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Collage of IE leaders including President Sylvia Burwell, Fanta Aw, Amanda Taylor, the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion and others.

Learning for and Leading toward an Equitable World

American University was founded to respond to the needs of a changing world, with a set of guiding values—among them diversity, equity, and inclusion. AU cannot be excellent without being truly inclusive, and without taking the concrete, specific steps to improve our campus climate.

In 2017 American University embarked on a journey toward inclusive excellence, with these words as our guiding beacon. Born from the need to address sharp underlying differences in the campus experiences of people of color compared to their white counterparts, and a responsibility to learn from, and not replicate, the inequities of our past and present, the plan has been our roadmap to a more equitable future.

Phase Two Plan

The plan includes updated goals, action steps, and data that will inform the university’s work.

Full Plan (PDF)

Phase One: The Foundation

Based on analyses of campus survey data, external consultations, and meetings with more than 1,000 community members, and using the Association of American College and Universities’ĚýĚýas a framework, the first stage of the planĚýtaught us how to listen, and how best to act.

We began infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion at strategic, tactical, and operational levels of the university. The result was a strong foundation of early progress, including more inclusive policies and equitable practices, honest assessments of the challenges we face, and programs to increase all community members’ sense of belonging.

Phase Two: Advancing Racial EquityĚý

From increasing access to educational opportunity to building an antiracist community that fosters innovation, the next phase of Inclusive Excellence will build on the sustainable foundation of the last two years. With an enhanced focus on advancing racial equity and a clearly defined accountability structure, we will continue to make strides toward a more just community—and world.

Years 3-5: Goals and Actions

Throughout the next stage of the plan, we are pursuing action items and concrete tactics, situated across five overarching goals, that prioritize advancing racial equity and extending inclusive excellence to our mission of building knowledge and ideas through scholarship, research, and creative works.

New Goals

Measuring Progress

The phase two plan includes key metrics to measure progress against our goals. By 2023:

  • 80% of senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni leaders engaged in IE training will report learning something they can use to be more inclusive in their everyday work

  • At least 70% of students, faculty, and staff will feel that AU is committed to creating a campus where everyone has a sense of belonging

  • At least 65% of students, faculty, and staff will report that AU is committed to combatting discrimination and bias

Please seeĚýAppendixesĚýfor more metrics.

What's Next for Inclusive Excellence

The first 11 AU District Scholars join the Class of 2024.

District Scholars: Second Cohort

AU will continue providing full scholarships to high-achieving students from the Washington, DC, area with significant financial need.

AU College of Arts & Sciences professor Kiho Kim leading a faculty training

AU Inclusive Pedagogy Academy

This multi-part series will support AU faculty in developing and applying inclusive teaching strategies.


Man and woman seated at table shaking hands during meeting

AU Supplier Diversity Program

AU will build a process to support sustainable and minority- and women-owned businesses in our vendor selection.

Advancing Diversity in College Admissions: What Comes Next

September 26, 2023 - The integral work of advancing inclusive excellence in higher education continues after the Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious admissions. Our panel of AU experts will explore the work following the Supreme Court’s ruling, challenges presented by the decision, and the path forward to continue pursuing diversity in higher education student populations.