American University, a student-centered R2 research institution located in a residential neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is home to eight schools and colleges, over 160 programs, and 13,347 students. American is a Methodist-affiliated institution chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1893. An answer to George Washington’s call to create a national university in the nation’s capital, American University was designed to train public servants for the future, a vision it still holds.
Today, AU combines a tradition of strong undergraduate and graduate education with a focus on experiential learning, global leadership, and public service.
The Office of People and External Affairs works to enhance AU’s engagement with their immediate neighbors, Washington, D.C., and the broader region to further strategic priorities for the university.
The American University Neighborhood Partnership is a shared forum connecting AU and leaders in the surrounding communities. Since its inception in 2018, the Partnership’s mission is to strengthen university and neighborhood relations through facilitated discussions, information sharing, and consensus-based collaboration on issues involving campus planning and university activities affecting adjacent neighborhoods.
The Partnership operates through five standing Working Groups–each of which is co-chaired both by a neighborhood resident and a university representative:
- Facilities Planning:Collaborates on issues related to physical campus facilities including existing and proposed development and renovation projects.
- Student Life and Safety: Addresses neighborhood quality-of-life issues including off-campus student conduct, noise and trash management matters, student safety in the community, and on-campus student life.
- Transportation and Parking: Addresses issues concerning travel to, from, and around the campus and provides input on efforts to mitigate the impacts of university-related traffic on the community.
- Engagement and Communications:Ensures that neighbors are aware of and are encouraged to participate in campus events and activities and promotes opportunities for engagement and the benefits associated with having the university as a neighbor.
- Data and Metrics:Provides guidance on the development and review of metrics for compliance and assessment associated with various components of the Campus Plan.
AU’s Changemakers for a Changing World strategic plan builds on its legacy of leadership, scholarship, and service and focuses on the challenges facing our community and higher education.
- Scholarship: Over the next five years, the university will develop areas of strategic focus that draw on fields where AU already excels, fields where AU’s expertise crosses schools and disciplinary boundaries, and fields that hold promise for the future. In addition, AU will establish centers and pursue endowed chairs to support the work of faculty across a range of disciplines. As part of the effort in this area, the university will invest in areas of strategic focus, such as health, data science, security, and social equity, that enhance understanding and have the power to make an extraordinary impact. The university will also focus on growing sponsored research while expanding faculty-student research collaborations.
- Learning: As AU prepares for tomorrow’s opportunities, it will continue to embrace the highest-quality teaching while exploring new frontiers of learning and scholarship. Imperatives include providing a first-rate student experience that promotes access, thriving, and higher retention and graduation rates; and focusing on learning that prepares undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to engage in the world. The university will also excel in providing traditional and emerging forms of education to promote lifelong learning experiences that are flexible, personalized, and accessible.
- Community: AU is an institution deeply rooted in community. When the community grows stronger, so does the university. In the next five years, AU will build and strengthen ties with internal and external communities. Imperatives include leading and modeling inclusive excellence. The work in this area will also focus on growing the university’s relationships with the Washington, DC, region to impact education, arts and culture, and economics and forming and expanding partnerships to advance our strategic priorities. Additionally, the university will improve how AU works by evaluating existing technology, processes, and structures and making them simpler and more effective.
“In American University’s DNA is the importance of making a positive impact in the world,” President Sylvia Burwell said. “We are taking that core of who we are and applying it to a world of change, opportunity, and challenge.”
Join us in welcoming American University to the CUMU membership.