Dear AU Community,
April is a time of renewal, and while this April is unlike any other, there are always signs of hope. I’ll outline a few items from our community that I’m personally heartened by, but first, I want to take a moment to recognize how hard these times are and how every single member of our community has done so much to adapt to COVID-19. I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for your commitment to our core mission and thank you for continuing to show the world how strong, caring, and compassionate our AU community is.
Still, these are uncertain and concerning days. While we see signs of progress in the amazing efforts by our health care workers to control the pandemic and help those affected by COVID-19, we are still traveling a difficult road. Coping with that reality every day is trying for all of us.
The ongoing disruptions have created many challenges for our community, but there are reasons for hope and places to turn for help. We continue to provide numerous forms of support to our students, faculty, staff, and families. And we have a list of public relief resources available to help those impacted by COVID-19 on our COVID-19 Resources page. It can be sorted by region as well as type of support.
As the federal government begins to process the resources included in the recently passed stimulus and relief legislation, we are working to determine how it will help our community and have submitted the initial application. While no funds have been distributed yet, we will provide updates when further information is made available from the US Department of Education and other sources.
In other COVID-19 developments, American University is suspending all residential and in-person conferences planned for this summer. We are working with our partners to explore conducting academic components of their programs online, provide expertise from our community, and continue engaging with Washington, which is something that is part of our DNA as changemakers.
That brings me to my next point, about hope. I’m particularly grateful and especially proud of how our AU community continues to be a force for good. Our excellent scholarship is supporting the global response to COVID-19 and contributing to cultural understanding, which is more important than ever. Today, I am pleased to highlight three of many examples from our community that demonstrate the positive impact made by AU changemakers.
AU’s School of Education is launching a Webinar Series for Educators and Caregivers to provide knowledge and tools for the education community in the time of COVID-19. The first track, from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesdays, focuses on parents and caregivers who are educating their children while schools are closed. The second series, for educators and policymakers, is from 3-4 p.m. on Fridays. These webinars feature AU experts and are open to all.
Our Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) is producing and distributing high-quality analysis on COVID-19’s implications for Latin America. The research is developed by AU faculty members and scholars at partner institutions. The impact of COVID-19 is felt worldwide, and I know the work of our experts will help countries and communities advance their responses and prepare for the future.
Finally, Rachel Louise Snyder, associate professor of literature, recently received a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship. This exclusive award furthers the development of scholars and artists and supports their ongoing research. Professor Snyder’s book, “No Visible Bruises” was named one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2019. Her scholarship is representative of the dynamic and influential work that occurs every day at American University.
It’s important to pause and reflect on the changing world around us, but it’s just as important to recognize the inspiring work that continues, despite the difficult and challenging circumstances we all face right now. Even in the midst of a pandemic, AU changemakers are meeting these challenges and finding opportunities to change our world for the better. And that gives hope to us all.
Be safe and be well.