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President's Message | Archive

March 4, 2008

 TO:  Campus Community
 FROM:  Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT:  Strategic Planning Update


I am writing to provide information on important developments related to our strategic planning process.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee met on Friday, February 22, to discuss its charge and its work going forward. The agenda for that meeting is attached. Professor William DeLone of the Kogod School of Business will chair the steering committee. The steering committee membership is also listed below.

On Friday, February 22, the Board of Trustees of American University unanimously endorsed the scope of the strategic plan and that document is also attached to this communication.

With these two actions our attention must now turn to the next stages of the planning process. Each member of the steering committee will be working with their respective constituencies and units to develop ideas and proposals for each area included in the scope of the plan. I urge every member of this community to get involved in this important process. The steering committee will be in regular communication with the community as this work goes forward, using multiple resources and venues. A strategic planning Web site will go live shortly and the steering committee will host six town meetings between now and November 2008, when we expect to present a proposed strategic plan to the Board of Trustees for their formal review and action.

I have every confidence that the combined efforts of our community will produce an inspiring, challenging, and feasible plan for our next decade.


List of Members

  • William DeLone, Professor, Information Technology, KSB, Chair
  • Nana An, Executive Director, Budget and Payroll
  • Angela Davis, Professor, WCL
  • Sarah Irvine Belson, Dean, School of Education, Teaching and Health, CAS
  • Brian Keane, President, AU Alumni Board
  • Haig Mardirosian, Dean, Academic Affairs
  • Regina Muehlhauser, Vice Chair, Finance and Investment Committee, Board of Trustees
  • Gwendolyn Reece, Associate Librarian
  • Anthony Riley, Chair, Department of Psychology, CAS
  • Rose Ann Robertson, Associate Dean, Student and Academic Affairs, SOC
  • David Rosenbloom, Distinguished Professor, Public Administration and Policy, SPA
  • Bishop John Schol, Chair, Academic Affairs Committee, Board of Trustees
  • Tiffany Speaks, Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs, OCL
  • Aaron Tobler, Correspondence Coordinator, Marketing and Enrollment Services; Chair, Staff Council
  • Kalfani Ture, Vice Chair, Graduate Leadership Council
  • Joseph Vidulich, President, Student Government
  • Gary Weaver, Professor SIS; Chair, Faculty Senate; Member, Board of Trustees


Initial Meeting Agenda

February 22, 2008

  • Committee Charge
  • Specialized Working Groups
  • Planning Timeline and Key Dates
  • Outreach
  • Information and Data for Planning
  • Staffing
  • Web Site and Committee Communications with the University Community
  • Committee Leadership


Scope of Strategic Plan

Student Body

  • Size and composition of undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Qualifications of entering students
  • Distribution of enrollments across schools and colleges
  • Diversity and demographics
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Access to AU; levels and sources of financial aid


  • Faculty size and composition, including diversity
  • Core elements of faculty work: expectations for teaching; scholarship, professional contributions, and creative work; service
  • Compensation
  • Opportunities for professional development and leadership

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

  • Content of curricula
  • Instruction and learning
  • Opportunities for innovation and growth
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • Opportunities for leadership and distinction
  • Role of Library in teaching, learning and the creation of knowledge
  • Assessment of student learning

Global Programs and Initiatives

  • International Students at AU
  • Study Abroad and dual degrees
  • Faculty
  • Assisting in the development of American education abroad

Student Life and Student Centeredness

  • Inclusive environment: social experience and community
  • Leadership development and distinction
  • Venues for social and recreational activities
  • Orientation toward wellness
  • Collaboration across units; effectiveness in administrative services


  • Student to alumni transition
  • Lifelong services, involvement
  • Forms of engagement
  • Resources

Development and Fundraising

  • Priority setting
  • Base of alumni support; parents, friends, corporations, foundations
  • Donor stewardship
  • Resources

Athletics and Recreation

  • Intercollegiate sports: number and competitiveness
  • Club and intramural sports
  • Health and fitness


  • Size and composition, including diversity
  • Opportunities for training and advancement
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Service
  • Professional and community leadership

Information, Technology and Innovation

Management and Administration

  • University finances
  • Organization, information and decision-making
  • Measuring effectiveness in management and administration

Facilities and Sustainability

Service and Social Responsibility

  • Washington, D.C.

  • The nation

  • The world

  • Reputation and Prominence

  • Telling our story effectively

  • Ensuring external stature matches institutional performance

  • Measuring effectiveness in communications

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 objectives, years 7 & 8

Building a Better AU

Visit the Building AU website to read about facilities projects that support AU’s academic aspirations and enhance campus ambiance. You can also learn more about AU's Campus Plan.

Building AU

watch video