The American University Experience (AUx)is a mandatory full-year AU Core Curriculum course specially designed for students transitioning into their first year of college at AU. Students will complete AUx1 in their first semester and then complete AUx2 in their second semester.
The American University Experience I (AUx1): Drawing on many academic disciplines including student development theory, this course helps students navigate their academic, social, cultural, and psychological adjustment to university life. Themes covered in this standardized course include freedom of expression; campus resources; exploring and expressing identities; building academic success; budgeting time and money; health and wellness; finding community; rights and responsibilities; and diversity, bias, and privilege.
The American University Experience II (AUx2): Race and social identity-which include but are not limited to ethnicity, gender and sexual expression, class, disability, and religion-are often discussed in coded, contentious, or uncomfortable ways. AUx2 seeks to create a space for conversations and learning about these topics that pushes beyond the norm. The course builds upon concepts introduced in AUx1, blending personal exploration of social identity formation with a multidisciplinary approach to race and ethnicity. This course is a starting point for the academic study of the structures of culture and power as well as social movements that challenge those structures. The course equips students to become part of a community of learners whose members come from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them a range of experiences.
Both courses are taught in a hybrid format. Students will complete online learning and writing assignments through Blackboard (AU's e-learning platform) and meet weekly for small group discussions of approximately 19 students. AUx1 classes are co-facilitated by an AUx Instructor & Advisor and a junior or senior student Peer Facilitator. AUx2 classes are co-facilitated by a faculty, staff, or alumni Instructor and a junior or senior student Peer Facilitator. AUx Instructors and Peer Facilitators are specially trained to work with first-year students.
Assessment by university researchers demonstrates how AUx helps students thrive in college. In 2016 and 2017, researchers found that AUx helped students to better navigate university resources, feel included on campus, and identify mentors on campus who encouraged them to pursue their goals. As a result, students reported feeling happier about their transition to the university and that AU was a place where they belonged.