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September brought cooler temperatures and many beautiful days to our campus. I’m always glad to see faculty and students outside enjoying the mild weather. And there is more than a break in the heat to celebrate: This month Auburn was again recognized by U.S. News & World Report for the outstanding quality of its undergraduate programs. The 2013 edition of this magazine’s annual guidebook ranked Auburn 37th among public national universities, marking the 20th year our institution has been ranked in
the top 50.
September has been a busy month in the Provost’s Office. To begin with, we reached a milestone in our reaffirmation review by the SACS Commission on Colleges by submitting the required Compliance Certification documents-over 600 pages of narrative and supporting evidence that document Auburn's compliance with the SACS principles of accreditation. I offer my sincerest thanks to the many faculty and staff members who assisted in this effort. I especially thank Drew Clark for his leadership as our institution’s accreditation liaison. Now that the initial documents have been submitted, the next steps are to submit the final version of our Quality Enhancement Plan in January and to host a team of peer evaluators in March, with a final decision on our reaffirmation to be made next December.
We held two Provost’s Open Forums this month, and I want to thank those of you who were able to attend. The first forum addressed the updating of the Campus Master Plan followed by an open discussion of the Central Classroom Facility. As you may know, the Program Requirements Committee for this much needed facility has been working diligently for over a year to determine the classroom features and space configuration that will guide the design of this facility. I was pleased that so many faculty members attended this forum. Faculty engagement in this programming is critical, and it is exciting for faculty to see how this building could help transform teaching and learning. Because this is such an important topic, a second Open Forum has been scheduled for October 8 in Foy 258 from 3:30-4:30. The topic will be potential campus site locations for the Central Classroom Facility. I encourage all of you to attend and to participate in this important meeting.
Our second September forum involved an update on the ePortfolio Project, which will be submitted to SACS in January as Auburn’s first Quality Enhancement Plan, an important and mandatory component of the SACS reaffirmation review. Over time, this project will allow our students to develop web-based portfolios that will showcase their skills and experiences acquired throughout their time at Auburn. If you were not able to attend the presentation, I encourage you to visit www.auburn.edu/qep, read the complete draft of the plan available there, and provide any comments or suggestions regarding the plan to Dr. Richard Burt, Chair of the QEP Development Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At last Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, the Board approved several items, including the University’s budget for the coming year. Although we have endured several years of reductions in our state appropriations and may face further reductions, I am pleased that we are able to provide merit salary increases for faculty and staff.
At the Board meeting, I also had an opportunity to describe our upcoming Strategic Planning process. As you know, we are in the final year of our current strategic plan. The current plan outlined 59 strategic actions that we have worked diligently to complete over the past four years. With one year of the planning period left to go, I’m pleased to report that we have completed 42 of these actions (about 71%). Now we must begin to define new priorities that will guide our efforts for the next five years. To facilitate our planning efforts, I have established a Steering Committee. However, to be successful, the planning process must involve input from all faculty groups. Thus the plan development process will include approximately 30 on-campus focus groups, in addition to several off-campus sessions. We are serious about providing ample opportunities for faculty to participate.
As always, I thank you for your good work. It is the collective efforts of faculty that enables Auburn to be recognized so widely as an institution that delivers outstanding academic programs.
Last Updated: September 27, 2012