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Office of the Provost | Communications

May 29, 2012

 TO:  American University Community
 FROM:  Scott A. Bass, Provost
 SUBJECT:  AU Project 2030 Next Steps


I want to update the faculty on the status of the AU Project 2030.

Earlier this month, we held a series of six exploratory workshops on selected AU Project 2030 proposals. Faculty participation was high, as was the level of engagement and inquiry. Detailed summaries of the discussions along with recommendations were recorded. Following these workshops, the deans and I met to discuss the summaries and recommendations. We arrived at the following next steps and will move forward as follows:

Global Economic and Financial Regulation
Dean Jim Goldgeier will convene key faculty to explore the development of a partnership with a leading university in New York City. Ideally, such a partnership will leverage synergy between Wall Street and Washington DC’s regulatory community. Also, an advisory council on global economic and financial regulation will be convened to conduct interdisciplinary meetings, workshops, and conversations. At this time, funding for this topic will consist of initial travel and contact with the potential partner.

Metropolitan Studies
Dean William LeoGrande will convene a working group to develop an integrated proposal based on the three initial AU Project 2030 proposals focused on metropolitan/urban issues. As Provost, I will initiate a dialogue with potential local partners about opportunities for joint initiatives related to the Washington DC components of the project. As the proposal is developed, the working group will attempt to leverage AU’s strength in Latin American studies, given that a number of major Latin American cities experience the global issues discussed. The deans and I will also explore the possibility of a new faculty position to help bolster the project. Establishment of a multi-purpose GIS lab on the main campus to support research and our teaching needs in the areas of environmental studies, metropolitan studies, public health and related fields has been approved.

Environmental Studies
Dean Peter Starr will convene a small group of faculty to update the environmental studies plan. The group will identify the precise title and research direction of AU’s effort, conduct focused benchmarking around that direction, and identify funding sources to support our ambitions. Tentative approval has been granted to hire a senior researcher in environmental science specifically to support this AU Project 2030 initiative.

Decision Science for Policy
Discussion of the decision science for policy proposal and development of its research agenda will continue. A SharePoint site to promote exchange of information related to decision science will be established. This summer, a research colloquium (with webcast) will be held for interested AU faculty to present their research. Mary Hansen, Tony Ahrens and Matt Nisbet will take the lead on this initiative. Support will also be provided to bring speakers on campus.

Global Disability Policy, Technology, and Education
Global Disability Policy, Technology, and Education has been identified as an area in which AU could provide leadership. The following core group of faculty and administrators will move forward on this issue: Sarah Irvine Belson, Derrick Cogburn, Laura DeNardis, Pat Aufderheide, Peter Jaszi, Nanette Levinson, Peter Starr, Jeff Rutenbeck, Jim Goldgeier, and me. It was agreed that the field would benefit greatly from a database that tracks the ratification of the articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This group will consider what is needed, both in terms of resources and personnel, to create a database that could generate significant comparative research questions. Also, the group will explore issues related to Internet governance and the implications for persons with disabilities. Our efforts in this area will be supported by a previously authorized, open rank search in SETH in the area of Special Education/Learning Disabilities.

Human Security
The human security workshop produced a number of interesting research questions, including those related to the causes, consequences, and mitigation of violence, as well as those informed by a multi-level analysis of both freedom from fear and freedom from want. The deans and I feel that the approaches currently taken by faculty in SIS and faculty working in SPA remain quite different. Therefore, we suggest that each school’s faculty work on developing school-based efforts on human security and push forward on the separate agendas in this area.