You are here: American University Provost Academic Affairs Realignment FAQ - General Questions

FAQ - General Questions


Why is the realignment of Academic Affairs happening now?

To advance and achieve the goals outlined in our strategic plan, Changemakers for a Changing World, the realignment in Academic Affairs will create synergies across programs and streamline operations. Through careful study, we determined that the programs involved can better serve our students and meet their objectives through this new structure.

Is this realignment decision the result of COVID-19?

No, this is not a result of the pandemic. The Academic Affairs realignment will support larger academic, administrative, and operational initiatives. It advances AU’s strategic goals of supporting lifelong learning, improving the student experience, and exemplifying “how AU works”, as outlined in our strategic plan.

What will happen to Graduate Professional and Lifelong Learning programs? Will they be moved to a different school?

Each of the Graduate Professional and Lifelong Learning programs will move to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and be led by the dean of Graduate Studies.

What will happen to the Washington Semester Program and Gap Program Internship?

The Washington Semester Program and Gap Program Internship will move to the new Office of Global and Off-Campus Learning under that office’s vice provost.

What will happen to the English Language Training Academy?

The English Language Training Academy will move to the new Office of Global and Off-Campus Learning under that office’s vice provost.

What will happen to the Mentorship program?

The Mentorship program will be rebranded as the AU Cornerstone program, which serves first year students, and will move to the Office of Undergraduate Education and Academic Student Services under the learning communities’ team.

Will any programs be eliminated?

There are no plans to eliminate any existing programs, though in some cases, programs may be renamed or report to different offices and departments.

How is this change compatible with AU's strategic plan?

This realignment advances AU’s strategic plan in several ways. First, realigning Graduate Professional and Lifelong Learning programs under the new Professional & Lifelong Learning Innovation Lab in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies will incentivize post-baccalaureate initiatives across all of AU’s schools and colleges by encouraging cross-school collaboration and leveraging the strengths of all our schools and colleges, rather than assigning a single school to lead the Lifelong Learning imperative.

Second, the Washington Semester Program, Gap Program Internship, English Language Training Academy, IAP, and AU Abroad will report to one vice provost, streamlining reporting lines and creating synergy and opportunities for collaboration across these programs.

Third, the Mentorship program is evolving and will now be known as the AU Cornerstone program and moved to the Office of Undergraduate Education and Academic Student Services. This will allow us to move most learning communities under one office. Additionally, the program will now be open to Fall admits, and institutional and federal aid will be available to Cornerstone students.

How long was this plan under review?

The plan for realignment was thoroughly reviewed with leadership across the university, and carefully considered over several months.

How will this affect faculty and staff in the SPExS?

In the realignment process, AU aims to minimize the impact on our faculty and staff. Plans are already underway to transfer faculty and staff positions from SPExS and identify appropriate transfer opportunities for faculty and staff wherever possible.

When will faculty and staff be notified of the status of their position?

Faculty and staff will be notified of the status of their position, including potential transfers, during the spring 2021 semester, as decisions are made.

What are the expectations of faculty and staff from now until June 30, 2021?

The effective date of any staff or faculty changes or transfers is July 1, 2021. Faculty and staff are expected to continue to perform their current duties and report to their current supervisor until June 30, 2021.

My school and/or department is gaining a program from SPExS. How will this change the responsibilities of my position?

If applicable, your unit leader along with human resources and the Provost’s Office will communicate any potential changes to your position as soon as a decision is made during the spring 2021 semester. The university will confer with SEIU about anticipated impacts on positions represented as part of a bargaining unit.