Dr. Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo | Chancellor Awards Higher Education Fellowship
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Chancellor Awards Higher Education Fellowship

Chancellor Awards Higher Education Fellowship

I am excited to announce that I was one of two people selected from among the Vanderbilt University’s faculty and mid- to senior-level administrators to be a fellow for the first Chancellor’s Higher Education Fellows program for the 2016-17 academic year. The purpose of the fellowship is to spend a year gaining experience and knowledge of the culture, policies and decision-making processes of higher education in general, and of Vanderbilt specifically.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos established this new program within his office to ensure that the university maintains and continues to enhance its strength and stability long-term by cultivating a strong pipeline of potential university leaders at Vanderbilt and in higher education. Zeppos believes that “The future of Vanderbilt University and the entire academic research enterprise relies on having a robust, experienced, diverse pipeline of individuals who understand the inner workings of a nationally ranked research university—and the environment in which we operate—and are prepared to step comfortably and quickly into leadership roles when opportunities present themselves or when there is a need.”

Zeppos will be a mentor to me and Assistant Vice Chancellor Tina L. Smith, who was also awarded the fellowship. I’ll be working with him on his priorities, engaging in senior-level meetings and decision-making, and observing and assisting in managing campus challenges and issues. Through interaction with each of the vice chancellors, I’ll be able to observe and develop an understanding of different management, leadership and communications styles, as well as gain insights into each vice chancellor’s specific responsibilities and challenges. There will be opportunities to engage with members of the Board of Trust as well as with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

I’ll also be involved with national issues and how they affect Vanderbilt, plus I’ll have had the opportunity to observe and participate in the university’s interaction with government leaders—national, state and local—as well as with the community and neighborhood constituencies. Occasionally, there will be travel to key events with the chancellor, to the nation’s

In addition to developing broad knowledge and understanding of the university, I will be selecting an area of focus and identify key goals that I wish to achieve during the course of my fellowship to enhance my skills in critical areas and grow in a leadership position.
At the conclusion of the program, I believe I will better understand how a nationally ranked institution operates, and be able to provide leadership within my divisions or departments, and to move into more senior-level administrative positions.