that Dr. Sonya G. Baker, professor of voice and assistant dean of the college of humanities and fine arts at Murray State University, has been named an ACE Fellow for academic year 2012-13.
The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Fifty-seven Fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process.
Dr. Sharon A. McDade, director of the ACE Fellows Program, noted that most previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration. Of the more than 1,700 participants in the first 47 years of the program, more than 300 have become chief executive officers and more than 1,100 have become provosts, vice presidents, or deans.
According to Dr. Randy Dunn, president of Murray State University, Baker’s accomplishments at MSU represent a rare combination of talents. “Sonya is not only a gifted musician and inspiring teacher,” Dunn said, “but she has also demonstrated outstanding academic leadership as an administrator in our college of humanities and fine arts. This recognition is a distinct honor for her and Murray State University.”
Baker serves as a board member for the Kentucky Arts Council and recently completed two terms as Kentucky Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She holds degrees from Yale, Indiana and Florida State universities and is an alumna of Leadership Kentucky. Baker made her Carnegie Hall debut with renowned conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and appeared as soloist on the Yale Alumni Chorus tour to Moscow singing at the Kremlin.
Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to the nominating institution while spending the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution. The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single semester or year. The Fellows are included in the highest level of decision making while participating in administrative activities and learning about an issue to benefit their host universities.
Fellows attend three week-long retreats on higher education issues organized by ACE, read extensively in the field, and engage in other activities to enhance their knowledge about the challenges and opportunities confronting higher education today.