Program Overview

The Student Success Institute (SSI) for Provosts, Associate/Vice Provosts, and Vice Presidents for Student Affairs is a leadership development program tailored to the distinctive needs of these roles. SSI will help individuals with at least one year of experience in their role to lead and implement the type of transformational change necessary to meet the evolving needs of today’s increasingly diverse student body.


This program is based on the following convictions:

  • Student success is a key contributor to a more equitable society. Studies have shown that student success in college can increase economic mobility, reshape opportunities, and transform the lives of both students and their families.
  • There is empirical evidence that changing institutional practices and policies can increase student success outcomes and narrow achievement and opportunity gaps among all students.
  • Provosts are critical agents of the president or chancellor in transforming their institutions to achieve greater student outcomes. Provosts are charged with overseeing the academic enterprise of an institution, while also building and managing effective relationships with their student affairs counterparts.

Student Success at AASCU

The Student Success Institute (SSI) for Provosts, Associate/Vice Provosts, and Vice Presidents for Student Affairs is a key component in AASCU’s strategy to assist our members in the institutional transformation necessary to achieve their student success goals. Through our array of programs and services -- leadership development, student success academies, webinars, and convenings -- we provide structured and customized support as our members adapt to meet the needs of current students. This kind of institutional transformation demands responsive and adaptive leaders who have the tools to lead deep, pervasive change. In addition to a robust suite of programs and services, including leadership development, AASCU’s approach to student success includes what we are best at--fostering a culture of collaboration among peers.

I have been part of other programs for provosts and academic leaders, but the Student Success Institute was different. It has not only provided a great forum for discussing the most current and relevant topics in higher education, but the discussions were among leaders who fully understand student success and related issues from the perspective of regional comprehensive institutions. The speakers brought in a wealth of ideas that are significant and practical and the program staff was flexible, courteous and understanding of the unexpected demands a provost's job can impose. I am glad to have been part of this professional development opportunity.


Mohamed Abdelrahman

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Texas A&M University–San Antonio

I recommend this program to any provost interested in expanding their knowledge of student success. The program was designed to assist those relatively new to the best practices as well as those with experience in the student success area. While the meetings were held virtually, the team put together a remarkable mix of events that allowed the cohort to work collaboratively and share their respective experiences. I came away not only with more knowledge but with a greater sense of how important the work we as provosts do each day in this area.


Steven J. Berberich

Provost and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Leading the academic enterprise during the pandemic has been challenging and forcing institutions to rethink student and faculty success strategies. The AASCU / SOVA leadership program is an excellent professional development opportunity for chief academic officers. The speaker lineup of provosts, presidents and subject matter experts who presented on best practices were very insightful. Some notable program takeaways for me included first year student success strategies, equity centered leadership, and prioritization frameworks for assessing the ROI of academic programs. The networking opportunity and discussions with other provosts also helped me understand a variety of institutional perspectives.


Ravi Krovi

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Weber State University (UT)

The opportunity for structured learning included national higher education leaders and technical experts, networking opportunities, discussions and assignments with experienced chief academic officers, as well as a focus on the role of data in institutional transformation, periodic readings and reflections after each session over a seven-month period. The intentional focus on being equity-minded and building culturally-responsive ecosystems to improve student outcomes made the institute a truly unique learning experience. I felt like I went back to graduate school!

Peter O. Nwosu

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, City University of New York, Lehman College

The AASCU Student Success Institute offers an opportunity to collaborate, reflect, and improve with a nationwide group of academic leaders. The takeaways are specific, actionable, and effective. As a result of my experience with SSI, I became a better advocate for public higher education, a more effective activist for student success, and a more knowledgeable and self-aware supporter of antiracism and equity. In other words, I became a better leader. Perhaps best of all, I now have a network of friends and colleagues that I can rely on for friendship, problem-solving, and authentic reflection.


Stacey Robertson

President, Widener University (PA)

Participating in the Student Success Institute and having the opportunity to engage in such transformational discussions related to my leadership role at my university was an absolute pleasure. I found the subjects to be innovative, forward-thinking, and of extreme relevance to my work as the chief academic officer. This leadership-building initiative proved to be extremely valuable as I was able to expand my network and learn from the experiences of so many experts. It is my hope that this initiative continues to grow and help future leaders have a positive impact on the generations of tomorrow.


Maria Woodside-Oriakhi

Vice President of Academic Affairs, The University of The Bahamas

How to Apply

The application period for the 2023 SSI cohort is now closed. Click here to sign up to be notified for the next cohort.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise of Opportunities for All. Visit for more information.