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Search Updates

October 3, 2018

We hope your fall semester is off to a good start.

We are happy to report that the search committee has completed the “airport interview” stage of the search, during which we met with 12 candidates representing a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences. In consultation with President Burwell, we have identified four outstanding finalists who have agreed to participate in the next stage of the search: on-campus interviews. We are hoping to complete this next stage in the next month or so.

As you might imagine when engaging in such a high-profile search, we’ve attracted highly qualified candidates who require confidentiality regarding their participation in this stage of the process. In an effort to balance the desire for widespread campus participation with the confidentiality requirements of the candidates, we are pursuing an inclusive process that provides an appropriate balance of both.

With this balance in mind, here are the stakeholders that will participate in the next stage of the search:

  • A select group of faculty members, including the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and two faculty members from each school/college (selection facilitated by each dean)
  • Directors of university- and school-level research centers and institutes
  • A small collection of staff leaders (in consultation with Staff Council)
  • A small collection of student leaders
  • President Burwell
  • The President’s Cabinet
  • A subset of the Board of Trustees
  • The Deans (including the University Librarian)
  • Provost Supervisory Units/Direct Reports

Search committee members will be involved with all stakeholder meetings (including debriefs with all participants), and we will provide a secure and anonymous means by which participants can provide feedback to the chairs of the search.

We are very excited about the progress we’ve made so far, and we look forward to bringing this search to the best possible conclusion.

August 31, 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 academic year! 

We are writing to provide the campus community with an update on our search for AU’s next chief academic officer. The search committee and the team at Spencer Stuart have been hard at work over the past three months building and qualifying what is turning out to be an outstanding pool of candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are at the stage now of narrowing the pool down in preparation for “airport interviews” that will be conducted later in September or October with a goal of conducting on-campus interviews for the slate of finalists sometime later in the fall semester.

We would like to highlight some upcoming listening sessions that will provide the AU community with the opportunity to provide additional input to the search committee and the search firm:

  • Student Forum – Tuesday September 4 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Letts Formal Lounge
  • Staff Forum - Wednesday September 5 from 11 a.m. to noon, Letts Formal Lounge
  • Faculty Forum – Wednesday September 5 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Letts formal Lounge

Please consider participating.

Remember that you can find more information about the position description and the composition of the search committee here.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Best of luck with the start of the semester, and we hope to see you at one of the upcoming listening sessions.

May 16, 2018

As the search for our next provost gets underway, we wanted to send the AU community an update.

A special thanks to all of those who participated in the listening sessions with faculty, staff, and students over the past few weeks. Your input is vitally important and not only at this stage of the search process.

We hope to continue to hear from you. You may email us at or contact us personally at or We also invite you to email Spencer Stuart, the search firm, at with recommendations, reflections, and suggestions. Correspondence sent to this address will be shared with the search committee without attribution. That commitment to anonymity will allow, we anticipate, for full and honest reflection.

President Burwell has charged our committee to maintain the highest standards of integrity and efficiency as we search for our next chief academic officer, who embodies the values of American University and who has the skills to foster our deep commitments to excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship.

The members of the search committee bring a wide range of roles, responsibilities, and life experiences to our task. During the summer we will also engage in implicit-bias training to deepen our capacities to consider fully and fairly all potentially qualified applicants.

We aim to produce a finished version of the position profile by the end of May and will circulate that widely as soon as it is approved. The committee will meet multiple times over the summer to begin screening and vetting nominees and applicants. We anticipate conducting a first round of interviews in September and a second round in October.

We are committed to openness and transparency and will do our best to balance the need for confidentiality with the AU community's desire for information and participation in this process.

We will provide another update toward the end of summer. Until then, do check this section of the website for additional information.

Search Committee

President Burwell has charged the Provost search committee with maintaining the highest standards of integrity and efficiency in the search for AU's next chief academic officer. The new Provost will embody the values of American University and possess the skills to foster the university's deep commitments to excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship.

The members of the search committee bring a wide range of roles, responsibilities, and life experiences to their task and will also engage in implicit-bias training to deepen their capacities to consider fully and fairly all potentially qualified applicants as part of our ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence.

Keep It Coming

Thank you to those who have taken time to attend listening sessions. The search committee hopes the AU community will stay engaged with this process and continue to reach out with feedback, recommendations, and comments.

Email Search Committee
Email Search Firm

  • Christine Chin, Interim Dean, School of International Service (Co-Chair)
  • Jeff Rutenbeck, Dean, School of Communication (Co-Chair)
  • Sharon Alston, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment
  • Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
  • Sarah Irvine Belson, Associate Professor, School of Education; Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Education         
  • Wendy Boland, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing; Associate Dean for Programs & Learning, Kogod School of Business
  • Terry Davidson, Professor, Department of Psychology; Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Angela J. Davis, Professor of Law
  • Maria De Jesus, Associate Professor, School of International Service; Associate Director of Teaching & Learning, The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning
  • Laura DeNardis, Professor, School of Communication
  • Marie Fritz, Professorial Lecturer; Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs, School of Professional & Extended Studies
  • Seth Grossman, Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President
  • Olivia Ivey, Assistant Librarian
  • Doug Kudravetz, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer
  • Pamela Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women's and Gender History; Director of the Jewish Studies Program
  • Andrea Pearson, Associate Professor of Art History; Faculty Senate Chair
  • E. Andrew Taylor, Associate Professor, Department of Performing Arts; Chair of the Department of Performing Arts
  • James Thurber, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Government; Founder and Former Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
  • Chris White, Student, JD/MBA program