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Building an Inclusive Campus Culture

The President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion was convened in an August 31, 2016 memorandum from President Kerwin and is charged with monitoring and reporting progress on elements of the Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which was drafted in February 2016 and reaffirmed in April 2016. The initial meeting of the committee was September 29, 2016, organized by President Kerwin and Council Chair Caleen Sinnette Jennings. Members of the community who wish to communicate with the council may do so at

Meet the PCDI Leadership

Leadership for the President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion and its Student Advisory Council: Ximena Varela,Sabrina-Yvette D'Almeida, Jeff Rutenbeck, Eric Brock, and Rafael Cistero

Council Tri-Chairs and SAC Co-Chairs

Leadership Spotlights

PCDI Progress

Members of the first PCDI Student Advisory Council are joined by two PDCI chairs, as well as Drs. Fanta Aw and Amanda Taylor.

Campus Climate

  • Spaces have been or are in the process of being designated for student groups in Mary Graydon Center and in Kay Spiritual Life Center
  • PCDI Listens has held 6 sessions in residence halls this semester
  • PCDI has met with
    • The Muslim Students Association
    • Alumni and a student who identify as politically conservative
    • The Interfaith Council of Kay Spiritual Life Center
    • A group of 15 student organization leaders
    • Multicultural Alumni Group
  • PCDI initiatives in progress
    • Sub-group on political and intellectual diversity organization that will bring together people with a variety of political points of view
    • Connection between Student Activities Staff and student leaders
    • Connection between Muslim Students Association and Residential Life, Housing and Dining
  • AU's Office of Institutional Research continues to revise its campus climate survey, based on feedback. A town hall was held in October.
  • Classroom climate questions will be included on ITS
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion continues to contribute to and curate AU's series "Crucial Conversations" in a variety of schools, programs and centers

Training and Development

  • PCDI has met with Jill Stein and Maria de Jesus for an overview of all of Center for Teaching, Resarch and Learning programs. There are multiple training programs (from multi-session to one-offs) on a wide variety of topics including economic diversity, race & ethnicity, improving classroom climate, handling difficult conversations. The Ann Ferren Teaching Conference will have several designated sessions
  • PCDI has brought together all of the key stakeholders that are holding training and development sessions. These include:
    • Center for Teaching, Research & Learning
    • Faculty Leadership Development Course (Under the Provost's Office)
    • Human Resources

The PCDI sub-group on training & development is in the process of doing a matrix of courses and trainings which will be shared with the campus.

Infrastructure: Policies and Procedures

PCDI has created a Policies and Procedures sub-group which will:

  • Compile all of AU's diversity & inclusion related policies
  • Review the final drafts of the bias and harassment policies and reporting systems
  • Determine how best to communicate these policies to the campus community and make them accessible on line
  • With the help of an external consultant, develop a diversity statement and refine AU-specific definitions of key terms, such as "diversity", "inclusion", "equity"

AU's Plan for Inclusive Excellence

American University was founded to respond to the needs of a changing world, with a set of guiding values—among them diversity, equity, and inclusion. In today's climate on campus and across the nation, the need to live up to those values has only become more pressing. AU cannot be excellent without being truly inclusive, and without taking the concrete, specific steps to improve our campus climate.

Learn more about the plan