Cost appointed assistant vice president in Auburn University’s Division of University Outreach

Published: May 11, 2021

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Hollie C. Cost has been named assistant vice president for University Outreach and Public Service in Auburn's division of University Outreach. Cost was recommended by a search committee after a national search. Cost, who served as professor of special education and head of the Service-Learning program at the University of Montevallo, as well as two terms as mayor of the city of Montevallo and two terms as a Montevallo city council member, will assume the role of assistant vice president in June.

“Hollie Cost is a highly respected scholar, university administrator and public official who brings together extensive expertise, insight and leadership skills for promoting the community engagement and outreach mission of the university,” said Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach. “She has an outstanding record as an educator and engaged scholar, combined with a very successful tenure as mayor, contributing to her dynamic base of experience in developing university and community collaborative initiatives. I’m looking forward to Dr. Cost joining our University Outreach team and bringing her executive and leadership skills to her new role as assistant vice president.”

A lifelong Alabamian, Cost is a three-time Auburn graduate with a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in special education and a doctorate in rehabilitation and special education-behavioral disorders. Before her position at the University of Montevallo, Cost worked in the Auburn area in mental health and special education roles in the Lee County school system, East Alabama Mental Health and Lee County Youth Development Center, at Auburn University as a graduate teaching and research assistant and assistant director of the Summer Clinic program and later as assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. At the University of Montevallo, Cost was professor of special education and responsible for program coordination, assessment and accreditation activities in the department. During her tenure, she launched the university’s Service-Learning Program and developed two major civic engagement initiatives, Falcon Scholars in Action, a community outreach program with Shelby County non-profit agencies engaging university students and the Montevallo Connection initiative which promoted collaboration between the university and the city’s public schools.

Cost’s community engagement and advocacy extended beyond campus to civic leadership, in which she served for more than 16 years as an elected Montevallo city council member and mayor. In her two terms as mayor, she was responsible for all municipal operations including budget management, direct supervision of ten department heads, infrastructure maintenance and improvements, and overall promotion of civic engagement, social equity and inclusivity for citizens. During her administration she initiated a Students’ Institute, Junior City Council and a comprehensive recycling program among several other city-wide initiatives.

A graduate of Leadership Alabama and Leadership Shelby County, Cost has received a number of educational, municipal and civic engagement certifications from the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama League of Municipalities and Auburn's Community and Civic Engagement Imagining America Institute. She has a comprehensive record of disciplinary research, grant acquisition, publication and presentation across her special education, civic engagement and community development dossier. Among her many notable scholarly and public recognitions, Cost was named a Kettering Foundation Research Fellow, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Humanitarian of the Year, received the Alabama Main Street Hero Award, Gulf-South Summit Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration Award and Auburn's Academy for Civic Professionalism Alumni Award.  She has been active in community service at both the local and state level including board service with the Shelby County Chamber, Alabama Environmental Commission, Alabama League of Municipalities, Montevallo Sister City Commission and many other initiatives.

As assistant vice president for University Outreach and Public Service, Cost will have responsibilities for a number of administrative, strategic and programmatic assignments in the division, including development of service-learning and community engagement initiatives, maintenance of Auburn’s Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification and oversight of the Office of Public Service which promotes faculty, student and staff engagement through community and institutional partnerships.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a dynamic team committed to outreach across Alabama and beyond,” said Cost. “I’m looking forward to forging even deeper connections between the university and the community to elevate opportunities for all Alabamians and broaden the civic horizons of our students.”