WPI’s Dean of Graduate Studies Terri Camesano Selected as a Fellow of the American Council on Education

Camesano is noted as an emerging college and university leader among peers across the country.
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March 22, 2022

Terri Anne Camesano who serves as Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Dean of Graduate Studies and a professor of chemical engineering has been named to the American Council on Education (ACE) 2022-2023 Class of Fellows, the longest-running leadership development program in the United States. The newly selected class includes 46 Fellows and represents 28 public and 14 private institutions who were chosen following a nomination by the senior administration of their institutions and a rigorous application process.

 “I am very grateful that WPI nominated me for the ACE Fellowship. This will allow me to have access to an individualized and highly effective mentoring and professional development, addressing multiple areas of importance to higher education,” said Camesano. “I cannot wait to learn from this experience and to see how I can apply all of my new knowledge directly back to WPI.”

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in U.S. higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. About 2,500  higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

I cannot wait to learn from this experience and to see how I can apply all of my new knowledge directly back to WPI.
  • Terri Camesano, Dean of Graduate Studies

“The ACE Fellows program embodies ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of agile leaders to problem solve and innovate, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Fellows continue to excel in prominent leadership roles, and the potential of this new cohort to bring strong leadership to institutions across America greatly excites me.”

Camesano has been a faculty member at WPI for 22 years with appointments in chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and biomedical engineering. In her role as a dean, she serves as the primary advocate for the more than 2,000 graduate students, oversees 23 PhD programs, 45 Master’s programs, and numerous graduate certificates, including 14 fully online MS programs. She also serves as a member of the Provost’s Cabinet and the President’s Management Council. As reflected by her numerous appointments, Camesano’s career focuses on advocacy for all students and the integration of research and education in interdisciplinary training programs. One highlight includes her role as Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Training Innovative Leaders in Biofabrication (2012–2020), in which she created and led a highly interdisciplinary graduate training program for 20 PhD students in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biology & Biotechnology, Physics, and Interdisciplinary Studies. This program supported the development of an innovation mindset in STEM PhD students through interdisciplinary courses, a graduate certificate program in entrepreneurship, experiential opportunities, and professional development. As part of this work, she launched a seminar series for graduate student professional development, with topics including career preparation, communication skills, work/life balance, ethics, global impact, and innovation. This seminar series eventually was scaled up and institutionalized for all graduate students at WPI. Other honors include the Fulbright International Educational Administrators program (2018), the ELATES program at Drexel (2012–2013), HERS (2011­–2012), and the Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize at WPI (2014).

“I am delighted that Dean Camesano has been selected as one of this year’s class of ACE Fellows,” said Winston Oluwole (Wole) Soboyejo, Provost and Senior Vice President. “This is a great recognition of the excellent work that she has done as Dean of Graduate Studies and as Director of the highly successful NSF IGERT Program. I look forward to working with Terri as she enters this next phase of her leadership development.”

As a member of ACE’s Class of 2022–2023 Fellows, Camesano will participate in retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education–related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

During the placement, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institution with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.

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