Since she joined Fordham, Lesley Massiah-Arthur, GSAS ’13 has had plenty of time to learn about Fordham’s administration operates. Now Massiah-Arthur, Fordham’s associate vice president and special assistant to the president for government relations, will have the opportunity to learn how other higher ed institutions function, and take those lessons back to Fordham.

On March 15, the American Council on Education announced that Massiah-Arthur and 45 others had been named ACE Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year. The highly competitive program, which attracts applicants from institutions from across the nation, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in U.S. higher education by preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. About 2,500 higher ed leaders have participated in the program.

As part of the fellowship, Massiah-Arthur will join the leadership team of another higher education institution that she will choose this spring. In the fall, she will visit her host institution periodically to observe and work with the president and other senior officers, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. She will also conduct a project of pressing concern to the host institution and seek to implement her findings upon completion of the fellowship placement.

Massiah-Arthur said she’s particularly interested in learning more about how institutions set priorities in moments of crisis, and ultimately, who is responsible for making those decisions? In other words, where exactly does the buck stop?

“If you’ve been at an institution for a certain amount of time, it becomes easy for you to become ingrained in how it works and functions,” she said.

“That’s a good thing because it’s important to know what the mission of the institution is. But by the same token, you might not be able to look at processes for leadership or decision-making in an objective way, because you’ve been ingrained in those thought processes.”

Massiah-Arthur is the first Fordham employee to become an ACE fellow. She said she’s excited to share the knowledge she’s gained from her time at Fordham with the administrators of her host institution and to bring fresh perspectives back when she completes the fellowship.

“I really want to thank Father McShane for his support and for putting forth my nomination. It really means a lot to me that he values not only what I’ve done but that he values the potential of what I can do,” she said.




Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.