You are here: July 11, 2019

American University
Washington, DC

Memorandum July 11, 2019

To:
AU Community
From:
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
Subject:
Our Performance Management Goals

Following a successful 2018-2019 academic year, this summer we look towards the upcoming school year with anticipation and excitement for new beginnings. This will be our first full year working under the new Strategic Plan Changemakers for a Changing World, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together in pursuit of our mission. 

Making a difference is why we are all at AU, whether through improving how our institution works, striving towards better inclusion for everyone in our community, contributing directly to scholarship and learning, or improving aspects of our jobs. Our combined, successful efforts in these areas and others will contribute to our overall goals of improving retention and graduation rates, achieving operational excellence, enhancing our reputation, and diversifying and growing our revenue.

In this time of possibilities, I’m asking staff members and their supervisors to thoughtfully set performance management goals for the year in the AsuccessfulU goals form, which is now open. As part of improving how we work at AU, we’re beginning a multi-year approach of incorporating the university’s strategic goals into each of our personal goals. As you think about your role, explore how you can set performance goals that align with AU’s strategic goals and desired outcomes. It may be helpful to consider the following four areas, which are at the heart of our strategic plan, and are concrete ways for you to play a part in achieving our vision:

  • Focus on Service – How can you improve our culture of service for students, faculty, alumni, and each other? (Strategic Imperative 2 – Research; Strategic Imperative 3 – The Student Experience; Strategic Imperative 4 – Learning for Undergraduate, Graduate, & Professional Students; Strategic Imperative 9 – How AU Works)
  • Create and innovate – How can you simplify a process, save resources, reduce waste, increase revenue, and/or improve productivity?  (Strategic Imperative 9 – How AU Works)
  • Work together – What can you do to improve how your team works together, or how units collaborate?  How can you work more effectively, responsively, and cooperatively with your colleagues to get better results?  (Strategic Imperative 8 – Partnerships; Strategic Imperative 9 – How AU Works)
  • Excel in Our Inclusion – What can you do this year to increase your knowledge and participation in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion? How can you achieve personal growth in this area and help create greater trust, respect, and inclusion of different perspectives through our work (Strategic Imperative 6 – Inclusive Excellence)

The Cabinet and I are working on ensuring our goals are aligned with the strategy and each other, and shared to our teams. As a leadership group, we are setting our goals in the AsuccessfulU portal, where we can monitor our progress and ensure that we are in alignment with each other. Goal alignment is key to how we will succeed with our plans. When we all understand what we are working toward and what part each of us has to play, we make substantive progress quickly. I encourage each of you to use the key priorities above to set your own goals in AsuccessfulU.

Please discuss your goal plan with your supervisor and then review progress together at least three times during the year. You might find it helpful to schedule those meetings well in advance. This approach will benefit both supervisors and team members by ensuring that feedback is provided more frequently and closer in time to performance. This ongoing dialogue throughout the year will lead to more meaningful conversations about performance and development and provide opportunities for team members and supervisors to work together to chart progress and adjust course as needed in a timely manner. The result will be more productive year-end performance and merit discussions.

It is our collective responsibility to advance our plans to strengthen AU and create a place of meaningful change, and we do that through consistent dialog with our goals as the north star. With this approach, I am confident that each of us will thrive as individuals and that we will succeed together.
Human Resources has expertise, tools, and support available to help you throughout the year. The AsuccessfulU portal has e-learning and resources for goal setting. Each unit has a PMP liaison who can work with you during each phase, and HR offers one-on-one support. Contact Michelle Frederick mfrederi@american.edu for assistance.

I look forward to your many successes and hearing your perspectives about things that need work as we move through next year. Together we will make improvements and realize our ambitious aspirations that impact our students, the world, and each other. Go Eagles!