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Center for University Excellence

The Center for University Excellence (CUE) at American University serves as a hub for national and global dialogue on pressing issues facing higher education and society.

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Center for University Excellence 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Committed to Educational Excellence

The Center for University Excellence at American University cultivates new knowledge for the improvement of a learned society and the broader public good. CUE is an enabling institution that brings university research expertise to pressing problems in the public domain. We emphasize the critical role higher education plays in creating and sustaining inclusive, just, and democratic societies. Our focus is research, discourse, and public engagement with the most pressing questions facing society and higher education today.

For the next several years CUE will pursue the following organizantional priorities:

  1. Promoting college student success and well-being
  2. Shaping integrative and holistic education and support systems
  3. Analyzing the university as a complex organization
  4. Supporting the university as a beacon of democracy engaged in preparing a diverse generation of students to meet contemporary societal challenges

Administratively Adrift book coverAdministratively Adrift

In Administratively Adrift: Overcoming Institutional Barriers for College Student Success, American University Provost Emeritus, School of Public Affairs Professor of Public Administration and Policy, and Executive Director of the Center for University Excellence Scott A. Bass explores the structural weaknesses in U.S. colleges and universities and suggests strategies for reform. The book describes the influences of history, tradition, and internal and external pressures on the American university, highlighting its evolution to its staid and fragmented structure; it distills voices of students, faculty, and staff; and it explores how successful organizations outside of higher education deliver services, with potential applicability for the academy's ability to meet students where they are.
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Redesigning College for Student Success coverRedesigning College for Student Success

“Redesigning College for Student Success: Holistic Education, Inclusive Personalized Support, and Responsive Initiatives for a Digitally Immersed, Stressed, and Diverse Student Body” appears in the March/April issue Volume 55, Issue 2,  2023 of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

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Administratively Adrift

This episode of the Student Affairs NOW podcast covers Administratively Adrift by Dr. Scott Bass, Executive Director of CUE. Featured on the podcast are Dr. Scott Bass and Dr. Sharon Alston, former co-chair of American University’s “Re-Inventing the Student Experience” or RiSE project. This podcast episode dives into the complexities of college student success. Exploring common barriers, effective strategies, and the roles of students, administrators, and policymakers, we gain valuable insights on how to overcome institutional hurdles and create a supportive environment that fosters student success.

Scott BassScott A. Bass
Executive Director

Dr. Scott A. Bass is Provost Emeritus and Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public Affairs at American University (AU). Since his arrival at AU in 2008, Dr. Bass has focused on strategic planning, diversity, inclusive excellence, strengthening the academic infrastructure, intensifying research productivity, and enhancing the total student experience. A sample of his accomplishments during this time include elevating the university to the R2 status; overseeing the hiring of over half of the full-time faculty; increasing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity; dramatically increasing student selectivity; and enhancing academic standards.