Fanta Aw to depart role as VP in March

AU to immediately begin searching for candidates to fill role

Fanta Aw to depart role as VP in March
Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw speaks at Founder's Day.

Fanta Aw, vice president of undergraduate enrollment, campus life and inclusive excellence will be leaving American University on March 8, according to an announcement sent by email to the community from President Sylvia Burwell on Thursday.

Aw — who received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from AU — has worked at the University since 1992 and has been the vice president of campus life since 2017. She also took on the University’s inclusive excellence initiative starting in 2018 and undergraduate enrollment in 2021.

“A tireless advocate for the AU family, especially our students, Fanta has helped thousands of Eagles on their academic and personal journeys,” Burwell wrote. “She is a mentor, a friend, a confidant, and a colleague. Her impact on American University can be seen and felt in every part of our campus and our student experience.”

According to Burwell’s announcement, the University will start looking to fill Aw’s position immediately with the help of an external search firm to take input from student, staff and faculty representatives into account.

Aw’s departure is the latest in a series of University leadership changes that have taken place in the last year and a half. In October, it was announced that Dean of Undergraduate Education Jessica Waters will step down from her role and return to faculty in June 2023. The Kogod School of Business and School of International Service have also seen changes to their leadership, both recieving new Deans in recent months. Prior to that, Sam Fullwood began as the Dean of the School of Communication in May 2021 and Roger A. Fairfax started as the Dean of the Washington College of Law in April 2021. 

“As we prepare for Fanta’s departure, we are focused on a seamless transition,” Burwell wrote. “Fanta built a strong team in Campus Life and Undergraduate Enrollment, and students will continue to receive excellent services and support from these offices with no interruption.”

Aw is leaving the University to start a position as executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, a nonprofit dedicated to international education. According to Burwell, Aw has previously served on the organization’s board of directors.

“AU helps people grow personally and professionally, and Fanta’s legacy at American University and her impact on all of us is nearly immeasurable and will continue to be felt for years to come,” Burwell wrote. “While we are saddened to see Fanta depart, we are always proud when our colleagues go on to well-earned and fulfilling opportunities.”

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