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As the first full week of classes concludes, I trust your semester is off to a great start. I am always pleased to see our campus spring back to life with the return of our students and faculty. I hope the summer offered you an opportunity to enjoy time away and that you returned to campus refreshed and ready to begin a new academic year.
Each fall, Auburn is enriched by the addition of new faculty members. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to meet several of our newest faculty members during Faculty Orientation. They bring outstanding academic backgrounds and diverse experiences to our common goals. In addition, with nearly 1,500 new graduate and professional students this Fall, I am confident that the contributions of these individuals will only continue to strengthen Auburn’s existing efforts in all aspects of our mission.
As you know, a part of the Strategic Plan calls for new approaches to pedagogy and student learning. This semester we launched Auburn’s first Active Learning Classroom in Haley Center. The classroom allows students and faculty to work together in a space carefully designed to foster collaborative learning and student engagement. Designed by a team of faculty, students, instructional designers and IT specialists, the room offers clustered seating, glass boards along the walls, and a screen at each table for collaboration and sharing. Because the room also provides network access for laptops, tablets and other devices, students can use their own technology and make instant virtual connections to software applications needed for specific courses. If you are interested in learning more about this classroom, please contact Dr. Wiebke Kuhn, at 844-2056.
This month I convened an academic retreat for all of the Deans and academic Department Chairs and Heads. The opportunity to bring our academic leaders together for two days was an invaluable experience. We heard presentations and exchanged constructive ideas on topics ranging from strategic goals and budget enhancement to resource allocation and enrollment opportunities. The two-day retreat will enable our academic units to have greater collaboration and improved communication, both of which are essential to our success.
Earlier this month, the internal search for the position of Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Research was announced in AU Daily. The position, currently held by Dr. Carl Pinkert, is anticipated to be a full-time, 12 month appointment beginning in October. This is an extremely important position for Auburn as this individual will serve as a liaison between my office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the colleges and schools, and various other key units. Interested faculty at the rank of tenured full professor should apply, and candidates should also hold a record of research and scholarly achievement commensurate with the faculty rank. Additional information is regarding the position is available on the Provost’s website.
I’m pleased to extend an official welcome to a few new members of our administration, beginning with our two newest deans: Dr. Joe Aistrup and Dr. Nick Giordano. Beginning next week, Dr. Aistrup will join Auburn as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts after serving as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University. Dr. Giordano began serving as Dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics earlier this month, after serving as the head of the Department of Physics at Purdue University.
We also welcome Auburn’s new Ombudsperson, Mr. Kevin Coonrod. As you know, the Ombuds office remains a valuable resource for our faculty, staff, and students to discuss their academic and workplace issues and concerns. With his extensive experience in conflict resolution and mediation, I am confident Kevin is an excellent addition to our campus.
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend! As always, thank you for all you do for Auburn University.
Last Updated: August, 2013