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Building an Inclusive Campus Culture

A community that welcomes everyone.

On Campus

Our Plan for Inclusive Excellence

President Sylvia M. Burwell announces American University's Plan for Inclusive Excellence and discusses the opportunities and challenges the university faces with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Read the Plan

Join an Upcoming Event

Crucial Conversations, an ongoing series of discussions open to the AU community, will have their next event:

Exploring Social Justice: The Color of Law

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I am American University: Center for Diversity & Inclusion’s course series for faculty and staff will have their next event:

Exploring Social Justice: The Color of Law

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Leadership Development Speaker Series. Designed to address issues about diversity, inclusion, and identity encountered daily in the work environment.

Courses offered to AU Staff through AsuccessfulU

Register on myAU

Charting Progress

  • 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 Antiracist 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
  • A new African-American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) major launches within the College of Arts and Sciences
  • The program examines African American history and culture in the U.S. in the context of contemporary and historical African cultures, theories of racial ideology and race politics, and the distinctive artistic, literary, and cultural practices of African people worldwide
  • The program is offered by the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Collaborative, a vibrant and inclusive community that explores diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially-engaged scholarship
  • American University Experience (AUx), a set of two required transition courses, is rolled out to all first-year students in academic year 2018-2019
  • he first pilot of AUx1, which launched last year, had a retention rate of 98%
  • University-wide discussions on implementing additional courses related to diversity and inclusion into the AU Core begin

Reporting Bias

Learn more about how we are establishing an infrastructure to support, cultivate, and foster greater diversity and inclusion, as well as how to report a bias incident to the university.

Confronting Bias

Diversity on campus

AU aligns with the work of the Association of American Colleges & Universities in defining diversity and inclusion.

AU's population 1

Student of color
34 %
International Students
11 %
Faculty of color
19 %
International faculty
3 %
  1. Data from Fall 2017

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.

Get Involved

Initiatives Across Campus

Across our campus, community members are committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture.

  • School & College Initiatives
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Department Initiatives

Learn more

Student Activities

There are more than 200 student-led organizations that help students create connections and find support systems on campus.

Learn more

Alumni Association

AU offers a diverse range of affinity groups and networks that celebrate identity, industry, leisure, student activities, and student experience.

Learn more

President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion(PCDI)

We look forward to hearing from you!

(PCDI) advises the president and reviews and makes recommendations regarding diversity and inclusion-related strategic plan goals, as well as AU policy and procedures.

We hope that this page is engaging and informative. It represents many hours of discussion, debate and work, yet it is neither complete nor perfect. If it does not represent you, or if it lacks important information, please let us know at


President Silvia Burwell, Julian Castro, and Alma Clayton-Pedersen

Inclusive Excellence: Lessons for Success

AU President Sylvia M. Burwell hosted a Crucial Conversation with former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and higher education expert Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen on AU's Plan for Inclusive Excellence and Lessons for Success.

Watch Video

CAS Professor Caleen Jennings

Jennings’s memoir featured in Women’s Voices festival

Professor Caleen Jennings’s play “Queens Girl in Africa” leads the second Women’s Voices festival in Washington.

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FDDS scholars pose outside

Achievements ·

Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program Receives All-Inclusive Award

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Craig Stevens


American University Senior Craig Stevens Named a 2018 Marshall Scholar

American University student Craig Stevens has been named a recipient of the Marshall Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom.

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On campus with people walking, trees, and an AU flag.


AU Announces New Tenure-Line Faculty Hires

Introducing teachers and researchers to the AU community.

Full Story

Chalkboard with equations

Department Spotlight

New Majors and Programs Debut Fall 2017

For fall 2017, AU students can take advantage of a diverse group of new undergrad and graduate majors, minors, and tracks within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Full Story