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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Sandra King Named American Council on Education Fellow

King is presidential fellow and director of community college relationships at Minnesota State Mankato.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-4-2017

Mankato, Minn. – The American Council on Education (ACE) announced Monday that Sandra King (pictured), presidential fellow and director of community college relationships at Minnesota State University, Mankato, has been named an ACE fellow for the 2017-18 academic year.

Established in 1965, 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.

Forty-six fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process. Of the 46 ACE fellows selected, King is the only representative of a Minnesota college or university. (The complete list of the 2017-18 ACE Fellows Program Class is listed here.)

“Fulfilling higher education’s 21st century mission depends upon a visionary, bold and diverse global community of institutional leaders, and the ACE Fellows Program plays a key role in cultivating these leaders,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “The diverse and talented 2017-18 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has made such a vital contribution for more than a half-century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities.”

Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport said that King was an outstanding addition to the 2017-18 ACE Fellows Program Class.

“Dr. Sandra King is an outstanding leader,” said Davenport. “She’s also a consummate professional, and I’m proud that she was selected to represent Minnesota State University, Mankato through the ACE Fellows Program.”

King, who holds a doctorate in leadership from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, has more than 20 years of progressively responsible leadership experience in organizations inside and outside of higher education. In her current position at Minnesota State Mankato, King focuses on collaborating with community college partners to eliminate barriers and create smooth transitions for students transferring from community colleges to the University. An Army veteran, King serves as the university veteran liaison and is responsible for leading the University’s efforts in facilitating the success of military-connected students.

Minnesota State Mankato Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management David Jones has served as a mentor to King in the area of community college leadership.

During her fellowship year, King will be exploring best practices related to “effective transition support to enhance student success,” which aligns with Jones’ intent to bridge the gap between two-year college transfer students and universities. King intends to focus on both transfer students and military-connected students.

“I am both humbled and excited about this tremendous opportunity to learn from presidents and other senior leaders in higher education,” said King. “My goal is to use this experience in a way that yields maximum benefits to the university, particularly in the area of enhancing the success of transfer and military-connected students. As a former low-income, first generation, transfer, and military-connected student, I know firsthand what a difference education can make in a person’s life.”

Nearly 1,900 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 2017-18 class will kick off its work this fall as ACE prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

The 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.

King is the third representative of Minnesota State Mankato to be selected as an ACE fellow. Former faculty members Michelle Alvarez (2013-14 class) and James F. Wenner (1967-68 class) were selected previously as ACE fellows.

For more information from Minnesota State Mankato on King, please contact David Jones, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, at 507-389-2121.

For more information on ACE, please contact Kelli Meyer, American Council on Education, by phone at 202-939-9328 or by email at

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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