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Washington and Lee University Hosts ACE Fellow, Verna Miller Case

Verna Miller Case, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology at Davidson College, will serve as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Washington and Lee University during the 2009-10 academic year.

Announcement of Case’s appointment was made by W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio.

Established in 1965 by the American Council on Education, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for eventual advancement into senior leadership. ACE Fellows, nominated by the presidents of their institutions, are selected in a national competition. Of the more than 1,500 participants in the 44 years of the program, more than 300 have become chief executive officers, and more than 1,100 have become provosts, vice presidents or deans.

“We are delighted that Verna Case will join us during this coming academic year and will work on a variety of key projects, including our upcoming Washington and Lee Teacher-Scholar Symposium, as well as faculty development issues,” said Ruscio.

Each ACE Fellow focuses on an issue of concern to the nominating institution while being mentored by the president and other senior officers at the host institution. The Fellow is included in the highest level of decision-making, participates in administrative activities and works on specific issues or projects with the host. Fellows attend seminars organized by ACE as well as the ACE Annual Meeting, read extensively in the field, visit other higher-education institutions and engage in other activities to enhance their knowledge about the field.

Case joined the Davidson faculty in 1974 after receiving her bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees from Pennsylvania State University. She chaired the biology department at Davidson from 1993 to 2009; biology became Davidson’s largest academic department during that time. Case is the program director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant at Davidson, and she contributed to or was sole author of the three grant proposals. She also is the program director for the Davidson Research Initiative funded by the Duke Endowment, and has authored or co-authored seven articles.

In addition to mentoring and doing collaborative research with students, Case belonged to the committee on curriculum development and the steering committee for strategic planning at Davidson from 2008-2009. She is a member of six other institutional committees including faculty study and research, career services faculty advisory and premedical, and chairs the animal care and use committee.

Case also is a member of the Mwandi, Zambia, Mission Hospital Board of Trustees. Since 2000, she has taken 60 students there to learn not only about health and disease in Zambia but also what they can and cannot do in a month, and how health care there is complicated by culture, religion, politics and poverty. She also is a member of the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research Board of Directors.

“Selection as a host institution is a mark of the prestige of Washington and Lee University. An ACE Fellow has selected this institution for its unique learning opportunities and the quality work that it is doing in educating students,” said Dr. Sharon A. McDade, director of the ACE Fellows Program.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher-education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide. It provides leadership and a unifying voice on key higher-education issues and influences public policy through advocacy, research and program initiatives.