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Chris DePerno Named 2024-25 ACE Fellow

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced that Chris DePerno, a professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and the coordinator of the Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2024-25 academic year.

Chris DePerno

DePerno will spend the next year at another higher education institution working with senior leaders on higher education issues, continuing to expand his understanding of college and university administration. DePerno was nominated for the program by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Katharine Stewart, with endorsement from Chancellor Randy Woodson.

“I am specifically interested in deepening my understanding of finance and administration, university advancement and capital campaigns, athletic leadership, and the assessment and accreditation process,” said DePerno. “Additionally, with the ever-changing landscape of higher education there are tremendous learning opportunities at large land-grant, regional and private universities along with community colleges.”

The ACE Fellows Program enables participants to immerse themselves in the culture, policies and decision-making processes of another institution. Since 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has supported American higher education institutions by identifying and preparing over 2,500 faculty, staff and administrators for senior administrative leadership in colleges and universities across the country. More than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as deans, chief executive officers, chief academic officers and other cabinet-level positions.

“Dr. DePerno is a distinguished leader and scholar with experience in strategic and administrative roles,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden. “His commitment to leadership at NC State, particularly in the College of Natural Resources, is an asset to faculty and staff alike, and we are excited to see what happens in the coming academic year.”

DePerno joined NC State in 2004. His scholarship focuses on population ecology, management, and habitat use; selection of big game species and predators; interactions of predators and prey; sexual segregation and resource partitioning in ungulates; wildlife damage management and mitigation; integrated pest management; invasive species management; reptile and amphibian habitat requirements; wildlife and zoonotic disease ecology; and wildlife education.

He has served in two Provost’s Faculty Fellowship positions, with one focusing on enhancing research collaboration and data integration and the other on facilitating assessment and accreditation processes across NC State. Additionally, DePerno is the associate chair of the Faculty Senate and represents NC State in the North Carolina Faculty Assembly. 

DePerno’s leadership extends beyond academia and he has been integral in shaping policy and practice related to wildlife management and conservation. He currently co-leads the North Carolina Feral Swine task force and has extensive experience collaborating with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. He has held pivotal leadership roles in advancing research, education, and extension and outreach in the fields of forestry, wildlife and conservation biology to address environmental conservation challenges.

“My leadership philosophy centers on building relationships and creating a sense of community where all stakeholders feel their voices are being heard. I believe the best leaders are continually visible and create an open dialogue where everyone feels empowered and part of the team. My future goals in academic administration are to drive growth, elevate research and develop partnerships with diverse stakeholders which will ensure the transfer of educational and research benefits to the university community and beyond.”