You are here: American University President Announcements February 15, 2017 Memo

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Memorandum February 15, 2017

AU Community
Neil Kerwin, President
Strategic Plan Goals – Years 9 and 10

I am pleased to share with the AU campus community the objectives for years 9 and 10 of the university's strategic plan- American University in the Next Decade: Leadership for a Changing World.

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments and suggestions for this new round of objectives. While not all are included in this round of objectives, I want to emphasize that each was given serious consideration.

As in past cycles, following the upcoming meeting of the Board of Trustees (March 2-3) we will begin to develop metrics for the measurement of progress on each of these objectives. Greater specificity will result from this process, and some who do not see their suggestions reflected in the current objectives will see their ideas reflected in the metrics.

It is important to pay special attention to the objectives established for diversity and inclusion. Given the current national political environment and recent actions by the new presidential administration, it is imperative that our efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion receive serious and ongoing attention. The initial list of diversity and inclusion objectives that you will find in this document will undoubtedly be supplemented in the weeks and months ahead. The university administration and the President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion, working with the campus community, will continue to refine our work in this crucial area of university life. We will also respond, as needed, to changes in law and regulation.

These objectives will provide guidance for the final stages of development of the new two-year budget. In addition, it should be noted that President-designate Burwell will have an opportunity to review and modify these objectives when she assumes her presidency.

If you have additional questions or concerns about these objectives, please send them to me at



One: Epitomize the Scholar-Teacher Ideal
  • Successfully implement an online teaching evaluation tool.
  • Update promotion and tenure guidelines for each academic unit.
  • Improve term faculty salaries and better meet market conditions.
  • Maintain high quality instruction.

Two: Provide an Unsurpassed Undergraduate Experience

  • Improve retention for first-year students.
  • Develop and phase in a new core curriculum.
  • Pilot test specific RiSE recommendations, including a new model of undergraduate advising with a focus on the first-year experience.
  • Implement a comprehensive, integrated, annual wellness program for the campus community.
  • Adopt best practices developed by the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance.
  • Enhance and expand clinical services by adding capacity for clinical and community referral services and enhancing staff's diagnostic and clinical management skills.
  • Develop protocols for managing Title IX cases through software systems workflow and refine the Dean of Students role in supporting Title IX casework.
  • Increase effort to reduce student debt and increase student scholarships.

Three: Demonstrate Distinction in Graduate, Professional and Legal Studies

  • Develop online degrees, including those offered by the School of Education.
  • Further intellectual collaboration between schools and colleges, including WCL.
  • Selectively review graduate education curriculum and pedagogy to ensure that it is relevant and meets the expectations of prospective students.
  • Identify key components of a centralized graduate student orientation program and propose and implement a pilot program in fall 2017.
  • Achieve high levels of success for graduates, including employment outcomes and bar passage rates.

Four: Engage the Great Ideas and Issues of Our Time Through Research, Centers, and Institutes

  • Continue to nurture collaborative faculty interactions around AU 2030 and expand AU 2030 as appropriate.
  • Support institutes that have significant faculty involvement and external funding.
  • Improve faculty grant and contract awards.
  • Host conferences and events around major national and international issues.
  • Assess the feasibility of creating additional research centers.
  • Increase the depth and volume of news coverage of the new administration and its impact for WAMU's regional audience of almost one million, through new or repurposed investment.

Five: Reflect and Value Diversity

  • Develop targeted rates for attracting, enrolling, and retaining diverse students.
  • Prioritize the goal of attracting, hiring, promoting, and retaining diverse faculty and staff.
  • Continue to assess and monitor behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions on diversity and inclusion within the AU community.
  • Improve university-wide training and guidance to foster diversity and inclusion.
  • Strive to find ways to fund meaningful engagement in the university community.
  • Enhance capacities for all students to take advantage of all aspects of the university experience.
  • Provide support for the President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion and provide adequate resources to support enhancement of diversity and inclusion.
  • Assess the feasibility for providing a suite of offices for multicultural student organizations with a common area for interaction among the several groups.
  • Create and launch a structured, funded, well-promoted allyship initiative.
  • Develop an AU Diversity and Inclusion website to bring together diversity and inclusion resources.
  • Respond to the needs of undocumented students to ensure their success.
  • Review and modify (as necessary) operations, systems, procedures, and policies that relate to ensuring equity. Review how university structures can best support, coordinate and oversee AU's diversity efforts.
  • Fulfill the President's Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

Six: Bring the World to AU and AU to the World

  • Increase number, national representation, and percentage of international students.
  • Develop a new "American Access" international educational program.
  • Implement an integrated development and alumni relations strategy focused on strategic importance to AU.

Seven: Act on Our Values Through Social Responsibility and Service

  • Make progress on the metrics related to environmental sustainability and progress on the 2020 pledge.
  • Provide a systematic analysis of our environmental stewardship goals, in order to act strategically in combating threats to the local environment.
  • Continue progress on education, outreach, engagement, and operational objectives of the sustainability plan.
  • Increase our student-athletes' presence in and impact on- and off-campus and within the DC community.
  • Partner with industry leaders for procurement of sustainable products and to model fair labor standards.
  • Gain recognition for students, faculty, and/or community partners doing distinctive service-related work and maintain AU's presence on the President's Higher Education Honor Roll.

Eight: Engage Alumni in the Life of the University On and Off Campus

  • Hone and expand affinity programming in celebration and support of identity, industry, leisure, student activities, and student experience.
  • Expand opportunities for alumni to engage with AU through the recruitment and conversion of students; mentorship; student retention efforts; career/professional assistance; and attendance at athletic competitions and other events.
  • Increase alumni donor count, with emphasis on acquiring and retaining donors who are: 1) from affinity groups with enhanced programs; 2) volunteers; 3) young alumni; and 4) those who have given previously.

Nine: Encourage Innovation and High Performance

  • Develop a "OneAU" concept.
  • Create an AU mobile tour.
  • Assess the feasibility of a Design Lab and a Chief Experience Officer.
  • Improve management tools and resources to recognize, reward, and retain talent and support learning and performance.
  • Enhance staff learning during the first year of employment and provide relevant on-going training to improve organizational effectiveness.
  • Strengthen the management competencies of faculty and staff supervisors to mentor and develop workforce talent.
  • Align performance management systems in order to meet current and future talent management needs.
  • Integrate and consolidate academic support services.
  • Launch a new OneCard & Dining Services department, bringing together the customer-facing components of Housing & Dining Programs and Auxiliary Services.
  • Respond to developing university and public issues with agility and consistency.
  • Maintain accessibility and enhance effectiveness of university web content.

Ten: Win Recognition and Distinction

  • Demonstrate success in national/international scholarships, honor rolls, and competitions.
  • Revise, refresh or replace the current brand campaign and lead integration with the university's next philanthropic campaign.
  • Enhance awareness of AU's distinctiveness and quality among higher education peers and thought leaders.
  • Increase awareness of the impact of the scholarly, professional, and creative work of AU faculty.
  • Continue to be a leader in athletic conference championships and league awards.


One: Diversify Our Revenue Sources

  • Continue to strengthen the financial health of the university, including balanced budgets, appropriate levels of reserves and debt, effective endowment management, and consistently strong audit results.
  • Complete planning and begin early-stage implementation of a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • Outperform current five-year growth rate in fundraising over two consecutive years.
  • Establish the framework for a leadership annual giving program, designed to enhance unrestricted giving and engage potential donors in a targeted range.
  • Increase alumni giving percentage.

Two: Employ Technology to Empower Excellence

  • Leverage technology (including Ellucian Recruit and Analytics) to implement enhanced undergraduate and graduate management strategies and to bolster enrollment in face-to-face programs.
  • Deliver technology initiatives to advance student success-related goals and support initiatives that realize process efficiencies across business and academic units.
  • Mature and expand the use of business intelligence on campus to better support the university's strategic and analytical decision-making.
  • Modernize Ellucian Colleague to improve usability, security, and sustainability.
  • Manage the university's diverse technology infrastructure, building in the right level of reliability, availability, and security.
  • Implement an integrated dashboard and an engagement/communication platform for RiSE.
  • Graduate enrollment and processes-continue efforts to mature use of systems and processes that are in place, also better support for online students, and nondegree, noncredit support systems.

Three: Enhance the University Library and Research Infrastructure

  • Improve on professional standards and compliance for the research infrastructure.
  • Renovate the library facility.
  • Continue to invest in library technology.
  • Maintain collections and continue the partnership with the Washington Research Library Consortium.

Four: Forge Partnerships by Leveraging our Capital Location

  • Explore new and creative ways to increase revenue sources through long-term contracts.
  • Expand on Kogod's Business in the Capital theme.
  • Assume prominent leadership posts in civic activities and engagement in appropriate roles in governmental bodies.
  • Partner with employers in the Washington metropolitan area to deliver high quality internship and other learning experiences.

Five: Continue as a Model for Civil Discourse

  • Provide multiple opportunities for sharing and discussing viewpoints.
  • Maintain a strong working relationship between the Faculty Senate and the administration.
  • Redouble efforts to ensure freedom of expression in the classroom and on campus as expressed in the AU Guidelines for Freedom of Expression and Dissent.
  • Maintain commitment in the campus plan including mutually beneficial relations with the neighbors.
  • Set a national standard for civil conversation and insightful analysis of current events by expanding WAMU's new "1-A" program into new markets nationwide.

Six: Align Facilities Planning with Strategic Goals

  • Develop updated comprehensive space planning for university facilities.
  • Complete the planning, design, city approvals, and begin construction for a new Life Sciences Building.
  • Complete planning and design for a new residence hall and a new Life Sciences building. Develop plans to renovate the MGC, the library, and the Beeghly Building.
  • Take maximum advantage of our new Airlie Foundation facility by using it for academic programs and initiatives.
  • Implement prioritized ADA compliance upgrades within current facilities.
  • Centralize event planner information and resources through the development of both a university-wide space and resource scheduling network and university-wide standard operating procedures.
  • Create a fully developed funding model for Auxiliary Gymnasium and Training Center, Reeves Field replacement, and other priority athletic facilities.