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I am pleased to welcome you all back and I offer a special welcome to the new faculty who joined our campus this fall. The beginning of a new academic year is always an exciting time at Auburn University. Watching our faculty and students unite in the spirit of inquiry and discovery always gives me a tremendous sense of pride in the work we do as scholars and educators.
This fall marks the beginning of my second year serving as your Provost. As part of my continued efforts to engage in a constructive dialogue with faculty, I will continue to use these monthly letters as one way of sharing with you the ongoing activities directed at improving our programs and services.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of meeting many of our new faculty and students during our New Faculty Orientation and Welcome Week activities. This fall we welcomed over 75 new faculty members, most of whom are tenure-track, approximately 3,850 new freshmen, 1,000 transfer students, and nearly 900 new graduate and professional students. I know that you will join me in welcoming these new members to the Auburn Family.
This summer, I had the opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments during the last academic year. With so much completed, a key question becomes how we will continue to build on these accomplishments over the course of the next 12 months. This fall marks the beginning of the final year of our current Strategic Plan. While I am pleased that we have met (and in a number of cases surpassed) many of the strategic priorities outlined in the plan, there are some priorities that will remain a part of our institution’s long-term goals.
Therefore, we will begin a formal planning process this fall that will shape Auburn’s next Strategic Plan. A vital part of this process involves engaging all of our university’s stakeholders, especially faculty, in a dialogue that identifies the opportunities and challenges we face as we continue to advance our instructional, research, and outreach missions. In this effort, President Gogue and I will begin a series of visits with departments in the coming weeks where we anticipate many productive discussions regarding new initiatives and goals for the institution. We will also continue to use assessment data to shape many of our strategic priorities.
My thanks to the faculty who responded to the Senate Administrator surveys this past spring. I received the results of the surveys for all my direct reports, including the deans, and used them in my annual reviews. I encourage all of you to complete these surveys again in spring 2013. With greater faculty participation, the surveys will be even more valuable.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the signing ceremony that will bring a branch campus of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) to the Auburn Research Park. As we continue to see an increasing global demand for health care providers, particularly primary care physicians, I am confident this partnership between VCOM and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation will provide quality programs for students seeking to treat patients in our rural and medically-underserved areas throughout the state.
Finally, in case you have not seen it yet, the Columbia Missourian recently posted a wonderful story about Auburn as part of its series highlighting different SEC institutions. I encourage you to visit the site and read their unique perspective about our institution’s traditions, spirit, and people.
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend! As always, thank you for all you do for Auburn University.
Last Updated: August 31, 2012