Not long ago I had the good fortune to participate in the Closing Retreat of the ACE Fellows Program. If you are not familiar with the ACE Fellows Program I encourage you to visit their web site and learn more about this outstanding learning opportunity.
The ACE Fellows Program prepares emerging leaders to serve American colleges and universities. The class of 2011-2012 was an example of the quality leadership we have to look forward to working with in the future. It is always a pleasure to interact with professionals who are so committed to their profession that they are willing to set aside a year to immerse themselves into this life changing experience. The Closing Retreat was hosted by Ball State University with the focus on Student Facilities and Campus Master Planning. I cannot think of a better University to provide a real life example of the role facilities play in the advancement of higher education.
President JoAnn M. Gora, herself a former ACE Fellow, started the program with an overview of the investment and progress Ball State University is making to advance their mission as a regional university. The Campus Geothermal Project is amazing and is sure to be a model for environmentally responsible campus energy management. The Geothermal Project at Ball State is the largest ground source, closed loop district geothermal heating and cooling in the country. When complete, it will cut their carbon footprint by nearly half. James Lowe, Director of Engineering, Construction and Operations provided an overview of the project in terms that could be understood by those of us unfamiliar with the technology. The focus of the Closing Retreat was also on student facilities and their role in the educational experience.
I joined the Fellows in touring some of the most thoughtfully designed Residence Hall and Dining Hall renovation projects I have seen in my career. Under the leadership of Vice President of Student Affairs Kay Bales and Associate Vice President Alan Hargrave, Ball State University offered these future college presidents a model program to refer to as they advance in their leadership career. As the leadership in higher education ages, it is comforting to see firsthand the leaders who are emerging to take charge. For more information about the ACE Fellows Program or Ball State University, visit their websites: ACE Fellows Program Ball State University Ball State University – Geothermal Project If you have any questions or comments about our retreat experience, please feel free to comment below.