Mission & Vision

Mission statement

Chartered as a liberal arts college in 1962, The American University of Paris is today an urban, independent, international university located at the meeting point of France, Europe, and the world. The University provides a student-centered, career-enabling, and transformative learning experience to the global explorers who are its Bachelor’s and Master’s students, empowering them to cross both disciplinary and cultural borders with ease in order to assume their places as responsible actors and leaders in over 140 countries worldwide.

AUP’s mission is to educate its graduates to communicate effectively in a world of many languages;  to read well, listen carefully, and write intelligently in a voice of their own;  to become critical thinkers about history and human societies, economics, culture, literature, the arts, science, politics, psychology, business, and communication; to develop creative interdisciplinary solutions to contemporary global challenges; to be digitally literate in a world of swift-paced change;  to understand the ethical imperatives of living in such a world;  and to move across the cultural borders of the contemporary world with a sense of commitment to and responsibility for a world held in common.

The University achieves its mission by providing to its students a curriculum combining liberal arts inquiry, preparation for professional life, and student-centered, active learning in small classroom settings; dynamic, engaged teaching informed by both disciplinary and interdisciplinary faculty scholarship; a host of opportunities for direct experience of the world and its many cultures; a wealth of intellectual exchanges on campus at conferences of global reach; and an integrated learning model that marries classroom learning and its application to real-world contexts, preparing students to master and to make, to reflect and to apply, to analyze and to act.   In these ways, an AUP education supports professional skills development and cultural fluency—the sense of global engagement and the capacity to negotiate difference that emerge from the natural diversity of AUP’s student and faculty bodies.  Upon graduation, AUP students take part in and benefit from the global network that is our worldwide alumni community, creating lifelong connections to one another and to the University.


By 2020, The American University of Paris aims to be recognized internationally as offering the finest and most demographically diverse American education in Europe to the global explorers who fit its unique educational culture and flourish within it.  That reputation has its origins in the continuity of the University’s mission over half a century to offer a student-centered, transformative education in the heart of Paris that pushes students to transcend the confines of “narrow nationalism.”  AUP’s future reputation will rest upon its excellent record of graduating global citizens who are successful and have impact on the world, and its goal of being an internationally recognized site of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural teaching, of scholarship, of creativity, and of academic convocation.  We will measure our success by the capacity of our faculty and students to find empowering solutions to the pressing issues of our times, crossing, as they do, cultural, natural, social, and linguistic borders to do so.

To achieve these aims, we will put the student life and learning of our global explorers at the center of our work, tailoring our processes and programs, strategies and spaces to an enhanced student experience.  We will further develop the relevance and quality of a curriculum aligned with the aspirations of global explorers that combines the best of liberal arts inquiry, integrated student-life and cultural programs, and professional preparedness—thereby creating a path from curriculum to career or graduate studies for every single student.  In our curricular development, we will take into account the intellectual and cultural experiences requisite to all of our student constituencies, from first-year visitors to transfer students, degree-seeking undergraduates to graduate students.  We will support the curriculum by creating an integrated advising process combining academic, career, and leadership support, promoting and providing internships and developing the professional skills required by our students’ first employers.  Our students will graduate with the cultural competencies required to live productive, personally and socially meaningful lives wherever they choose to live in the world.

As a result of steady commitment to these priorities, we will extend our recruitment reach and reputation globally, strengthening enrollments while increasing selectivity along with “fit,” and supporting our students who require scholarship aid.  We make this last commitment in order to compose a student body as socio-economically diverse as ours is culturally and linguistically.

We will also prize the inextricable links between excellence in teaching and in research, at once providing resources and expecting accountability for our faculty’s scholarly and professional productivity, establishing viable career advancement steps and rewarding them appropriately.       At the same time, we will provide the faculty development necessary to ensure inspiring teaching and active pedagogies, as well as faculty engagement and intellectual renewal. We will encourage our faculty to invest in AUP’s rising academic reputation, supporting its scholarship, professional activity, and conferences. As our faculty retires, we will restore the ranks with talented teacher-scholars deeply invested in AUP’s mission in fields appropriately supporting the evolving curriculum.

We will create a diverse portfolio of strategic partnerships with sister institutions, consortia, and governments to leverage the University’s reputation, growth, enrollments, curricular reach, and faculty development.

We will invest in renewal of our facilities, renovating our distributed urban campus in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, creating in the process dedicated student and faculty space, new and refreshed learning environments, and coherent hubs of service. We will continually upgrade the learning resources and technologies that support the work of all students, faculty, and staff.

We will continue to build on the success of the University’s 50th Anniversary to create a vibrant worldwide community of alumni who support current students’ career aspirations and participate regularly in the University’s development and capital growth. By creating a global President’s Alumni Advisory Council with annual meetings in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and a thriving virtual network of alumni worldwide, we will draw increasing numbers of alumni to join AUP’s Board of Trustees, thereby taking responsibility for leadership of the University’s future.

We will ensure the University’s sustainability by multiple means, investing in AUP’s faculty and staff and ensuring the engagement of both with AUP’s mission; delivering continuous development of our academic offerings and administrative functioning by strengthening our planning and assessment culture; creating a solid business model that rests on appropriately expanded enrollments and reduced dependence on tuition; and, resourcing the strategic plan by means of a capital campaign to provide both an appropriately renovated campus and endowment funds to support AUP’s academic and student scholarship programs.