Following his arrival as President in 2007, Jay Gogue engaged in a comprehensive planning process designed to lead the University's efforts through the first decade of the 21st Century. The process offered members of the Auburn Family an opportunity to discuss the strategic vision for the University and identified potential challenges. The outcome of these efforts was a plan that outlined 59 key priorities across the following six major areas:
- Elevating Academics
- Building the Research Foundation
- Expanding Extension Impact
- Developing our People
- Committing to Continuous Improvement
- Building Financial Resources
At the conclusion of the five-year planning period in 2013, Auburn University had successfully completed 80 percent of these identified priorities, despite substantial and unprecedented economic pressures placed on Alabama's state budget soon after the plan was inaugurated. The recent economic recession resulted in major reductions to federal and state support for higher education, requiring institutions like Auburn to revise some of their customary approaches and become more efficient in their operations. Auburn's accomplishments between 2008 and 2013 can now serve as a foundation for the institution's future and higher aspirations.
Some of the notable accomplishments from the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan include:
- Auburn University's academic reputation for excellence was enhanced by substantially increasing the quality of Auburn's incoming students (the average ACT increased from 24.9 in 2007 to 26.9 in 2012). The University enrolled over 150 National Merit Scholars in 2011.
- The competitiveness and prestige of Auburn University's Honors College were increased. Efforts to recruit more high-ability students resulted in a steady enrollment increase from 476 students in 2007 to more than 1,000 students in 2010.
- The institution's undergraduate General Education Program was revised and comprehensive student learning outcomes were developed for all university graduates. The learning outcomes ensure that key skills are incorporated into all curricula.
- A strategic investment was made to increase Auburn's writing resources for students and to foster a stronger culture of writing and writing instruction. The "Writing in the Disciplines" requirement ensures significant writing beyond the Core Curriculum is included in every major.
- Auburn University maintained its enviable place as a Top 50 Public University and one of America's best colleges as profiled by U.S. News and World Report, reaching a rank of 37th in 2013.
- Learning Communities and Service Learning Projects at Auburn University were substantially developed to improve academic success and promote stronger graduation rates. Each of Auburn's academic colleges offering undergraduate degrees maintains at least one learning community, with an emphasis on public service as a key aspect of each.
- Auburn University and Auburn University at Montgomery initiated several successful collaborations in academic programming, outreach and international initiatives. Notable and innovative collaborations included a Seamless Admissions Program, a joint Master of Science program in Nursing, programs in cyber systems and information security, and a partnership in the Alabama Reading Initiative.
- To enhance its research activities, in 2010 Auburn established the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, a 501C (3) foundation. In conjunction with this effort, construction of the first building in the Auburn Research Park was completed in 2010. In early 2011, construction was completed on the second building that houses the Auburn University MRI Research Facility. In August 2012, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, announced plans to open a branch campus in the Auburn Research Park. Housed in a new facility, the campus will feature classrooms, small-group learning rooms, laboratories, and a technology center. This collaboration holds promise to support Auburn's Health Sciences Initiative.
- Because outreach and public engagement are key components of Auburn University's mission, the institution implemented several initiatives that supported local K-12 programs. These efforts increased the number and improved the readiness of high school students to attend college.
- Recognizing that learning in a university rests upon the foundation of faculty expertise, Auburn successfully established nearly 100 new professorships to acknowledge the efforts of distinguished faculty who have enhanced the institution's capabilities and reputation by their superior teaching and mentoring, innovative research, and an impressive record of service.
- Because the needs of faculty, staff, and students evolve and change, so must the campus facilities that support the institution's mission. Anticipating a need to update many academic, administrative, and residential building over the coming years, we established a much-needed prioritization process to support the orderly refreshment of our campus facilities. At the same time, we began a scheduled update of the Campus Master Plan, which provides a framework for physical development of Auburn's campus and offers forward-thinking guidance for the replacement of older buildings and the location of new buildings, campus landmarks, and landscape features.
- Following completion of the "It Begins At Auburn" capital campaign in 2008, the University began immediately to plan for its next comprehensive campaign. In 2011, Auburn announced plans for a new billion-dollar campaign. The campaign's goals include generating new funds to support scholarships, research, and other opportunities for excellence designed to elevate learning.