University of Wisconsin System
The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is the association of the chief executives of the 52 colleges and university systems of public higher education in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Formed in 1979 for the purpose of seeking improvement in the organization and governance of public higher education systems, NASH serves as a forum for the exchange of views and information among its members and with other higher education organizations, with special attention to the perspectives, problems, and opportunities of heads of systems as a unique category of higher education executives.
NASH has defined a public higher education system as a group of two or more colleges or universities, each having substantial autonomy and headed by a chief executive or operating officer, all under a single governing board which is served by a system chief executive officer who is not also the chief executive officer of any of the system’s institutions. Such a system is to be distinguished from a “flagship” campus with branch campuses, and also from a group of campuses or systems, each with its own governing board, that is coordinated by some state body.
NASH systems include multiple four-year institutions, and several also include two-year institutions. Together, public university systems educate approximately three-quarters of the nation’s students in public, four-year higher education and a significant proportion of students seeking two-year degrees. How these systems are organized—that is, multiple institutions operating with a single system governing board and chief executive—makes them particularly well-positioned to tackle issues critical to the future of their states.
NASH is staffed by a staff director and, for the cross-system initiatives, mobilizes expertise within participating systems and partners with other organizations. In recent years, cross-system collaboration has focused on increasing student access and success in college, especially for low-income students and students of color.