Presidential Missions

Presidential Missions facilitate and promote connections between AASCU member institutions and their international peers to develop and enhance institutional collaboration and problem-solving.

Learn more.
UMES’ President, Heidi M. Anderson, engaging with Argentine higher ed leaders in Argentina, during the 2019 Mission.
UMES’ President, Heidi M. Anderson, engaging with Argentine higher ed leaders in Argentina, during the 2019 Mission.

Presidential Missions facilitate and promote connections between AASCU member institutions and their international peers.

Since 2003, AASCU has sponsored presidential missions to various countries to encourage member institutions in the development of their international initiatives and global programs. This is one of the pathways AASCU pursues in fulfilling its strategic goal of educating global citizens.

These in-country programs for U.S. presidents lead to partnerships with colleague institutions in the mission host country. The outcomes have included faculty and student exchanges, and other types of program collaboration. These personal and professional experiences assist presidents in reframing their global learning programs, and strategic international initiatives.

Since its inception, this initiative has facilitated Missions to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Hungary, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and South Africa.

AASCU member presidents and chancellors signing MOUs in Chile, 2008.
AASCU member presidents and chancellors signing MOUs in Chile, 2008.

Who should participate?

  • Presidents
  • Chancellors
  • Spouses/Partners

How will you benefit?

  • Engage with international colleagues and potential stakeholders, to discuss international education and exchange perspectives on critical issues, challenges, and successes existing in each country.
  • Connect with colleagues and other primary stakeholders and entities, to develop partnerships at the institutional level that will create opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, as well as other types of program collaborations with host country institutions.

“AASCU’s Presidential Mission to Argentina provided us with an invaluable opportunity to connect with a broad spectrum of institutions of higher education in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Mendoza. The people we met from public and private universities impressed us with their professionalism and their openness to collaborate with our institutions.”

Eduardo Ochoa

Former President, California State University, Monterey Bay
Argentina, 2019

“We were able to meet key individuals from a large number of higher education institutions within the country. More importantly, it was evident that the government officials are supportive of establishing a global presence—especially with U.S. institutions.”

Heidi M. Anderson

President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Argentina, 2019

Interested in joining a future mission? Let us know.

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AASCU Spouse/Partner Program 

The Spouse/Partner Program recognizes the important role of presidential spouses/partners and provides leadership development, networking, and skill-building opportunities to those serving in these critical positions.

Learn more.
Rachel Frick Cardelle, Darlene Repollet, and Michael Mills at the 2022 Annual Conference.
Rachel Frick-Cardelle, and Darlene Repollet, and Michael Mills at 2022 Annual Conference.

Leadership through a different lens.  

The role and expectations of a presidential spouse or partner may vary by region, institution, and personal preference. But some factors are common, such as your desire to support your spouse or partner. The Spouse/Program is designed to inform and foster an understanding of what you’ll need to thrive in the university environment, the surrounding community, and in your personal life.  

Leon Roberts speaks at a 2022 roundatble.

Who should participate?

  • Presidential spouses/partners  

How will you benefit?

  • Networking opportunities
  • Professional development
  • A community of support from fellow spouses/partners


“AASCU’s Spouse & Partner Program provides support, training, and the rare chance to reflect upon the exciting challenges and opportunities that come with my role as a presidential spouse with a group of people walking a similar path. When I first joined the group two years ago, I did so because of the training and learning it provided. What I had not anticipated but have come to value as much as the professional development is the chance to relax with other partners and spouses, building friendships and a network of people to whom I can reach out to seek advice and understanding around issues both large and small that arise. The commitment of the other spouses and partners to their students and institutions truly inspires me, and this group’s fellowship has made my journey more successful and fun.”

Rachel Frick Cardelle

State University of New York at Oneonta

“AASCU’s Spouse / Partner Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Presidential Spouses to network and strategize about unique issues in a safe space. I became involved in the program five years ago, and during that time, I’ve called on my colleagues’ numerous times for council. We meet regularly with subject matter experts to learn about best practices and new ideas that can help our spouse partners reduce stress and hopefully become more successful in helping our students get to the finish line.”

Leon Roberts

University of Maryland Eastern Shore
program highlights

A community of support.

The AASCU Spouse/Partner Program provides networking opportunities, professional development, and guidance, all tailored to the unique needs of presidential spouses and partners.  

Program offerings include conferences, symposiums, webinars, and brown bag sessions. They are delivered in a confidential, supportive, and comfortable setting that enables presidential spouses and partners to discuss shared journeys, challenges and wins.


Spouse/Partner Group at the 2022 AASCU Annual Conference
Spouse/Partner Group at the 2022 AASCU Annual Conference


The AASCU Annual Conference includes programming designed specifically for spouses/partners. Presidential spouses/partners network with colleagues and learn how they are balancing the many and varied responsibilities of their roles.  

Sessions may focus on: 

  • The Spouse/Partner Role in Fund and Friend-raising 
  • Ideas for Campus and Community Engagement 
  • Managing Expectations 
  • The Varying Roles of Spouses/Partners 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 
  • Topical Roundtables 
  • Navigating Legislative Matters  
  • Crisis Management 
  • Brand Management and Communication Tools 
  • Time Management/Creating and Maintaining Relationships 
  • Recognizing and Handling Challenges  

The strength of this program comes from the diversity of its membership, whose knowledge, expertise, and commitment serve as great resources. A critical resource we offer is the Spouse/Partner Member Directory (login required.)

Member Directory
  • Dr. Alison Nooks, spouse of former president Kirk Nooks, Gordon State College (GA)
  • Mike Matson, spouse of president Cynthia Teniente-Matson, San Jose State University
  • Rick Gonzalez, spouse of president Timothy Mottet, Colorado State University Pueblo
  • Elizabeth Ross, spouse of former president George Ross, Central Michigan University
  • Cyndie Shepard, spouse of former chancellor Bruce Shepard, Western Washington University
  • Judy Ingle, spouse of former president Ronald Ingle (deceased) Coastal Carolina University (SC)
  • Jo Hern Curris, spouse of former president Constantine W. (Deno) Curris, Murray State University (KY), University of Northern Iowa, Clemson University (SC), and American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU)
  • Bobbie Ostar, spouse of president emeritus, American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU)
Upcoming events for Spouses and partners
AASCU 2023 Annual Conference

Nov. 4-7, 2023

Chicago, IL


Register now.

Questions about the Spouse/Partner program? Let us know.

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