For AU leaders and managers who would like to better understand how to reconcile the concerning events of the May hate crime and campus climate with their personal lives and communities. Learn about the impact of fear on the workplace, and how leaders can address it.
American University is committed to ensuring that we are a community where people of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included.
Nearly 125 years ago, our founders endowed us with the core values of equality, diversity, justice, human rights, and public service — values that have shaped our mission and influenced our actions to this day. We are dedicated to retaining these principles as we respond to the needs of a changing world.
We foster a community where diverse perspectives are discussed and debated in an environment that values human dignity and respect, academic freedom, and freedom of expression. When we invite different perspectives and listen to others, we have the opportunity to consider new viewpoints and sharpen our own perspectives. We learn and thrive. I look forward to learning from all of you.
— Sylvia Burwell
President, American University
No matter who you are, no matter where you are from, you are welcome here at American University.
On May 1st, 2017, American University was alerted to a racist incident that occurred in our community. We strongly condemn what happened and will do all that we can to find those responsible.
To make lasting improvements in both the diversity and inclusiveness of our community, AU is committed to the following actions:
- Establish a presidential council to oversee these plans, monitor institutional progress, recommend new objectives, and plan necessary resources
- Introduce a mandatory course on diversity and inclusion for all first year and transfer students
- Revise and elevate awareness of discrimination policies, channels for complaint, and avenues for support
- Reallocate five tenure or tenure track positions to recruit diverse candidates to AU's faculty
- Develop programs to cultivate inclusive classrooms, including an entry program for newly appointed tenure track faculty and dialogue sessions for current faculty
- American University Experience (AUx), a set of two required transition courses, is tested with a core of trained faculty and staff and is expected to be rolled out to all first-year students in 2018
- Starting in 2015, professors Dr. Andrea Brenner (sociology) and Angie Chuang (communication) researched and developed AUx through town hall meetings and working sessions with students, faculty, and staff
- American University Experience II (AUx2), the follow-up course, delves into social and culture relations, and issues of diversity, identity, and race
- PCDI hosts a series of listening sessions in residence halls where students can have one-on-one conversations about AU's environment of diversity and inclusion
- PCDI drafts recommendations for diversity and inclusion objectives that President Kerwin incorporates into the university's strategic plan
- PCDI engages with AU community through interviews and discussions with key AU stakeholders, student leaders, faculty senate, and administration members
- A plan for diversifying and retaining diverse faculty — Target of Opportunity Program (TOP) — is developed by Mary Clark, Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost and Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Dean of the School of Education
- Human Resources examines every phase of staff hiring process with the goal of increasing diversity and inclusion
- HR leaders meet with 60 staff members of color to identify changes the university could make to improve racial climate and establish a new staff and faculty people of color affinity group
- PCDI provides input on the Undergraduate Campus Climate Survey to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
- Revisions to survey are made to gather more comprehensive data from current undergraduate students regarding diversity and inclusion on campus
- Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author and award-winning historian, is announced as the founding director of AU's new Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center
- The Center will bring together teams of faculty and student researchers to conduct cutting-edge, intersectional, and interdisciplinary research of racial inequality and discrimination of a national and international scope
- AU believes the Center will serve as a global leader for anti-racist research and policymaking
We are establishing an infrastructure to support, cultivate, and foster greater diversity and inclusion.
Reporting BiasFor complaints against:
- Students - contact the Dean of Students: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Law Students - contact the Associate Dean of Students: email@example.com
- Staff, University Administrators, University Guests, or Contractors - contact the AVP of Human Resources: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faculty Member or Faculty Administrator - contact the Dean of Academic Affairs: email@example.com
Diversity on campus
AU aligns with the work of the Association of American Colleges & Universities in defining diversity and inclusion.
Diversity is defined as individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).
Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity in the curriculum, co-curriculum, and communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect.
Eric Vignola, CAS/BS ‘17
AUx is a huge step in a positive direction.
I’ve been a student peer leader in the AUx2 course on race. I love the class discussions because, with issues of identity and culture, the conversations can really go in a wide variety of directions. AUx is a huge step in a positive direction, eventually having all first-year students required to come face-to-face and learn in a more safe and comfortable environment. At AU, I think people become more self-aware and more aware of people who are not like them. Students hopefully learn to step outside their own experiences and understand other people’s points of view.
The new course is part of the American University Experience pilot.
AU professors go back to the classroom for intensive sessions on race and identity.
I do see change, and I do feel it, because I’ve been part of it.
I think AU and campus groups are facilitating more avenues to talk about race and diversity. In my department, we teach 12 different languages and we live that diversity in a way that is so natural to us. Yet throughout the university, we need to have difficult conversations, and we won’t always have closure. I do see change, and I do feel it, because I’ve been part of it. Having lived in Latin America for 15 years and been exposed to different environments, I can say that this campus has been very welcoming. I do feel at home here.