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By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2019)
— David A. Brennen, dean of the College of Law, and Sonja Feist-Price, vice president for institutional diversity at the University of Kentucky, have been selected to participate in the American Council on Education's (ACE) Fellows Program, the longest running leadership development program in the United States. Brennen and Feist-Price are two of 39 emerging college and university leaders chosen for the 2019-20 class of ACE Fellows.

David A. Brennen

Brennen joined the UK faculty in 2009. Along with more than 20 years of experience in the classroom, he is regarded as an innovator in the field of nonprofit law as it relates to taxation. Brennen is a co-founder and co-editor of Nonprofit Law Prof Blog, founding editor of Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracts, co-founder of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law and a co-author of one of the first law school casebooks on taxation of nonprofit organizations.

In 1988, ​Brennen received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida Atlantic University and received his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1991. In 2002, he was elected to the American Law Institute where he is an adviser on its project titled, “Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations.” Brennen has also served in leadership roles with the Society of American Law Teachers and the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education.

Brennen is looking forward to this new opportunity. "As a scholar of nonprofit organizations, I have a long-standing interest in the inner workings of mission-driven organizations. After years of serving in leadership roles for such entities, including the privilege to serve 10 years as dean at UK College of Law, I look forward to participating in the ACE Fellows Program to learn more about improving institutional effectiveness as a leader in this area," he said. "I am particularly interested in focusing on leadership challenges in higher education so that I can better serve as a student-centered leader who contributes to maximizing opportunities for creativity, innovation and access.”

Sonja Feist-Price

Feist-Price joined the UK College of Education faculty in 1992. In 2017, she assumed the position of vice president for institutional diversity. Feist-Price advises the president and provost on all academic, fiscal, programmatic and administrative policy decisions regarding the university's diversity and inclusivity goals. She is the senior administrative officer responsible for promoting collaboration among all members of the campus community including students, faculty, staff and administrators in an earnest pursuit of UK's diversity agenda.

Feist-Price is a licensed psychologist in the state of Kentucky, nationally certified rehabilitation counselor, licensed professional clinical counselor and a trained mediator, all of which complement her leadership abilities. She has an extensive history with externally funded research and has authored numerous scholarly publications. Feist-Price has been the recipient of numerous awards acknowledging significant contributions to academic research and teaching, including the Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year, Exceptional Researcher of the Year and Teacher Who Made a Difference.

"The ACE Fellows Program is one of the premier leadership development programs in higher education. I am both honored and privileged to have this amazing opportunity," Feist-Price said. "I'm extremely appreciative to President Capilouto for allowing me this growth producing experience, which will allow me to expand my acumen in the areas of fundraising, budget models and student success, just to name a few."

ACE Fellows Program 

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American 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. More than 2,000 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.

“The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” Ted Mitchell, ACE president, said. “Each year, I am impressed by how many former fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exciting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these fellows end up?’”

The program combines 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.

For more information on the ACE Fellows Program, please click here.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety and the Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for.” We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.