Since its founding in 1893, American University has benefited greatly from the devotion, service, intellectual contributions, ethical behavior, and philanthropy of many thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.
In a very real sense, they also are "trustees" of the institutions by virtue of their dedication, affection, and generosity that help to ensure that the University will faithfully serve this and future generations. Those of us who have been chosen to serve as fiduciary trustees for a period of time—to safeguard the University's assets and to foster its capacity to serve others—enthusiastically and without reservation accept the following additional responsibilities as evidence of the commitment of each trustee. Read the Trustees' Statement of Commitment.
November 2020 Meeting Summary
The late fall meeting of the American University Board of Trustees was an opportunity to review the university’s progress in responding to the demands of COVID-19 while also focusing on the critical planning underway to ramp up our activity for spring 2021 and beyond. We hosted a Zoom luncheon with faculty and heard about their engagements with students and innovations in learning and instruction. Following an update from President Burwell, the trustees engaged in a discussion of how to balance financial needs for both the current environment and advance long-term planning and investments. Vice Presidents Matt Bennett and Courtney Surls presented AU brand and fundraising campaign concepts. In addition, the Board welcomed new campus representatives and heard updates from the student, staff, and faculty constituencies. The information and participation from the campus representatives is incredibly valuable to the trustees, and their perspectives help shape our consideration of critical issues.
September 2020 Retreat Summary
The Board of Trustees met via Zoom for its annual retreat on September 10. The retreat is an opportunity to explore the larger trends and significant issues shaping higher education and AU's future. Discussions took on greater urgency as we considered the impact of COVID-19 and the path for AU to emerge stronger after the pandemic, and the critical work of addressing systemic racism within AU and throughout higher education. The Board of Trustees engaged with two distinguished experts in these areas—Dr. Tiffany Jones, senior director of higher education policy at The Education Trust, and Dr. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education. In its business meeting, the board approved bylaw amendments to establish a new Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and approved Anusha Mannam (WCL 2L) as student trustee-elect for 2020-21. President Burwell and Chief Financial Officer Doug Kudravetz provided an update on the university budget, the impact from COVID-19, and potential actions to address financial shortfalls.