Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.79
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

American University
PA-6: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Courtney Stoner
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:

In 2016, under the leadership of former President Neil Kerwin, the university put forth a five-point diversity and inclusion plan which led to the creation of new councils, hiring and training programs, as well as centers of scholarship and majors.

At that juncture, a thoroughgoing examination of our efforts led to the assessment that the institutions, policies, and practices that could respond to inequities were considered at best inconsistent and opaque; at worst, biased. That assessment summarized a number of opportunities and challenges the university faced with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The University's current strategic plan for Inclusive Excellence advances the idea that diversity, equity, and inclusion are catalysts for achieving institutional and educational excellence. Therefore, the 2017 Campus Climate Survey and the 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement were both key to understanding the existing campus climate and creating a path for the new strategic plan. Another Campus Climate Survey went out Spring 2019.

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of employees and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs, and initiatives:
-More students of color experienced bias and felt alienated and unsafe, compared to white peers.

-Fewer students of color and international students said they felt included on campus, compared to white peers.

-Institutional systems, policies, and practices were considered at best inconsistent and lacking transparency; at worst, biased.

-Training programs to develop cultural competence and mitigate bias were many and varied; most were voluntary, and their effectiveness had not been adequately demonstrated.

-Diversity across all levels of the institution grew incrementally over the course of those few years, but inequities and gaps persisted for racial minorities, acutely so for African American/black members of the community.

These findings were directly related to the goals and actions outlined in the Plan for Inclusive Excellence. American University's priority is to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion at a strategic, tactical, and operational level. This starts with a critical examination of the systems, policies, curricular frameworks, faculty and staff development, student engagement, resources, and communications.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:
Results were emailed to the AU community and are publicly posted online.

Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary (upload):
Website URL where the diversity and equity assessment report or summary is publicly posted:
Website URL where information about the institution’s diversity and equity assessment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The full Plan for Inclusive Excellence can be found here: https://www.american.edu/president/diversity/inclusive-excellence/upload/18-160-ie_plan.pdf

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.