News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665


Washington, D.C.—The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) announced today a sponsorship grant of $276,297 from USA Funds to help fund AASCU’s newly developed Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and to support the strategic redesign of AASCU’s Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI). The grant, which runs from 2016-2018, will help AASCU strategically support exemplary presidential and institutional leadership for a diverse population of higher education administrators.

“Higher education institutions increasingly are being held accountable for student outcomes following graduation,” said Lorenzo L. Esters, USA Funds senior program director. “This initiative will help equip future senior administrators and college leaders with an understanding of the issues, data, tools and resources for enhancing their students’ success on campus and in their subsequent careers.”

The first of the two programs being supported, AASCU’s new Emerging Leaders Program, is designed for early- to mid-career professionals and faculty leaders who want to advance their careers in higher education administration. The three-day seminar offers participants the opportunity to engage in a national dialogue with experienced leaders and higher education experts, as well as engage in sessions on budgeting, communications and governance issues. In addition to a leadership self-assessment, participants work with faculty experts to complete projects on their campuses that will assist them in achieving their leadership goals. The inaugural Emerging Leaders Program will launch in June 2016 in Washington, D.C.

AASCU’s Millennium Leadership Initiative, the second program supported by USA Funds, is a premier leadership development program designed to help qualified, senior higher education administrators ascend to the presidency or chancellorship at colleges and universities. In 2016, MLI will begin its strategic refocusing around the conceptual framework of three core principles: curriculum content, aligned with best student success and leadership practices; program outcome mechanisms that ensure benefits to participants and institutions; and evaluation metrics to monitor professional growth of program participants and the influence their leadership growth may have on their institutions.

The redesigned four-day MLI Institute will be held in Washington D.C. from June 11-14, 2016.  In addition to a new opening general session (“Student Success, College Value and Presidential Leadership”), other new additions to the MLI program include a participant self-assessment; a mid-term project that MLI protégés will undertake to apply knowledge gained at the institute to look at student success and college value on their respective campuses; a professional coaching component (led by former college presidents/chancellors) to help move more participants to the “ready” state for becoming a college or university president; and a one-day regional Leadership and Student Success Symposium for AASCU presidents and MLI graduates.

“It is increasingly evident that 21st century colleges and universities require highly trained, diverse and bold leaders to shift the higher education environment to a more student outcome-oriented focus,” says Mary Evans Sias, director of the Millennium Leadership Initiative. “With the support from USA Funds, both MLI and the Emerging Leaders Program will foster new types of leaders who will contribute to educational innovation, student success and college completion.”

Both the Emerging Leaders Program and the Millennium Leadership Initiative align with USA Funds priorities and AASCU’s strategic goals. Further, both programs will positively affect college value and student success on AASCU campuses, and the support of USA Funds will help foster the individual careers of a pool of diverse, qualified senior administrators in higher education. 


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 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.

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education.