2013-2018 Strategic Plan Auburn University

2013-2018 Strategic Plan

Priority 4: Enhance Public Engagement

A group photo of students with Jason Dufner that says, 'This is Connection to our Public.'


Auburn's Outreach and Extension activities provide a valuable resource to Alabama. Increasing our community partnerships will connect the priorities of the state with the capacity of our campus. We will conduct ongoing needs assessments with Alabama's citizens to identify opportunities to develop new partnerships both within the university and across the state. Key areas of emphasis will include improving the health and wellness of our citizens, increasing service opportunities for Auburn students, delivering research-based educational programming relevant to community needs, and developing opportunities for non-credit educational programs that will broaden our impact.

In addition, we will increase our collaborations with other land-grant institutions within Alabama to create positive interactions among our academic and research programs and address the broader educational, economic, quality of life, and wellness needs of our citizens.

A photo of three children in Bolivia.

"Our students are introducing the science and technology in a way that meshes with what the local people are already doing," said Steve Duke, team leader for the Quesimpuco, Bolivia, engineering project and professor of chemical engineering. "We have tried to listen to the needs and requests of the people of the village and engineer solutions to their challenges." One of those challenges is irrigating the crops that struggle to grow on the terraced, rocky sides of the mountains. Over multiple visits to the village, Auburn students have been creating a system that will employ a storage tank to collect water from a nearby waterfall. The water then will be distributed to the crops at the appropriate flow rate.

Strategic Goals

Strategic Goals

7. The university will increase its educational programs for Alabama residents across their lifespan, honoring its land-grant role as a campus without borders. We will enlarge our programs for the state's young people and extend our services to communities and working adults.

  • A.Market Outreach and Extension programs to alumni, supporting their lifelong learning and professional education.
  • B. Engage Auburn students in public service programs as undergraduates, and make it possible for them to continue this engagement as alumni.
  • C. Deliver Outreach and Extension programs to Alabama residents to enhance their work force readiness, economy, wellness, and quality of life.
Two people standing with survey equipment on a lawn.

Graduate students in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction have gained experience using the T-LiDAR equipment. As part of graduate student projects, Aderholdt Professor Paul Holley oversaw a team of students using the scanner in the Cordova, Ala., community, which was devastated by the tornado outbreak in April 2011. Using the scanner, students were able to accurately capture an image of the downtown area helped them strategize a rebuilding effort.

Strategic Commitments

Strategic Commitments

A. Enhance local economic and leadership development in communities across the state and beyond.

  1. Build upon existing programs to improve workforce readiness, particularly in underserved communities.
  2. Strengthen partnerships with other land-grant institutions, including Tuskegee and Alabama A&M universities, to develop new economic and educational programs that will benefit Auburn University, the state of Alabama and the world.

B. Enhance the quality of life for Alabama's citizens by delivering programs to improve health and wellness.

  1. Develop stronger connections between the health sciences initiatives and the academic units to improve the health and wellness of citizens throughout Alabama, particularly in underserved communities.
  2. Engage Alabama's K-12 and community college system to enhance the state's quality of life and economic vitality, with special attention to underserved populations in the Black Belt counties and in Hispanic communities.

C. Increase recognition for Outreach and Extension scholarship in Auburn's promotion and tenure process and academic culture.

  1. Enhance Outreach and Extension programs to create stronger synergies with academic programs and to expand student opportunities for service learning and volunteerism.
  2. Evaluate and improve the way in which Auburn administers its Outreach and Extension continuing education programs.
A group of students with an unfinished house behind them.

Auburn University and University of Alabama students spent their annual 2012 spring break working together as part of the second House United project, assisting with the construction of two Habitat for Humanity homes. Students were in Baldwin County, Ala., from March 11 through 17 to take part in the project. Together, the schools initiated the program with Habitat for Humanity in 2011 to assist citizens of the state.

Ralph Foster, director of public service in Auburn University Outreach, led the effort to discuss how the university and Habitat could collaborate in new ways. Auburn students already actively participate in Habitat projects all over the country, but wanted to expand their efforts to impact as many Alabama residents as possible. Foster's office reached out to colleagues at the University of Alabama Community Service Center to see how they could work together, resulting in the formation of House United.

Additional Insight

The sign of the Auburn Research Park.

The goal of Fisheries' work in Uganda has been to jump-start commercial aquaculture through development of model fish farms for farmer-to-farmer technology transfer. The project builds a sustainable aquaculture industry from the ground up on proven, feed-based technologies and bestmanagement practices for viable commercial production of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and clarias catfish (Clarias gariepinus).

A graphic that says, 'Auburn was listed with distinction on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which annually highlights the meaningful and measurable outcomes of the role universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.

Additional Insight2

A graphic that says, 'Auburn University was selected for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognizing Auburn's commitment to community partnership and public service through its mission of outreach. The classification is the most significant recognition in higher education for a university's total outreach body of work in the community.'

Four students leaning on a rail.

Marian Royston's small-town upbringing helped fuel her strong sense of community and desire to combine traditional ways of life with new ideas to support rural communities. She is taking those lessons learned from life in Roanoke, Ala., and traveling to Northern Ireland in 2013 as one of only 12 U.S. students selected for a prestigious Mitchell Scholarship.

As Auburn's first recipient, Royston will pursue a master's degree in leadership for sustainable rural development at Queens University of Belfast. The scholarship program, named to honor former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, selects students for their scholarship, leadership and commitment to community and public service.

Through her involvement in the College of Liberal Arts, Royston mentors young people with the Macon Youth Development Initiative in Macon County, Ala. She has also participated in the Appalachian Community Development Alternative Spring Break, in which she helped transcribe mountain dialect for an oral history project. During summer of 2012, she was a Living Democracy Fellow in Hobson City, Alabama's first African-American municipality.

Pictured: Marian Royston (second from left) with the Living Democracy fellows of 2012.

Last updated: 11/17/2016