Office of Public Affairs

Michael R. Stevenson Elected to ACAO Board of Directors

Michael R. Stevenson, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern Maine, was elected to the inaugural board of directors of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO). The ACAO is the first national organization representing chief academic officers (CAOs), such as provosts and vice presidents for academic affairs, from all accredited higher education institutions. The organization provides a forum for discussing important academic affairs issues, as well as an environment where CAOs can communicate with, inform and educate one another.

The American Council on Education (ACE), in its role as a convener for higher education associations, has assisted in the organization’s start-up. The ACAO held its initial organizational meeting during ACE’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.  The election of the association’s first officers and board of directors, and approval of its bylaws took place at the March 2014 ACE Annual Meeting held in San Diego, Calif.

Accepting its first members in 2013, ACAO has enrolled 75 institutions as charter members, in addition to association and individual members. The organization is actively soliciting institutional, association and individual members. Membership information is available at ACAO’s website.

Prior to joining University of Southern Maine in 2012, Stevenson served as dean at Northern Arizona University, an institution of more than 25,000 students.  Stevenson managed a college of 150 full-time faculty in 11 academic departments and three research and service units. He facilitated an $8 million campaign for the design and construction of the university’s Native American Cultural Center. Stevenson also served as Miami University’s associate provost and as the institution’s first chief diversity officer.  He also held appointments at Ball State University as chair of the Department of Psychological Science and founding director of the university’s Diversity Policy Institute.

Stevenson was named ACE Fellow and was assigned to the Chancellor’s Office at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. In that role, he addressed trends in higher education related to such issues as student retention, assessing student outcomes, faculty governance and diversity initiatives. As an American Psychological Association Senior Congressional Fellow, Stevenson was advisor to Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) on such issues as affirmative action, discrimination, health, and human development. 

As the founding editor of The Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, he has written, lectured and consulted widely on the role of diversity in improving access and student outcomes in publically funded institutions. Stevenson, who earned a master’s and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Purdue University, received a teaching award from the American Psychological Association and was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar.