Mitch Emmons, 334/844-5741


AUBURN -- More than 80 percent of the respondents in a new Auburn University image survey believe its research program is valuable to the state, but the results show the need for enhancing the climate for university research and to promote its impact, says AU's vice president for research.

"It is encouraging that so many talk positively about Auburn research, but the responses also indicate that there is a significant segment of our citizenry still unaware of the breadth of not only Auburn's research programs, but of university research overall," said Associate Provost and Vice President for Research Michael Moriarty.

Conducted by the Center for Governmental Services for AU Outreach and the Office of University Relations, the survey included the areas of research, instruction and outreach in an effort to obtain a picture of the public's perception of AU's competitiveness.

Although research received good marks, Moriarty noted that only slightly more than half of the respondents indicated a direct and identifiable benefit received from AU research.

Of 400 respondents, 217 expressed having received a tangible benefit through AU research. One hundred thirty-six said they could not identify a direct tangible benefit, while 47 were undecided.

The numbers indicate a need for more promotion of the benefits of research, Moriarty said.

"I totally agree with the 80 percent who say that our research is valuable, but too many others apparently cannot identify that value," he said.

Moriarty said he believes that the survey may also indicate a void in the public's perception of AU research that could affect the funding climate for university research as a whole.

"When used with other indicators, surveys like this one can help us measure our effectiveness and see where adjustments might be needed to ensure success," he added. "This survey indicates to me that we not only need to press on with our research program, but also, that as an institution, we must become even more focused on strategically telling our story."

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CONTACT: Moriarty, 334/844-4784.