Interim Provost's January Faculty Update

To:  Auburn University Faculty

From:  Timothy R. Boosinger, Interim Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs

Subject:  January Faculty Message

As we settle into the routines of spring semester, I find there is a wonderful energy that surrounds our campus as we anticipate several exciting learning opportunities for our students. 

Among the many planned speakers and campus events this semester, I would like to highlight two individuals who will be visiting our campus in collaboration with our Common Book Program Auburn Connects!  The first, Dr. Matthew L. Goodwin from Weill Cornell Medical College, will be on campus Tuesday, March 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Science Center Auditorium.  During his talk, “Medicine, Poverty, and Haiti: Lessons from Abroad”, Dr. Goodwin will discuss his experiences living and working in various clinics in Haiti while highlighting larger issues related to developing countries and health care.

The second speaker, Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, will be visiting our campus in early April as part of Auburn’s first Research Week initiative.  I invite you all to attend Mr. Kidder’s talk on April 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Auburn Arena where he will share his experiences of working alongside Dr. Paul Farmer and discuss the ongoing health crises faced by many countries around the world.  There will be many other events associated with Research Week, all of which support our institution’s commitment to fostering innovative research among our undergraduates by engaging them in scholarly experiences that prepare them to become tomorrow’s leaders.  You will undoubtedly be receiving more information about Research Week in the coming months, and I encourage you to show your support through participating in the unique events that are planned. 

While many of us are already at work on several new spring initiatives, I want to thank all of you for your support as we transitioned to the online student evaluation system last semester.  With nearly 70% of the student evaluations completed, I am pleased to report that our level of participation exceeded that of many of our peer institutions that utilize the same program.  Despite last semester’s success, we remain committed to continuously encouraging our students to complete their evaluations during the scheduled time.  The AU eValuate Implementation Committee has provided the Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee with a list of recommendations as we move towards completing the online evaluation process again this semester.

As many of you know, we continue to move forward with the search for the next dean of the College of Engineering.  This month, members of the search committee conducted several airport interviews and have narrowed the field of candidates down to four individuals who will be invited for campus interviews towards the end of February.  I encourage all of you to attend the open forums for each candidate and support the search process by completing the evaluations.   

Early next month I plan to host a spring retreat with the deans to openly discussing many of the issues that impact the colleges and schools such as funding, enrollment, the academic experience, and generating new sources of revenue.  I am pleased to say that all of our deans have demonstrated a strong commitment to exploring new ways of allocating resources to provide our faculty with as much support as possible.  I am confident the retreat will result in several positive action steps for our institution.

The Provost’s Office will resume open forums in February.  The next forum will be held on Tuesday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. in Langdon Hall Auditorium.   Dan King, Assistant Vice President for Facilities, will lead a discussion on the Facility Management Master Plan and Key Project Updates.  I invite and encourage all of you to attend.

As always, I thank you for all you do as we look forward to a productive semester.   

Last Updated: January 2012