University Affairs

USU Announces Second Cohort of Presidential Leadership Fellows

By Marcus Jensen |

LOGAN, Utah — Three Utah State University faculty members will participate in the USU Presidential Leadership Fellows program. The program, which was launched in 2017 at the University of Utah, aims to increase the number of academic leaders from the arts and humanities, specifically those historically excluded and underrepresented from the ranks of chairs, deans, and university presidents.

“Inclusive leadership means that we find ways for all people to have a voice — to be heard. It means that all of us — our entire community — can engage in the impactful work that delivers the mission of our 21st century public service institution,” said USU President Elizabeth Cantwell.

The fellows participate at the top levels of campus leadership; professional and development activities; and mentoring sessions from the president, cabinet members, and other leaders in higher education. The fellow program is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

The 2023-24 cohort of USU Presidential Leadership Fellows are:

  • Marissa Vigneault, associate professor of Art History in the Caine College of the Arts
  • Tim Chenette, associate professor of Music in the Caine College of the Arts
  • Chen Chen, assistant professor of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Chen is excited to collaborate with and learn from colleagues at other institutions.

“With this group, we can share strategies and build collaborative opportunities and initiatives that can also further enhance these efforts at each of our institutions,” Chen said. “This fellowship not only can help us better support student growth and institutional strengths, but also can develop ways to better engage with the public of Utah and in national and global contexts.”

Vigneault echoed this sentiment, looking forward to participating in the fellowship and growing as a leader.

“As an art historian who specializes in the field of contemporary art, I am both inspired and motivated by the innovative leadership actions of those working within the field to transform inequitable institutional structures,” Vigneault said. “Participating in this fellowship will both facilitate and support my growth as a leader in the humanities committed to building positive and progressive pathways between academic institutions and our communities.”

This is USU’s second year participating in the expanded program. During the 2022-23 academic year, three faculty members also participated: Sara Bakker, associate professor of music in the Caine College of the Arts; Darrin Brooks, professor of interior architecture & design in the Caine College of the Arts; and Michaelann Nelson, associate professor of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The Utah Presidential Leadership cohort provided invaluable mentoring opportunities that included learning from university presidents, deans, and department heads from USU, the University of Utah, Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College,” Brooks said. “We participated in workshops and seminars that helped us foster positive leadership skills, work-life balance, fundraising and successful negotiations. The Utah Presidential Leadership program will benefit the cohort and the institutions they serve by investing specifically in underrepresented educators typically excluded from leadership in the arts and humanities.”

For more information on the 2023-24 Presidential Leadership Fellows cohort, visit


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Jane Irungu
Vice President
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Faculty 270stories Diversity & Inclusion 211stories President 58stories

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