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Press Release

CONTACT: Debra Humphreys
(202) 387-3760 (ext. 422)

Association of American Colleges and Universities Appoints William Bennett and Ann Ferren as Senior Fellows

Washington, DC—March 4, 2002—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announces the appointment of William Bennett and Ann Ferren as senior fellows. Dr. William Bennett is working with AAC&U's Program on Health and Higher Education (PHHE) and the project, Science for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER). In her role as senior fellow, Ann Ferren is working on the Preparing Future Faculty initiative.

"AAC&U is privileged to benefit from the expertise of these two national leaders in education," said AAC&U president, Carol Geary Schneider. "Drs. Bennett and Ferren bring us great intellect and insight and also a sophisticated understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by academic leaders and faculty members on campus."

Dr. Bennett has had a distinguished career in the fields of immunology, minority health, and health education. His areas of expertise include HIV/AIDS, curriculum development, and prevention education. He is a founding member of the editorial advisory board of the journal, Minority Health Today. He has served on undergraduate and medical faculties and held positions in the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to retirement, he was senior science advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Bennett received his Ph.D., M.A., and B.A., from the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Lincoln University, respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University in cellular immunology in the laboratory of Drs. James Hirsch and Zanvil Cohn and in biochemistry with Nobel Laureate Fritz Lipman.

In addition to providing assistance on the SENCER and PHHE initiatives, Dr. Bennett will also work with AAC&U on building relationships with historically black colleges and universities. "Bill has been a guiding presence to us for many years. He is a distinguished leader in the very fields where our projects aim to have their greatest effect. We are grateful for his service and commitment to AAC&U's mission," says David Burns, AAC&U senior policy director and project director for PHHE and SENCER.

The Program on Health and Higher Education is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its goal is to provide leadership to American colleges and universities to improve undergraduate education by integrating HIV/AIDS and health issues into the curriculum. SENCER connects science education and civic engagement by teaching rigorous science through the study of complex, capacious, and unsolved public issues. The initiative is developing and disseminating models for teaching science in a social context that can be implemented at a wide array of institutions.

Dr. Ferren is professor of educational studies at Radford University where she served as vice president for academic affairs from 1996 to 2001. Previously, she held administrative positions as associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, associate dean of faculties, director of general education, vice provost for academic development, and interim provost at American University. She was honored for her work on undergraduate curriculum by the National Center for the Study of the First Year Experience. She has published widely on curriculum, instruction, faculty development, and academic leadership. Her research was featured in the Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum, edited by Jerry Gaff and James Ratcliffe in 1996, and AAC&U's paper, Investing in Quality: Tools for Improving Curricular Efficiency, which she co-wrote with Rick Slavings in 2000. Dr. Ferren received her B.A. degree in economics from Radcliffe College, the M.A.T. degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Ed.D. degree from Boston University. She served in the 1990s as a member of AAC&U's Board of Directors.

With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Dr. Ferren will be studying Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) programs on campuses across the country as AAC&U seeks to distill lessons from nearly a decade of work in establishing these programs. "Ann Ferren is an insightful educator, sophisticated analyst of higher education, and a savvy academic administrator. I am eager to learn from her vast experience on campus and what she gleans from her study of Preparing Future Faculty programs. I'm sure her insights will be valuable as AAC&U charts new steps in the important work of preparing the next generation of faculty for a changing academy," said Jerry Gaff, senior scholar and project director of PFF.

The Preparing Future Faculty program works to transform the way doctoral programs prepare aspiring faculty members for their careers. It involves approximately 300 colleges and universities in a variety of cluster groups and develops strategies for graduate education to provide learning experiences informed by the kinds of responsibilities faculty members actually hold in different institutional settings.

For further information about AAC&U programs and initiatives, visit

AAC&U is the leading national association devoted to advancing and strengthening liberal learning for all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Since its founding in 1915, AAC&U's membership has grown to more than 750 accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.