2019-2024 Strategic Plan

Themes

Auburn University’s strategic plan incorporates seven themes that apply to all of our goals. They address foundational elements that are essential to accomplishing our mission and achieving our vision.

Auburn Spirit.

The last line of The Auburn Creed states “I believe in Auburn and I love it.” This statement captures the Auburn Spirit. Auburn University is a special and welcoming place, offering opportunity and growth to those who choose it. To experience Auburn is to love it. That affinity for Auburn University is based on a belief in hard work; education; honesty; a sound mind, body, and spirit; obedience to law; the human touch; and patriotism. These beliefs are integral to the Auburn Spirit. An important aim of the strategic plan is to integrate these beliefs into the strategic plan to ensure that the university’s values are transmitted far beyond campus and to future generations of Auburn University’s students. A later section of the strategic plan provides The Auburn Creed and briefly describes its history and importance to the university.

Organizational Culture.

Auburn University’s organizational culture is changing to better align with the university’s strategic goals. Four areas of emphasis are:

Collaboration.

Our internal focus is on collaboration, partnering, and networking, not on competition. Solving society’s most complex problems requires reaching across or dissolving (sometimes artificial) intra-organizational boundaries.

Urgency and Nimbleness.

The pace of change in higher education continues to increase. To shape and lead this change, Auburn University is adopting a heightened sense of urgency and becoming nimbler. Leadership requires we act with deliberate speed and improve our ability to anticipate change and react quickly to the challenges and needs of higher education.

Bold Action.

We encourage faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni to continually seek new and more innovative means to accomplish our mission and vision. We are positioning ourselves for new opportunities by venturing into new areas and working with new partners. Availing ourselves to engage in impactful new opportunities may involve taking measured risks.

Focus.

Auburn will allocate resources to areas that best align with the achievement of our strategic goals and that most benefit our stakeholders.

Inclusion and Diversity.

Auburn University seeks to better reflect the diversity in the world beyond our campus. Better decisions are made when alternative perspectives are heard. Accordingly, inclusion and diversity are essential to our success. Diversity at Auburn University is broadly defined as encompassing the whole of human experience and includes such qualities as race, gender, ethnicity, physical ability, nationality, age, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, and veteran status. These and other socially and historically important attributes reflect the complexity of our increasingly diverse state and national population. Inclusion is essential to achieving and maintaining diversity. Inclusion means creating a welcoming environment—for example, practicing mutual helpfulness and kindness, and ensuring all individuals feel valued—for all of our constituents, regardless of their specific human qualities. An accepting environment is essential to attracting and retaining outstanding and diverse students, staff, and faculty.

Partnerships.

Auburn University is becoming a premier practitioner of partner engagement. Maximizing our impact in instruction, research, and service is accomplished through deep and long-lasting partnerships that amplify and extend the positive societal change we seek. In all endeavors, we strive to be valuable partners and work closely with government, business, interest-based organizations, community colleges, high schools, vendors, and other universities. Our partnerships are characterized by a tight alignment of objectives and the ability to leverage our respective capabilities in order to maximize mutual benefits to Auburn and its partners.

Technology.

Another amplifier of Auburn University’s impact and reach is technology. Technology connects all activities at Auburn University. From cybersecurity to online education to the processing of grant applications, flexible and powerful technology are required for a modern and effectual university. It is an important element and key enabler of innovation and a significant driver of efficiency and effectiveness. In everything we do, we seek opportunities to leverage technology. We must ensure that our technological applications are well-focused, adaptable, cost-effective, and, where appropriate, centralized. And we are careful that technology does not reduce, but rather reinforces, the human touch that is integral to the Auburn Experience.

Marketing and Communications.

Auburn University has a great story to tell, and we are committed to conveying that story better, to more people, and beyond the Auburn Family. Our focus is on elevating our national and international visibility. We strive for recognition for our commitment to excellence, our tremendous capabilities, and our outstanding accomplishments. We must rise in meaningful metrics of university success. Compelling articulation of our value proposition must be a central element of every important endeavor we undertake. Building a strong overarching brand is critical; however, it is equally important that we adapt and translate our messaging to diverse audiences.

Accountability and Measurability.

The strategic plan is not just a plan; it is also a pledge to achieve the goals articulated in the plan. In all commitments we make to our stakeholders, we hold ourselves accountable. Every major program and initiative must be accompanied by a sound rationale and tangible set of success indicators. We will develop metrics and set measurable and aggressive targets for those metrics. And we will regularly track our progress against those targets.

Last updated: October 25, 2019