Mission & Strategic Plan


Mission Statement

The mission of the Association of American Colleges and Universities is to advance the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy.  


2018–22 Strategic Plan


Strategic Goals

Guided by its mission, AAC&U will implement the following strategic goals:

  • Champion faculty-engaged, evidence-based, sustainable models and strategies for promoting quality in undergraduate education
  • Advance equity across higher education in service to academic excellence and social justice
  • Lead institutions and communities in articulating and demonstrating the value of liberal education for work, life, global citizenship, and democracy
  • Catalyze reform in higher education to emphasize discovery and innovation as fundamental aspects of a liberal education

Cross-Cutting Areas of Work

AAC&U will focus its efforts to advance the strategic goals through three cross-cutting areas of work:

  • Building Evidence that supports the development of best practices within the higher education community, promotes faculty-led assessment of student learning, and demonstrates the value of AAC&U’s work
  • Expanding Capacity by enhancing faculty and leadership development, identifying and bringing effective practices to scale, and implementing educational reforms that further the goals of AAC&U and its members
  • Accelerating Advocacy and Outreach by providing tools and resources that help faculty, academic and student affairs leaders, provosts, and presidents champion AAC&U’s mission and communicate broadly the value of an equitable, high-quality liberal education


AAC&U will promote these values and commitments that underlie its mission:

  • Serving as the leading resource for expertise, best practices, strategies, and models that advance liberal learning, quality, and equity in higher education
  • Innovating internally and externally to position AAC&U at the forefront of efforts to identify, frame, and address key issues in higher education
  • Influencing policies and practices in higher education through exceptional leadership and excellence in programming
  • Inspiring broad confidence in and commitment to AAC&U’s mission
  • Creating and supporting community across AAC&U’s membership, using our expertise to address shared institutional priorities
  • Demonstrating efficiency and effectiveness through enhanced collaboration, internal communication, and focused work that addresses higher education’s most pressing challenges
  • Partnering with member institutions and broader constituencies in higher education, K–12 education, business, and industry to advance AAC&U’s mission
  • Responding to the diverse needs and challenges facing the AAC&U community, ensuring that individuals and institutions across the higher education spectrum are represented and find value in the association’s work
  • Providing research-based evidence that supports AAC&U’s programs and initiatives