Crist Khachikian, a professor of civil engineering and construction management and associate vice president of research and graduate studies at California State University, Northridge, has been named one of 47 emerging college and university leaders in the 2015-16 class of the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program.
Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing emerging leaders for senior positions in college and university administration.
“It is a dream to get some precious and protected time to immerse myself in a project that will help me grow as a leader and, in the long run, will help CSUN develop in exciting new ways,” Khachikian said. “I will hopefully spend some time at another university that has successfully transformed itself into a more research-intensive institute, while holding on to their core mission to provide access and quality to diverse students.
“Three previous CSUN employees have served as ACE Fellows — Mack Johnson, Juana Mora and Naomi Bishop,” he said. “I am honored to join their ranks and the ranks of the current and all past ACE Fellows, who are truly an amazing group of higher education professionals.”
ACE President Molly Corbett Broad noted that the fellows program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this academic year, and that over those five decades nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated, with more than 300 fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and more than 1,300 have served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.
“The ACE Fellows Program enters its second half century committed to further growing and strengthening the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program,” Broad said. “The diverse and talented 2015-16 fellows class embodies why the program has been such a vital contributor to expanding the leadership pipeline for our nation’s colleges and universities.”
The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution — to fit years of on-the-job experience and skill development into a single year.
Khachikian has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UCLA, a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from MIT and a doctorate in civil engineering from UCLA. He spent a number of years teaching at California State University, Los Angeles — where he was director of the university’s Center for Energy and Sustainability and director of research in engineering — before moving to CSUN in 2013.
At Northridge, Khachikian serves as associate vice president for research and graduate studies and graduate dean. He also is one of the principal investigators of the $22 million NIH-funded Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research (PODER) program, an undergraduate research training program that gives sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity to take classes and work directly with professors on research projects that relate to health.