Roy Summerford (


AUBURN -- Seven Auburn University deans have been named by Provost William Walker as coordinators for development of strategic plans for priority areas targeted for extra funding over the next five years.

The programs were identified as university priorities by President William V. Muse in November and approved in January by the Board of Trustees as part of a plan to upgrade the national standing of selected program areas.

As coordinators, the deans will appoint planning committees to develop strategic plans for the priority areas.

John Pritchett, associate vice president and dean of the Graduate School, said the designation of coordinators will enable interested faculty to participate in the overall process even when those faculty members are outside the colleges and schools normally associated with the priority areas.

The priority areas are fisheries and allied aquacultures, poultry science, biological sciences, detection and food safety, transportation, information technology and forestry and wildlife science.

Agriculture Dean Luther Waters is coordinator for priority programs in fisheries and allied aquacultures and in poultry science, both of which are departments in the College of Agriculture.

Sciences and Mathematics Dean Stewart Schneller is lead coordinator for the biological sciences. Faculty in related fields in each of three colleges will contact the dean of their college: Waters in Agriculture, June Henton in Human Sciences and Timothy Boosinger in Veterinary Medicine. Faculty in other schools and colleges seeking additional support for biological sciences programs should contact Schneller.

Interim Engineering Dean Larry Benefield is lead coordinator for projects involving detection and food safety. Henton, Waters and Boosinger are coordinators for projects in their schools. Benefield will be the contact person for faculty involved in detection and food safety projects in other schools and colleges. Benefield is also coordinator for projects in the priority areas of transportation and information technology.

Forestry Dean Richard Brinker is coordinator for programs involving forestry and wildlife science.

"It is apparent that faculty expertise in any of the priority areas may extend well beyond a particular school or college," said Pritchett. "We want to extend an opportunity to all interested individuals to be involved in both the planning for and participation in programs for which they have expertise, regardless of their specific academic unit."

In each of the priority areas, the coordinating dean or deans will appoint a planning committee offorover the next five years.

Under guidelines furnished by the Provost's Office, the strategic plan for each priority area must:

* Clearly define specific steps to achieve national recognition over five years.
* Provide benchmarking to determine current status and identification of necessary
changes or improvements.
* Include clearly articulated goals, including enhancement of research, graduate
education and, where appropriate, outreach.
* Have well-defined, measurable objectives and must identify responsible
* Include annual assessment activities.
* Clearly demonstrate leveraging of significant levels of other internal and/or
external funds and resources.
* Provide for benchmarking in the final year to determine attainment of specified

For each priority area, the planning committee must also identify four to eight persons for peer review of the programs.

Under the plan approved by the Board of Trustees, AU will initially make available $1 million for distribution on a continuing basis to priority program areas. This amount will increase to $5 million in continuing funds by the fifth year. Another $500,000 will be available each year for one-time funding of selected priority programs.

Priority programs with ties to the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and/or Alabama Cooperative Extension System will also be eligible for reallocations of funds within those divisions.

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