University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston, chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, will host the organization’s annual meeting on Moral Leadership in the New Millennium on November 18-20 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Johnston’s AASCU invitation to fellow presidents and chancellors suggested that they must reassert their role as moral and social leaders and assess the circumstances that make their leadership so challenging. Also included in the invitation is the chancellor’s theory that it is not only courses and seminars that shape students, but the experiences they have with their peers and the faculty. The invitation urges the participating leaders to rededicate themselves to choose what is best for the students, faculty and the society that supports them.

Dr. Johnston chose the topic of Moral Leadership last December because she was increasingly concerned and intrigued by the timidity she saw in the presidents. “People are cautious about offending the various constituents that we represent and worry too much about those feelings to the extent that we jeopardize the type of leadership that we provide,” she said.

Dr. Johnston hopes that the leaders will leave the annual meeting with a sense that they must lead institutions to serve all people. “I hope that we become more sensitive with our dealings and recognize differences between and among cultures,” she commented.

Dr. Johnston was appointed chair of AASCU in November 2000. She will pass the gavel at this annual meeting to incoming chair Dr. Stephen Weber, San Diego State University.

AASCU represents more than 430 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories. AASCU schools enroll more than 3 million students or 56 percent of the enrollment at all public four-year institutions.

AASCU has a four-fold purpose: 1) To promote appreciation and support for public higher education and the distinctive contributions of the member colleges and universities; 2) To analyze public policy and to advocate for member institutions and the students they serve; 3) To provide policy leadership and program support to strengthen academic quality, promote access and inclusion, and facilitate educational innovation; and 4) To create professional development opportunities for institutional leaders, especially presidents, chancellors and their spouses.

AASCU grew out of the Association of Teacher Education Institutions that had been organized in 1951 to serve public comprehensive institutions most of them having begun as single purpose institutions, most of them normal schools.