ACE Fellow Rashmi Assudani holding her service award at her home in Ohio

UofL’s ACE Fellow Rashmi Assudani is closing out her year of service to the university for the 2019-20 academic year.

The American Council on Education fellowship, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutional and leadership capacity in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. Thirty-eight fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, comprised the 2019-20 cohort at colleges and universities across the nation.

Assudani, professor of management and entrepreneurship at Xavier University, was included in the university’s highest levels of decision-making and administrative activities as part of her fellowship this past year. She served on the university’s Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, the Budget Planning and Monitoring Committee, the Budget Model Workgroup, the COVID-19 Taskforce, Fall Scenario Planning Workgroup and the Academic Scenario Planning Taskforce.

“I’ve learned much more than my initial ACE learning contract described,” said Assudani.  “In my case, I wanted to get a birds-eye view of the functioning of a public institution.  While this was a perfect opportunity, I’ve learned so much more than that. I have had the honor to develop relationships that I did not anticipate.”

During her tenure as ACE Fellow, Assudani also had the opportunity to participate as a member of the President’s Cabinet and has attended Board of Trustees meetings, the Provost’s Chief Administrative Officer meetings and senior staff meetings. 

“I’ve had the privilege to work with such wonderful people,” Assudani said, noting how impressed she was with the multiple ‘firsts’ that President Bendapudi brings to UofL. “The first woman president, the first president of color, the first president who is an international immigrant.  I’m very honored to have this opportunity to shadow you,” she told the president at her final cabinet meeting.

Over 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program throughout the past five decades, with more than 80% of fellows having served as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

“I want to thank the President’s Cabinet and all their team members who made the logistics of my fellowship easier and never hesitated to make yourselves available, answer my questions, and meet with me,” Assudani said. “Thank you to the CAO groups, budget planning groups, COVID-19 task force, and all the other teams that welcomed me as one of their own.”

Assudani’s last official day was June 22. 

“Rashmi, the greatest compliment to you is that we feel you are a part of the team and have always been so,” President Neeli Bendapudi said. “Thank you for your counsel, friendship, and care for all of us at UofL. Xavier is lucky to have you.”