Auburn University Strategic Plan

Priority 3: Expanding Extension Impact
The Auburn University System will expand the impact of the University's extension and outreach activities, better serving our communities and the state.

Initiative 1: Redesign and redefine extension and outreach programs, leveraging new technologies for greater impact.

GOAL 29: Auburn University continues to identify institution-level expected outcomes of the institution's public service activities (Outreach and Extension), analyze the extent to which those outcomes are being achieved, and make improvements based upon this analysis.

"The outreach and continuing education component, not including the Cooperative Extension System, needs to be reassessed. At most land-grant universities, outreach is the non-agricultural extension of the university to meet the needs of the citizens of the state and beyond. Auburn holds a similar view.  Some typical activities may include a special cultural program, library-sharing with rural communities, and small business development centers.

Auburn will continue to view outreach and continuing education as engagement that provides important value-added services and extends the Auburn brand to agencies, corporations, major foundations, etc. Well-executed outreach and continuing education can greatly expand our impact as an institution.  We will perform a review of extension and outreach best practices and new ideas at leading land-grant institutions."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • Auburn University continues to identify institution-level expected outcomes of its public service activities (Outreach and Extension), analyze the extent to which those outcomes are being achieved, and make improvements based upon this analysis.  A goal is to demonstrate, with data, the impact of outreach and extension activities.
  • The Outreach Program Office has been renamed the Office of Professional and Continuing Education in order to better identify the office and market its services, produce income, and promote sustainability of outreach programming.  This office is also significantly expanding its programming efforts, both by expanding existing programming and adding new program areas (e.g., conference development and support, and internal training).
  • The Office of University Outreach is reviewing related outcomes and assessment processes at several peer institutions (UGA, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Iowa, Cornell, and Michigan State), and representatives will be visiting Michigan State University to investigate their comprehensive process designed to identify, assess, and improve public service activities.  Much of the collective information and observations gained from Auburn's Carnegie Foundation "engaged institution" application is very helpful, and will be used throughout the process.
  • Future plans include implementing new policies for dealing with other campus entities in regard to Outreach grants and partnerships and University Outreach's "Revenue Sharing Agreement" so that a portion of revenues produced as a result of funding from University Outreach will be given back to Outreach and used to support future outreach efforts.
GOAL 30: Auburn University continues to encourage students to become engaged in Extension programs through opportunities such as Auburn Serves.

"AU will design a process to increase student participation in Extension projects and develop linkages with programs and departments that have not traditionally been affiliated with Extension."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • To best incorporate service learning, a year-long series of faculty developed colloquia has been held featuring nationally recognized service learning scholars.
  • A web-based service learning network for faculty, students, and community partners has been established at ""  The network has 118 community agencies and extension offices listed, providing a wide variety of readily available statewide opportunities for service projects.  The site features on-line course management and project reporting tools.
  • A number of collaborative service projects established have drawn hundreds of student volunteers, including two joint community revitalization projects between Auburn and Tuskegee University students.
GOAL 31: Auburn University established an online master's degree program for Extension employees.

"For Extension employees, a complete online master's degree will be developed that is appropriate for our outreach responsibilities."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • An online master's degree is available to Extension employees.

Last Updated: Nov. 17, 2011

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