The mission of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is to advance American University's commitment to respecting and valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison for students, staff and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy. To achieve this mission, CDI is dedicated to:

  • Enhancing LGBTQ, multicultural, first generation, and women's experiences on campus;
  • Promoting student retention, graduation, and academic achievement;
  • Collaborating with campus partners — in particular those that work with international students, students with disabilities and students with active religious affiliations — to create a safe, supportive and empowering community for all, regardless of identity.


We envision an American University where people of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included in the community and where equitable treatment and outcomes prevail.

CDI AND AU's Strategic Plan

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion opened in Fall 2012, having been created as a part of AU's 2008 Strategic Plan. Specifically, the Center works to achieve Transformational Goal #5, which states that "American University embraces diversity in its broadest sense, including diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic standing, and intellectual viewpoint. The university views diversity as an essential component of the educational experience of our students and an important indicator of our success in adapting to the dramatic demographic shifts that will occur in the decades ahead." Read about the President's Council of Diversity and Inclusion.

How does Center for Diversity and Inclusion define "diversity" and "inclusion?"

Currently, we use the definition that the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) created to describe diversity.

  • According to the AAC&U, diversity is defined as "individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)."
  • The AAC&U defines inclusion as "the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect — in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions."

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will initiate conversations and implement programming in the spirit of these definitions in order to promote a supportive environment where all students are celebrated and valued.