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Letter from APLU President Mark Becker:

I am pleased to share the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ 2023 Annual Report.

The past year has presented an array of challenges and opportunities for the public research university community. As a membership organization, APLU’s role is working with our membership to magnify the positive impact of our institutions in: driving equitable student success; fostering research and innovation to meet societal needs; and deepening community, economic, and international engagement to benefit all.

APLU’s convening role is at the heart of achieving these aims. In 2023, nearly 3,500 individuals attended APLU’s in-person convenings such as council and commission meetings and the APLU Annual Meeting. Countless more attended virtual convenings giving institutions access to senior government officials and subject matter experts on topics such as artificial intelligence and free speech and activism on campus.

As you’ll read in the report, APLU made progress in 2023 on many issues, including to:

  • Help block proposed cuts to federal research and higher education funding that would have dramatically impacted students, researchers, and institutions.
  • Elevate the need to fulfill promised investments in federal research that lawmakers targeted in the CHIPS and Science Act and advocate for continued growth to the maximum Pell Grant award.
  • Make the case for robust investments in critical land-grant agricultural programs as lawmakers draft a reauthorization of the Farm Bill.
  • Lead the Aspire Alliance, advancing its work to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive STEM facultyβ€”strengthening the sustainability of institutional and network efforts in the final year of the initiative.
  • Complete the Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning initiative, which engaged 120 math faculty at 26 institutions to enhance inclusive student learning through active learning strategies in large-enrollment classes.
  • Develop and publish an Action Framework for Modernizing Scholarship for the Public Good, outlining concrete actions public research universities can take in eight key areas to support publicly engaged, equity-oriented, and publicly impactful scholars and scholarship.

The entire APLU team looks forward to building on the amazing work already underway at APLU while creating new ways for APLU to deliver value for our members. Although 2023 was an extremely busy year, we know the year ahead promises a host of new challenges and opportunities, including an AI revolution reshaping the education and research landscape, a looming presidential election, and continued global conflict that will undoubtedly draw greater policymaker scrutiny to higher education.

I am confident the public university community will collectively rise to the challenges ahead. Every APLU member is a powerful force dedicated to changing and improving lives. Togetherβ€”learning, sharing, innovating, and advocating through APLUβ€”our public and land-grant universities are an unstoppable force for good.

Gregory Thornton
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