51 mentor/mentees pairs matched from across 11 campus units for professional enrichment and improved workplace culture.
AU’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence is guiding efforts across campus and our community to build a culture where everyone feels included; collectively contributes to a positive climate and inclusive practices; and advances equitable educational outcomes for all.
Inclusive excellence requires all of us to recognize that change takes many hands and ongoing, intentional, systemic actions. On this page, you will find updates on our progress, stories of community action, and institutional learning as we travel this journey.
Objective: Members of the AU community will demonstrate cultural competency by learning key concepts that will reduce bias and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, and equip them to lead change in a complex world.
40+ Well-trained facilitators
41 AUx2 instructors engaged in 30+ hours of faculty-led learning communities focused on teaching about structures of power, privilege, and inequality.
30 conversation leaders
19 staff members and 11 graduate students led dialogues about inclusivity with 265 colleagues in student services and program roles through AU Connects.
450+ faculty & staff
454 faculty and staff participated in 32 inclusive excellence trainings in fall 2018; 77% indicated that they learned something they will use to make their teaching or work more inclusive.
Objective: We will develop a campus climate and culture where all community members feel safe, experience a sense of belonging and satisfaction—and their overall well-being is supported through respectful, authentic, and engaged relationships with each other.
To understand campus culture and climate, PCDI held 20 PCDI Listens sessions with a range of campus constituents to build community, including veterans and military-affiliated students, politically conservative students, and LGBTQ+ students. A Student Advisory Council has joined PCDI to represent the students' perspective as of this year.
2 new spaces on campus
Two new spaces for students to interact and support each other opened on campus. The Bridge Cafe and the Hub for Organizing, Multiculturalism and Equity (HOME) provide spaces for support and positive interactions among multicultural communities and allies.
Several special graduation celebrations recognized underrepresented communities as they prepared to join the AU alumni ranks. The third annual Black Graduation, the second annual Latinx Graduation and the inaugural Student-Veteran Graduation were celebrations of the hard work and dedication of students from these communities.
Objective: AU's systems, policies, and procedures will facilitate diversity, inclusion, transparency, and accountability. We will evaluate, revise, and communicate changes in policies and protocols that will facilitate reports of bias and discrimination, improve clarity, provide transparency, promote fairness, and enhance accountability.
Objective: We will transform the way we recruit, hire, train, develop, evaluate, and recognize AU faculty, staff, and administrators to encourage the achievement of our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
For detailed faculty and student demographic, retention, and graduation data, please see AU's Academic Data Reference Book.
New Faculty Hires
Overall, 21% of AU’s full-time faculty self-identify as faculty of color and 50% as women. Over the past two years, 39% of new tenure-line and 35% of new term faculty hires self-identify as faculty of color; 43% of new tenure-line and 55% of new term faculty hires identify as women. Over this two year period, 56 new tenure-line and 103 new term faculty have been appointed.
New faculty hires identifying as people of color over the past two years compared to the overall faculty
New faculty hires identifying as women over the past two years compared to the overall faculty
Partnering for Success
In April 2018, President Burwell signed on to Excelencia's Presidents for Latino Student Success Initiative. Presidents enrolled in the Excelencia in Action (E-Action) network collaborate with Excelencia in Education to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships, and amplify current efforts at the national level.
Opening Doors for Future Teachers
The new partnership between AU's School of Education and DC Public Schools is aimed at establishing a diverse pipeline of teachers for the city's schools. 9 dual enrollment DCPS students successfully completed their first semester at AU through the new partnership.
Comparing Retention Rates
The latest one-year retention rates of historically underrepresented groups, including first generation, Pell-eligible, African American, and Latinx students, are comparable to or exceed the university average.
Focusing on Web Accessibility
Content across AU’s public websites is scanned to monitor ongoing accessibility, and content publishers are trained regularly on aspects of web accessibility.
Reducing Food insecurity
In response to student-conducted surveys indicating food insecurities on campus, the Market, a student-operated food pantry, opened in spring 2018 on the lower level of Letts Hall. 197 students accessed the pantry in 2018.
Objective: We will offer an inclusive core curriculum that advances a holistic learning experience and demonstrates AU's values of critical inquiry, intellectual engagement, and respectful discourse across diverse perspectives.
New Language Course
CAS’s Department of World Languages and Cultures is offering a new course for Spanish-heritage speakers.
Promoting civil Discourse
The AU Project on Civil Discourse trained 10 students to support their peers in understanding speech as a matter of rights, responsibilities, values, and opportunities.
Inclusive Excellence: The First Six Months
Fall 2018 Update
In January, we began our journey toward inclusive excellence. The beginning of a new semester is a good time to take stock of progress and challenges. It's also an ideal time to restate our commitment, as an institution and as individuals, to creating a culture of inclusion and equity at AU. Learn how AU is taking first steps toward our goals for inclusive excellence, and look for ways you can get involved.
We still have much work to do to achieve our vision, and we continue to learn along the way. In some areas, we've moved forward incrementally but know more work is needed. While there are numerous improvements to facilities to make them more accessible, many more are needed, and we know the construction on campus is making it difficult to get around. As a result of PCDI Listens, AU Dining has expanded some of its offerings, but others are needed to address more of our community's needs. We're still actively working to clarify our bias response process. Early efforts are underway to establish diversity resources for faculty and staff hiring committees.
Our initial steps have been a result of our collective efforts. Continued progress will require all of us to collaborate and remain committed to this challenging and crucial work.
Faculty, students, and staff, including President Sylvia Burwell, share how AU is beginning to move forward together toward achieving inclusive excellence goals.
Diversity & Inclusion in the Classroom and on Campus
American University Experience (AUx), a set of two required transition courses, is rolled out to all first-year students in academic year 2018-2019. The first pilot of AUx1, which launched last year, had a retention rate of 98%. University-wide discussions on implementing additional courses related to diversity and inclusion into the AU Core begin.
The Office of Human Resources announces a slate of new training programs for staff, and Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost Mary Clark launch a train-the-trainers program-called the "Faculty Development Leadership Cohort on Diversity and Inclusion"-that will expand our capacity to foster more inclusive classrooms. Our discrimination policy is revised, and plans are announced for opening new spaces for students to interact and support each other.
New African American History Major (Aug 2017)
A new African-American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) major launches within the College of Arts and Sciences. The program examines African American history and culture in the U.S. in the context of contemporary and historical African cultures, theories of racial ideology and race politics, and the distinctive artistic, literary, and cultural practices of African people worldwide. The program is offered by the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Collaborative, a vibrant and inclusive community that explores diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially-engaged scholarship.
Diversity Website (Jun 2017)
President Burwell announces launch of this Diversity website as the primary source for American University diversity and inclusion resources. Its purpose is to facilitate greater awareness and engagement of the entire community. The site also houses information related to American University's Inclusive Excellence Plan and provides links to assist with confronting bias, reporting discrimination, and keeping us accountable for our commitments.
New Era of Leadership
In her first six months, President Burwell embarks on a listening tour, meeting with more than 1,000 faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni to learn more about AU's opportunities and challenges. She taps Makeba Clay as expert consultant to help American sharpen its diversity and inclusion strategy and create accountability.
Anti-Racist Research & Policy Center (May 2017)
Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author and award-winning historian, is announced as the founding director of AU's new Antiracist Research and Policy Center. The Center will bring together teams of faculty and student researchers to conduct cutting-edge, intersectional, and interdisciplinary research of racial inequality and discrimination of a national and international scope. AU believes the Center will serve as a global leader for antiracist research and policymaking.
Climate Survey Revisions (Jan 2017)
President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) provides input on the Undergraduate Campus Climate Survey to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Revisions to the survey are made to gather more comprehensive data from current undergraduate students regarding diversity and inclusion on campus.
Initiative to Diversify Faculty & Staff Hiring (Oct 2016)
A plan for diversifying and retaining diverse faculty, Target of Opportunity Program (TOP), is developed by Mary Clark, Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost and Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Dean of the School of Education. Human Resources examines every phase of staff hiring process with the goal of increasing diversity and inclusion. HR leaders meet with 60 staff members of color to identify changes the university could make to improve racial climate and establish a new staff and faculty people of color affinity group.
To make lasting improvements in both the diversity and inclusiveness of our community, AU is committed to the following actions:
- Establish a presidential council to oversee these plans, monitor institutional progress, recommend new objectives, and plan necessary resources
- Introduce a mandatory course on diversity and inclusion for all first-year and transfer students
- Revise and elevate awareness of discrimination policies, channels for complaint, and avenues for support
- Reallocate five tenure or tenure-line positions to recruit diverse candidates to AU's faculty
- Develop programs to cultivate inclusive classrooms, including an entry program for newly appointed tenure-line faculty and dialogue sessions for current faculty