Auburn University Strategic Plan

Priority 5: Committing to Continuous Improvement
The Auburn University System will make an across-the-board commitment to continuous improvement in strengthening our management approaches and increasing our efficiency.


Initiative 1: Strengthen Auburn's management approaches and processes.

GOAL 46: Auburn University continues to work on establishing a policy for Board of Trustees review that sets priorities for campus master plan implementation.

"All universities have multiple sets of policies and procedures that have originated in various manners and at various times in the life of the institution. We will perform a comprehensive review of such existing policies and procedures at Auburn. Those policies that are necessary for compliance with federal or state laws as well as Board of Trustees policies and directives will be retained.

However, those that originated internally will be reviewed carefully for relevance. The goal is to ensure that our policies are current and add value to future operations."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • The institution's university-wide policies and procedures are current, consistent and available on a Central Policy website maintained by the Office of the General Counsel.  A complete review of internal policies and procedures continues, with phase one of the Faculty Handbook revision completed and approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2011.
  • Board of Trustee policies have been reviewed and were revisions approved by the Board in March 2009.
  • Central administration functional area policies are under review as well as current "Policy on Policies."
GOAL 47: Auburn University initiated an annual review of its organizational structure in 2010 and has implemented necessary changes.

"The president will examine the organizational structure of the University with the objective of increasing effectiveness and efficiency."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • In 2010, Auburn University initiated an annual review of organizational structure and implemented needed changes.
  • Organizational Structure is reviewed on a continuous basis to increase efficiency among Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Business Affairs.  The Office of Undergraduate Studies was reorganized in 2011.
GOAL 48: Auburn University continues to work on establishing a policy for Board of Trustees review that sets priorities for campus master plan implementation.

"As we move forward, we need to develop a priority framework that is open and transparent for new facilities, renovation, and infrastructure. The campus master plan for both campuses will be fully discussed with constituents on an annual basis, and these constituents will be afforded the opportunity for input. This discussion is important to determine the placement of specific projects in the appropriate categories listed below:

  • Top-level priorities:  Top-level priority projects are those that simply must be done. If no private funding is available, then Auburn must be willing to fully fund the amount. Some discussion on deviation from our standard 50 percent private investment for naming opportunities will be addressed.
  • Second-level priorities:  Second-level priorities are those projects that are clearly needed, but ones in which we would expect 50 percent private investment.
  • Third-level priorities:  Third-level priorities are those projects where an opportunity exists with the expectation that they be fully funded from external sources."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • Auburn University has developed and implemented a set of Campus Objectives and Capital Project Program priorities provide a road map for what Capital Projects Auburn University seeks to execute in the 2010-2020 timeframe.  These Objectives were developed in an open and collaborative manner with the Provost's Office and numerous other campus groups deeply involved.   These objectives and the Capital Project Program will be updated annually using a similar process in terms of openness and collaboration.  The Capital Projects Plan was approved by the Executive Facilities Committee and the Board of Trustees in June 2011.
  • Auburn University has implemented a Project Prioritization System for Deferred Maintenance funded projects.  It involves a call for projects from all Colleges, Schools, and Administrative units.  These projects are prioritized for funding with preliminary and final results published to the University community to ensure openness and transparency. This process will occur annually.
  • Auburn University has commenced the Master Plan 2012 update process.  The process is currently in the data gathering phase--to date over 70 planning sessions involving over 400 faculty, staff, administrators, and students have been conducted. Overall, the Master Plan 2012 update process is 25% complete.
GOAL 49: Auburn University has established accountability guidelines for the appropriate accrediting bodies and constituent groups.

"Auburn will define the metrics of accountability for each important constituent group. These groups include regional and specialized accreditation bodies; various state and federal bodies with responsibility for higher education; auditing bodies; and the Auburn Family."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • As of July 2011, a Compliance Readiness Audit Team continues to gather evidence that Auburn remains in compliance with all SACS standards and federal requirements.
  • A broad-based Quality Enhancement Plan Exploratory Committee – including faculty, learning specialists, staff, students, and an alumnus – identified three feasible topics, from which Auburn's QEP project was selected.  To gather ideas and build involvement, the committee has conducted focus groups and surveys and issued a formal call for proposals, of which, electronic portfolios was selected as Auburn University's QEP.
  • Programs and departments in each of the University's 12 schools and colleges have passed rigorous review by specialized accrediting bodies.  Programs whose specialized accreditation was reaffirmed in 2010 or 2011 include:
    • Landscape Architecture (2010, until 2015)
    • Community Counseling, Counselor Education, School Counseling (2010, until 2018)
    • Counseling Psychology (2010, until 2017)
    • Harris Early Learning Center (Birmingham) (2010, until 2015)
    • Nutrition and Food Science (Dietetic Option) (2010, until 2014)
    • Marriage and Family Therapy (2011, until 2017)
    • Social Work (2010, until 2016)
    • Theatre (2011, until 2012)
    • Pharmacy (2010, until 2012)
  • Auburn conducts program review annually, following a set of quality and performance standards defined by the University itself. Each year 4-6 departments receive full reviews involving both local and external peer evaluators. In 2010-11, successful program reviews were conducted in Economics, Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, History and Physics.
  • Annually, each of Auburn's four divisions develops and submits to the Alabama Department of Finance a set of SMART planning and operations reports, with key goals, objectives and quarterly targets.   All SMART documents for Auburn, along with all state agencies, are posted at www.smart.alabama.gov.
  • To help prospective students plan for college and to comply with federal law, Auburn has developed a net price calculator that provides applicants with an estimate of what they would likely pay to study at Auburn after taking into account basic information about their academic preparation, residency, and family finances.
  • Auburn has participated in the Voluntary System of Accountability since its inception. This joint project of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) was designed to provide students and parents with a convenient, trustworthy source of basic, comparable information about public colleges presented in a common, user-friendly format.   Auburn's "college portrait" for the VSA is posted at www.collegeportraits.org and contains information about student characteristics, costs of attendance, campus life, undergraduate experiences, degrees and future plans, and student learning outcomes.
  • Since 2010, Auburn University has been preparing for the reaffirmation of our SACS accreditation reaffirmation in 2013, including developing the QEP concept last year—enhancing student learning with e-portfolios—into a full working plan that meets SACS requirements and improves the learning environment.
GOAL 50: Auburn University and Auburn University Montgomery have successfully enhanced the safety plans of both institutions and continue to identify new security measures for both campuses.

"To enhance the security of campus and the safety of Auburn students, employees and resources, we will further develop our safety plans for the Auburn and Montgomery campuses and update security measures."

Summary of Progress Achieved:

  • In 2010, the Auburn University System was awarded a $708,000.00 Emergency Management for Higher Education Grant by the United States Department of Education.  This funding is currently being used to help evaluate and update safety and emergency operations plans on the main campus of Auburn University as well as the Auburn Montgomery campus.  This grant process is scheduled to conclude in September 2012.
  • The planning and implementation portions of the grant process will continue to directly address the goals of enhancing the security of campus and the safety of Auburn students, employees and resources.  Both the Auburn University Department of Public Safety & Security (AUDPSS) and Public Safety at Auburn Montgomery continue to address hazards and vulnerabilities found during the initial assessment and ongoing planning efforts.
  • New procedures, emergency guidelines for employees (emergency folders) and students (emergency guidelines - zcards) and new comprehensive emergency operations plans have been created to increase awareness and preparedness for all.  Building/Facility specific emergency plans are also being created which includes a suggested plan orientation for building employees.
  • AU Risk Management & Safety has just implemented a chemical inventory program which will help maintain a current inventory of chemicals in buildings and labs on campus which will aid in maintaining safety on campus.
  • Also on main campus as well as Auburn Montgomery, new policies have been established for camera systems installation and monitoring.  AUDPSS is responsible for the camera policy on main campus and any issues that arise.
  • AUDPSS continues to train university employees in emergency preparedness through a program called Campus C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).  Campus C.E.R.T. members consist of university employees that are trained in emergency preparedness and become very familiar with facility emergency plans and safety systems.  These employees are designated as key members to aid others should an emergency occur on the Auburn University campus.  We will also be training employees in workplace violence prevention as well as what they should do should someone come onto campus and try to do other harm.
  • The AU-ALERT system has been enhanced to include indoor and outdoor warning and public address systems as well as new technology such as digital displays and the ability to communicate alerts and critical information through social networking sites.
  • An emergency operations center has also been established and equipped to aid in the response to and coordination of emergency incidents and events on campus.
  • Other deliverables required by the current grant include enhancing the ability of the first responders (police, fire, etc.) to gain campus and building layout/surveillance information from their vehicles during times of an emergency or disaster.
  • AUDPSS and Auburn University will continue to update safety measures and complete the plans that are currently being created.

Last Updated: Nov. 17, 2011

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