2019-2024 Strategic Plan

Goal 3: Impactful Service

Expand our land-grant and service capabilities to foster greater innovation and engagement that enhances the quality of life and economic development in Alabama and beyond.

Impactful service is a key element of our land-grant mission that leverages the other two mission elements: an elevated student experience and transformative research. Auburn University must engage our students, graduates, faculty, and partners to transform the fruits of our research and scholarship into transformational products, methods, and services that meet our communities’ most pressing needs and that take the state of Alabama to new heights.

Auburn University’s service function is primarily accomplished through Extension and Outreach, which are two distinct entities—separately funded and staffed. They distribute our innovations and give us a presence in every county. Outreach provides a broad and diverse range of educational services and programs across the state and is often a first provider of information and assistance to the underserved and disadvantaged. Extension has a long legacy of agricultural advising, urban and rural community service, and 4-H programs throughout Alabama, providing expertise and education to all counties in Alabama through county, regional, and state staffing.

Service Objectives.
Three overarching objectives have been defined to increase Auburn University’s service impact:

  • First Resource.
    We will be recognized by the State as the first resource for providing practical and innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental issues that allow Auburn to exploit the talents of our students and faculty. We shall extend our reach beyond traditional areas—for example, into manufacturing assistance, workforce development, business incubation and acceleration, and technology transfer.
  • Expanded Educational Reach.
    We will increase access to educational opportunities and lifelong learning across the State, especially in underserved communities. By expanding Auburn’s capacity to assist individuals and communities, we are encouraging innovation and creating new opportunities that elevate our university-community partnerships. Online education, enabled by technology, will be a key thrust of our efforts to reach more citizens. We will also better leverage existing assets and capabilities, such as Extension offices in all Alabama counties, continuing education programs, and community partnerships.
  • Economic Development.
    We will strengthen our engagement with both the public and private sectors in the State of Alabama to provide increased workforce development and economic growth. Working together, we will develop new technologies that create and retain well-paying jobs in Alabama.


Service Objectives Achievement.
Achieving the three service objectives entails several actions.

First, we will more clearly define Auburn University’s service functions. This includes (1) better definition of the relationship between Outreach and Extension and (2) more differentiation of their respective roles.

Second, we will promote greater awareness of Outreach and Extension among various stakeholder groups. The importance of community engagement and civic engagement as societal functions must be conveyed, including clear delineation of the roles of Outreach and Extension in this engagement. Stakeholders must better understand that both Outreach and Extension have expanded far beyond their traditional scope of service.

Third, we will better demonstrate the value created by Outreach and Extension. This requires developing a clear, concise, and compelling set of metrics, setting targets for these metrics, and tracking and reporting progress against these targets.

Fourth, we will better communicate the value provided to the community through Auburn University’s service programs.

Fifth, we will more strongly push toward self-sustainment, including more revenue generation from programs and increased external fund-raising.

Data Sheet
Last updated: October 25, 2019