A Transformative First Year

A group of 10 students work on an academic exercise at a table.

American University took on the challenge of creating a first-year experience that empowers students to learn, grow, and become leaders in our changing world. We introduced a new curriculum in five years with bedrock courses like Complex Problems and American University Experience. We infused inclusive excellence into our teaching, student services, curriculum, and more. We prioritized community building, from living-learning communities to first-generation student support—all in service to Eagles’ belonging, well-being, and success.


Three students chat amicably

Get to the Core of AU’s New First-Year Experience

Equipping students for success in and out of class.
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Two students sit on a couch as they have a conversation.

Finding Their Voices Through Complex Problems

Part of AU’s new core curriculum along with American University Experience, the Complex Problems courses facilitate difficult conversations and moves students into an inquiry-based model.
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