Peterson-Veatch Receives National Award for Excellence in Academic Leadership

The American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) Board of Directors has announced that Ross Peterson-Veatch, vice president for academic affairs and Dean of Southwestern College, is the recipient of the 2021 award for Excellence in Academic Leadership. 

The award was established by ACAD to recognize individuals who exemplify excellence in academic leadership through shaping and supporting positive change on their campuses and in their communities.

Dr. Ross Peterson-VeatchAs an academic leader, Peterson-Veatch has facilitated necessary and positive change throughout his career. Across his leadership roles, he has focused on improving systems, implementing fair and consistent practices, and advancing the institution’s learning environment. Evidence of his commitment to academic excellence is visible at Southwestern College and previously, at Goshen College, where he has led initiatives to innovate the curriculum and enhance faculty development.

Additionally, Peterson-Veatch has worked to go beyond the walls of higher education to promote positive change in external communities. Notably, he facilitates a high-leverage leadership development program that is centered on an activity called the “Immunity to Change Exercise” (ITC). He partnered with the local Chamber of Commerce in Goshen, Ind., and has been in discussion with the Leadership Cowley County Board to provide this activity to our local leadership development programs. He has recently worked with the Winfield Public Library on two programs, the first, a panel discussion on perspectives on the Vietnam War featuring two Vietnam Veterans and an academic historian of the 1960s, and the second a program on “What is Folklore?” While at Goshen College, he established the Elkhart County P-16 Education Advisory Group. This multi-institutional, cross-sector organization held monthly meetings of higher education leaders and the superintendents of all seven Elkhart County (Ind.) school districts. Through this work, the county’s system of education was better equipped to serve the diverse communities present in each school district and to engage with the private sector as a means of supporting career readiness.

“Dr. Ross Peterson-Veatch is a dedicated, passionate, and trusted academic leader who exemplifies the definition of a servant-leader in all of his actions. He has worked thoughtfully to advance innovative approaches to faculty development, curricular design, and collaboration throughout his career. Always quick to strike up a conversation with a faculty member or student, Dr. Peterson-Veatch works to truly listen and understand in developing solutions. His creative vision, commitment to excellence and warm personality, make him an outstanding academic leader,” shares Dr. Kenneth Newbold, provost and chief academic officer at Benedictine University and the nominator for this award.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Peterson-Veatch. “Our leadership in the institutions we serve matters a lot, and to have ACAD colleagues around the country to turn to for advice and support has been a steady source of success for me and the teams I have worked with at Indiana University, Goshen College, and Southwestern College. I am truly grateful for how much I have learned from my time with ACAD, and am humbled by this recognition.”

Peterson-Veatch will be recognized and formally presented the award during the ACAD Annual Meeting on Feb. 24, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“Ross’ work at Southwestern, and throughout his career, has consistently drawn the praise and admiration of his peers across the nation,” said Southwestern president, Brad Andrews. “This honor is not only a great measure of that admiration and respect but also a wonderful recognition of his work.”

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