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Kristi Plahn-Gjersvold Assistant Dean of Administration and Strategic Initiatives School of Communication

Send email to Kristi Plahn-Gjersvold
(202) 885-2059 (Office)
SOC - School of Communication
McKinley - 220
Additional Positions at AU
Unit HR Representative
MS, Organizational Development, American University, Washington, DC
BA, International Studies; BA, German, Bradley University, Peoria, IL
Certificate in German studies, Goethe Institute, Prien, Germany.
Additional studies at:
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria /
American University, (credits toward MFA-Creative Writing), Washington, DC

Languages Spoken
In her role as Assistant Dean for Administration & Strategic Initiatives, Kristi provides leadership for the School of Communication’s external research funding administration, execution of strategic partnership agreements, inclusion and community building efforts and full time human resource management from the Office of the Dean. In collaboration with the Dean and other senior administrative leadership, she creates strategies, budgets and resource scenarios for initiatives for the School’s centers, labs, institutes, and special projects. Kristi collaborates with other SOC and central university colleagues on projects, grant agreements, contracts, memoranda of agreement, personnel items, and issue resolution. She oversees all full-time staff recruitment, hiring, and personnel actions as the School’s HR representative. Another key role for Kristi is working with the SOC and AU community on development and implementation of activities, events, trainings, and processes to improve inclusive excellence and celebrate the community's diversity. Kristi is the chair of SOC's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee. She manages the internal and external relations in the SOC Office of the Dean, ensuring excellent service to constituents and appropriate issue resolution, and supervises AU's Game Center administration. Kristi also serves on a number of university committees.

Kristi has a wealth of experience from her background in the foundation and nonprofit sectors. Prior to shifting to higher education, she managed external relations at the Benton Foundation, coordinating strategic communications and its website as well as managing grant and development relationships. Kristi was with Very Special Arts (VSA arts) as the research and evaluation coordinator, writing and administrated private and federal grants as well as assisted in the creation of evaluation tools. At VSA arts, she created and managed an online community project and established partnerships for community model access sites for artists with disabilities. Kristi’s professional portfolio also includes work in theatre and gallery management, research and editing for a human rights organization at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and public relations coordination for a national speaker’s bureau. She was also a volunteer literacy tutor for at-risk children in Peoria, Illinois, and District of Columbia schools. She is a published poet. Kristi sits on the board of ARTemis Arts, a nonprofit that empowers and promotes equitable opportunities for women artists.

Kristi holds a BA in international studies and German with a minor in creative writing from Bradley University. She studied international relations and art history at the University of Vienna and German linguistics at the Goethe Institute in Germany. Kristi completed credits toward a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative writing and has a MS in Organizational Development from American University.