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As we close out July, I trust you have all had a rewarding summer. It always seems as though as soon as we adjust to the pace of summer, it’s time to usher in another fall semester. If your summer plans still include taking a vacation, relaxing between semesters, or preparing your courses for fall, I hope you are able to do so in the coming weeks.
As summer draws to a close, I can report on several exciting changes and additions to our institution. Following another successful summer of Camp War Eagle, our campus will welcome approximately 3,800 new freshmen this fall. I encourage each of you to help me officially welcome our new students at Fall Convocation on August 15 at 3:00 in the Auburn Arena.
Another change is old and new at once: the reinvention of Foy Ballroom as a 400+ seat lecture auditorium this fall. The Foy Ballroom renovation marks the first of several projects to convert much of the unused space in Foy Hall into programs that will support the success of our students. Additional renovations include completion of a new instructional computer lab, the addition of a Student Veterans Resource Center, and the creation of additional study space for our students. I am personally pleased to see our students making use of Foy once again, and I thank the Facilities staff for making this possible.
Even more than our efforts to enhance our academic spaces, I want to share with you some ongoing efforts the Provost’s Office is engaged in to enhance the success of our faculty and students. As I stated last month, faculty and student success will be at the forefront of our institution’s next strategic plan. Beginning this fall, President Gogue and I will begin visiting departments to discuss how we can build programs that will better support the efforts of our faculty and encourage your success.
My office has already initiated a similar dialogue with many of our students and with colleagues in Student Affairs to identify short- and long-term goals that will bring a focus on student success into all aspects of the university. One area we are currently highlighting involves academic advising. Auburn University is fortunate to have dedicated and hardworking professional advisors. Right now, though, these advisors often work in isolation from each other. After reviewing many of our decentralized practices, my office will be working with the colleges and schools to develop a campus-wide advising strategy that underscores standardization and consistency. Regular meetings with SGA leaders have emphasized the need for a central advising resource to assist students with questions that don’t necessarily require an appointment with a professional advisor. I’m pleased to report that we are addressing this need and will be establishing a satellite advising office in RBD Library with evening hours this fall to assist students with general advising questions. This is one of many advising strategies my office will be facilitating in the coming months.
As I’m sure many of you read in last week’s Plainsman, this month the SGA surveyed our students to assess the their interest in a Fall Break. I will be seeking feedback from faculty on this issue as well through a similar survey in the coming weeks. Whether or not Auburn implements a Fall Break, I think it’s important to commend our student leaders for their initiative and cooperation. These students have taken an idea and are working through the shared governance process with careful thought and attention to securing input from all stakeholders.
As we look ahead to fall semester, I encourage all of you to attend the open forums and share your thoughts and suggestions. The next Provost Open Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, September 11 at 2:00 in Foy 258. The topic for the forum will be the Central Classroom Facility. As we continue to make progress towards the development of the Central Classroom Facility, I hope each of you will attend the forum and provide your feedback on this important project.
Again, I thank you for all you do in support of Auburn University!
Last Updated: July, 2012