My tenure at AAU comes to an end on July 31, 2020. This is my last blog post, and I would like to use it as an opportunity to thank all of AAU’s members – our presidents, chancellors, administrators, faculty, students, and other supporters – for a truly meaningful four-plus years here.
It hasn’t gone entirely as I expected.
When I was recruited to the position in 2015 to arrive in 2016, I believed that we were entering an exciting period in our nation’s history, with the possibility of the first female president of the United States. While we did not experience that moment, the last four years have been consequential for American higher education. We have dealt – with significant measures of success – with challenges to education and research funding, with misguided attacks against international students, with real hardships for undocumented students at our member universities, and with legitimate concerns about securing the intellectual property our research helps create.
Through all of this, I have been inordinately proud to work with our AAU staff in D.C. and with all of our members to enhance and promote the intrinsic value of AAU as well as the superb educational opportunities available on our member campuses. Our staff members’ and members’ expertise and commitment to our work has been inspiring to behold, and working hand-in-hand with our staff and membership has been invigorating for me personally. Engagement in AAU from all of our constituent groups is more robust than ever before, and our commitment to understanding the environments in which we operate has grown dramatically.
The AAU we have now is far different from the organization I joined in 2016. This is due in part to the external environment in which we operate and the imaginative work of AAU staff. Through re-organization and key recruitment in important positions we have improved our depth of analysis and our ability to be nimble when new challenges arrive.
As I observed all of this unfold, I took enormous satisfaction in knowing that this organization represents America’s leading research universities and is poised to become even more prominent in the coming years with Barbara Snyder’s leadership. I will be watching from Denver and Ann Arbor, cheering every success.
Thank you for more than four memorable and fulfilling years helping advance the causes of innovation, inquiry, and inspiration through America’s leading research universities. I look forward to many more years of observing AAU’s success.