USF has accepted an invitation to join the Association of American Universities (AAU) according to a universitywide email from President Rhea Law on Thursday morning.
The AAU is a “prestigious” group in higher education composed of 71 research universities, according to the email. Member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research in the areas of public health and national challenges and that seeks to contribute to the country’s economic strength, according to the AAU website.
“To be invited by our peers to join the AAU and now officially be recognized by them as one of the nation’s leading research universities is a monumental achievement,” Law wrote.
Membership in the AAU is by invitation only and is based on “quantitative indicators that assess the breadth and quality of a university’s research and education,” according to the AAU website.
Law wrote that the announcement signifies a “historic milestone that will have far-reaching impacts for generations to come.”
The university’s 2022-2027 strategic plan also includes the aspiration of working towards and achieving AUU membership.
Among the criteria the AAU considers when extending invitations to new members are factors such as research activity, faculty excellence, quality of educational programs, student graduation rates and the number of students who receive pell grants, according to the email.
USF is one of six other institutions which were announced today as new AAU members and is the second college from the Florida State University System (SUS) to ever join, according to the email.
Other new members announced include the University of Miami, Arizona State University, George Washington University, the University of California, Riverside and the University of Notre Dame, according to the AAU website.
The USF community and the greater Tampa Bay region will benefit from the membership for multiple reasons, according to Law. She wrote that joining the AAU will advance the university’s research profile, add to “our already world-class faculty and students, help USF drive economic development in the region and allow it to play a bigger role in promoting best practices in undergraduate and graduate education.”
In the announcement, Law thanked past and current USF leadership including former President Judy Genshaft, former provost Ralph Wilcox, the Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors.
“When I served as chair of the Board of Trustees, I vividly remember when USF first included AAU eligibility in our strategic plan 16 years ago and set our sights on a day like today,” Law wrote.
“We should all be proud of our unwavering pursuit of this goal, because reaching it will only strengthen our ambition to transform lives and create a better future.”