Mr Vaughan, whose background is in the retail motor industry,has been the chair of Bournemouth and Poole College for the past 13 years. He has been a governor at the college since 1977.
Mr Vaughan was awarded an OBE for services to further education in the 1995 New Year's honours list. He said: "The challenges facing colleges reinforce the importance of a strong association.
"Colleges must demonstrate our commitment to lifelong learning and cnvince the Government we are the best people to deliver the skilled workforce the country needs. The AOC will encourage good practice while motivating all colleges towards better achievements."
Dr Gilchrist has been the principal of Bury College for five years. Before that she led Nelson and Colne College for six years.
Dr Gilchrist said: "I'm sure the association will continue to listen closely to its members, and remain positive and dynamic in its relationship with the Government, Department for Education and Employment and the new Learning and Skills Council."