Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.66
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

American University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Courtney Stoner
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:


American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws and regulations (collectively “Protected Bases”) in its programs and activities. The University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and stalking.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

Students, staff, faculty, and other members of the AU community who have experienced or witnessed a bias-related act can report their experience through the CARE network or directly to their respective assignee (Dean of Academic Affairs for faculty, HR for staff, and Dean of Students for students). AU community members who witness discrimination are encouraged to report the behavior to the relevant office without fear of retaliation. The complaint will then move through an official process of evaluation and resolution.

Those who report bias-related acts receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours, and a University official will be assigned to meet with the reporter to collect details of the bias-related act and to discuss options for addressing the behavior. Depending on the situation, campus partners may be notified such as Public Safety and Title IX. Support, medical, and counseling resources are available to students and staff. The reporter will be referred to available support resources, such as the University Counseling Center and Center for Diversity Inclusion.

Bias-related acts that are also covered by the University’s Student Conduct Code or Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy (e.g. bias-motivated vandalism, harassment, assault, etc.) will be subject to the processes and accountability through these policies.

Bias, that does not violate a University policy, will generally be addressed through educational conversation or other appropriate interventions.


Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

AU actively recruits students from historically underrepresented groups through the creation of strategic partnerships and pipelines. One program is the dual enrollment program through the School of Education. A group of DC public high school seniors are selected to take a class in the SOE each semester. The program "focuses on creating teachers who will return to work in the school district they attended as students. The program is designed to help combat the teacher shortage and lack of teacher diversity in DCPS." See the link in the notes section for what other departments and colleges are doing.

The ACRL Diversity Alliance program (academic staff) - of which American University is a founding member - unites academic libraries who share a commitment to increase the hiring pipeline of qualified, talented individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. By thinking bigger and broader, across all academic libraries, the Alliance will introduce and welcome to the job market underrepresented racial and ethnic groups with work experiences that advance academic/research libraries.

One of the Plan for Inclusive Excellence's Objectives is to transform the way we recruit, hire, train, develop, evaluate, and recognize AU faculty, staff, and administrators to encourage the achievement of our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Key performance indicators of reaching the goals of the Inclusive Excellence Plan include an increase in the compositional diversity (based on benchmarks) found among faculty, students, staff, and administrators. Overall, 21% of AU’s full-time faculty self-identify as faculty of color and 50% as women. Over the past two years, 39% of new tenure-line and 35% of new term faculty hires self-identify as faculty of color; 43% of new tenure-line and 55% of new term faculty hires identify as women. Over this two year period, 56 new tenure-line and 103 new term faculty have been appointed. Additionally, in 2018, 56% of undergraduates identified as "White," compared to 76% in 2008.

HR is evolving and embarking on the Hiring Process Reinvented initiative, which will improve our recruiting and on boarding processes to deliver an employee experience that attracts and retains high-performing and diverse faculty and staff at all levels. One of the changes made in HR was the creation of an "Inclusive Hiring" training program to help hiring manager become more aware of bias in the hiring process, and increase the number of diverse hires. They also increased the number and quality of applicant pools by posting on 40 national job boards (previously 7), reaching a more diverse population.

As a university unit, we seek to increase diversity along many dimensions, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender expression, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, language, national origin, US resident status, religious commitment, age, and (dis)ability status. We work, as a unit, to promote and extend opportunities and outcomes for members of those groups that have been historically marginalized and/or have experienced profound inequities. We also recognize that without building critical mass of these groups among our students, staff, and faculty, difference can be isolating rather than productive.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

Students: The university supports several programs within the student body:

- The Center for Diversity and Inclusion has a full time staff member dedicated to LGBTQA Programming and coordination. LGTBQ peer educators work to strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus community that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities by providing support, educational resources, and advocacy. This includes a guide of LGBTQ resources on campus and in the community.
-The Safe Space Sticker Program seeks to create a safer and more inclusive campus environment for all members of the campus community by reducing heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Through the training program and the display of Safe Space stickers the program creates a visible and supportive network of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally members of the campus community.
- Multiethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers a broad course of study of ethnicity in the United States and the larger world. To meet the challenges and opportunities of diversity in an increasingly multicultural and multiethnic society, the program provides students with an understanding of the rich history of ethnic and racial diversity from multiple perspectives. The minor helps students prepare for an increasingly diversified workplace and a globalized economy by encouraging them to develop an awareness of and appreciation for their ethnic experiences as part of the greater human experience.
- The mission of Disability Support Services (DSS) is to ensure that students with physical, medical, or psychological disabilities have equal access to university programs and services. DSS provides or coordinates a range of services and accommodations that meet the individual needs of a student based on the impact of the specific disability.
- The Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) offers students of sovereign American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) nations the opportunity to build leadership skills while living, studying, and interning in Washington, DC. Developed in response to the White House Initiative on American Indians and Alaska Natives, this enriching program offers qualified students full scholarships funded by American University and sponsoring organizations. Participating students will gain professional work experience through interning at a federal agency or private firm, take courses focusing on Native American public policy concerns, and enjoy engaging social and cultural extra-curricular activities.
-The Multicultural community, through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, helps to direct students to admissions, financial aid, scholarships, and on campus student organizations to support students of underrepresented cultures and first generation students.
- The Women's Initiative, through student government, offers support for women on campus and a space for an ongoing dialog about gender equity.

Faculty & Staff: In an effort to further our commitment to Inclusive Excellence at AU, Human Resources has launched the affinity group program. Affinity groups, also known as employee resource groups, are a collection of people linked by a common purpose or interest. These common interests can include job functions, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, education, geography, military status, etc. Currently, AU has the following Affinity Groups: Black Faculty & Staff Affinity Group, International Faculty & Staff Affinity Group, Latino and Hispanic Faculty & Staff Affinity Group, LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group, and People of Color Faculty & Staff Affinity Group. Additionally, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides assessment, short-term counseling, referral to community services, follow-up contact, and other services.

Faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars: Through a collaboration between the Office of the Provost, Office of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence, and Center for Teaching, Research & Learning, American University has joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). Our institutional membership provides faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars with professional development, training, and mentorship opportunities. NCFDD offers a wide range of virtual programs to help you enhance your productivity, increase your sense of well-being, and connect to a larger academic community.

Resources available through AU’s NCFDD membership transcend discipline, rank, race, and gender, but they are specifically designed to address the challenges that underrepresented scholars may face during their careers.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The School of Public Affairs initiated and founded a Public Affairs Diversity Alliance in January 2019. The Alliance, the first of its kind in public affairs, seeks to encourage and sustain a pipeline of candidates for faculty positions in criminal justice, policy, and public administration. Each institution will commit to hiring up to two Alliance post-doctoral fellows or visiting scholars annually, and will appoint both an internal and an external mentor to maximize networking and professional development. The Alliance will also take an active role in helping doctoral students achieve success as faculty members through programming.


Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.