Millicent Adjei2024 Alumni Award of Excellence Recipient

Millicent Adjei

Millicent Adjei (she/her) is devoted to the field of higher education and has served in various leadership roles over the past twenty years. She joined Ashesi University in 2012 as the founding associate director and now director of the Office of Diversity and International Programs. In her role at Ashesi, Millicent provides strategic leadership to the university’s internationalization and international students management, diversity, equity and inclusion programing, sexual misconduct prevention policy compliance and advocacy and training, and is currently leading the development of the university’s accessibility and disability policies and support programs. She also doubles as adjunct faculty with the Humanities and Social Sciences department where she teaches a course in Leadership.

At the core of her scholarship and practice is researching on and developing high impact access, and support interventions for first-generation, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students, to successfully navigate thrive and maximize their college experiences. She is a Ford Foundation IFP Fellow, an award granted to exceptional individuals from developing countries for academic excellence and efforts to address issues of social justice in their communities, an Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Martha Farrell Memorial Fellow granted to higher education administrators to address issues of sexual and gender-based violence in their institutions, and is a member of the board of directors of the Melton Foundation where she chairs the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee. Millicent is also a free-lance intercultural trainer and consults for several global companies to develop intercultural understanding and competencies amongst their workforce.

Millicent holds a BSc. in Business Administration from the University of Ghana Business School, an MA in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, and a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD).

Current Job

Director, Diversity and International Programs and Adjunct Faculty at Ashesi University

CEHD Degree

MA, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development; PhD, Comparative and International Development Education

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

No, it was not the cold winters because I could connect from one warm building to the other without coming out. It was the people. As an international graduate student away from my family, the U offered me many opportunities to develop very meaningful lifelong friendships some of whom have become family.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)?

My intercultural communications and training course with Dr. Kappler exposed me to the field of cross-cultural training which today is a substantial component of the work I do. My two academic advisers for my MA (Prof. Frances Vavrus) and PhD (Prof. Christopher Johnstone) guided me with a lot of compassion and extremely high expectation for good quality and thorough work which has greatly influenced my own leadership style for the teams I lead. They were exemplary coaches and mentors.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

The flexibility to take courses outside the Comparative and International Development in Education (CIDE) major in programs like Higher Education Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, and the opportunity to intern with the International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) as part of my CEHD experience equipped me with a deeper understanding, dispositions and skills to function effectively in the multiple roles I currently serve in at Ashesi University as a scholar practitioner.

What gets you excited about work?

I have received so much to be where I am today, and it is my life-long commitment to pay it forward. From leading Ashesi’s diversity and international programs, to teaching a university required course in leadership as service and my all-time favorite, serving as the patron of the best male soccer team on campus the Highlander FC, my work offers me many opportunities in and out of the classroom to contribute daily to the futures of the young people I work with, and that truly excites me.