Ralph Foster, Director and CEU Officer
Ralph Foster has been Director of the Office of Public Service since the unit was formed in 1993. He is the university's CEU Officer responsible for accreditation compliance for non-credit continuing education programs. A third generation alumnus, he has a BS in marketing from Auburn. Foster also received an MS in human resources from Troy University, and has additional study in adult and continuing education at the University of Georgia National Leadership Institute.
Foster joined the Auburn faculty in the University Outreach division in 1989. He is author or co-author of several published journal articles and book chapters on ethics, education, management and marketing, and served as a co-editor of the books Marketing University Outreach Programs and University Outreach: University Connections to Society. He is a Fellow of the Society for Advancement of Management, and is past president and director-emeritus on the society's international board.
Janie Echols-Brown, Specialist III Art Design - Outreach
Janie Brown graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration majoring in Marketing and obtaining concentrations in Sales Management and Market Research. Janie has been with Auburn University since 2000. Before joining Auburn as a graphic artist, she served as a manager with Creative Services at the Opelika-Auburn News for nearly 10 years. Mrs. Brown offers graphic and creative support to all of Outreach's units and projects. Janie grew up in Auburn and continues to enjoy the area with her husband and daughter.
Katey Nelson, Information Technology Specialist
Katey Nelson graduated from Auburn University in May 2011 with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Katey came to Auburn seeking higher education and has since gained so much more. She currently provides information technology support to all departments within University Outreach in the areas of web design and maintenance, computer hardware and software solutions, and publication/poster design for Outreach sponsored events and conferences.
Christopher Patterson, Americorp VISTA
Christopher is a graduate of Tennessee State University. He earned a Bachelor’s of Communications majoring in Integrated Marketing with a minor in Nonprofit Management & Leadership. Before coming to Auburn University Christopher served as a Consultant for the Rich Ventures Group under Sr. Partner & Founder, Chris Rich. Much of his success comes from the guidance of his mentors; his mother, Chris Rich, Aerial M. Ellis, and Nancy Deville. Christopher plans to attend Auburn University in the fall to receive his masters in Higher Education with a Sports Management minor.
Karen Rankin, Information Technology Specialist
Karen Rankin provides information technology support to all departments within University Outreach in the areas of database management, computer hardware and software solutions and website administration. Before joining University Outreach in 1994, she worked in the departments of Chemistry and Botany & Microbiology. Karen has degrees in Business Administration and Management Information Systems.
Wendy Reed, Coordinator, Special ProjectsWendy Reed received her B.A. in Secondary Education and M.A. in English from UAB. She completed her Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Alabama, where she was a producer/director with the Center for Public TV & Radio. Her work has screened internationally and includes documentaries and series, including Bookmark, Alabama Experience, and Discovering Alabama, for which she received two Emmys. She co-edited two collections of essays, All Out of Faith and Circling Faith (University of Alabama Press), and her book An Accidental Memoir (NewSouth Books) was recently published. Additional publications include fiction and non-fiction. She has received writing fellowships from the Lillian E. Smith Center for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Most recently she received the Spring Creek collaborative fellowship from Oregon State University. She and her husband live in Waverly.
Sarah Reese-Burney, Admin Support Assoc II
Sarah graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 2007. She began working in 1983 with Auburn University, Life Sciences department, where she worked in different administrative capacities. She joined the Office of Public Service staff in 1993, shortly after it was formed. Sarah's responsibilities include administration of office management procedures, finances, payroll, and human resources. She coordinates and supports the Continuing Education (CEU) Program, records/transcripts, and registrations.
Joyce Thomas-Vinson, Program Administrator, Student Engagement and Service Learning
Joyce Thomas-Vinson earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Alabama. She came to Auburn University in 1994 as a Program Developer with the Outreach Program Office. She transferred to the Auburn University Department of Psychology where she served for ten years as the support services coordinator for Project Uplift. Joyce joined the staff of the Office of Public Service in July of 2008.
Last Updated: November 11, 2013