Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy is to assist the University in fulfilling its vision of being a preeminent comprehensive land-grant university. Our office provides services in three distinct yet related disciplines - audit, compliance, and privacy - in support of Auburn University's three-pronged mission of teaching, research, and service.

The Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy functions in partnership with University leadership to:

  • improve the internal control system and culture;
  • improve and enhance the management of operational, financial, compliance, strategic and reputational risks;
  • enhance governance processes;
  • ensure strong stewardship and management accountability at all levels of the University.

Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 09: No 08

Proactive Risk Management Part 2

Proactive (adjective) - serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory. (

Last month we began a discussion of what proactive risk management really means. Proactive risk management has been the goal of Case in Point since we began publication. Managing risk can often get muddied and complicated by tools, techniques, and processes used, yet I believe it is less complicated than many try to make it.

We discussed the first two steps in proactive risk management last month. Step 1: Consider the Objective - What are we trying to accomplish? Step 2: Evaluate Obstacles - What could prevent success?

This month, we look at the remaining steps in the process.

Step 3: Assess the Obstacles - Thinking about what could prevent success is good, but we need to dive deeper and think about which of these obstacles could legitimately derail the successful achievement of our objective. Assessing the obstacles leads to the next step, which is to take action.

Step 4: Take Action - This simply means do something to reduce the chance that high-risk obstacles actually do get in the way of success. The action taken will depend on the nature of the obstacle and what makes the most sense from a cost and effort standpoint.

Step 5: Pay Attention - As we move down the path of achieving objectives, pay attention to what is occurring. Our attention should be on the process, system, or whatever is involved in achieving the objective. It also means paying attention to outside trends and events that can impact our success. This is where Case in Point comes in, as you can see what issues derail other institutions every month here.

We think proactive risk management makes sense and is much less complicated than most people think. We have also observed it is much better to prevent the crisis than spend money in remediation. Remediation expenses direct resources away from our primary (and noble) purpose of changing lives through teaching, research, and outreach.

If you would like any specific guidance or our help in facilitating this type of process for your area of influence, let us know. We would be happy to assist you in formally walking through these steps. Until then, we invite you to review the events occurring throughout higher education over the past month. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

(Read more of Case In Point)

Anonymous Reporting Hotline

Auburn University uses the EthicsPoint anonymous Reporting System to enhance communication and empower individuals to promote safety, security, and ethical behavior. Use this anonymous, confidential system to report situations, events or actions by individuals or groups that you believe unethical or otherwise inappropriate. Frivolous or unfounded reports do not help foster a positive workplace. This hotline service does not replace our existing reporting methods for reporting fraud, waste, abuse or other potentially illegal activities. The University continues to encourage stakeholders to report concerns or suspected violations to their supervisor or other campus entities as appropriate. If you are uncertain if a situation violates University policy, is illegal or constitutes harassment or discrimination, you may use EthicsPoint to obtain clarification. We would much rather have you ask questions than let potential problems go unchecked. However, EthicsPoint should not be used for immediate threats to life or property. If the situation presents an immediate threat to life or property call emergency -- 911

Last Updated: October 31, 2016