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President's Message | Reports & Announcements


March 8, 2017

 TO: AU Community
 FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT: Interim Vice President of Campus Life


I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Dr. Fanta Aw, assistant vice president of Campus Life, to serve as interim vice president of Campus Life, effective April 1, 2017. She will assume her responsibilities upon the retirement of Gail Hanson and will serve in the role until a permanent appointment is made by President Sylvia Burwell.

With three AU degrees and 25 years of service at the university, there is little need to introduce Dr. Aw to the community. Indeed, she is well known and widely respected by students, faculty, and staff. In these times, when issues such as diversity and inclusion, immigration, cost and affordability, and the quality of the student experience are so prominent on our campus, there could be no more qualified leader to serve in this important role.

After earning her bachelor's degree in accounting from Kogod in 1990, Dr. Aw worked for Price Waterhouse and for Ernst & Young as an auditor in Senegal. She returned to AU in 1992 to work with international students, an important thread that extends throughout her professional career. She continued her education, completing an MA in public administration in 1994, focusing on organizational development, and a PhD in sociology in 2011, with concentrations on social stratification, transnational migration, and international education.

While pursuing graduate education, Dr. Aw also built her professional career in international education and multicultural affairs, including service as director of International Student and Scholar Services, and eventually as assistant vice president. In that capacity, she is responsible for leadership and supervision of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, International Student and Scholar Services, Kay Spiritual Life Center, University Center and Student Activities, and the Center for Community Engagement and Service. She established a record as an extraordinary teacher, culminating in her appointment as Hurst Senior Professional Lecturer in SIS in 2013. Notably, she designed and delivered CTRL curricula for faculty development on inclusive pedagogy and co-facilitated the first faculty learning community on race.

Dr. Aw brought her expertise in organizational development and her experience with students to the role of cochair of the Reinventing the Student Experience (RiSE) effort. In addition, in her role as president and chair of the board of directors of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, she is the longest serving executive for this 10,000-member global association, bringing AU to the world and the world to AU.

I can think of no one more qualified to lead and provide continuity in the division of Campus Life during this period of transition. Please join me in welcoming and supporting our colleague, Dr. Fanta Aw, as she assumes this important role.

Strategic Plan

AU's strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, outlines goals and objectives for the next decade at American University. Visit for more information. ( login required for some documents)

Read the Strategic Plan

View Progress Report

Support & Resources for AU's International Community

Orientation for International Students

President Kerwin issued two recent memos underscoring AU's commitment to global engagement and offering continued support to those affected by changes in immigration policy.

Read February 10 memo

Read January 31 memo