You might have seen Lynn Breyfogle following Albion College President Mauri Ditzler around campus or in her office at the Career and Internship Center. She has come all the way from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She is participating in a fellowship program called the American Council on Education (ACE) fellowship and has been stationed at Albion College for the spring semester of 2018.
Breyfogle began her career as a faculty member in 2001 at Bucknell University after she completed her Ph.D in Mathematics Education at Western Michigan University.
For 12 years, Breyfogle was an assistant professor of the math department at Bucknell University. She is now a professor of mathematics at Bucknell University as well as an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her next step would to eventually be a provost at another institution, and her ultimate goal is to someday be a president of a college.
Through the ACE fellowship, colleges have been sending college staff and faculty to other institutions for over 50 years. This fellowship is a leadership development program that prepares senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities. In fact, there are now about 2,000 fellows that are a part of ACE. It was not until around 2014 when Breyfogle learned about this fellowship and started to figure out when might be the best time to apply. She applied because she wanted to build up skills to take back to her home institution and implement what she learned.
“After being an associate dean for five years, I thought it would be a good time to explore and develop my leadership skills,” she said.
The ACE fellows have three options when it comes to how long their stay at a certain institution is. They can either spend a year, a semester of six months, or attend an institution periodically. Attending periodically means a fellow would come and go from their home institution.
Since Breyfogle still has certain obligations back at Bucknell, she decided to stay at Albion College for the semester, staying at the college until the end of June.
As a part of her fellowship, Breyfogle has been working on a few things at Albion College, one being shadowing President Ditzler. Through shadowing, she has been able to learn what the president of a college does as well as the rest of the administrative team.
“I think that helps me to be a better… if you will, ‘middle manager’ because if I understand the ideas and the thoughts and the way that upper administration has to work… now that I have that insight, I can be a better ‘middle manager,” she explained.
Working under President Ditzler has given Breyfogle insight on the role of a college president. She has gotten to sit in on meetings with many types of people that come with the job, and how much leadership skills are required in order to be a president of a college. She admires all the work Ditzler does at the college.
“He’s just really an amazing and impressive person, to be able to talk with everyone and engage with them,” she said. “He has a vision for what he would like to see Albion be, and I just love seeing him work on that and help Albion be this really great institution that it is.”
The other thing Breyfogle has been working on at Albion College has been learning about fundraising and institutional advancement. Unfortunately, as an associate dean, she never got the opportunity to explore those college facets. Breyfogle’s project is dealing with Albion College’s recent hosting of the Philadelphia Center, an off-campus study program. Her project is trying to figure out if raising money for the Philadelphia Center program is a good idea before actually deciding to do so.
Transitioning from Bucknell University to Albion College was interesting to Breyfogle. She noticed that there were a lot of similarities between the two schools, especially since both are liberal arts-focused, which is a passion of Breyfogle’s.
“I believe strongly in the residential living-learning model, and I think that it is transformative for some students, and I believe that these small unities in usually small towns, in my opinion, provide the best education for students,” she said.
For the future, Breyfogle hopes to eventually be the president of a small liberal arts college like Albion. Her next step from being associate dean at Bucknell University would probably be a provost at a similar university or college.
“I hope to be able to go back to Bucknell and maybe lead some initiative,” she said. “ I’ve learned some things related to serving students that I may want to see implemented at Bucknell. I hope to go and lead at Bucknell and eventually… someday, I’m excited about being a president of a college.”
Photo by Conway Photography