After nearly 40 years as a faculty member and dean of the Washington Semester Program, Dr. David C. Brown has announced his decision to retire. American University, the Washington Semester Program, and the thousands of students whose intellectual lives and careers have been enriched by his teaching and leadership are ever grateful. His last day will be June 30, 2011.
Under Dean Brown’s tenure, the Washington Semester Program grew from a small program into one of the nation’s largest academic experiential learning programs of its kind. When he began in Fall 1973, the program had slightly over 100 college and university affiliations and 151 students. Currently, the Washington Semester Program has inter-institutional affiliations with over 235 national and international colleges and universities. In Fall 2009, it enrolled over 500 students in the Washington Semester Program and in the Washington Mentorship, Washington Internships for Native Students, and Graduate Gateway Programs, all programs initiated under Dean Brown’s leadership. In addition to increasing the program’s participation, Dean Brown instituted a number of programmatic changes, one of which was the enhancement of a new internship component that leverages the resources of Washington DC and provides students with hands-on professional experience in many prominent organizations in the nation’s capital. An alumnus of the School of International Service, he expanded Washington Semester’s programs of study to include global economic business, Islam and world affairs, international law and organizations, international environment and development, and peace and conflict resolution. Given the international nature of the programs, he incorporated study abroad in the program. He also created the popular journalism and justice/law semesters as part of the unit.
An avid advocate for his faculty, Dean Brown strengthened the Washington Semester Program as an academic program and championed continuous multi-year contracts for his faculty. His efforts, in return, provided greater continuity and stability in the Washington Semester faculty.
Beyond the Washington Semester Program, Dean Brown has contributed to AU in many ways such as assisting with the design of the Tenley Campus and raising AU’s profile abroad. In 1982, Dean Brown was asked to develop a series of AU study abroad programs. He subsequently took the Washington Semester model of seminars with decision makers and student internships, and created the World Capitals Program at the University. This program generated 14 unique semester study programs on five continents beyond North America and, for his work, AU Abroad stands as its legacy.
Dean Brown is a valued colleague whose dedication, collaborative spirit, and “inside baseball” knowledge and connections to Washington DC networks will be missed. Please join me in thanking Dean Brown for his outstanding service to AU and in wishing him well this academic year and in his upcoming retirement from AU.