The American Council on Education (ACE), has announced that Aimé Sposato, D.M.A., Shenandoah Conservatory’s associate dean for undergraduate studies and professor of voice, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2015-16 academic year.
“I must say that I am excited about what lies ahead,” said Dr. Sposato. “It has been an intensive, soul-searching and reflective period which began in October 2014 at the start of the application process. I am excited about the year ahead, but most importantly, I am looking forward to returning to our campus with new ideas, a broader network of peers, and resources that will further the mission and vision of our campus community.”
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. Forty-seven Fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process.
The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, 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.
“Now, the real work begins,” said Sposato. “The Fellows are already communicating and beginning our research and investigation of our placement at another institution for the next academic year. At my host institution, I will have the opportunity to observe and participate in key meetings and special events, and collaborate with a team on special projects and assignments while under the mentorship of experienced campus leaders.
“I will be immersed in the culture, policies, and the decision-making processes of my host institution, explore strategies that determine resource allocation, and examine how the resources may impact academic programming,” she added. “I hope to gain insight on issues such as how student preparation relates to curriculum, diversity-centered issues on a college campus, and the educational experience from the perspective of the student body. There are many pressing issues that campus leaders face on a daily basis and I am interested in learning how they respond to the landscape changes in higher education.”
“I am thrilled that Aimé will serve as an ACE Fellow during the next academic year,” said Shenandoah University Vice President for Academic Affairs Adrienne Bloss, Ph.D., who serves as Sposato’s nominator and on-campus mentor at Shenandoah. “She has dedicated more than 20 years to Shenandoah, and during her time here, has shown a great commitment and dedication to the institution. It is an honor to help shepherd her through this incredible process of personal and professional development, and particularly meaningful since I first came to Shenandoah during my own ACE Fellowship.”
Sposato also noted that she is blessed to have the full support of Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., and Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory Michael Stepniak, Ed.D., who have served as her mentors and champions as she has learned more about academic leadership. “The Shenandoah community has encouraged me to explore, learn, and mature as a leader within the Conservatory,” said Sposato. “I am surrounded by mentors every time I walk into the office. What a dynamic place to work!”
Sposato is a broadly trained classical vocal artist and educator. Performing in major concert halls throughout the world, she been a soloist on National Public Radio and has performed at Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Cathedral, Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Music Center at Strathmore.
Her operatic career includes more than fifteen roles and prestigious recognitions in vocal competitions such as Palm Beach Opera, Naomi Music Productions, the Minna Kaufmann Ruud Opera Scholarship Awards, and Artists Association International Vocal Competition. She has received international acclaim for her solo performances in Czechoslovakia, France, England, Scotland, China, Hungary, and Italy.
Sposato maintains an active role in arts education at the national level by presenting at conferences such as College Music Society, International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and National Association of Schools of Music, where she was recently appointed to the institutional accreditation evaluator team. She completed the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education program at Harvard University and participated in the National Women’s Leadership Forum through ACE in 2012.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Music degree from Duquesne University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from West Virginia University. Sposato joined the Shenandoah Conservatory faculty in 1993 and was appointed the associate dean for undergraduate studies in 2006. Nominated by her peers, she received the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award in 2011.
For some diversion, Sposato has been employed as a recording artist with the The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and The Learning Channel and sings the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates, and NASCAR International Speedways.
ACE President Molly Corbett Broad noted that the Fellows Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this academic year, and that over those five decades, nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated, 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.