There’s a new face in the crowd at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). James Cousins, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Western Michigan University (WMU), selected FGCU as the institution where he would work through the summer of 2020 under the auspices of his prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship.
“FGCU’s leadership team made it a natural choice,” Cousins said about choosing the FGCU campus for his fellowship. “President Mike Martin is one of the most influential thought-leaders in higher education. His experiences, successes and unique outlook really put him in rare company. Provost James Llorens, a former ACE fellow himself, has an amazing record of accomplishment in his own right, and Vice President Susan Evans saw FGCU from vision to reality, which gives her a perspective on university planning, development and leadership few can match.”
Cousins is one of 39 ACE Fellows selected for the 2019-20 academic year. The program “enables participants to immerse themselves in the study and practice of leadership and experience the culture, policies, and decision-making processes of another institution,” according to the ACE website. Cousins is the second fellow to choose FGCU, both coming during President Mike Martin’s tenure.
“We are pleased to have ACE Fellow Dr. James Cousins join us from WMU,” said Martin. “Dr. Cousins has established a strong reputation as a scholar and is an up-and-coming university leader. I’m confident he’ll benefit from his time at FGCU, and we will certainly benefit from having him participate at FGCU as a colleague.”
Over the next year, Cousins said he will be looking at one overall idea.
“I’ll focus on university advancement, enrollment management, and government relations, but I’m most interested in the future of higher education here at FGCU and throughout Florida. I’d like to see how these areas have prepared for future changes to employment, technology, demographics and politics,” Cousins said.
As associate dean at WMU, Cousins is responsible for undergraduate student services, retention, program assessment and curriculum development. Taking the reins of his current role at WMU in 2015, Cousins previously worked as the director of undergraduate studies and is a tenured faculty member in the department of history.
While WMU provides him with the preparation to expand his career, FGCU gives him a chance to look at a different approach to higher education.
“This is a year for me to experience all aspects of university governance and understand how all the pieces fit together. I’d like to spend time with the university leadership, but would also like to get ‘in the weeds’ and see how individual units affect the whole. It’s also a year for me to learn about the unique features of a state-coordinated system of higher education, connect with university leaders throughout Florida and understand how their plans and planning processes intersect,” Cousins said.