2013-2018 Strategic Plan Auburn University

2013-2018 Strategic Plan

Priority 2: Support Faculty Excellence and Strengthen Auburn's Reputation

A lady holding a sign that says, 'This is Faculty Vitality and Productivity'


Auburn's academic achievements depend upon the expertise, engagement, and success of the faculty. Unlike many other universities, Auburn is fortunate to have a faculty made up of full-time professors who hold the terminal degree in their disciplines and who have made deep investments in our academic community.

It is essential that we preserve and enhance faculty vitality. Engaged faculty strengthen our university's reputation and broaden its impact in all areas of our mission. The vitality of our faculty can best be enhanced by building a strong intellectual community that depends on the continually advancing expertise of each faculty member. To enhance that community during the next five years, we will place a key emphasis on attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse faculty committed to increasing Auburn's competitiveness and enhancing our academic reputation.

In our efforts to strengthen, refresh, and diversify our faculty, Auburn will develop the necessary resources to address salary compression issues and offer regionally competitive salaries for faculty. We will continue to enrich opportunities to support faculty at various stages of their work-life, including recruitment, promotion and tenure, rewards and recognition, and provide training for faculty at all stages of their careers. In addition, we will develop the resources necessary to provide stronger professional development opportunities for all faculty, including those on non-tenure track appointments.

Our principal strategic investment in faculty success over the next five years will be to enhance faculty vitality. The university will increase its scholarly productivity and develop significant opportunities for increased collaboration and multidisciplinary activity.

We will identify expectations for the productivity of our faculty in research and creative work, and we will support individual faculty members by taking into account their unique strengths and contributions.

We will apply the yardstick of best practices to our academic work environment for faculty, and we will adopt new policies designed to sustain the health of that working environment.

A photo of a students smiling.

Jamaica native Alecia Douglas, assistant professor in the Hotel and Restaurant Management program in the College of Human Sciences, now leads the Bahamian Touristscape study abroad program designed to provide students with an awareness of the issues facing small state tourism destinations and their ability to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in today's dynamic global business environment. Students experience firsthand how tourism impacts people, communities, and nations and assume the role of “creative consumers” in this tourism experience.

Strategic Goals

Strategic Goals

4. The university will increase productivity by supporting faculty vitality and ongoing faculty development. We will create an even stronger environment for academic work and will expect that work to flourish in teaching, discovery, application, and public service.

  • A. Define vitality as it relates to Auburn faculty, construct a faculty vitality framework with appropriate metrics, and link faculty evaluations to this framework.

  • B. Devise incentives for outstanding faculty accomplishments, including scholarly achievement, innovative teaching, outstanding public engagement, and service to the institution, the public, or the learned professions.

Elizabeth Guertal points to the left with a pen.
Elizabeth Guertal, an Alumni Professor in the College of Agriculture, is a recipient of the Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Auburn University Alumni Award for Teaching. Her research centers on environmental turfgrass management in the area of fertilizer management and the environmental consequences of applied fertilizer.

Strategic Commitments

Strategic Commitments

A. Recruit and retain the best faculty to become an institution of first choice for academic work.

  1. Adopt or strengthen practices proven tomaintain a satisfied and productive faculty workforce.
  2. Increase salary and benefit packages to be closer to regional averages for flagship public universities.
  3. Ensure that the standards used in the hiring, assignment, and promotion of faculty support excellence in all aspects of the university's mission.
  4. Establish and implement teaching loads based on national standards for the disciplines represented at Auburn.
  5. Continue to increase the number of jointappointments.
  6. Maintain high ratings for Auburn as an academic workplace.
  7. Identify opportunities to enhance faculty success at all phases, including mid- and late-career faculty.

B. Strengthen university-wide professional development programs for faculty.

  1. Identify and enhance viable programs for mentoring and professional development through the Biggio Center.
  2. Develop required training programs for faculty transitioning into academic leadership roles.

C. Cultivate an exciting intellectual environment by increasing opportunities for greater faculty dialogue and engagement.

  1. Foster the intellectual community through regular campus conferences, workshops, and presentations to support interdisciplinary collaboration and focus on problems that cut across many academic areas.

D. Enhance faculty diversity.

  1. Assess and revise current recruitment policies and practices to develop more diverse candidate pools.
  2. Review the effectiveness of current diversity initiatives and develop an updated diversity plan that incorporates diversity standards in all aspects of the institution's culture.

E. Improve support for non-tenure track faculty.

  1. Examine the potential to increase Auburn's responsiveness through increased recruitment of talented non-tenure track faculty.
  2. Review the non-tenure track faculty compensation, benefits, and employment conditions to ensure they are appropriate and competitive.
  3. Develop academically sound performance incentives for non-tenure track faculty, including reward and recognition.

Additional Insight

Faculty Profile

Additional Insight2

Bruce Smith with a grayhound.

Dr. Bruce Smith serves as the director of the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer. To improve both human and animal health, the initiative is building on existing strengths in nanotherapeutics, nanomedicine, cancer genetics, gene targeting and the capacity to develop translational models.

A graphic showing 1,368 instructional faculty members at Auburn.
Last updated: 11/16/2016