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Changemakers for a Changing World

A 7-Year Strategic Plan


American University’s seven-year plan builds on our legacy of leadership, scholarship, and service and focuses on the challenges facing our community and higher education, as it boldly embraces opportunities for greater impact.

The Path to AU2025

Through AU’s Strategic Plan, Changemakers for a Changing World, we are preparing graduates whose education, experience, and commitment empower them to lead change and navigate the future of work; enhancing opportunities for research and scholarship, deepening understanding, and elevating the discovery of knowledge to benefit our community and impact society; cultivating partnerships that create additional opportunities for dynamic learning and cutting-edge research; leading in the development of transformative approaches to inclusivity; engaging and partnering with communities in DC and throughout the region; and changing the culture and improving how AU works to better support our goals.

Five Years of Impact: A Look at AU's Changemaking Work

Our plan is organized into three strategic themes — scholarship, learning, and community — with key imperatives to guide our focused efforts.


Student works with professor in lab

Scholarship is central to AU’s future. We will develop areas of strategic focus that draw on fields where AU already excels, where our expertise crosses schools and disciplinary boundaries, and that hold promise for the future. We will establish new ways to support the work of faculty across a range of disciplines.

Scholarship Imperatives


Graduate crosses the stage at Commencement

Learning is at the core of AU. As we prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities, we continue to embrace the highest-quality teaching, while exploring new frontiers of learning and scholarship. We will expand opportunities for lifelong learning experiences that are more flexible, personalized, and accessible.

Learning Imperatives


Students participate in a community service project

AU is an institution deeply rooted in community — locally, nationally, and globally — and when our community grows stronger, so do we. Over the next seven years, our strategic efforts will expand and strengthen our ties to communities, both internal and external.

Community Imperatives


To advance knowledge, foster intellectual curiosity, build community, and empower lives of purpose, service, and leadership.


American University is a leading student-centered research university where passionate learners, bold leaders, engaged scholars, innovators, and active citizens unleash the power of collaborative discovery. We partner with key organizations in the Washington, DC, region, and around the globe to better the human condition, learn from a vast array of experiences and internships, create meaningful change, and address society’s current and emerging challenges.


  • Integrity

  • Excellence

  • Human dignity

  • Community

  • Diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusive excellence

  • Free inquiry and
    seeking truth

  • Impact

Measuring Success

Built on AU's established strengths, the success of the new plan will be measured across four impact areas:

  • Improve retention and graduation rates
  • Achieve operational excellence throughout AU
  • Enhance our reputation
  • Diversify and grow revenue

More on Outcomes

Students hiking on study abroad trip

Building on Our Strengths: Learning

Reinventing the Student Experience

The core of AU’s Reinventing the Student Experience (RiSE) initiative is the rollout of the American University Experience classes—AUx1 and AUx2. Another key RiSE initiative addresses the communication load for incoming students, who typically receive more than a hundred communications from the university between their submission of deposit and arrival on campus. Fanta Aw, vice president of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence, says the communications overhaul will decrease that load and focus on tone and impactful content so students do not “tune out.”

More on Learning

A PDF of the printed plan is available on the myAU portal with a valid AU login.