Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 75.35
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 30, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

American University
PA-4: Diversity and Equity Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Hannah Debelius
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
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Does the institution have a diversity and equity committee, office, and/or officer tasked by the administration or governing body to advise on and implement policies, programs, and trainings related to diversity and equity on campus?:

Does the committee, office and/or officer focus on one or both of the following?:
Yes or No
Student diversity and equity Yes
Employee diversity and equity Yes

A brief description of the diversity and equity committee, office and/or officer, including purview and activities:

The mission of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) is to advance American University’s commitment to respecting & 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, the center 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 & empowering community for all, regardless of identity.

The Center for Diversity & Inclusion initiates conversations and implements programming in the spirit of diversity and inclusion in order to promote a supportive environment where all students are celebrated and valued. 2015 programming included a facilitated discussion on "Our Campus Experience: A Conversation for Students of Color at AU," exploring social justice series, understanding LGBT identities workshop, and a first generation welcome and meet up.

The full-time equivalent of people employed in the diversity and equity office:

The website URL where information about the diversity and equity committee, office and/or officer is available:
Does the institution make cultural competence trainings and activities available to all members of the following groups?:
Yes or No
Students Yes
Staff Yes
Faculty Yes
Administrators Yes

A brief description of the cultural competence trainings and activities:

EMPLOYEES (Staff, Faculty, and Administrators):

AU offers various opportunities for cultural competence opportunities available to all AU employees in the form of stand-alone workshops, training, and as certificate programs that include a set of workshops. See below for a brief description:

Staff Orientation (Mandatory)
a. During the staff orientation, new staff members will receive information about the history and culture of AU, including diversity. university policies and procedures, benefits, payroll, and training. A campus tour designed specifically for staff members is also be included, as is an orientation to technology at AU.

Required staff development course within two months of hire for all employees: "Preventing Discrimination and Sexual Violence: Title IX and the Safe Act for Faculty and Staff"
This course meets training requirements for employees mandated by the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act), which is part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), and Title IX (whose training mandates apply to schools that receive federal funding for education programs or activities). The course educates faculty and staff members about sex discrimination and sexual violence, as well as how the school prohibits such offenses, and employee responsibilities to respond.


a. Creating a Service culture
This program examines the role of managers in creating and supporting American University's commitment to service. It is designed to help organizational leaders identify barriers to service excellence and to provide them with five leader practices to create a service culture. This is a four-hour program for supervisors of service providers.

b. Service Plus
This course is the foundation for AU's Service Excellence Program. Learn about the Service Success Loop and strategies for creating strong service-client relationships in a student-centered environment. Also learn how to deal with dissatisfied clients and communicate under challenging circumstances.

Building Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Certificate and Stand Alone Training

a. The Safe Space Program seeks to create a safer and more inclusive campus environment for all members of the campus community by reducing heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers three different LGBTQ specific workshops. They are the Safe Space Workshop, the Trans 101 workshop, and the Safe Space 2.0 continuing education sessions.

b. Generations in the Workplace: Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials—groups whose birth years span eight decades—bring unique values, histories, and attitudes to the office, which can sometimes result in a clash of work styles. Thirty-something employees might bemoan the meetings favored by Boomers, while Veterans might not get younger workers’ predilection for telecommuting from their neighborhood Starbucks. Through this workshop, ask questions of the people you work with, start a conversation around these generational issues.

c. Exploring Intercultural Communication
This workshop explores the impact of culture on our work lives and in our day-to-day
communications with one another. In this session, participants will learn fundamental concepts related to intercultural communication, discuss examples of how these concepts demonstrate themselves in the workplace, and identify barriers to communication and ways to overcome those barriers.

d. Valuing Diversity and Inclusion
The differences people bring to the workplace can promote tremendous creativity and innovation. Those same differences, however, also can contribute to misunderstandings as we bump up against each other with our different styles and work ethics. This course
creates awareness of how to recognize and appreciate differences leading to more options and better problem solving.

e. Creating Inclusive Communities
Through this reflective workshop, participants will explore how diversity and inclusion impact us personally and interpersonally, as well as at the community and institutional levels. Additionally, participants will develop strategies to incorporate inclusivity into their daily lives.

The E.A.G.L.E. (Educating Allies and Generating Leaders for Equity) Certificate Program is a professional development opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members to continue their social justice education within the context of CDI. To obtain the certificate, participants should complete a series of workshops offered by CDI that focus on multidimensional/cross movement ally development in social justice issues. This program focuses on the concept of allyhood and helps participants to learn and more intimately understand effective ally behaviors to a particular community(ies) as a crucial part of their social justice education.


Peer Educators for the Elimination of Relationship and Sexual Violence (PEERS) is comprised of passionate student leaders at AU who are recruited, trained, and supervised by AU's Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator. The mission of PEERS is to increase awareness of sexual assault, dating abuse, and stalking; as well as reduce the incidence of sexual violence in the AU community through outreach and education. PEERS provide workshops and facilitate discussions on dating abuse, stalking, and sexual violence to any university-affiliated group.

Welcome Week for new student orientation includes an International Student Welcome Reception, Kay Spiritual Life Center Open House, sexual assault and consent training, and inclusion activities in residence halls.

All students are encouraged to sign up for free workshops throughout the academic year through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, including sessions on LGBT, cultural, gender, socio-economic, and race inclusion and diversity.

The website URL where information about the cultural competence trainings is available:

The number of people employed in the diversity office only counts Center for Diversity employees and not employees of the offices they work with.

Specific schedule for student orientation taken from Fall 2015, but it representative of standard new student orientation.

Additional links:
office: http://www.american.edu/ocl/cdi/index.cfm
staff development for diversity training: http://www.american.edu/hr/upload/WLD-TC-0915_online_final.pdf
workshops: http://www.american.edu/ocl/cdi/EagleAllies.cfm
EAGLE certificate for faculty, staff and students: http://www.american.edu/ocl/cdi/EAGLE-Certificate-Program.cfm

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.