As you know, communities and schools around the world are experiencing a year of challenge and change—and the same is true for the entire American University community, our students, and their families. When AU moved to online learning in March, we recognize that you and your student adapted quickly. We truly appreciate your understanding of that difficult but important decision.
As a parent myself, I understand how much your student’s educational experience matters. Please know that your student is part of a network that cares deeply about their academic success and wellbeing. While this year is different than anyone imagined, AU is committed to delivering a world-class education, no matter the location or modality. We may adapt to new circumstances, but nothing diminishes our collective strength.
With a new year underway, I’m pleased to share a few highlights:
- Every day, our faculty strive to create an engaging and equitable classroom experience. With new technology and the power of our Instructional Continuity Team, we are leveraging the best aspects of virtual learning—such as unexpected student-to-student connections in small groups and accomplished guest speakers who would otherwise not be able to join in-person classes.
- Outside-the-classroom experiences have adapted. For example, AU’s Career Center pivoted quickly to support remote internships and career development. They continue to fund unpaid internships and offer remote advising, webinars, and online events tailored to navigating the workforce during COVID-19.
- Research at AU continues to thrive and already includes work specific to the pandemic. We have professors on the front lines of public health and at-risk communities who are working to capture data and affect change. Students can still gain valuable skills and guidance from renowned teacher-scholars, even if they are not side-by-side in a lab.
While we are dedicated to this work, we also recognize that COVID-19 poses serious economic hardship for many students and their families. In our commitment to them, we have dedicated an additional $13 million in financial aid and implemented the AU Community Care Fall Discount, equivalent to 10 percent of fall tuition.
As you likely know, the AU experience goes beyond the cost of tuition alone, from internships, to outside-the-classroom pursuits, to responding to the unexpected. You can help enhance the student experience by making a gift to the Parent Fund, which allows our Eagles to take advantage of all that AU has to offer. The generosity of AU parents helps students thrive—and in moments of change, your gift can provide a sense of stability. With your fellow Eagle parents, you can help ensure that all students—whatever their circumstances—have a foundation for success.
Our students often say that their classmates encourage them to think differently, be bolder, to grow—and I am confident that your student feels the same. With your support, we can strive to give every student what they need to keep learning, keep growing, and inspire others.
Gifts of all sizes to the Parent Fund make a difference. If you are able, please consider contributing today.
I am grateful for your support, and I look forward to seeing all your student will accomplish this year and beyond. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle!
Sylvia M. Burwell
President, American University