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May 20, 2016

TO: American University Community
FROM: Jack Cassell, Chairman, Board of Trustees
SUBJECT: Board of Trustees Spring 2016 Meeting Summary


The Board of Trustees met on Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13 on the AU campus for its spring meeting. Committee meetings were held on Thursday with actions reported out the next day at the full board meeting.

A dinner was held for the trustees and university leadership on Thursday which featured Jim Thurber, Distinguished Professor of Government and Director, Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs; he discussed the 2016 national political campaign.

The open session of the May 13 board meeting featured a discussion on the Presidential Search. Committee Chair Jeff Sine led the presentation along with one of the two key Spencer Stuart consultants, Leslie Hortum; also in attendance were members of the Search Committee. This session included updates on the search to date; information gained from the listening sessions; and a discussion with trustees, campus representatives and committee members about next steps.

Three questions were posed:

  • What are AU’s biggest opportunities in the next decade?
  • What are AU’s biggest challenges?
  • What are the personal qualities and background attributes to value most highly as we evaluate candidates?

All information gathered will be useful as the Search Committee and our consultants work through the summer to attract a pool of top candidates for consideration later this year. Updates will be provided on the Presidential Search website over the coming months.

Among actions taken and reported out, the board approved the complete Search Committee (posted on the website). The board also passed resolutions in remembrance of former trustees Robyn Mathias, who served from 1991 to 2016; and C. Nicholas Keating, who served from 2006 to 2016. Trustee Mathias received the 2006 President’s Award and the 2015 Alumni Recognition Award in recognition of her service to AU; the annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference is named in her honor. Trustee Keating was a member of the School of International Service Dean’s Advisory Council prior to becoming a trustee, and was a strong supporter of both SIS and the arts.

Resolutions of appreciation were passed for Student Trustee Evie Unsworth and for Faculty Trustee Lacey Wootton, whose terms ended after the May meeting; the trustees thanked both for their work on behalf of the entire university and their special focus on students and faculty issues. 

In conjunction with his stepping down as Dean of the Washington College of Law this summer after 21 years as dean, Claudio Grossman was awarded Dean Emeritus status.

In other business, the board approved committee assignments for 2016-2017, and approved two new graduate degree programs in SPExS/Graduate Programs and Online Learning—a Master of Science in Health Care Strategic Sciences and a Master of Science in Sports Analytics and Management.

The board also welcomed the newly elected student leaders to their first trustees meeting, and we look forward to their participation over the coming year.

The next meeting will be the annual board retreat, to be held September 15-16, 2016.