In 2016–2017, the one-year retention rate for students enrolled in AUx was 94.7 percent versus 89.1 percent for those not enrolled. In 2017–2018, preliminary results show that AUx students are again retaining at higher rates overall, with the strongest returns coming from those benefitting from both AUx and a newly created first-year academic advisor position. Students with both interventions are currently retaining at rates 2 to 4 percentage points higher than their non-AUx counterparts.
Brett Gilbert knows what new businesses need to thrive. An accomplished entrepreneurship researcher, she joined the Kogod School of Business management faculty as inaugural Kogod Regional Innovation Chair.
Robert Kogod, KSB/BSBA ’62—celebrated philanthropist, renowned member of the DC business community, and AU trustee emeritus—and his wife, Arlene, established the Kogod Regional Innovation Fund to connect business scholars with the area’s business community and to support research on the increasing importance of regional economic centers.
“Holding the Kogod Chair is very important to me,” Gilbert says. “It gives me the license and resources to develop my research—not just internationally but domestically—and to focus on the Washington, DC, area to better understand capital cities.”
Gilbert studies technology clusters to understand how geographic regions foster startups and how to create dynamic ventures in cities where they do not exist. She and her AU colleagues hope to collaborate with British university researchers to compare DC and London as hubs for innovation.
Students in School of Communication professor Terry Bryant’s advanced television production class covered the story of a lifetime when they journeyed to post-hurricane Puerto Rico in April 2018.
Each of the eight documentarians produced their own news project related to the impact of Maria. Topics included the only operational dialysis unit on the island, life in areas still without electricity, and protests against a US Department of Education order closing 283 schools due to reported low enrollment.
The School of Public Affairs and Office of Campus Life have launched a civil discourse program that encourages students to have tough conversations and listen to differing points of view.
“There is a difference between robust debate and unkindness, between challenging ideas and unproductive attacks,” says Lara Schwartz, program director and SPA professorial lecturer. “The idea of civil discourse is to help students develop the will and the capacity to engage in conversations that are intellectually rigorous and enriching.”
Ryan Hansan, BSBA/Kogod '08
Sixty-five small food businesses are part of TasteLab, a DC culinary incubator and commercial kitchen founded by Ryan Hansan, Kogod/BSBA ‘08, in 2015. Hansan opened TasteLab Marketplace in 2018—the only outlet in Union Market that exclusively sells DC-made food and beverages. “Not only will this marketplace allow us to introduce all of these incredible products and entrepreneurs to the thousands of people who visit Union Market on a daily basis, but we will be creating a new revenue stream for our members and in some cases, putting them on their first shelves,” Hansan says.
Two new gathering places offer students spaces to study, engage with friends or peers, or simply take a break. The Hub for Organizing, Multiculturalism and Equity (HOME) in Mary Graydon Center is a place for support and positive interactions among multicultural communities. It is an Office of Campus Life, University Center, and AU Student Government collaboration. University Center’s Bridge Café in Bender Arena offers space to gather and hosts concerts, open mic nights, and other events throughout the semester.
The Bender Library renovation maximized natural light and created spaces more conducive to learning, studying, research, and productivity. It increased seating on the library’s first floor by 31 percent, including additional tables, and expanded study-room space by 17 percent, which means more options for groups and those seeking minimal distraction. The library also streamlined its desk services on the first and second floors for easier access for patrons.