You are here: American University President Announcements December 2, 2021

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community,

As we enter the season of gratitude it is important to reflect not only on our accomplishments this year, but also the incredible and at times difficult journey required to arrive at the successful conclusion of our in-person fall semester. It took the dedication and hard work of everyone at American University to fulfill our academic and research mission; provide for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; transition to our new ways of working; keep up the momentum of our Changemakers strategy; and continue our commitment to the spirit of community that is the foundation of all we do.

In recognition of the enormous creativity and hard work that was evident across our community throughout this year, we will be providing full-time faculty and staff with an extra five days of paid time off during this holiday season. The university will be closed as usual for the period between Christmas and New Year’s (December 24, 2021 to January 2, 2022). In addition, full-time faculty and staff can take either the week before (December 20-23, 2021, plus a fifth day to be determined in consultation with your supervisor) or the week after (January 3-7, 2022) as an extended break. Our faculty and staff mean so much to our community and we want to honor your contributions with this expanded time off.

To ensure that people can take advantage of this break and that core services continue, managers will work with team members to schedule the additional week and ensure proper coverage of work responsibilities. We know some individuals may be unable to utilize these specific weeks for a variety of reasons. In these instances, your manager will work with you to identify alternatives to ensure you have the opportunity to take time off. Additional guidance will be coming from Human Resources and Finance this week to address specific implementation questions.

We wanted to provide this good news as early as possible so you can make plans for the time off. Whether you travel to see family and friends, enjoy the magic of the DC area during the holiday season, or pursue the activities that bring you joy, we hope you can use this time to rest and recharge. On behalf of the entire community, we are grateful for you and all that you do.

As we conclude the semester and look forward to this extended break, we must continue our health and safety vigilance. While scientists study the new Omicron variant it remains critical to wear a mask, get tested, practice good health hygiene, and get a booster shot if it has been six months since your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna (or two months after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Also, the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 provides additional opportunities for the families of our community to be protected.

We are looking forward to seeing you at some of the seasonal gatherings and celebrations that we have safely planned in the coming weeks, including the annual holiday open house and the pop-up study breaks. Good luck with the final push, and let’s finish the semester strong.

Be safe and be well.

Sylvia M. Burwell

Peter Starr
Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Fanta Aw
Vice President, Undergraduate Enrollment, Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Sarah Baldassaro
Chief of Staff & Counselor to the President

Matt Bennett
Vice President & Chief Communications Officer

Brontè Burleigh-Jones
Chief Financial Officer, Vice President & Treasurer

Traevena Byrd
Vice President, General Counsel & Board Secretary

Seth Grossman
Vice President, People and External Affairs & Counselor to the President

Steve Munson
Vice President & Chief Information Officer

Courtney Surls
Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations

Billy Walker
Director, Athletics and Recreation