American University is located in Washington, D.C., at the top of Embassy Row. Chartered by Congress in 1893 to serve the public interest and build the nation, the university educates active citizens who apply knowledge to the most pressing concerns facing the nation and world. Students engage with leading faculty experts and world leaders, learning how to create change and address issues including the global economic crisis, health care, human rights and justice, diversity, the environment and sustainability, immigration, journalism’s transformation, corporate governance, and governmental reform.
What do the muckraking exposé The Jungle and perennial children’s favorite Busy, Busy Town have in common? Upton Sinclair’s shocking look inside a Chicago slaughterhouse and Richard Scarry’s delightful romp through a city run by anthropomorphic animals share more than a cast of cows and pigs. The classics are among the Books That Shaped Work in America: a list compiled by the Department of Labor (DOL) in honor of its 2013 centennial. (Read all about it at dol.gov.) Contributors include former secretaries of labor, civil rights leaders, authors, and AU intern Amanda Kraft, SPA/BA ’15, whose selections—Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, and Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada—generated the most web traffic when the site launched late last year. (Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has since claimed the top spot.) Now in her second semester in the DOL public affairs office, the justice and law major blogs about the agency’s centenary and updates social media. She interned previously on Capitol Hill. In November, the U.S. News Short List named AU No. 1 among national universities for internships. AU’s Class of 2012 set a new record for internships, with 90 percent of responding graduates interning—up 5 percent from the previous year. “Students want to test what they’re learning in the classroom,” says Brian Rowe, director of experiential education. “That learning is enhanced in the field.” Kogod’s 22nd annual case competition was a race against the clock, as 150 students had 72 hours to develop a corporate social responsibility plan for the bottled water company Fiji. The case, centering on Fiji’s desire to be more socially and ecologically responsible, was revealed minutes before midnight on Tuesday, February 4. By Saturday morning, the business undergrads and MBA candidates—clad in suits and powered by coffee and adrenaline—presented their solutions to a panel of judges. The winning teams took home cash prizes. Unlike previous years, where the focus was on financial statements and organizational structures, the Fiji case “was more amorphous in nature,” says longtime judge Susan Traver, Kogod/MBA ’84, regional president for BNY Mellon. “There was room for the students to take as wide or as deep an approach as they wanted.” The case also reflects Kogod’s commitment to sustainability management and social responsibility. Last year, Bloomberg BusinessWeek named Kogod No. 1 for sustainability among undergraduate B-schools. GLASS IN THE CLASS Kogod, CAS, and the library have acquired Google Glass months before the hotly anticipated technology hits the market. Kogod students will take the gadget—a wearable Android-powered computer built into spectacle frames—abroad, and science faculty will use it to record lab protocols for distribution on the web. The library scored five pairs. WE’RE PLEASED TO INFORM YOU . . . AU received about 15,000 applications for fall admission, with nearly twice as many students this year applying for special offerings like the new American Honors Program. Early decision applicants numbered 950—the largest in AU history—and will constitute about 33 percent of the Class of 2018. 6 AMERICAN MAGAZINE APRIL 2014
news The School of Communication partnered with the Washington Post to lure Pulitzer Prize– winning investigative journalist John Sullivan to D.C. The joint hire—the first of its kind between a university and a media outlet— gives AU’s aspiring reporters access to the legendary newsroom. Sullivan, who led the Philadelphia Inquirer team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2012 for a series of articles about violence in Philly’s schools, wears multiple hats in his new role. As senior editor at SOC’s Investigative Reporting Workshop and a member of the Post’s investigations unit, he’s continuing the paper’s tradition of hard-hitting journalism. And as investigative journalist in residence, Sullivan leads a graduate practicum that puts five AU students in the newsroom, assisting reporters and chasing bylines of their own. “It’s a way to give them a clip they can’t get anywhere else— an investigative clip from the Washington Post,” Sullivan says. AU’s Center for Israel Studies—the first university-based center devoted to the multifaceted study of the Middle Eastern nation—launched in 1998 to commemorate Israel’s 50th anniversary. This year the institute, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, celebrates an anniversary of its own with a fitting mix of conferences and courses centered on Israeli art, science, business, and politics. “My view was, if so much time and attention was devoted to Israel on campuses, it should be studied as a country and not just a security state,” says Howard Wachtel, who founded the center 15 years ago. To extend the institute’s focus beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Wachtel, AU professor emeritus in economics, forged partnerships with experts in creative writing, contemporary dance, economics, and other fields. That broad focus is reflected in current course offerings. This semester, Dan Chyutin, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor, is teaching Israeli Identities Through Film, and students in Erran Carmel’s International Dimensions in Management course traveled to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to analyze economic development in the region. President Barack Obama played Hardball before an enthusiastic crowd of about 300 political wonks on December 5 at the Greenberg Theatre, as AU hosted a taping of Chris Matthews’ popular MSNBC show. After tackling tough questions about the troubled rollout of the new Affordable Care Act and the National Security Agency wiretapping controversy, the commander in chief turned his attention to the political aspirations of the students in the audience. “It’s hard, it can be frustrating, and you’ve got to have a thick skin. But when you’ve passed a law or you’ve taken an executive action, and somebody comes up to you and says ‘my kid’s alive today because you passed that health care bill,’ it’s pretty hard to get greater satisfaction than that.” Reflecting on his time in the White House, Obama said the last five years have humbled him. “You recognize that you’re just part of a sweep of history. And your job really is to push the boulder up the hill a little bit before somebody pushes it up a little further,” he said. “What makes me more confident than ever is the interaction I have with young people like this.” The AU taping, the latest stop on Hardball’s college tour, marked Obama’s third visit to campus. In 2008, he joined Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) in Bender Arena as the late senator endorsed his bid for president. Two years later, Obama spoke about immigration reform at the newly opened SIS building. UNTANGLING RED TAPE AU president Neil Kerwin is among 14 higher ed leaders named to a new U.S. Senate task force that will examine the burden of federal regulations and reporting requirements on colleges and universities. Founder of AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking, Kerwin is an expert on government regulation. GOODNIGHT MOON; HELLO, CLAWED! Make room on your children’s bookshelf for a new classic: Hello, Clawed!, by Cynthia Bland Augustine, CAS/BA ’03. The book takes readers on a trek across campus to a basketball game. Augustine was inspired to write the book (available at HelloClawed.com) after a stint as AU’s winged mascot. LET’S TALK #AMERICANMAG 7