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The Association of American Universities (AAU) is an organization of American
research universities A research university is a university that is committed to research as a central part of its mission. They can be public education, public or private education, private, and often have well-known brand names. Undergraduate courses at many research ...
devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...

research
and education. Founded in 1900, it consists of 63
universities in the United States Higher education in the United States is an optional stage of formal learning Formal learning is education normally delivered by trained teachers in a systematic intentional way within a school, higher education or university. It is one of thr ...
(both
public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Engli ...
and
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades from the charts. Both "In Pri ...
) and two
universities in Canada Universities in Canada are established and operate under provincial and territorial government charters, except in one case directed by First Nations bands and in another by federal legislation. Most public universities in the country are membe ...
. AAU membership is by invitation only and requires an affirmative vote of three-quarters of current members.


Organization

The AAU was founded on February 28, 1900, by a group of 14
Doctor of Philosophy A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...
degree–granting universities in the United States to strengthen and standardize American doctoral programs. American universities—starting with
Johns Hopkins University The Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins, Hopkins, or JHU) is a private university, private research university in Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur ...

Johns Hopkins University
in 1876—were adopting the research-intensive German model of higher education. Lack of standardization damaged European universities' opinions of their American counterparts and many American students attended
graduate school File:CCMDonation49.JPG, Student receives degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City, 2013 A graduate school (sometimes shortened to grad school) is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (e.g., ma ...
in Europe instead of staying in the U.S. The presidents of
Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the History of the Puritans in North America, Puritan cler ...

Harvard University
,
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a in . Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of in , Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in and ...

Columbia University
, Johns Hopkins University, the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private university, private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park, Chicago, Hyde Park neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,45 ...
, and the
University of California The University of California (UC) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university, research university system in the U.S. state of California. The system is composed of the campuses at University of Californ ...

University of California
sent a letter of invitation to eight other universities—
Clark University Clark University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two de ...
,
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, the
University of Michigan The University of Michigan (Michigan, or UMich) is a public university, public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817 by an act of the old Michigan Territory, as the History of the University of Michigan#The Catholepistemiad ( ...

University of Michigan
,
Princeton University Princeton University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly tw ...

Princeton University
, the
University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a in , Pennsylvania. The university, established as the College of Philadelphia in 1740, is one of the nine chartered prior to the . , Penn's founder and first president, advocated an edu ...

University of Pennsylvania
,
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
, the
University of Wisconsin A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities typi ...
, and
Yale University Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
—to meet in Chicago in February 1900 to promote and raise standards. The AAU's founding members elected Harvard's
Charles William Eliot Charles William Eliot (March 20, 1834 – August 22, 1926) was an American academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary h ...

Charles William Eliot
as the association's first president and Stanford's
David Starr Jordan David Starr Jordan (January 19, 1851 – September 19, 1931) was the founding president of Stanford University, serving from 1891 to 1913. He was an ichthyologist during his research career and then served as president of Indiana University ...

David Starr Jordan
as its first chairman. In 1914, the AAU began accrediting undergraduate education at its member and other schools. German universities used the "AAU Accepted List" to determine whether a college's graduates were qualified for graduate programs.
Regional accreditation Higher education accreditation in the United States is a peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a ...
agencies existed in the U.S. by the 1920s, and the AAU ended accrediting schools in 1948. For its first six decades, the AAU functioned as a club for the presidents and deans of elite research universities to informally discuss educational matters, and its day-to-day operations were managed by an executive secretary. In the 1970s, the AAU shifted to a role of active advocacy on behalf of its members' interests; dues were raised, more staff members were hired, and its chief executive was given the title of president and the duty of becoming far more publicly visible than his predecessors. Today, the AAU consists of 65 U.S. and Canadian universities of varying sizes and missions that share a commitment to research. The organization's primary purpose is to provide a forum for the development and implementation of institutional and national policies in order to strengthen programs in academic research, scholarship, and education at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.


Benefits

The largest attraction of the AAU for many schools, especially nonmembers, is prestige. Since the AAU's founding, it has "been a grouping of the elite in the American university world," and " w presidents of nonmember universities often list gaining admission to the AAU as a goal of their administration." For example, in 2010 the chancellor of nonmember
North Carolina State University North Carolina State University (NC State) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business ...
described it as "the pre-eminent research-intensive membership group. To be a part of that organization is something N.C. State aspires to." A spokesman for nonmember
University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut (UConn, sometimes stylized as UCONN) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such grou ...
called it "perhaps the most elite organization in higher education. You'd probably be hard-pressed to find a major research university that didn't want to be a member of the AAU." In 2012, the newly elected chancellor of
University of Massachusetts Amherst The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst, UMass) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organizat ...
, a nonmember of AAU, reaffirmed the objective of elevating the campus to AAU standards and the hope of becoming a member in the near future, and called it a distinctive status. Because of the lengthy and difficult entrance process, , state legislators, and donors often see membership as evidence of the quality of a university. The AAU acts as a
lobbyist In politics, lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agency, regulatory agenc ...
at its headquarters in
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, for research and higher education funding and for policy and regulatory issues affecting research universities. The association holds two meetings annually, both in Washington. Separate meetings are held for
university president A chancellor is a leader of a college or university, usually either the executive or ceremonial head of the university or of a university campus within a university system A university system is a set of multiple affiliated universities and coll ...
s,
provost Provost may refer to: People * Provost (name)Provost is a surname of French origin, deriving from a civil or military official responsible for maintaining order. It moved to England with its conquering by William of Normandy in 1066. It is stil ...
s, and other officials. Because the meetings are private, they offer the opportunity for discussion without media coverage. Prominent government officials, businessmen, and others often speak to the groups.


Presidents


Statistics

, AAU members accounted for 58 percent of U.S. universities' research grants and contract income and 52 percent of all
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awarded in the United States. Since 1999, 43 percent of all
Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, busines ...
winners and 74 percent of winners at U.S. institutions have been affiliated with an AAU university. Approximately two-thirds of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded 1780, (abbreviation: AAAS) is one of the oldest learned societies A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization ...

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2006 Class of Fellows are affiliated with an AAU university. The faculties at AAU universities include 2,993 members of the
United States National Academies The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (also known as NASEM or the National Academies) is the collective scientific national academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial sup ...
(82 percent of all members): the
National Academy of Sciences The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a United States nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
, the
National Academy of Engineering The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
, and the
Institute of Medicine The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly called the Institute of Medicine (IoM) until 2015, is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit inst ...
(2004). * Undergraduate students: 1,044,759; 7 percent nationally * Undergraduate degrees awarded: 235,328; 17 percent nationally * Graduate students: 418,066; 20 percent nationally * Master's degrees awarded: 106,971; 19 percent nationally * Professional degrees awarded: 20,859; 25 percent nationally * Doctorates awarded: 22,747; 52 percent nationally * Postdoctoral fellows: 30,430; 67 percent nationally * Students studying abroad: 57,205 * National Merit/Achievement Scholars (2004): 5,434; 63 percent nationally * Faculty: approximately 72,000


Membership

AAU membership is by invitation only, which requires an affirmative vote of three-fourths of current members. Invitations are considered periodically, based in part on an assessment of the breadth and quality of university programs of research and graduate education, as well as undergraduate education. The association ranks its members using four criteria: research spending, the percentage of faculty who are members of the National Academies, faculty awards, and
citation A citation is a reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object. The first object in this relation is said to ''refer to'' the second o ...

citation
s. Two-thirds of members can vote to revoke membership for poor rankings. annual dues are $80,500. All 63 U.S. members of the AAU are also classified as Highest Research Activity (R1) Universities by the
Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, or simply the Carnegie Classification, is a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the United States. Created in 1970, it is named after and was originally created ...
.


Former members

*
Catholic University of America The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's old ...
(1900–2002) :Departed as a result of "institutional emphases and energies" that differed from the other AAU members. *
Clark University Clark University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two de ...
(1900–1999) :Departed because of a shift in the AAU's emphasis to large research universities. *
University of Nebraska–Lincoln The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Nebraska, UNL, or NU) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization ...
(1909–2011) :Removed from the AAU. Chancellor Harvey Perlman said that the lack of an on-campus medical school (the Medical Center is a separate campus of the
University of Nebraska system The University of Nebraska system is the public university system in the United States, U.S. state of Nebraska. Founded in 1869 with one campus in Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln, the system has four university campuses and operates a two-year techn ...
) and the AAU's disregarding of
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
-funded agricultural research in its metrics hurt the university's performance in the association's internal ranking system. In 2010 Perlman stated that had Nebraska not been part of the AAU, the
Big Ten Conference The Big Ten Conference (stylized B1G, formerly the Western Conference and the Big Nine Conference) is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference An athletic conference is a collection of sports team A sports team is a group of i ...
would likely not have invited it to become the athletic conference's 12th member. *
Syracuse University Syracuse University (Syracuse, 'Cuse, or SU) is a Private university, private research university in Syracuse, New York. The institution's roots can be traced to the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded in 1831 by the Methodist Episcopal Church i ...

Syracuse University
(1966–2011) : Because of a dispute over how to count nonfederal grants, Syracuse voluntarily withdrew from the AAU in 2011. The ''
Chronicle of Higher Education ''The Chronicle of Higher Education'' is a newspaper and website that presents news, information, and jobs for college and Faculty (academic staff), university faculty and student affairs professionals (staff members and administrators). A subscri ...
'' reported that after "it became clear that Syracuse wouldn't meet the association's revised membership criteria, university officials decided that they would leave the organization voluntarily, rather than face a vote like Nebraska's, and notified the leadership of their intentions."


Map of schools

 


Advocacy

In 2014, the AAU supported the proposed Research and Development Efficiency Act arguing that the legislation "can lead to a long-needed reduction in the regulatory burden currently imposed on universities and their faculty members who conduct research on behalf of the federal government." According to the AAU, "too often federal requirements" for accounting for federal grant money "are ill-conceived, ineffective, and/or duplicative." This wastes the researchers' times and "reduces the time they can devote to discovery and innovation and increases institutional compliance costs." AAU institutions are frequently involved in U.S. science policy debates. In 2008, AAU Vice President for Policy, Tobin Smith, co-authored a textbook on U.S. science policy.


Ranking of research universities

The Center for Measuring University Performance is a research center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Its annual report, ''The Top American Research Universities'', ranks them on nine different measures: Total Research, Federal Research, Endowment Assets, Annual Giving, National Academy Members, Faculty Awards, Doctorates Granted, Postdoctoral Appointees, and SAT/ACT range. This ranking's influence within the academic community has been described as being "commonly regarded to be one of three indicators that reflect an institution's rank as a Tier One institution", the other two being the classification of a university with "very high research activity" by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and membership within the Association of American Universities.


See also

*
List of higher education associations and alliancesMany institutions of higher education combine their resources so that they can share information and resources, coordinate research agendas, and afford each other mutual support. Global * International Association of Universities The Internationa ...
*
List of research universities in the United States This is a list of research universities in the United States classified as Research Universities in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Research institutions are a subset of Doctorate, doctoral degree-granting instituti ...


Notes


References


External links

* {{Authority control Organizations established in 1900 College and university associations and consortia in Canada
College and university associations and consortia in the United States{{Commons category, College and university associations and consortia in the United States Associations Consortia in the United States Educational organizations based in the United States, Associations and consortia College and university associ ...