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Professional networking

AAUA—American Association of University Administrators is a non-profit professional organization for higher education leaders and administrative personnel. It is the only professional association for individuals who are interested in the entire range of higher education management (from department chair/unit director through president) in the entire diverse set of American colleges and universities (two- and four-year; public, private non-profit, private for-profit; comprehensive, research-focused, special mission).

The stated mission of AAUA is to develop and advance superior standards and practices for the profession of higher education administration, particularly emphasizing the responsibility of administrators, at all levels, to demonstrate moral and ethical leadership in the exercise of all their duties. Our association works actively to:

  • Promote the professional development of individuals engaged in the administration of higher education.
  • Promulgate ethical and professional standards for administrators and institutions of higher education.
  • Cultivate the mutuality of interests of those engaged in or concerned with the administration of higher education.

Membership in AAUA helps support the association's mission. In addition, membership provides—for those members who have an interest—opportunities for professional networking and leadership. In addition to enrolling and serving a significant complement of administrators at the most senior levels, the association is also interested in assisting early-career practitioner administrators build/enhance their leadership portfolios by providing leadership opportunities through service on association committees, boards, and taskforces. Opportunities to collaborate on offering professional development services are available as well.

AAUA membership is individually-based and reasonably priced at $100 per year. However, the association does offer opportunities for discounted memberships when enrolled on a group (institutional) basis. Colleges and universities who wish to pay directly for individual memberships for personnel at their institutions may do so on the following basis:

  • 1 – 6 members: $500.
  • 7 – 15 members: $1,000.
  • 16 – 24 members: $1500.
  • 25 or more members (no limit on number): $2000.


Along with over 60 other similar professional organizations, AAUA makes available a variety of low-cost professional and personal insurance options through its membership in the Trust for Insuring Educators (TIE). Since its establishment in the 1970s, the TIE insurance programs have been administered by the Forrest T. Jones, a Kansas City, Missouri-based firm that currently provides money-saving insurance program and protection advice to more than one million members within 65 educational associations. AAUA maintains its membership in TIE solely as a service to its members, with over three-quarters of the AAUA membership making use of the insurance benefits; AAUA receives no commissions or other financial reimbursements or benefits from TIE.

The most popular insurance option available through the AAUA/TIE collaboration is the Professional Liability Plan. With TIE's professional liability insurance, AAUA members are eligible to purchase low-cost professional liability insurance that provides protection while working as an administrator or as a professional consultant and can guard their career and their personal assets with up to $2 million in professional liability coverage. This plan also provides legal benefits when a covered individual is subject to a job action such as demotion, transfer, reassignment or dismissal. Detailed information is available at WWW.FTJ.COM.


Each year, AAUA sponsors an annual leadership seminar which is organized around a current, important theme in higher education. The number of participants on the seminar is strictly limited to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate and to enhance the likelihood of meaningful professional networking. The leadership seminar program comprises a mix of invited presentations by individuals noted for their scholarship on and/or achievements in higher education leadership and seminar sessions selected from among submitted presentation proposals.


AAUA has developed a Professional Development Fellows Program that is designed to ensure an organized approach to administrative skill development while allowing participants to remain on and fully committed to their administrative role. Participants design a plan, collaborate with and are supported by a local campus mentor, are provided support from an AAUA facilitator, and interact with other fellows during a year-long period.


AAUA's program for the professional development of academic department chairpersons can be delivered for chairs on a single campus or to multiple, cooperating institutions. The program involves a one- or two-day onsite workshop followed by up to six months of online support.


Recognizing the value of learning from administrative peers at other institutions (both similar in nature and of radically different structure or purpose), AAUA facilitates short-term (one to three week) cross institution visits between like-role administrators.

The association also occasionally organizes and conducts small group (6-10 people) two- and three-day visits to clusters of institutions for the purpose of learning about notable or unique programs.


Each year the Association sponsors one or more regional "think tank-type" seminars that gather role-alike practitioner administrators who collaborate to identify and discuss the most recent, creative, and effective approaches to current administrative challenges.


Supported in part by member dues The Journal of Higher Education Management (JHEM) is published under the auspices and sponsorship of the American Association of University Administrators.

The Association's purpose in sponsoring JHEM is to provide opportunities: (a) for the discussion of the current issues, problems and challenges facing higher education; (b) for the exchange of practical wisdom and techniques in the areas of higher education leadership, policy analysis and development, and institutional management; and (c) for the identification and explication of the principles and standards of college and university administration. Now published exclusively online, JHEM has established an enviable reputation for rigorous, high standards; fewer than 40 percent of submitted manuscripts are accepted for publication. The Journal is published on the association's website and is made available without charge.


AAUA has developed a Statement of Ethical Principles for College and University Administrators; it is published on the association website. The association has also published a workbook on ethical problems confronting higher education administrators. Both of these publications are available on the association website; they may be downloaded without charge.


AAUA supports and promulgates best practices in higher education administration through a series of annual awards recognitions. Awards are presented for the following achievements:

  • Blackburn Award and Exemplary Models Award(s) for outstanding examples of higher education programming that demonstrate creative solutions to common problems of American colleges or universities;
  • Khaladjan International Award for innovation and achievement in higher education on an international basis;
  • Tosney Award for outstanding, career-long service as an administrator in the field of higher education;
  • McIness/Ryan Award for outstanding mid-career higher education administrative service;
  • MacVittie Award for outstanding early career higher education administrative service;
  • King Award for notable service as a college or university trustee;
  • Neuner Award and Watson Award for excellence in publication and scholarly-professional presentations related to higher education leadership;
  • Gatzke Award and Goodman-Malamuth Award for outstanding doctoral dissertations in higher education.


AAUA members are invited to participate in the full range of association opportunities. Not the least of these is to serve on an association committee or on the Board of Directors. While we are deliberate in trying to have both committees and the Board represent the full range of association personnel, we are also mindful of the vita-building opportunity associated with professional service/leadership and we encourage early-career administrators to become involved for that reason.


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