Yang, who has served on the association's executive committee since 2005, assumed his new role today, at the conclusion of the organization's fall membership meeting, held at McGill University in Montreal. He succeeds Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman in the one-year post.
Founded in 1900 to advance the international standing of U.S. research universities, the Association of American Universities (AAU) focuses today on issues that are important to research-intensive institutions, such as funding for research, research policy issues, graduate and undergraduate education, federal government relations, policy studies, and public affairs. Universities selected for membership in the prestigious association are national leaders in research and education as well as in innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the country's economy, security, and well-being.
"At this critical juncture in our history, the role played by research universities is more important than ever," said Yang. "We need to speak in a strong and clear voice about the importance of investing in higher education and research and to sustain and enhance the capacities of American universities, which are among the best in the world in education, innovation and research. The services these institutions provide to our communities, states, and our global society are invaluable. I am honored to serve as chair of this vital association, and look forward to working closely with my higher education colleagues on these and other important issues."
The 60 AAU members in the United States award more than half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering. AAU programs and projects address institutional issues facing member universities, as well as government actions that affect these and other universities.
Membership in the AAU is by invitation, and UC Santa Barbara became a member in 1995, during Yang's tenure as chancellor. In addition to his membership on the association's executive committee, his various roles in the organization have included service on the Graduate Education Committee and Cost of Research Committee.
Yang is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of several American societies in various engineering disciplines. Among the honors he has received are five honorary doctorates, the Lamme medal from the American Society of Engineering Education, and, most recently, the 2008 Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Currently, Yang serves on the President's Committee for the National Medal of Science, the Millennium Technology Prize international selection committee, and the Kavli Foundation board, and is chairman of the board for the Thirty Meter Telescope project. In July 2009 he was appointed to the newly created Commission on the Future of UC, co-chaired by University of California Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould and President Mark Yudof.
More information about the Association of American Universities can be found at http://www.aau.edu/. More information about Henry Yang can be found on the UC Santa Barbara Web site at http://chancellor.ucsb.edu/.