Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Tracey Ford, Ed.D., has been selected to participate in the 2021 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI), a premier leadership development program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
She is one among a class of 32 exemplary, senior-level higher education professionals who will participate in MLI, which provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of postsecondary education with the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network and knowledge needed to advance to the presidency.
UNCSA Provost Patrick J. Sims said, “Throughout this challenging year, one thing has remained constant, and that is Tracey Ford’s laser focus on meeting the needs of our students. Her leadership has been noted by students, parents and colleagues. I am grateful to have her on my team, and I applaud her well-deserved selection for AASCU’s prestigious leadership initiative.”
A champion for higher education access and student success for underrepresented and low-income students, Ford joined the senior leadership team at UNCSA in 2019. She is a member of the chancellor’s advisory committee on equity, diversity and inclusion. She provides executive-level leadership, strategic vision and oversight for the Division of Student Affairs to create an environment that is most conducive for student academic and artistic achievement and professional growth and development.
Ford served as interim vice provost and dean for a year before Chancellor Brian Cole appointed her to the permanent position in June 2020, saying, “I have been very impressed with Tracey Ford’s leadership over the past year, in particular her role in bolstering campus initiatives in the area of diversity, inclusivity and student wellness. This spring, she has also been tireless in ensuring that our response to COVID-19 meets the needs of our students and addresses their health and well-being as well as providing high-quality academic and artistic instruction. I am confident that she is the best person to guide us through our next chapter in this extraordinary time.”
Previously, Ford held a similar role as vice president for student affairs at Tennessee State University, was assistant vice president for academic and student affairs at the University of North Carolina System, director for the Center for Academic Excellence at North Carolina A&T State University and performed key roles at the University of Georgia (UGA), including assistant dean of intercultural affairs, director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, and academic adviser for pre-medical students in Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She was the co-founder and director of UGA’s pre-collegiate program ASPIRE.
Throughout this challenging year, one thing has remained constant, and that is Tracey Ford’s laser focus on meeting the needs of our students.Provost Patrick J. Sims
Ford holds a B.S. in biology from Norfolk State University, an M.S. in genetics from Howard University, and an Ed.D. in higher education from the University of Georgia. She has completed three leadership programs: UNC BRIDGES, LEAD UNC, and the Higher Education Leadership Foundation program as member of the 2015 Alpha Cohort.
“During the past year, it has become more evident how important diversity, equity, and inclusion are,” said Mary Evans Sias, director of the MLI and assistant to AASCU’s president. “With the selection of this class, we are hoping to reflect the diversity of this nation and the institutions that our protégés serve. We are proud to welcome our next class and are grateful to them for joining with us to secure the higher education leadership pipeline.”
Since MLI’s inception 22 years ago, 662 protégés have graduated from the program. One-fifth of MLI graduates have become a president or chancellor, and more than one-third have advanced significantly to other leadership positions within higher education, including at the state level.
In 2020, AASCU restructured MLI in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 institute will also feature virtual programming—four meetings a month from March 17 to May 26. Additionally, it includes a tentative in-person meeting in the fall. Protégés will also have a yearlong mentorship with an experienced president or chancellor and four months of professional coaching from a retired president or chancellor.
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March 23, 2021