By: American Association of State Colleges and Universities
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2023 – The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has named 29 distinguished senior-level higher education professionals to participate in the 2023 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI).
Launched in 1999, MLI is a premier leadership development program designed to diversify and enrich the American college presidency. The initiative is rooted in preparing higher education leaders from traditionally underrepresented communities with the skills, philosophical overview, and networks necessary to advance to the highest ranks of postsecondary education. Through its rich network of faculty, alumni, and other key campus leaders, MLI connects aspiring presidents and chancellors to the expertise, experiences, and resources required to thrive. Participants receive a realistic look at what the role of a president entails including navigating the current landscape of political polarization inequities and funding shortfalls.
“MLI stands as a magnet for talented people looking to bring something different to American higher education leadership. That is a good thing, because our campuses now face a rare convergence of serious challenges, including disruptive competition, declining enrollments, and volatile governance,” said John S. Wilson Jr., executive director of MLI. “Costs are soaring apace with rising student debt and public doubt. Contextualized by the general instability of American democracy, all that change is requiring something fundamentally different from campus leaders. Now, more than ever, the way MLI prepares presidents and chancellors matters.”
MLI’s impact is significant. Since its inception, nearly 700 individuals have completed the program, with 153 going on to become university presidents or chancellors and 40 serving multiple presidencies or chancellorships. AASCU President Mildred García is counted among the success stories, becoming the first in the 1999 inaugural MLI cohort to be named to a presidency.
“MLI offers an invaluable experience for individuals, including myself, who have historically not advanced to the role of president or chancellor,” said García. “Given the increased diversity of students enrolled in higher education institutions, MLI helps to build a strong pipeline of presidents and chancellors who reflect the new majority of students—the first generation, low-income, and/or students of color.”
Programming for the 2023 cohort begins this month in Washington, D.C. Members of this year’s cohort can be viewed here. “We have a great incoming class poised to meet the mix of challenges in a way that makes a meaningful difference in America,” Wilson added.