Dr. Charles L. Welch became the seventh president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) on January 15, 2024. Dr. Welch joined AASCU after serving nearly 13 years as president of the Arkansas State University System, where he led the state’s second largest higher education system. He is also past president of Henderson State University (AR).

Dr. Welch is past president of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges and served as chairman of the board of the Arkansas Association of Public Universities. He is vice chair of the American Academic Leadership Institute Board of Directors and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, is a former board member for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches and was inducted into the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame.

He was co-chair of the Executive Council of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. He previously served as chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Arkansas State University-Beebe, and dean of university studies at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College. Welch also worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has served as an instructor of education and political science at three different colleges in Arkansas.

Dr. Welch has deep ties to AASCU, having led two AASCU member institutions, and served as chair of the AASCU Board of Directors twice from 2019-2021. He co-chaired AASCU’s Presidential Postsecondary Value Commission Task Force. He was also actively engaged with AASCU’s New Presidents Academy and Emerging Leaders Program, serving as executive sponsor for both initiatives.

Dr. Welch is a first-generation college student and the first member of his extended family to receive an advanced degree. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Arts in political management from The George Washington University (DC), and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Dr. Welch was awarded President Emeritus status by the Arkansas State University System in December 2023. The system also honored Dr. Welch with the creation of the Charles L. Welch Presidential Scholars Program.

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