Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a research, policy, and advocacy organization of public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and higher education organizations. It has member campuses in all of the United States as well as the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico.

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
FormationOctober 1887
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
238 Colleges, Universities and Higher Education Organizations
M. Peter McPherson
WebsiteAssociation of Public and Land-grant Universities
Formerly called
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC)


The association's membership includes 238 institutions, consisting of 209 campuses (75 of which are land-grant institutions), 24 university systems, and five higher education affiliates. APLU member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $42.7 billion in university-based research.[1]

The association's membership includes 23 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), of which 21 are land-grant institutions (two under the 1862 Morrill Act; 19 under the 1890 Morrill Act). The organization also represents 13 international universities from Canada and Mexico, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which serves the interests of the nation's 33 American Indian land-grant colleges.

Membership involvement

APLU draws on the strengths and talents of its membership by providing opportunities to serve on a series of Councils and Commissions. APLU Councils are composed of university administrators with similar job functions who come together to address critical issues and expand their knowledge base within their professional area of expertise.[2] APLU Commissions cut across job function to enable individuals from multiple disciplines across universities to address critical issues and expand their knowledge base in areas of common interest.[3]

Both Councils and Commissions work collectively to develop initiatives and programs that help advance public universities and their missions through meetings and events held throughout the year.

Membership criteria

Membership in APLU is automatically granted to land-grant institutions per the Morrill Land-Grant Acts of 1862,1890 and 1994.[4] Public universities classified as Research (Very High) or Research (High) in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Instructional Programs are also eligible for membership in the association.[4] APLU universities share a commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education as well as innovation and discovery through research and community engagement at the local, national, and global levels. Public universities with similar commitments are encouraged to explore APLU's membership criteria for more details.

Key areas of focus

APLU undertakes a broad array of initiatives and projects aimed at strengthening public universities by proactively tackling some of the most complex issues confronting public higher education today. APLU's complete summary of recent efforts can be found in the 2014 Annual Report.

  • Access & Diversity
  • Accountability & Degree Completion
  • Agriculture, Human Sciences, & Natural Resources
  • College Costs, Tuition, & Financial Aid
  • Economic Development and Community Engagement
  • International Programs
  • Learning Technologies
  • Research, Science, & Technology
  • STEM Education
  • Teaching & Online Learning
  • Urban Initiatives


The roots of APLU were established in October 1887 as the American Association of Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations, making it North America's oldest higher education association.[5] The first annual convention was held that year in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Pennsylvania State University President George W. Atherton was elected president of the Board of Directors.[6] Through the years, APLU has undergone a number of name changes to reflect its growing public higher education mission. In 1919, the Land-Grant Colleges Engineering Association merged with the association.[7] A few years later in 1926, the organization changed its name to the Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities.[7] In 1963, the American Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities merged with the National Association of State Universities to form the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC).[7] On March 30, 2009, the association adopted its current name—Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.[8]

Former Names of the Association Years Active
American Association of Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations 1887-1926
Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities 1926 - 1954
American Association of Land-grant Colleges and State Universities 1954-1963
National Association of State Universities and Land-grant Colleges (NASULGC) 1963-2009
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) 2009–present

Organizational structure

Association leadership

In 2005, M. Peter McPherson became the third president (and fifth leader) of the association.

Name Title Years Served
Russell I. Thackery Executive Secretary 1945-1969
Ralph K. Huitt Executive Director 1969-1979
Robert L. Clodius President 1979-1992
C. Peter Magrath President 1992-2005
M. Peter McPherson President 2005-current

Board of directors

The 26-member Board of Directors is the governing body of the association.[9]

2015 Executive Committee

Annual Meeting

The APLU Annual Meeting has become one of the world's leading events for public university leaders to meet, exchange ideas with colleagues and develop new initiatives. The meeting's diverse attendees include university presidents and chancellors, provosts, deans, and senior leaders for research, governmental affairs, public affairs, student affairs, finance and more.[10] This year's Annual Meeting takes place in Indianapolis, IN November 15–17, 2015.[10]


  1. ^ What is APLU?
  2. ^ "APLU Councils".
  3. ^ "APLU Commissions".
  4. ^ a b "Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Membership Criteria". APLU. June 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Office of Experiment Stations Proceedings A.A.C.E.S Warington's Lectures. Washington, DC: U.S Department of Agriculture. March 1889.
  6. ^ Office of Experiment Stations Proceedings A.A.C.E.S. Warington's Lectures. Washington, DC: U.S Department of Agriculture. March 1889.
  7. ^ a b c The Land-Grant Tradition. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. 2012.
  8. ^ Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Name Rolls Out Monday [1]
  9. ^ "APLU Board of Directors".
  10. ^ a b "APLU Annual Meeting".

External links

Alison Van Eenennaam

Alison L. Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis and runs the Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Laboratory. She has served on national committees such as the USDA National Advisory Committee on Biotechnology in the 21st Century (AC21) and was awarded the 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Award. Van Eenennaam writes the Biobeef Blog.


Aplu may mean:

Aplu (deity), a Hurrian deity of the plague.

An acronym for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (US).

Bernadette Gray-Little

Bernadette Gray-Little is a retired academic administrator most recently serving as the 17th chancellor of the University of Kansas, where she was the first African-American and female to serve as the chancellor. She oversaw the university's main campus in Lawrence, its medical center campuses in Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, and other facilities around Kansas. She replaced chancellor Robert Hemenway in August 2009, and retired in June 2017.

Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences

The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) is an American association of college and university deans promoting the arts and sciences as a leading influence in higher education. CCAS was founded in 1965 after the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities) voted to include engineering and agricultural deans, but not arts and sciences deans, in their legislative advocacy programs. Arts and sciences deans withdrew and formed a new organization with the mission of providing networking and training opportunities, political advocacy, and a forum for discussion of contemporary challenges in higher education.

In 1968, eligibility was extended to all public baccalaureate degree-granting colleges of arts and sciences, and in 1988 to private institutions. By 2015 there were 517 member institutions with 1,750 deans and associate/assistant deans, representing a diverse range of American four-year colleges and universities, as well as institutions in Canada, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Qatar. The member institutions educate approximately four million college and university students in the U.S. CCAS is governed by an elected board of twelve directors representing member institutions, led by a president, past-president, president-elect, and treasurer.

The slogan of CCAS -- "Networking Arts and Sciences Deans"—shapes such activities as an annual meeting, workshops for new deans, active listservs, and seminars held around the country on topics including department chair training, fiscal management, conflict resolution, and the law in higher education. The organization is funded by membership dues and meeting fees.

CCAS champions the importance of liberal education and in 2008 initiated an Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award; the first recipient was Phi Beta Kappa.In 2009 CCAS received a collaborative National Science Foundation grant to address the status of women in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In 2012, CCAS participated in a national study of non-tenure-track faculty designed to evaluate college deans’ views on the professoriate, their values, and their beliefs pertaining this group of faculty. The survey also examined the pressures influencing deans’ decision making in relation to faculty hiring as well as policies affecting non-tenure-track faculty. Its participation in a 2013 study of its membership generated findings on the "pathway to the deanship" of its members with an emphasis on difference by gender. CCAS maintains a Deans Knowledge Base containing hundreds of articles and resources for its membership and in 2014 published Deans & Development: Making the Case for Supporting the Liberal Arts & Sciences (C. Strikwerda and A.M. McCartan, eds.)CCAS is headquartered at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where its activities are directed by a full-time executive director.

Dean L. Bresciani

Dean L. Bresciani is an American academic administrator currently serving as the President of North Dakota State University (NDSU), located in Fargo, North Dakota.A native of Napa Valley, California, Bresciani came to NDSU from Texas A&M University in College Station, where he was vice president for student affairs from 2004 to 2008 and a full professor in the department of educational administration through 2010. Previously he held senior administrative roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and faculty positions both there and at North Carolina State University. He also served in administrative and faculty roles at public universities in Nebraska, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and California.Bresciani earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Humboldt State University. He earned his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, and his doctorate in higher education finance, with a doctoral minor in economics, from the University of Arizona.He has held national leadership positions in professional organizations, including council chair for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and board of directors for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He is a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, EDUCAUSE, Association for the Study of Higher Education, National Association of College and University Business Officers, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Glossa (journal)

Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics is a peer-reviewed open access academic journal covering general linguistics. It was established in 2016 and is published by Ubiquity Press. The editor-in-chief is Johan Rooryck (Leiden University). The journal is funded by LingOA and the Open Library of Humanities.

James P. Clements

James Philip Clements (born August 23, 1961) is the 15th president of Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He assumed office on December 31, 2013, after being president of West Virginia University for five years. Prior to his presidency, he was the provost and vice president of academic affairs for Towson University.

Junius J. Gonzales

Junius J. Gonzales is a former interim president of University of North Carolina system, and current Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the New York Institute of Technology -- ranked 7th in the nation among all private four year institutions for enhancing social mobility. For the UNC System, he was the Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs from January 2015-May 2018. He served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas at El Paso from 2011-2015. Prior to that, he was the founding dean of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida, where he was initially appointed as Dean of the de la Parte Florida Mental Health Research Institute. Gonzales had served as a principal and scientist at Abt Associates and as Director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health as well as the Chief of the Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch. He has been the recipient as principal or co-investigator on over $15 million in external research and services funding from the federal government and foundations. He has served on federal agency national advisory councils (AHRQ, SAMHSA), on the executive committee for Academic Affairs for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, and been a board member for numerous non-profit organizations. He currently serves as a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's group on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education. As a first generation college student and son of poor immigrants, he holds equality of opportunity as a core value especially in the domain of education. He has an A.B. degree from Brown University, his M.D. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.B.A. with honors from the University of Maryland.

List of land-grant universities

This is a list of land-grant colleges and universities, in the United States of America and its associated territories.

Land-grant institutions are often categorized as 1862, 1890, and 1994 institutions, based on the date of the legislation that designated most of them with land-grant status. For a map and list of all 76 land-grant institutions, see the State Partners page hosted by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (formerly the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service) of the United States Department of Agriculture.Of the 106 land-grant institutions, all but two (the Community College of Micronesia, and Northern Marianas College) are members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) (formerly the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges or NASULGC).

Note: Historically black colleges or universities on this list are listed in italics.

M. Peter McPherson

Melville Peter McPherson (born October 27, 1940) is the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He previously served as a special assistant to President Gerald Ford, administrator of USAID under President Ronald Reagan, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, president of Michigan State University from 1993 to 2004, and Chairman of Dow Jones.

Mark E. Keenum

Mark Everett Keenum is an agricultural economist in the United States. He is currently the president of Mississippi State University.

Michael F. Adams

Michael Fred Adams (born March 25, 1948) is president emeritus of the University of Georgia in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Adams began his career in education as a faculty member at Ohio State University from 1973 to 1975. He later served as vice president for university affairs at Pepperdine University from 1982 to 1988. After his tenure at Pepperdine, Adams was president of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky for nine years, 1988–1997. During his tenure at Centre, the endowment tripled to $120 million, faculty salaries nearly doubled and Centre was usually first in the nation in percentage of alumni making donations to the school each year.

Starting in 1997, Adams served as president of the University of Georgia. Under Adams' leadership, the university has increased total enrollment from 29,000 to nearly 35,000 and constructed or renovated a number of buildings and facilities, including an expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art, a new special collections library, newly relocated art school and science research facilities, and expansion of the university's Tate Student Center. The College of Engineering, College of Public Health and UGA-GHSU Medical Partnership have been established under Adams's tenure.

Adams has received more than 50 awards in higher education, including the Knight Foundation Award for Presidential Leadership, the Pioneer Award for Leadership in Civil Rights and the James T. Rogers Award from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He received the Governor's Award in the Humanities from the Georgia Endowment for the Humanities. He has also been elected to lead a number of national education organizations, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the American Council on Education, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Executive Committee. Adams was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District III.

Before entering higher education, Adams held a number of political positions. He served as chief of staff for Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker 1975–1979 and as an aide to Governor Lamar Alexander of Tennessee from 1980 to 1982. Adams was the Republican nominee for the United States House of Representatives in 1980 for Tennessee's Fifth District, but he lost the general election to Democrat Bill Boner 118,506 votes (65.4%) to 62,746 (34.6%)

In May 2012, Adams announced that he was stepping down as president of the University of Georgia after 16 years. He said he plans to continue to be involved with the Athens community and teach and write at UGA as well as fundraise for the university. The president's retirement took effect June 30, 2013.

Millennium Leadership Initiative

The Millennium Leadership Initiative or MLI is a premier higher education leadership development program. Originally created by the African-American presidents of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to help prepare traditionally underrepresented groups for university and college presidencies and chancellorships. The program is one of the most successful higher education programs and has expanded and is now open to all under-represented populations and participants need not be from AASCU member institutions.

MLI has partnered with Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities to expand its reach to faculty and administrators that are interested in moving to upper administrative positions.

Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) Act

The Public Access to Public Science (PAPs) public access to research funded by specific Federal agencies under the jurisdiction of the House Science committee, including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Weather Service (NWS). The Bill was introduced to the 113th Congress by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R.-WI.) and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and was referred to the Subcommittee on Research and Technology December 13, 2013. It has been endorsed by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU).

The bill is often compared to and discussed in conjunction with the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) bill, also introduced in 2013.

Randy Woodson

William Randolph Woodson is a plant physiologist and university administrator. He is the fourteenth and current chancellor of North Carolina State University.

Research Works Act

The Research Works Act, 102 H.R. 3699, was a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives at the 112th United States Congress on December 16, 2011, by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). The bill contained provisions to prohibit open-access mandates for federally funded research and effectively revert the United States' National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, which requires taxpayer-funded research to be freely accessible online. If enacted, it would have also severely restricted the sharing of scientific data. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which Issa is the chair. Similar bills were introduced in 2008 and 2009 but have not been enacted since.On February 27, 2012 Elsevier, a major publisher, announced that it was withdrawing support for the Act. Later that day, Issa and Maloney issued a statement saying that they would not push for legislative action on the bill.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public research university in San Diego, California. It is the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego County. Founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, it is the third-oldest university in the 23-member California State University (CSU). SDSU has a Fall 2016 student body of 34,688 and an alumni base of more than 280,000.The Carnegie Foundation has designated San Diego State University a "Doctoral University" with "Higher Research Activity." In the 2015–16 fiscal year, the university obtained $130 million in public and private funding—a total of 707 awards—up from $120.6 million the previous fiscal year.As reported by the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index released by the Academic Analytics organization of Stony Brook, New York, SDSU is the number one small research university in the United States for four academic years in a row. SDSU sponsors the second highest number of Fulbright Scholars in the State of California, just behind UC Berkeley. Since 2005, the university has produced over 65 Fulbright student scholars.The university generates over $2.4 billion annually for the San Diego economy, while 60 percent of SDSU graduates remain in San Diego, making SDSU a primary educator of the region's work force. Committed to serving the diverse San Diego region, SDSU ranks among the top ten universities nationwide in terms of ethnic and racial diversity among its student body, as well as the number of bachelor's degrees conferred upon minority students. San Diego State University consistently ranks in the top 500 universities in the world, and according to Forbes, is among the top 91st percentile of public colleges in the United States.San Diego State University is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Southwest Border Security Consortium.

Virginia Hinshaw

Virginia S. Hinshaw served as the Chancellor of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, beginning in 2007 and ending in 2012. She is a scientist with expertise in microbiology, and serves as national co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Energy Initiative Advisory Committee.

Hinshaw served as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California-Davis, and was the former dean of the graduate school and vice chancellor for research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Hinshaw earned a BS in laboratory technology, and an MS and PhD in microbiology from Auburn University in Alabama. Prior to becoming an administrator, her research focused mainly on influenza viruses and approaches to vaccines. Her work has been published in numerous journals including the Journal of Virology, Virology, and Intervirology

Voluntary System of Accountability

The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and its College Portraits website is a college search tool for prospective students and an accountability tool for public institutions.Students and their families can use the College Portraits to find a presentation of comparable information that comes directly from public universities.Participating institutions use the College Portraits to highlight common information prospective students and families seek. College Portraits data elements include: admissions requirements, retention and graduation rates, campus community highlights, academic programs, safety, and cost of attendance, to name a few. In 2010, a College Affordability Estimator net price calculator was added to help prospective students estimate their individual net cost to attend a specific university. The Estimator meets the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Institutions and systems can use the College Portraits to meet accountability requirements from governing boards, state legislatures, state coordinating offices, and other outside groups, often reducing their burden and duplication of effort. The College Portraits can also be used during the accreditation process as evidence of student learning outcomes, institutional improvement, transparency, and commitment to the public good.The VSA is a joint project of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in collaboration with the higher education community. VSA institutions represent more than half of all public four-year institutions, 66 percent of all APLU members, and 60 percent of APLU and AASCU's joint membership. VSA participating institutions enroll 63 percent of undergraduate students attending public universities.

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