Auburn University
Auburn University
Students
Prospective Students
Employees
Alumni
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Auburn University
 

SWOT ASSESSMENT

 

STRENGTHS

  • Big-school, big-time sports, small-town campus near Atlanta attractive to many students

  • Academic laurels in select undergraduate programs (e.g., architecture, engineering) and graduate programs (e.g., fisheries, industrial and landscape design)

  • Research strengths in select engineering and agri-science areas

  • Solid "student retention value-added" and "supportive campus environment" measures

  • Sound financial management and great progress with "It Begins at Auburn"

  • Large alumni base, strong Auburn spirit

WEAKNESSES

  • AU trails nearby states' best universities in academics

  • Undergraduate education likely does not make students as competitive for the twenty-first century as possible

  • Uncompetitive on key measures in most research areas

  • Size and caliber of graduate programs overall not competitive

  • Under-resourced: declining real state appropriations, comparatively low endowment and alumni
    giving

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Aggressively market strong undergraduate programs, and elevate and promote the Honors College

  • Renew emphasis on teaching and learning for the current profile of AU undergraduates (rather than chasing admissions-based rankings)

  • Focus research in a few areas of natural strength and advantage

  • Selectively grow graduate education, consistent with overall mission

  • Develop programs to attract and retain the increasing number of Hispanic high-school graduates

  • Rationalize program offerings to moderate expense growth and gain critical mass

  • Integrate sustainability across the campus and curriculum

  • Harness technology thoughtfully to improve quality and extend reach, while containing costs

  • Continue to strengthen alumni and friends' financial support

THREATS


  • Demographic trends neutral for student enrollment

  • Dependence on Georgia for students paying out-of-state tuition

  • Potential challenge if Alabama appropriations do not keep pace with AU expense increases and if resultant tuition hikes meet market resistance

  • Value proposition could erode if students, parents, or the state emphasize gaining competitive skills
    - unless AU demonstrates stronger value-added

  • U of A's recruitment of high achievers could reduce AU’s market share and diminish its reputation

  • Faculty retirement wave is creating a recruitment challenge, especially in professional schools

  • Globalization leads to loss of Asian and other foreign graduate students

  • Lack of direction for graduate programs could undermine undergraduate teaching and research missions

  • Technology developments create opportunities for fast-moving competitors