Create a free Diverse: Issues In Higher Education account to continue reading

ASU President Embarks on New Higher Ed Role

Dr. Marion Ross Fedrick likes to point out that she has “a very different background” than most college presidents.

Having served in human resources leadership roles both for government and corporate industries, she was relatively new to higher education when she was tapped as the vice chancellor of human resources for the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia, managing public colleges and universities.

Dr. Marion Ross FedrickDr. Marion Ross Fedrick“I was still in HR – more so in leadership and organizational development design – which helped me through the consolidations of several of our institutions, which was a phenomenal experience,” says Fedrick, who is the president of Albany State University (ASU).

This summer, Fedrick will lean heavily on her HR background as she transitions into her new role as executive vice president for administration and chief of staff at Georgia State University. She’ll support the university’s president, Dr. Brian Blake, with the management of critical offices and advise him on policy, procedures, operational issues, and best practices.

“I am so excited to work with Dr. Blake. I think he’s one of those phenomenal leaders who has taken the ‘bull by the horns’ and is keeping momentum going at GSU,” says Fedrick. “I hope to support him in that vision.”

She says she was attracted to the institution because of its track record in supporting underrepresented students.

“GSU is one of the largest urban institutions, and they have more minority students – African American students – of all of our HBCUs in Georgia put together,” says Fedrick. “I’m looking forward to working in that space. They have a very diverse student population – I mean very diverse. There’s not one major race of students at GSU, and so, when you look at those numbers, there’s so much work that can be done there in support because they are already very well established.”

In addition to her duties at GSU, Fedrick will return to the University System as the Senior Advisor to Chancellor Sonny Perdue on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) initiatives for the state’s three institutions: ASU, Fort Valley State University, and Savannah State University.

“I am envisioning this role to be an extension of that — but not just for a single institution — but for all three public schools,” says Fedrick. “And by the time I get there, hopefully, we will have the new president seated at ASU, whoever that may be, and through our search for an interim president until the search begins. Then, I will be able to sit down and talk to the three schools about their strategic plans, the universities, where we want to go, and how the University System can help with that.”

During her five-year tenure at ASU, Fedrick helped to rebuild the campus after the devastation of Hurricane Michael in August 2018. She helped increase student enrollment to almost 7,000 and presided over ASU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the big lessons I learned is doing more with less,” she says. “That’s not sustainable, and you can’t do that. We [at ASU] had to do less with less in some cases, so we can’t do everything that we want and then sometimes need to do, but if we go through it like an improvement process, we can actually put it in place.”

Fedrick says she is excited to put the lessons she has learned throughout her career to use in her new role.

“I couldn’t have even thought about a job that was as good as this one,” says Fedrick. “I think my family looked at me and said, ‘I thought we were going to slow down,’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, I thought that too,’ but I have not gotten there yet. I don’t know what happily ever after feels like, but I’m okay with it. It’s taken a while to get to this point in my career, and that’s amazing.”

A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics
American sport has always served as a platform for resistance and has been measured and critiqued by how it responds in critical moments of racial and social crises.
Read More
A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics