Provost's May 2013 Message to the Faculty

Auburn University Interim Provost, Dr. Timothy R. Boosinger

Although Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, summer comes earlier than that on the Plains. Classes began on May 16, followed soon by the familiar sights and sounds of Camp War Eagle. For many of you, the summer months offer an opportunity to refresh, change gears, and focus on research projects, while others maintain your teaching and service work.

Over the past year, I have used my monthly letters to keep you updated on the University’s most important project, our next Strategic Plan. As we near the end of the plan development phase, I want to thank all of you who have engaged in this process by serving on the steering committee, joining one of the on-campus focus groups, completing the survey earlier this month, or attending last week’s open forum. I am pleased that so many faculty members have taken an active role in identifying our strategic directions. The data and feedback we have collected since last fall have highlighted unique opportunities we will maximize over the next five years. As we prepare to take the plan to the Board of Trustees for approval in June, I am confident we have identified the strategic priorities and commitments we must undertake in order to effectively support faculty as educators and scholars.

Key themes that have emerged include the need for wiser stewardship of our resources; increased investments and resources for our faculty and staff; a stronger institutional brand that clearly communicates our identity and value in instruction, scholarship, and public service; a campus that is both accessible and diverse, and a stronger role for eLearning programs, including distance education. We affirmed that we must place a strategic emphasis on both faculty and student success, in addition to providing more central support and platforms for faculty to participate in research and scholarly activities.

At our listening sessions around the state earlier this year, many of Auburn’s stakeholders indicated a desire for Auburn to strengthen our outreach, public service, and engagement programs. We have already made a significant commitment to this level of engagement through University Outreach and the Cooperative Extension System; however, it is important that we increase our recognition and encouragement of faculty outreach and outreach scholarship. As the first and largest land-grant institution in Alabama, Auburn will be expected to bring the harvest of knowledge and discovery efforts to the improvement of Alabama’s quality of life and economic well-being.  As we implement the strategic plan, we will develop opportunities for new programs and collaborations that will broaden the impact of our public engagement, instruction, and research programs.

Plans go nowhere without people to guide them. We will need everyone’s efforts, including both continuing employees and new colleagues. As you know, we recently announced that Dr. Nicholas Giordano will serve as the next dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics beginning in August. Dr. Giordano brings a proven track record of success in generating extramural funding and developing high caliber research programs. I know you will join me in welcoming him to campus.

We also continue to make progress on two other important searches. In recent weeks, we have welcomed the first two candidates for the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and we will host the final two candidates in the coming days. A full list of candidate schedules and credentials is available on the College’s dean search website. In addition, the first candidate for the University Ombuds position is scheduled to visit campus in early June. More information on the Ombuds candidates is available here. I encourage all of you to actively participate in these important processes by attending the open forums and providing your feedback.

Thank you for all you do for Auburn University!

Last Updated: May 29, 2013