• Strategic Plan: Governing Ideas


    AASCU will be a transformative influence in American public higher education through advocacy, leadership and service.

    Mission and Distinctiveness

    AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of nearly 420 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

    AASCU has five fundamental purposes:

    • To promote understanding, appreciation and support for the public purpose of public higher education and the distinctive contributions of those institutions that comprise the AASCU membership;

    • To support member institutions in their mission to prepare students who can be demonstrably competitive and effective in an economy and a society that requires global literacy;

    • To advocate for effective public policy at the federal level and to provide both federal and state policy analysis to advance member institutions and the students they serve;

    • To provide leadership for effective policy development and program support that will strengthen academic quality, promote access and inclusion, foster regional stewardship and economic progress, and facilitate educational innovation; and

    • To create professional development opportunities for member presidents and their spouses and partners, system executives and other senior leaders and to undertake a systematic approach to fostering new leaders who will contribute to educational innovation.

    AASCU’s distinction resides in the following work on behalf of its members:

    • ensuring a primary focus on and support for the president or chancellor, with complementary programs and services for the presidential leadership team and for women and racial/ethnic minorities who aspire to leadership roles;
    • advocating for a student-focused federal public policy agenda and demonstrating a unique capacity in state policy information and analysis;

    • strengthening the role of state colleges and universities as “Stewards of Place” through support of their teaching-learning, research and service missions;

    • sustaining a cohesive network of presidents and chancellors as an important component of an effective, member-driven association.


    AASCU affirms its commitment to the following core values in fulfillment of its fundamental purposes:

    • Access and Inclusion
      Advocating for accessible, affordable, quality public higher education and supporting members’ historic mission of serving students who are non-traditional and represent diverse backgrounds.
    • Student-Focused
      Committing to programs and policies that help our members place students at the heart of their institution.
    • Innovation
      Fostering innovative strategies that help members think deeply and creatively about the nature of their work and that encourage institutional achievement.

    • Service
      Being responsive to our member institutions and the diverse students and communities they serve.
    • Leadership
      Supporting institutional leaders and providing professional development that encourages exemplary practices and innovative management.
    • Accountability
      Fostering responsible and accountable stewardship of public higher education’s public trust.

    • Dorcas L. Colvin
      Vice President for
      Leadership Development
      and Member Services
      (202) 478-4644