Goal 4: Exceptional and Engaged Faculty and Staff
Invest in our outstanding people to advance the university’s mission through recruitment, development, support, recognition, rewards, and retention.
Faculty and staff are core to our mission. Their success is Auburn’s success. To achieve our vision, we must recruit and retain the best and the brightest scholars and staff. We must develop and support them. And we must demonstrate how much they are valued through recognition and rewards. Through these efforts, Auburn University will become more widely recognized as a premier academic home for some of the world’s most talented faculty and staff.
Over the next five years, Auburn University is on course to increase research capacity by hiring additional faculty. This presents a rare opportunity to tightly align the skills and background of these new faculty with our mission, vision, themes, goals, and values. These new hires will be research and scholarship focused. However, we will ensure that our outstanding student experience is not diminished by this hiring initiative, which will also include selectively hiring of full-time teaching faculty to better serve our students. Hiring will be concentrated in disciplines that support our focus areas in research and teaching.
Auburn University will attract top faculty and staff through increased focus that results in recognized expertise in target disciplines. Leading faculty attract other top faculty. Methods of achieving this renown include: establishing research centers and PhD programs in emphasis areas; cluster hiring; and more endowed chairs and professorships.
Compensation and benefits will be competitive with peers and commensurate with the quality of faculty and staff being recruited. A collegial, representative and inclusive work environment is important to attracting the right talent to our university and improving diversity. Effective marketing and communications to prospective faculty and staff is essential. The following strengths are important to emphasize in recruitment: competitive benefits; an attractive campus and surrounding community; innovative academic facilities; high profile research centers; high levels of job satisfaction; academically gifted students; a high quality of life; and strong Division I athletics. However, we must increasingly consider concerns of the next generation of faculty and staff, with emphasis on collaborative work environments; spousal/partner support; and childcare/eldercare.
Auburn University will more actively encourage and reward professional growth of faculty and staff. This includes (1) a greater investment in professional development and (2) providing more opportunities for professional development. Particular focus areas include tenure and promotion processes and providing full career mentoring from onboarding through promotion to full professor. Another focus area is proper training of staff supervisors, with an emphasis on customer service, collaboration, communications, transparency, and proactivity.
A supportive environment is necessary to maximize the teaching, research, and service contributions of faculty and staff.
Auburn University is committed to a culture of shared values with an ethos that promotes integrity, encourages diversity, and inspires work. We will continue to strengthen our shared governance model and nourish a community of faculty and staff who have a deep sense of belonging to the university and pride in their connections with it. We will build a leadership capability that sets direction and expectations of staff to embrace change as needed to deliver the ambitions of the university. We will remain cognizant of the increasing need to act with deliberate speed to achieve our goals. Calculated risk-taking and a bias for action will be emphasized.
Auburn University is committed to continuously improving faculty and staff processes. Two principles are essential in the ongoing evaluation of our operations. First, we are committed to streamlining processes to increase their efficiency and effectiveness, including (1) reducing steps and approvals and (2) relaxing overly burdensome requirements. Second, we are committed to the consistent application of policies and procedures across the university. Where prudent and cost-effective, technologies will be implemented to achieve operational excellence.
The strategic plan makes research a high priority for faculty and staff. To support this priority, Auburn University will (1) make targeted investments in specific research infrastructure, as deemed necessary and (2) re-engineer research policies and processes, as needed, to make them more efficient and effective. In particular, policies, infrastructure, incentives, and resource allocation will be evaluated for potential realignment to better support the university’s objectives of more interdisciplinary research and increased innovation.
Human Resource Policies.
Auburn University is committed to continuously improving faculty and staff processes. A number of human resources policies require evaluation and revision. First, Auburn University is committed to providing a better work-life balance for employees. Second, we will provide more support for partners and spouses, particularly in the area of employment. This could include the development of a spouse/partner hiring policy consistent with current laws and university policies. Third, more emphasis will be placed on the concerns of female faculty/staff. Regardless of gender, particular attention will be paid to tuition waivers and remission; childcare; and family medical leave. Lastly, we will put increased emphasis on the needs of our staff.
Celebrating the achievements of our faculty and staff is essential. We must seize every opportunity to publicize—both within the Auburn Family and beyond— the contributions of our faculty and staff. This includes vigorously promoting our faculty expertise. Proper recognition requires key media placements and faculty training in how to spread our message of success. It also requires more effective links between college/school marketing staff and central marketing and communications.
Rewards refer to both salary and benefits. Over time and as we recruit new hires, pay should be equalized relative to our peer institutions. Employee benefits must remain competitive with our peers. As we hire new faculty and staff, guidelines for addressing market-driven adjustments for existing employees must be considered. Rewards must be more explicitly linked to behaviors we want to incent and to performances. Incentives must closely align with the priorities established by the six strategic goals.
If investment in the previous four areas—development, support, recognition, and rewards—is done effectively, retention should be high. However, a few other actions should be considered to further improve retention. This includes awarding of professorships and endowed chairs, continuing to raise the quality of incoming students, and generally enhancing the reputation of the school.
|Faculty salaries as a % of SREB Peer Group|
* The COACHE Survey is administered every 3 years and measures faculty satisfaction with regard to Auburn’s work environment and provides the ability to compare our institution’s results to those from five selected peer institutions, as well as with the aggregate results from all universities participating in the cohort. For the 2020 study, the five selected peers included the University of Arkansas, Clemson University, North Carolina State University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Virginia Tech.
|Faculty salaries as a % of SREB Peer Group||97%||98%||99%||100%|
|Faculty satisfaction (COACHE survey) *|
|Staff / A&P job satisfaction**||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|