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National fellowship program pairs Texas educator, University leaders

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is hosting a Texas university administrator as part of a higher education leadership development program. 

Dr. Kumer Pial Das is among 43 American Council on Education Fellows who are shadowing university leaders nationwide during the 2018-19 academic year.

Das is interim associate provost in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Lamar University, and is founding director of the Beaumont, Texas, institution’s Office of Undergraduate Research. He is also a professor of mathematics.

He began his fellowship in August. He noted that UL Lafayette recently exceeded $100 million in research and development expenditures for the first time in its history. That made the University an attractive site to complete the fellowship, Das said.

“The University is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, and it has fostered a culture over the past decade that’s resulted in consistent growth in research and development.”

The ACE Fellows Program prepares faculty and university administrators for advancement into senior leadership roles. The intensive, yearlong program includes retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another institution.

Fellows participate in administrative activities at their host institutions.

Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, and Dr. Jaimie Hebert, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will serve as Das’ fellowship mentors.

“We welcome Dr. Das,” Savoie said. “He’s proven to be a strong advocate for faculty and student research during his tenure at Lamar. We’re looking forward to his input as we continue to strengthen and expand our undergraduate research programs.”

Sherri Lind Hughes, the program’s director, said Das’ selection of UL Lafayette signifies the University’s “outstanding reputation and commitment to excellence.”

“An ACE Fellow chooses an institution not only for its rigorous academic environment and high-quality efforts to educate students, but also its strong desire to invest in the future of higher education senior leadership,” Hughes said.

Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its creation in 1965.  

ACE provides guidance on higher education issues and policies to the more than 1,600 colleges and universities it represents. It is based in Washington, D.C.

Photo caption: Dr. Kumer Pial Das (Photo courtesy of Lamar University)