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President's Message | Archive


November 11, 2010

TO: Campus Community
FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
SUBJECT: Strategic Plan: Setting Objectives for the Next Two Years


On September 24, I reported to the Board of Trustees on the progress we have made on the first objectives we set under our strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World: American University in the Next Decade ( After the board meeting, I posted that report and invited the community to read it and comment in preparation for our next phase of planning.

I am writing today to review how that planning will proceed and to urge your active participation.

Last week I directed the provost, vice presidents, and directors to begin discussions in their divisions regarding the objectives we will set for the next two years—a period that will coincide with the next two-year budget. You will hear more about objectives through your division communications. A review of my report to the board (, login required), including an appendix consisting of supporting data and information from the Strategic Plan Measurement Team, serves as the point of departure for these discussions.

In this next phase I encourage us to reduce the number of objectives and focus on those with the greatest potential to advance the plan’s underlying goals. We will benefit from the same levels of engagement and transparency that characterized the development of the plan and the initial set of objectives. Participation by the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, student organizations, and our alumni is both welcome and needed to provide the full range of perspectives. As appropriate, the provost, vice presidents, and directors will work with these important constituencies to get their recommendations. In addition, individuals or groups who wish to express their views separately are invited to email comments and recommendations to A town meeting on the plan and objectives will also be scheduled at a future date.

The objectives should be developed in time to ensure they are fully considered in the proposed university two-year budget that I will present to the Board of Trustees at their winter meeting, February 24–25, 2011. The provost, vice presidents, and directors are aware of the coordination that is needed and will organize the discussions in their divisions accordingly. I ask that all comments be submitted by the end of December, to receive full consideration. A draft of proposed objectives for the next two years will be posted for review and comment in mid- to late-January.

This next phase of strategic planning will occur while American University is in a relatively strong position. But, we function in an environment characterized by ongoing economic stress and uncertainty.  

I am confident that with a full discussion of our options for the next two years, we will find a course that acknowledges the needs of our students and their families while enabling us to continue to make real progress toward the goals of the plan.


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