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Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in Washington, DC
Date Posted 02/02/2022
Executive-President and Chancellor
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled


Company: Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Office: Office of President & Administration
Division: Office of the President
City: Washington
State: District Of Columbia
Country: USA

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is seeking a current or former president or chancellor of a public research university to become its next president. APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization - dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in support of the students and communities they serve. The association seeks a new president who can build on the significant growth, influence, and impact the organization has had in Washington and across North America through working collaboratively with public university leaders. Over the past 15 years, APLU has doubled in size, greatly expanded the scope and influence of its federal advocacy work, deepened its engagement with public university leaders (presidents/chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, etc.); and become a “think and action tank” with a sizable grant portfolio aimed at helping public universities pursue their mission more effectively and equitably. This role requires hands-on leadership of a multi-faceted, dynamic Washington, DC-based organization with a large public university and university system membership and a staff of 70+ people.

The APLU president serves as the public face of, and leading advocate for, public land-grant and research universities in Washington, DC and must effectively articulate the needs of public research universities and promote APLU member interests to policymakers, higher education advocates and stakeholders, the media, and the public. The president regularly interfaces with presidents and chancellors at public research universities and serves as the convener for regular meetings and other forms of engagement to foster a community of public research university leaders who share and learn best practices from one another. The president must be knowledgeable of how the federal government operates and be prepared to engage in a wide variety of federal policy areas as they work directly with the Executive Branch and Congress to advance the association’s advocacy work. The president also collaborates extensively with multiple partner organizations in Washington and elsewhere to advance and support a common higher education and research policy agenda.

Additionally, APLU has a grant portfolio in which it partners with its member universities to research, test, and scale innovative practices that advance the education, research, and engagement missions of public universities. The president works closely to foster relationships with foundations, corporate philanthropies, and the federal government in support of these and other new initiatives.

This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. (Employees are working remotely from locations within DC, MD, VA at least through the first quarter of 2022 due to COVID-19.) The start date for this position will be September 2022. For more information about APLU, please consult www.aplu.org.


Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, as well as Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 244 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.2 billion in university-based research.

As a trusted voice for public research and land-grant universities across North America, APLU convenes, collaborates, and advocates with leaders of member institutions and partners to advance the public good. APLU helps public research universities cultivate the talent, discoveries, and engagement that equitably fuel the success of our communities and world. Its work is focused on: ensuring every member maximizes the value of their membership; promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of public research and land-grant universities and advocating for resources and public policy to strengthen their impact; fostering a policy and practice environment that strengthens global leadership discovery and innovation; advancing the role of public research and land-grant universities as engaged partners in service to their communities; and supporting and cultivating institutional change to more equitably serve learners and ensure their success. APLU is guided by its core values of curiosity; collaboration; diversity, equity, and inclusion; excellence; public service; and integrity.

The association is a highly impactful and active organization with more than a dozen councils and commissions that enable it to work with thousands of public and land-grant research university leaders in dozens of meetings throughout the year to share, learn, and scale innovative practices and ideas together.

APLU works in permanent partnership with the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), a president-led network of 39 public urban research universities working to drive transformational change throughout their institutions and the communities they serve. USU is a 501(c)6 organization that shares offices with APLU and leads a joint urban agenda for the nation’s public universities, centered in the idea of the public urban university as an anchor institution for its city and region. Its priority work areas are student success, health equity, 21st century workforce, and its newest priority -dismantling institutional racism.

APLU has 70+ full-time employees. Its 2021 budget is $18.5 million, and it has substantial reserves. APLU revenue derives from membership dues and assessments, as well as grant revenue received to advance the work of the membership.


  • Set, in consultation with the Board, and implement APLU’s strategic direction to advance its work to support and strengthen the work of public and land-grant research universities and assist those institutions’ leaders in conducting that work.
  • Cultivate strong and effective relationships with APLU members, both domestic and international, to ensure that APLU understands their needs, strengthens the value of their membership, and advances their objectives.
  • Build coalitions and partnerships with members, donors, and other stakeholders to advance the interests and strengthen the work of public research universities.
  • Provide hands-on leadership to refine and advance APLU’s unique role in grant and programmatic work in driving equity and student success; fostering research and innovation to meet societal needs; and deepening community and economic engagement to benefit all.
  • Work with Congress and the administration to advance higher education and research funding and policy issues that support public research universities and the students and communities they serve. Proactive and systematic work with the members to maintain full engagement. Work with presidents and chancellors to foster their work with congressional delegations.
  • Oversee and ensure the financial health of the organization, including developing long and short-range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls are in place; set financial priorities accurately to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of the program and staff.
  • Cultivate relationships with donors (public and private) to increase resources to advance APLU’s work.
  • Advocate for public higher education by representing APLU in opportunities with national media outlets.
  • Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen internal communications with staff throughout the organization; create and promote a positive, multicultural work environment that supports consistency and high-quality work throughout the organization.
  • Promote APLU’s Climate Action Plan to ensure that APLU is advancing its work in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion both internally and externally.
  • Promote the recruitment, development and retention of an expert, talented staff to accomplish APLU’s goals and objectives. Promote a supportive diverse, inclusive, and effective team environment within APLU, supervising staff, and providing coaching, support, training, and development opportunities as needed.
  • Design and lead programming for the Council of Presidents and the Council of 1890s Universities to advance their goals and objectives.
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.


  • A sitting or former president or chancellor of a public research university with a terminal degree. Preference for someone with experience as president/chancellor of an APLU-affiliated university.
  • Knowledge and interest in equity-focused efforts around degree completion, research, and engagement.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Understanding of how the federal government and the Washington, DC policy community operates, an interest in major federal policy issues facing public research universities, and experience collaborating with government stakeholders and advancing advocacy decisions.
  • A record of successful donor cultivation and associated resource generation.
  • Experience as a hands-on, positive leader working with a small staff compared to a large university.
  • Successful experience engaging in coalitions and/or advocating for issues important to advancing public higher education.
  • Exceptional communication (written and verbal) and presentation skills.
  • Exceptional leadership and management skills, with successful experience building and maintaining supportive, diverse, equitable, inclusive work environments.
  • Excellent analytical skills. Ability to understand and utilize data (both quantitative and qualitative) to accurately diagnose key issues and develop strategies and plans.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to build successful and effective relationships with representatives of member institutions and other stakeholders.
  • Financial leadership experience; successfully ensuring the financial health and integrity of institutions.
  • Ability to travel as needed once the pandemic health situation allows.

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume to the attention of Chancellor Robert J. Jones: (presidentialsearch@aplu.org) with the subject line: President. Applications will be reviewed as received with preference given to those received by February 28, 2022.

APLU provides a generous benefits package.

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting, employing, training, compensating and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Email Address: presidentialsearch@aplu.org
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