Among Auburn University’s three principal missions is outreach, the application of university expertise beyond the traditional campus setting to the benefit of external constituents. Auburn’s outreach mission is defined by its historical designation as a land-grant university and its comprehensive base of programming across the institution. These activities are coordinated by the assistant vice president for University Outreach. They involve substantial contributions made by numerous university entities, including units in University Outreach, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and programs in the academic departments. In all, there are more than 75 outreach centers and program offices across campus, extension offices in all 67 counties statewide, and a number of outreach-related institutional partnerships nationally and globally.
There are three major forms of outreach programming at Auburn University: (1) noncredit professional continuing education, training, and academic enhancement courses; (2) expert technical assistance, consultative services, and clinical operations; and (3) community partnerships and enrichment programs open to the public. These programs address a broad array of educational, economic, agricultural, environmental, community, home, and individual development interests in the state, nationally and globally.
Auburn University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “community engaged institution,” the highest such recognition for a university’s curricular engagement and outreach partnerships. As such, Auburn stands as an exemplar among its peer institutions as an interdisciplinary source for lifelong learning, information and expert assistance, and civic engagement for the public good.
Notably, faculty have a significant involvement in the majority of outreach produced at the university. Faculty engagement in outreach improves the quality of life in Alabama and beyond, and also provides them valuable experience and insights that can inform their teaching and research. Thus, outreach is both an expression of the faculty’s disciplinary expertise and an important part of scholarly development.
Outreach activity is an integral component of faculty scholarship in consideration for promotion and tenure at Auburn University. The university recognizes engaged scholarship as the application of academic expertise to the direct benefit of external audiences in support of university and unit missions. Thus, outreach scholarship generally is assessed for the impact of the engagement with the community; its relationship to the faculty members’ approved teaching and research assignments, and its contribution to departmental goals and objectives. Faculty with extension assignments or performing outreach as part of an extension program would be assessed against both departmental goals and the extension system’s programmatic objectives. General policies related to faculty instruction, research, and outreach assignments are outlined within Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook; faculty should also refer to their departmental promotional and tenure guidelines for specific details related to the recognition of outreach scholarship in their academic assignment.
Other university policies and procedures relevant to faculty engagement and the performance of outreach include:
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Policy and Outreach Reporting Guidelines
In compliance with national standards of practice for noncredit programming, this policy provides for the uniform application of continuing education units (CEU) and central documentation of outreach activities. All noncredit continuing education and professional development designed and delivered by faculty are covered by this policy. Programs awarding CEUs for noncredit instruction must be approved in advance by the university CEU officer in the Office of Public Service. Outreach activities not carrying CEU awards also should be reported by faculty to OPS utilizing the same procedures. The complete CEU policy and reporting guidelines are available at the university’s central policy website and at the University Outreach and Office of Public Service websites.
Summer Camp and Summer Coordinating/Scheduling Policy
Faculty play a major role in organizing and hosting a wide variety of camps, clinics, workshops, and conferences each summer. This policy outlines procedures for recognition of official summer activities and coordination of summer space utilization of university recreational facilities. These guidelines specifically address residential summer programs that include participants under the age of 18 years who may remain overnight in on-campus residence halls. This policy is available at the university’s central policy website and at the University Outreach and Office of Professional and Continuing Education websites.
Human Subjects Research
As part of their scholarship, faculty may present information about their engagement in a variety of manuscripts, technical reports, and academic conferences. Outreach activities involving human subject research must be approved by the Auburn University Institutional Review Board in advance. Faculty should consult the Office of Human Subjects Research website for specific guidelines on these policies.
7.1.1 CEU Policy and Reporting Guidelines for Noncredit Instruction and Outreach Activities
Definitions, use, criteria, and guidelines for continuing education units; procedures for calculating CEU awards, outreach reporting and CEU approval
Rules and regulations for conducting summer instructional programs involving participants who are under 19 years of age or who remain overnight in on-campus residence halls