Michelle M. Camacho-Walter Named American Council on Education Fellow

The American Council on Education (ACE), announced that Michelle Camacho-Walter, Professor and Department Chair of Sociology, University of San Diego has been named an ACE Fellow for academic year 2014-15.

The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing emerging leaders for senior positions in college and university administration. Thirty-one Fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process.

Joan Wodiska, ACE vice president and chief leadership officer, noted that many previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration. Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception, with more than 300 Fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.

“For nearly 50 years, the ACE Fellows Program has transformed lives and grown future leaders,” said Joan Wodiska, ACE vice president and chief leadership officer. “The ACE Fellows Program is unique. The program immerses Fellows in learning experiences to gain insight and understanding into the changing environment of higher education.”

Michelle M. Camacho-Walter, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair in the Sociology Department at the University of San Diego. A former Fulbright Scholar, her PhD is interdisciplinary in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. She moved to San Diego in 1999 when she held a Faculty Fellow position and a postdoctoral position at UCSD. Her recent research is funded by the National Science Foundation to examine inequities in higher education, in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Her publications appear in numerous academic journals including American Sociologist, Latino Studies, Journal of Engineering Education, Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. She has co-authored two books, and has a third forthcoming. In 2011 she was named the McNair Mentor of the Year and also received the award for Innovative and Experiential Teaching Excellence. Her peers at USD selected her in 2014 for the University Professor Award, “the highest academic honor bestowed university-wide, given in recognition of outstanding scholarly achievements in teaching and research.” Professor Camacho lives in Carmel Valley with her husband and three children. She is a regular lector at St. Therese of Carmel Catholic Church, and also teaches Zumba Fitness at the Bay Club of Carmel Valley.

“I am mindful of the importance of work/life balance; my work enriches my life and I find value and meaning in serving others,” says Camacho-Walter. “My path in higher education began as a first generation college student, and my goal is to contribute to collaborative leadership that fosters equity, supports diversity, and advances knowledge. Ultimately, all of my work is driven by a commitment to social justice, with the aim of generating practices that make an impact.”

The ACE Fellows Program combines three retreats on higher education issues organized by ACE, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single semester or year. Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to the University of San Diego while spending the next academic semester working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution.