A commitment to change requires a commitment to accountability. Our plan to take actionable steps lays out the timeline of implementation, the resources we have invested and will invest, and how we intend to measure success.
AU believes that the entire university community should be engaged and have shared responsibility in creating an enriching and inclusive experience for all its members. In an effort to ensure the greatest level of accountability for the goals outlined in the plan, each strategic action is assigned to members of the executive leadership team at the vice president/provost level. Each of these team members will work collaboratively to develop an effective method for achieving the goals within each area. For specific information, please see the Action Plan.
The timeline for the most immediate steps of the plan is academic year 2018 through academic year 2020. During this time, we are monitoring and evaluating the plan, and simultaneously developing the longer-term objectives in the five goal areas, that may span over a total of five years.
AU's plan provides for the investment of over $60 million in FY 2018 for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Approximately $53 million, the majority of these funds, are institutional scholarships (such as Pell, Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars, Veteran's Yellow Ribbon Program, and scholarships for graduate students) aimed at increasing diversity and access. The remaining $7 million in the fiscal year is earmarked for the funding of academic initiatives such as the American University Experience Courses (AUx), academic centers, faculty development, curricular enhancements, as well as support services and programs specifically designated to advance access, equity, and inclusion.
In FY 2019, investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion are expected to amount to over $61 million. University leadership has been and stands firmly committed to ensuring that financial resources are properly aligned to support the goals outlined in this plan. We are assessing additional needs in preparation for the next biennial budget process.
Monitoring and Evaluation
University leadership, with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, has developed a multidimensional management and measurement tool that simultaneously drives and assesses the organizational change process. Data and metrics are being used to track information in each of the core areas of the plan—training, learning, and development; campus climate, culture, and community; systems, policies, and procedures; access and equity; and curriculum and instruction.
This plan's indicators of success are being evaluated on an ongoing basis using a variety of sources, including but not limited to the following:
- Institutional statistics from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, including data on the composition of faculty, staff and students, retention rates, graduation rates, and so on;
- Institutional and national surveys of faculty, staff, and students can be used to monitor progress, guide continuous improvement, and benchmark, whenever possible;
- Focus groups of faculty, staff, administrators, and students.
Examples of success indicators include, but are not limited to the following:
- Improved campus climate that provides a sense of belonging and community for all its members as evidenced in surveys/focus groups;
- An increase in the compositional diversity (based on benchmarks) found among faculty, students, staff, and administrators;
- Student success as measured by indicators such as retention and graduation rates of underrepresented populations at AU;
- Evidence of successful completion of training or coursework by members of the AU community.
Under the plan, the administration is to produce, distribute, and discuss an annual progress report, noting accomplishments, deficiencies, and planned adjustments. In addition, AU is making periodic updates on the plan through this website, the AU social media channels, American University News, and periodic communications from the President's Office.