Vision and Mission
The following statement of vision and mission was developed by the Task Force on Mission established in 1995 and was approved by the Board of Trustees on March 20, 1997 and amended May 7, 2004, and reaffirmed on February 1, 2013.
Auburn University will emerge as one of the nation’s preeminent comprehensive land-grant universities in the 21st century. Central to all its functions will be the university’s historic commitment of service to all Alabamians as the state becomes a part of a global society with all of its challenges and opportunities. The university will be widely recognized for the quality of its undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational programs, the effectiveness of its research and outreach programs and the broad access to the university provided through the innovative use of information technology. The university will ensure the quality of its programs through the careful focusing of its resources in areas of institutional strengths. One constant will remain unchanged at the university is that intangible quality Auburn men and women call the “Auburn spirit.”
Auburn University’s mission is defined by its land-grant traditions of service and access. The university will serve the citizens of the State through its instructional, research and outreach programs and prepare Alabamians to respond successfully to the challenges of a global economy. The university will provide traditional and non-traditional students broad access to the institution’s educational resources. In the delivery of educational programs on campus and beyond, the university will draw heavily upon the new instructional and outreach technologies available in the emerging information age.
As a comprehensive university, Auburn University is committed to offering high-quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional education to its students. The university will give highest priority for resource allocation for the future development of those areas that represent the traditional strengths, quality, reputation, and uniqueness of the institution and that continue to effectively respond to the needs of students and other constituents. Consistent with this commitment, the university will emphasize a broad and superior undergraduate education that imparts the knowledge, skills, and values so essential to educated and responsible citizens. At the same time, the university will provide high-quality graduate and professional programs in areas of need and importance to the state and beyond. To accomplish these educational goals, Auburn University will continue to compete nationally to attract a faculty distinguished by its commitment to teaching and by its achievements in research, both pure and applied. The university will strive to attract a faculty that will bring distinction and stature to the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs offered by the university.
Because research is essential to the mission of a land-grant university, Auburn University will continue development of its research programs. The primary focus of this research will be directed to the solution of problems and the development of knowledge and technology important to the state and nation and to the quality of life of Alabama citizens. The university’s research programs will make important contributions to instructional programs through the involvement of graduate and undergraduate students and the renewal of the faculty. Research will also provide the knowledge base for outreach programs. In carrying out its research mission, the university will emphasize established areas of strength and will focus available resources in those areas of research and doctoral study that are, or have the potential to develop into nationally and internationally recognized centers of excellence.
Extension and outreach programs are fundamental to the land-grant mission because these programs directly affect the lives of all citizens in the state. The university will maintain the strengths of its traditional outreach programs and will increasingly involve the broader university in outreach programs that respond to the changing needs of the society in which we live. The university will continue to seek new and innovative ways to reach out to the people it serves.
Auburn University's mission is expressed through instruction, research, and outreach.
Auburn University is committed to excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. This commitment has long been reflected in the diversity of course offerings and in the variety of instructional approaches that are offered. Increasingly, electronic technology is providing instructors with innovative and creative teaching strategies. The high academic aptitude of the university’s incoming students also makes accelerated learning possible.
The liberal arts and sciences - introduced in the university’s nationally recognized Core Curriculum - are the heart of Auburn’s undergraduate programs. They lay the foundation not only for advanced study and career preparation but also for the development of a more responsible citizenry through students’ personal and intellectual growth. The Core Curriculum provides students with a common set of experiences, develops their powers of analysis and communication, and encourages their understanding of human culture and the natural world. Auburn has won recognition for its high academic quality.
Auburn offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 130 areas across the spectrum of disciplines and provides the state’s only publicly supported programs in many fields, including several in agriculture, architecture, building science, forestry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Particularly strong baccalaureate programs can be found in the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, and Sciences and Mathematics. For many years, ROTC programs at Auburn have also been nationally prominent in providing leadership for the military.
While Auburn has long been widely recognized for the quality and diversity of its undergraduate and first-professional programs, more recently expanding research accomplishments have broadened the scope and raised the prominence of the university’s graduate programs. Today Auburn supports a comprehensive graduate school, providing master’s level programs in more than 64 areas and awarding the doctorate in more than 40 fields. In many fields it offers the state’s only doctoral program. For many years the university has enjoyed strong graduate programs in agriculture, the biological and physical sciences, education, engineering, forestry, the human sciences, mathematics, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. More recently, excellent graduate programs have also emerged in business, the liberal arts and the social sciences. The university anticipates expanded research activity and graduate instruction, especially in agriculture and the biological sciences, in engineering and the physical sciences, in veterinary and pharmacal sciences, as well as in business and education.
Research is the means through which new knowledge is created and new information is developed. As such, research at Auburn University is an essential link in its three-pronged mission of instruction, research and outreach. Successes among the varied research activities within each of our 12 academic schools and colleges continue to bolster Auburn’s reputation among the nation’s top universities.
Auburn’s role as a land-grant university emphasizes research in agriculture, natural resources, the life sciences, engineering and the physical sciences. Strong and expanding research programs exist in agriculture; architecture, design and construction; business; education; engineering; forestry and wildlife sciences; human sciences; the liberal arts; nursing; pharmacy; science and mathematics; and veterinary medicine.
Whether in the laboratory, the field, or in the classroom, Auburn University’s research endeavors are diverse, comprehensive, and collaborative, focusing on developing solutions to major problems that confront humankind and on expanding the base of knowledge and technologies available to improve our quality of life. Additionally, major efforts to increase the protection and commercialization of intellectual properties are central to Auburn’s continual drive for improvements in its research mission.
These efforts mesh to create a research environment that enhances the state’s economic, cultural, social and intellectual development and, at the same time, undergirds the university’s undergraduate, graduate, professional and outreach programs.
In support of these efforts, the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center interfaces with agencies and industries in order to increase research funding, raise our national profile, as well as bring new ideas and products to government, industries and consumers. A high-tech economic engine for Alabama, Huntsville executes billions of dollars in federal contracts yearly. Increasingly, these contracts require the collaboration of a broad array of disciplines. The Auburn University Huntsville Research Center enables North Alabama business, industry, and government to access the capabilities of one of the Southeast’s major research institutions.
Lastly, the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF) and the Auburn Research Park were developed to further integrate research and the business community to complement the economic development and research initiatives of the university. In addition to facilitating the commercialization of university technologies and industry-university partnerships, the research park offers employment opportunities for Auburn’s students and graduates, as well as a thriving business incubator.
As a land-grant institution, Auburn University has a mission of outreach – engaging its expertise beyond campus to improve quality of life across Alabama, nationally, and even internationally. More importantly, outreach provides opportunities to establish mutually beneficial partnerships between Auburn University and the communities that it serves. Through outreach and extension programs, citizens benefit from greater access to Auburn’s high quality educational resources. Community interaction benefits the university as well, providing valuable insights and information for teaching and research, and enhancing the institution’s relevance to the broader society. Auburn University is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation's "Community Engaged Institution" designation for the quality and scope of its outreach programming.
Outreach and extension work commonly includes three major areas of activity – lifelong learning, expert assistance, and civic engagement. Auburn University’s lifelong learning programs offer individuals of all ages opportunities for professional continuing education as well as skills development and personal enrichment. The university provides an array of expert assistance and consultation services to improve operations for business, education, healthcare, government, and a variety of public and private organizations. Finally, civic engagement projects help bond Auburn University and communities in a variety of public service activities. Much of Auburn's engagement focuses on strategic objectives for enhancing individual learning, expanding community economic development and improving public health and wellness.
University faculty members are engaged significantly in the institution’s outreach initiatives. Auburn students have a role in the outreach mission too, and there are many innovative ways for students and their faculty mentors to engage in service activities locally, regionally, and even internationally. The Office of the Vice President for University Outreach provides administrative leadership and support for outreach work campus wide. Units comprising University Outreach include the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, the Government and Economic Development Institute, Encyclopedia of Alabama, Office of Faculty Engagement, Office of Professional and Continuing Education, Office of Public Service, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Outreach-Global initiative. University Outreach is also home to the AUBURNSERVES initiative (www.auburnserves.com), a collaboration of Auburn’s faculty, academic units, campus organizations, and community partners in the development of new service learning, experiential education and engagement opportunities for students.
There are more than 75 outreach units and program initiatives within the university’s schools and colleges. Some of these include the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in Liberal Arts, the Auburn Technical Assistance Center in Business, the Truman Pierce Institute in Education, Engineering Continuing Education, and the Rural Studio and Urban Studio programs in Architecture. Auburn University also serves as the headquarters for Alabama’s Cooperative Extension System, which serves all 67 Alabama counties with educational programs and services provided by faculty specialists and local agents.
From this base of organizational and faculty resources, Auburn hosts a diverse range of outreach activities. Annually, the university produces hundreds of conferences, non-credit courses and training programs, with registrations averaging more than 40,000. Many of these programs are approved to offer continuing education units (CEUs) and other certifications of completion. Auburn conducts hundreds of technical assistance projects annually for industrial and governmental clients across the state, representing millions of dollars in direct impact from improved processes, cost savings, and investments. Auburn supports roughly 100 outreach facilities and research sites throughout Alabama, giving the university a statewide community presence greater than any other educational institution. This makes Auburn’s outreach resources highly accessible to citizens.
Lists of professional programs are available at the www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce website. A comprehensive directory of Auburn’s outreach resources and contacts is available at www.auburn.edu/outreach.