Auburn University Strategic Plan

Priority 1: Elevating Academics
The Auburn University System will elevate undergraduate education and enrich the undergraduate experience.

Initiative 3: Raise Auburn's position in academic rankings.

GOAL 12: Goal 12. Auburn University continues to identify ways of increasing its four and six-year graduation rates.

"Graduation rates at the Auburn campus should be in the top 25 percent of land-grant universities. Graduation rates at the Montgomery campus should increase 5 percent during the life of the strategic plan for that campus.

In striving to improve our graduation rates, we will develop and implement programs specifically targeted to student retention, beginning with freshmen."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • The improved Graduation Rate Task Force recommended that students take an average of 15 hours per semester.  Following tuition restructuring, faculty and advisors still encourage students to take more hours in the summer.

Auburn University Six-year graduation rates

Table 1: Fall 1996-2005 New Freshmen Cohorts

  • In addition, the Office of Distance Learning is developing more distance course offerings for students to take in the summer, particularly those students who normally transfer Core Courses during the summer from other institutions.
  • Auburn University continues to identify strategies for increasing graduation rates through better advising, use of summer schedule, and class loads taken; as part of the Enrollment Management Council, a University Advising Council has been established to address advising issues, including mid-term grades and other retention and graduation-related topics.
  • The Improved Graduation Rate Task Force recommended that students take an average of 15 hours per semester; Academic Advisors are encouraged to remind students to register for a full 15 -18 hour load and to consider summer classes, including distance education, to reduce the number of semesters it takes to complete their course of study.
GOAL 13: Auburn University has completed the primary research needed to establish standards based on pedagogy and discipline to determine optimum class sizes.

"We will commit to specific goals for reducing class size, and we will design and implement approaches for achieving those goals."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • Auburn University has established standards based on pedagogy and discipline to determine optimum class sizes to improve graduation rates.
  • An Auburn University study was published in the journal Research on Higher Education that examined the impact of class size by discipline on student performance.  Implications from the study indicate that, generally, increasing class size has a negative effect on students' grades, most substantially affecting the chances of earning an "A." However, this effect is most pronounced when students are added to small classes and diminishes as class size increases. Thus, adding more students to an already large class has a minimal effect on grades. The effect of class size on grades is strongest in Engineering, Biology, and Social Science.
GOAL 14: Auburn University has welcomed several international dignitaries and consuls general to campus in an effort to raise the international profile of the university.

"Each campus expects to recruit two outstanding faculty members with national reputations and research records each year to serve as visiting distinguished professors. In addition, the campuses will develop a program that will consistently place in the classroom well-known and distinguished retired executives from various fields."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • Two members of the National Academy of Engineering joined Auburn University during 2008-2009.
  • Auburn University has welcomed several international dignitaries and consuls general to campus in an effort to raise the international profile of the university.  In spring 2009, Auburn began inviting consuls general from several countries in an effort to establish relationships with other universities and explore potential opportunities for student and faculty exchanges.
  • During 2009-2010, 35 international dignitaries from Brazil, Albania, Peru, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Turkey, and Mexico visited campus.  The university hopes to welcome additional consuls general from Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France, Argentina, Canada, India, and Saudi Arabia.
GOAL 15: Auburn University has developed an integrated marketing and communications plan and began implementing it in 2011. 

"The AU System will design and implement an integrated marketing and communications plan, including baseline research to measure effectiveness over time. The plan will promote Auburn as an institution (the Auburn brand), enhance Auburn's reputation as a top destination for students, and convey its contribution to the economic health and overall well-being of the state and region among its key constituents. In addition, we will develop and implement an annual public relations and marketing plan for specific academic programs that are nationally or regionally ranked."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • In 2010, the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) released its Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan designed to better integrate staff working in communicator positions throughout the academic and non-academic units.  Specifically, the plan calls for more integration of communication projects over time to better coordinate messages to external constituencies in an effort to better leverage their effectiveness.
  • A university new website is in place, with almost all colleges and schools having moved to a unified new template, and soon able to update information more easily through a content management system managed by IT.
  • A continuing goal is to enhance Auburn's image through a stronger, more connected relationship between the central Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) and communicators/marketers located in colleges, schools, and areas.  An indirect line of reporting from these non-central areas to OCM has been established to help create external messaging of consistently high quality more strongly tied to university messaging and priorities, and establish stronger protocol for campus-wide programs and events.

Last Updated: Nov. 17, 2011

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