Beyond Auburn Magazine

Spring/Summer 2019: "On the Path to Global Leadership in Manufacturing"

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It is an exciting time at Auburn University. Our institution is experiencing unprecedented growth and the highest enrollment levels in our 163-year history. We achieved a significant milestone in gaining the Carnegie R1 classification. Auburn enjoys a well-earned reputation as one of America’s leading land-grant universities with its commitment to inspire, innovate and transform.

That commitment is reflected through the outreach mission of the university, and its engagement across the state and beyond. Auburn’s engagement of literally hundreds of faculty and students in our schools and colleges, Extension System colleagues across the state and in the Division of University Outreach is making a powerful difference in communities and in the lives of the people we serve.

Our K-12 college access programs and summer experiences are inspiring thousands of young people each year to seek higher education – some are the first generation in their families to aspire to college. Just as inspirational are the many adults participating in the profession of continuing education to improve their job skills to attain better jobs and fulfilling careers. Inspired too, are the Auburn students who participate in service-learning and community engagement with their faculty mentors and to apply their majors in real-world experiences, and in turn gain in civic awareness.

Outreach promotes innovation by connecting faculty research, expertise and technologies to businesses, organizations and communities. Assisting in adoption of broadband technologies across rural Alabama, providing assistance to entrepreneurs and economic developers to create new enterprises and delivering the latest in robotics training to our region’s auto manufacturers are just a few examples of innovative and impactful outreach initiatives.

Transformation is at the heart of our community engagement mission – we facilitate collaboration for the common good through mutually beneficial civic partnerships across the region and beyond. Through the Rural Studio’s 20K initiative, the Alabama Arts + Education Program, the Campus Kitchens Project and many others, Auburn’s faculty, students, staff and community partners are tackling challenging issues, transforming lives and improving quality of life for all.

Building engaged university and community relationships is the key to achieving these great inspirational, innovative and transformative outcomes.

Join us in making a difference!

War Eagle!

Royrickers Cook, Ph.D.

Vice President for University Outreach and Associate Provost

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The Global Leadership Training Initiative, or GLTI, organized by and managed through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education at Auburn University, or OPCE, has provided comprehensive training for team leaders and supervisors in the automotive industry along the I-85 Corridor since 2015.

Critical to enhancing the university’s outreach mission, GLTI has provided a variety of customized training programs essential to employee development for companies including Powertech, Mando, Hanwha, Hanon System, Daewon USA, Rausch and Pausch, Ajin/ Wooshin USA and more.

Led by Daniel Yu, assistant director of OPCE, the GLTI team is uniquely positioned to anticipate the distinct needs of the automotive manufacturing industry. Yu’s prior experience as president and CEO in various manufacturing industries allows him to understand firsthand the value of frontline leadership improvement. Yu engages a diverse team of professionals to provide high quality, custom training that encompasses a range of skill improvement for managers including communication, coaching and leadership.

GLTI has positioned itself as a leading provider of supervisory skills leadership training for Korean automotive manufacturers in the Southeast, and in 2018 established its ground-breaking partnership with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, or HMMA. Tailored to meet the expressed needs of HMMA group leaders and assistant managers, the customized, 16-hour program provides timely, engaging and effective leadership training that is participative and incorporates discussion, group work, role-play, problem solving and other engaging techniques suitable for motivating adult learners.

Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, HMMA has strongly impacted the region’s economic climate since its opening in 2005. HMMA employs more than 3,000 team members with high-paying jobs and full benefits. Its 35 tier-one suppliers across 17 Alabama counties employ an additional 7,000 Alabamians. GLTI is committed to providing university resources necessary to train an effective workforce.

“Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama has used a variety of internal and external resources to provide leadership development for front line supervisors. In 2018, Auburn University and HMMA began collaborating on a leadership program to enhance the soft skills of these leaders. “The joint effort led to the development of a curriculum that simulated shop floor experiences that was easily transferable to their daily interactions with HMMA team members,” said Henry Butler, assistant manager of strategic planning for HMMA. “The feedback from attendees confirmed the highly engaging training was effective because of the number of interactive and participative activities during the course,” said Butler.

Led by William “Bill” Sauser, professor emeritus of management at Auburn University and Hope Stockton, executive director of OPCE, the program delivers on-site, practical and engaging leadership training.

“Learning has been a two-way street between our team and Hyundai. We’ve had the opportunity to observe and experience from the inside modern manufacturing techniques and to see the kinds of issues that today’s leaders are facing, while at the same time sharing our academic knowledge of leadership theory in a way that engages all of us to improve supervisory practices. This kind of two-way street is what outreach is all about,” said Sauser.

GLTI continues to expand its outreach mission by delivering comprehensive training services specific to the manufacturing industry in a variety of ways. In addition to leadership and soft skills training, GLTI offers robotics and controls training using on-site simulators. In the spring of 2019, GLTI will launch Effective Leadership in the Manufacturing Environment, an online certificate program available to individuals, groups and companies by annual license.

For more information on GLTI, contact Daniel Yu at the Office of Professional and Continuing Education at or 334-844-3107.

K-game, K-pop and K-drama have become a weekly occurrence for some local Auburn students. The Office of Professional and Continuing Education’s Korea Corner and Auburn Youth Programs began offering Korean after-school language and culture education in Auburn City Schools. The partnership, sponsored by the Korean Education Center, a division of the Korean Consulate General in Atlanta, began in the fall of 2018 and offers the classes free of charge to Ogletree Elementary, East Samford School and Auburn High School students.

Consistent with the Korea Corner’s mission to contribute to Auburn University’s outreach efforts, the after-school program creates educational experiences designed to strengthen the connection between Korean and American culture and society. With 32 students in three schools, the initiative has been well-accepted and fulfills the need to provide cultural enrichment to a community with a growing Korean demographic.

Their frequent contact with Korean peers and neighbors and their exposure to Korean pop culture leads to a natural interest in learning the Korean language.

“Teaching Korean language to students is significant; more so is helping the students feel excitement in learning a foreign language and culture they have not been familiar with,” said Joori Lee, one of the program’s two instructors. “Our hope is to help students develop an interest in the world bigger than their own and take a step toward growing into a future world citizen.”

Lee works closely with Sookyoung Jang, and together the instructors develop lessons that incorporate engaged learning activities. In addition to Korean language instruction, student learning is reinforced by completing traditional Korean crafts, playing games, dancing to K-pop (the Korean pop music movement), watching K-dramas (television series in the Korean language), singing Korean songs using karaoke and sampling Korean snacks.

“We are proud to partner with the Korea Corner to offer the after-school program. Through early exposure of Korean language and culture to our non-Korean students, we are helping to bridge cultural understanding in our ever-changing global community,” said Sam Walden, Office of Professional and Continuing Education assistant director for Auburn Youth Programs.

The Korean Language After-School Program will continue into the 2019-2020 school year, adding Auburn Junior High School to its locations. To learn more or to register, visit

Like all instructors at the learning institute, Elizabeth Essamuah-Quansah is a volunteer. “Becoming an instructor for OLLI allows me to expose class members to the culture, education, history, socio-economic, tourism and religious structures of the African continent. In return, I gain rich knowledge and experience from the adult learners in my classes,” said Essamuah-Quansah.

As most OLLI instructors find out, students are motivated because they are taking classes for the fun of learning. Another plus is that instructors have no papers to grade.

“You will experience how your volunteerism for teaching and the sharing of your knowledge and skills can make a difference,” said Essamuah-Quansah. “You can affect adult learners’ lives immensely, all while you gain knowledge and enjoy a life-changing experience.”

Essamuah-Quansah heard about the OLLI classes from her peers in the outreach unit on campus and decided this was something she definitely wanted to do. Last year, she taught her first OLLI class on Ghana. She included a cooking lesson so her students could taste the delicious food from her region and take a class about the arts and crafts of Ghana. Essamuah-Quansah enjoyed her first OLLI teaching experience so much that she offered to teach another class this past fall. EssamuahQuansah and Bill Deutsch, a retired Auburn University professor and OLLI instructor, chose a subject they both know well - Kenya. Both the Ghana and the Kenya classes have received outstanding reviews.

Essamuah-Quansah’s journey to Auburn started in 2004, when her husband, Joseph Essamuah-Quansah, was accepted into a graduate program in civil engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. During their stay, she enrolled at Indiana University where she obtained her MBA in management studies. Their two children were also born in Indiana. Joseph, Jr. is 13 and Lauren Gifty is 9. In 2010, the family moved to Auburn, where Essamuah-Quansah obtained her doctoral degree in higher education administration. She is now the director of Outreach Global under the direction of Vice President of Outreach Royrickers Cook.

Elizabeth and Joseph Essamuah-Quansah are natives of Ghana, West Africa. Elizabeth grew up in Sekondi in the western region, and Joseph is from the central region of Ghana. The couple met at Wesley Methodist Church in Sekondi, Ghana.

Very few Americans know English is the official language of Ghana. When people meet Elizabeth for the first time, they often comment on her fluency with the English language. She explains she has been speaking English since childhood, and points out that there are more than 100 native languages in Ghana alone. Most Ghanaians speak two or more indigenous languages in addition to English.

Terry Ley and Cathy Buckhalt, instructors of one of OLLI’s most popular courses titled Writing Our Lives, recently commented why they were long-time members of the OLLI faculty. “We’re forever teachers!” Buckhalt said. Ley smiled and nodded in agreement with his teammate.

The original writing course was part of OLLI’s predecessor program. “I had just retired from Auburn in 2001,” Ley said. “And Cathy was still teaching at Opelika Middle School. She helped out when she could.”

Writing Our Lives, or WOL, became a formal OLLI course in 2003, two years before Buckhalt retired. Buckhalt later took on a second career, teaching English and reading for five years at Southern Union State Community College. She also served as director of the Sun Belt Writing Project for two years.

WOL is a popular course with many participants wanting to repeat the course.

“When we designed WOL,” Ley said. “We both knew there are many people who wanted to tell their stories and didn’t know how to do it. Others said, ‘I’m not sure how to start writing.’ That’s not true. People just get scared at the thought of having to fill empty sheets of paper. Some are intimidated by the ease with which other members of the class write. I try to make newcomers feel less intimidated, and eventually, we find that students stimulate each other and help each other.”

“We hear comments like, ‘I want to share my stories with my family,’” Buckhalt said. “Or a student will share a piece of writing and say, ‘I never told this but always wanted to.’”

The challenge of making course members feel welcomed and involved takes extensive planning. The instructors put a great deal of effort into choosing the text for each year and planning each class in great detail. The goal is to balance classroom-style teaching and writing time. They try to give students at least 30 minutes for their own writing projects. Some would like more time, others less.

One need not be an English major or a writer to enjoy WOL. Participants are free to refrain from sharing their efforts, although members are encouraged to read any selections they choose to share. “We’ve developed the type of lessons that are welcoming,” Ley said. “And for some, WOL becomes a primary social group. Given OLLI’s mission, that’s OK, too.”

Both Ley and Buckhalt view teaching WOL as more than a retirement “project.” The course spurs Ley in his own writing efforts. “Without this class, there is no way my life in retirement would have led me to write as much as I am doing now,” said Ley. Ley has recently published his memoir, “WRITING MY LIFE: A Patchwork of Memories.” It is a collection of life stories he began writing in WOL and it is available on

Buckhalt also finds that WOL stimulates her writing. “The way I teach now validates the way I taught all my life. My goal is and was to give students a safe forum to express their ideas and opinions,” she said.

The OLLI course catalog points out that “we all have stories to tell.” Writing Our Lives seeks to help participants jump-start their life’s narratives.

Ley, Ph.D, taught high school in Iowa before joining Auburn as a professor of English Education.

Buckhalt, M.S., has taught at Opelika Middle School and Southern Union State Community College and served for many years as associate director, later director, of the Sun Belt Writing Project.

The Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, or CEOE, launched its latest program, K8Tigers, in the fall of 2017. K8Tigers fulfills the center’s initiatives that build on public engagement to instruct, assist and engage.

The CEOE staff became aware that multiple schools who wanted to showcase Auburn University had requested gear from various departments across campus. While some units responded to these requests, others had no program or resources in place to respond properly. Subsequently, many such requests went unanswered. A few of these requests made their way to CEOE in 2017. After providing items they had collected over time, CEOE wondered if this might be a need that they could fill, connecting Auburn University to K-8 students.

Further study revealed the admissions office had received more than 100 requests from elementary and middle schools that they were not able to address. The Auburn Alumni Association had also fielded many such requests, but their main focus is on alumni.

The K8Tigers program grew out of the need to centralize hundreds of request from teachers, counselors, students and parents in K-8 in addition to some nonprofit organizations. K8Tigers provides a point of contact for elementary and middle schools who need material for college fairs, college weeks, Adopt-a-College or other programs and events which promote college attendance.

CEOE started fulfilling the forwarded requests from the admissions and alumni offices using materials, T-shirts and other donated trinkets. CEOE addressed this growing need by making a campus wide request for donations of Auburn items. Several units across campus including agriculture, athletics and business responded to the call.

During the past three years, CEOE has served over 3,500 K-12 students, parents and the Auburn community through their camps and other programs. In little more than a year the K8Tigers program has benefited over 300,000 K-8 students in more than 420 schools from 38 states.

During 2018-2019, CEOE hopes to fulfill more than 1,200 requests to schools as the program continues to grow.

To support the program financially or with donations of Auburn paraphernalia, contact

More than 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, including approximately 193,000 under the age of 20. With the problem so prevalent, the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Jan Kavookjian is using an innovative approach to work with adolescents suffering from the disease.

Considered one of the leading experts in the country in motivational interviewing training of health care providers, Kavookjian, an associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy, is applying the technique to adolescents and parents dealing with the disease to improve their health outcomes.

Originating in the 1980s in the substance abuse and counseling field, motivational interviewing is a communication skill set that empowers a person to find internal motivation to engage in healthy and positive behaviors. Since then, its use has expanded to cover a variety of behaviors, conditions and populations in the context of chronic disease management or prevention.

“Most parents, myself included, will tell you that the process of learning to communicate constructively with adolescents involves trial and error. This is exacerbated in the dynamic that is created when a worried parent has a teen with a serious chronic condition that requires self-management behaviors,” said Kavookjian. “Learning how to communicate in a way that empowers an adolescent to get to his or her own internal motivation for these changes could be a key to prevention of complications and advanced disease.”

In recognition of her work in the field, Kavookjian was recently awarded a Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grant from Auburn University’s Office of the Vice President for University Outreach. The $25,000 award is funding her project, titled “Motivational Interviewing communication skills training for parents of adolescents with diabetes: Training development and assessment of parent perceptions and outcomes.”

“This project intends to take the evidence-based training model that has been used for training thousands of health care providers for their communication encounters with patients and revise/adapt the communications skill set and way of being trained to the context of a concerned parent of a child or adolescent with diabetes,” said Kavookjian. “Motivational interviewing is about interviewing the person in a way that helps them get to their own internal motivation for the target behavior, elicits from themselves the reasons for making the change and supports their autonomy to choose and set goals, among other important premises.”

Kavookjian’s program will develop a training model in the context of parents “coaching” their children in the self-management behaviors and goal setting that are required to keep the illness under control and prevent complications. The training program is intended to equip parents with constructive communication skills and specific messaging and tools to use when the stress of a conflict or concern arises.

“Parents have a role in their adolescent’s life that can be so influential if constructive communication is a part of it, but can be just the opposite if destructive communication patterns exist,” said Kavookjian, who was recently named to the board of directors for the American Association of Diabetes Educators, or AADE. “I am hoping to help parents get the tools they need that will bring about the outcomes they are hoping for.”

Kavookjian’s plan is to initiate a pilot project to train parents with children who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The next step would be to adapt the training for parents of children with pre-diabetes, and to engage them in a diabetes prevention initiative to prevent onset of type 2 diabetes by empowering their children/adolescents through lifestyle change counseling and goal setting. She also recently completed the Centers for Disease Control/ AADE Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach certification.

Partnering with Kavookjian on the project is Dr. Neil Schaffner, an endocrinologist with the Diabetes and Nutrition Center, or DANC, at the East Alabama Medical Center. Schaffner and his staff will help recruit parents into the first phase of the project and will house the second phase. The first phase of the project includes parent interviews and a focus group. During phase two, the training will be developed and implemented on location at the DANC facility.

“Having the opportunity to develop and validate the model is the first step in establishing its credibility and potential to expand in two ways,” said Kavookjian. “First, extending the currently funded model out to other parent venues throughout the state and potentially beyond will be a next step. Second, it is hoped that the parent communication skills training model will also allow for pursuing additional funding to adapt the model to other target contexts parents and their adolescent might face, including prevention of onset of type 2 diabetes in adolescents identified as having pre-diabetes.”

For many college students, acquiring real-world experience occurs through internships or the occasional summer job. For students in Keith Hebert’s public history class, it is a weekly occurrence. Hebert’s students are working with state and local agencies to document and preserve equalizations schools in Alabama that were created for the African-American communities throughout the southeast to preempt integration and to show that segregation was positive for students and society.

“Most of the schools were built in the late 1940s during a time when there were many Supreme Court cases going up to Washington and challenging the segregated school system, especially in the American South,” Hebert said. “It seemed inevitable that at some point the Supreme Court was going to rule that all segregation was unconstitutional. In an effort to try to get around this, most southern states, including Alabama, started building millions of dollars worth of new schools, most of them for African Americans. In some cases, for the first time ever, they’re building new facilities for black school children and raising the pay for black school teachers.”

According to Hebert, the goal was not necessarily to improve the educational opportunities of African Americans, but to convince the federal government that all was supposedly well, that African Americans were perfectly happy in the segregated system.

“The plan was that when federal officials come down, they would be shown all the new high-tech schools that have been built and hopefully convince the federal government that forced integration was not only unconstitutional in their eyes, but also unnecessary.”

Hebert said the state of Alabama spent millions of dollars to build the duplicate school system, but once integration occurred, many of the new equalization schools were closed due to the majority of white southern parents refusing to send their children to the previously African American schools.

“Many of these buildings still remain in the community. They still exist. Many times, after the schools were integrated, they turned these equalization schools into elementary schools or day care centers or community centers. Rarely did they stay a high school, but they survived. And there are alumni from the black community who deeply have connections to these places and want to commemorate and remember them.”

This is where Hebert’s class plays a vital role. Hebert said the Alabama Historical Commission has already documented a few of these buildings, especially in Montgomery County. But his students are digging in deep in Lee and Macon counties to create a guide on how to do research about these schools, how to document them, how to do oral history projects related to them and how to gather materials to serve as a template for other communities that are going to then carry on this work themselves.

“We’ve been in touch with a lot of community groups in both counties,”said Hebert. “This year, we’re going to start touring the state to give workshops and programs to help communities launch their own initiatives. The ultimate goal for all this is to place as many of these properties as possible on the National Register of Historic Places.”

The College of Liberal Arts is known for engaging students in the classroom, as well as connecting them to the community. A recent example of this began when Jana Gutiérrez Kerns, a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was contacted by a park ranger at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

National Park Ranger Eric Frey reached out to Kerns as part of an initiative to make parks more accessible to a diverse public. To accomplish this, they asked Kerns if she would be willing to translate important documents into Spanish for them. Kerns decided to incorporate the project into her Spanish translation and interpreting class the following spring.

Kerns said she was excited to take on such an assignment. “It’s our duty to educate and to learn from the community at large as a land-grant institution,” Kerns said.

The class was tasked with translating three different types of documents into Spanish, including a pamphlet, a children’s activity book and an audio guide for cellphones. While each document came with its own difficulties, the audio guide had several unique complications. Since it was oral text, a transcription first had to be made in English.

Perhaps even more taxing was that it was not just a single recording. Kerns elaborates, “They had it like a cellphone guide, so you had to call in every time. Sometimes once you called, it wouldn’t let you call again, so there were some mechanical issues there.”

The project was split between five different groups of students, and she knew that it would be difficult to maintain a seamless voice throughout each document they translated. “The worst thing you can have with a translated document is that it feels like a translation,” said Kerns.

Not only did the class do work for the park, but they also had the opportunity to visit the park which gave them a better understanding of their intended audience. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend was one of the most pivotal battles over the course of the Creek War, and both Kerns and Frey said it was important that more families will be able to learn about Alabama and American history through the park.

“This project is more than just translating materials for Spanish speaking visitors; it is also connecting Auburn students with the National Park Service and Horseshoe Bend National Military Park,” Frey said.

Taylor Mackowski, a student of Kerns, said of her experience, “I loved this class. Not many classes give you the feel of the work you’ll be doing once you graduate.”

“When a landgrant institution like Auburn University builds a relationship and plays an active role in its community, everyone benefits,” Kerns said.

Food insecurity, or a lack of reliable access to adequate food for an individual or family, is an issue for many people across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 15.8 million households in the nation struggle with food insecurity. Many of these families have to make the difficult decision to purchase food or pay bills.

In stark contrast to the millions of people dealing with food insecurity is the staggering 150,000 tons of food that are thrown away in America each day. How do people go hungry in a country that discards that much food daily?

Students in Auburn’s Campus Kitchens Project are working to address both issues in a tremendous way. Campus Kitchens is an emerging leader in community service for students and anti-hunger programs across the country. The concept behind this student-led organization, which simultaneously fights hunger and waste, is simple. Dedicated student volunteers collect leftover food that would otherwise be thrown away, and they repackage the food into nutritionally balanced meals and then redistribute it to individuals in need.

The project started on Auburn’s campus in 2011 by providing 72 meals per week to people at the United Methodist Church Food Pantry. Initially, they collected food from one dining hall and supplemented the food by shopping to purchase items missing from the meal. In the interim, they have continued to serve those meals, but have added 17 distribution sites. Today the project serves as many as 1,000 meals per week because of the efforts of 90 students working 45 individual shifts. In 2018, Campus Kitchens collected more than 33,000 pounds of food from 10 unique dining facilities and transformed it into more than 34,000 meals.

Campus Kitchens continues to grow and thrive thanks to the project’s long-standing partnerships. Campus Kitchens started in Auburn as part of a Hunger Capstone Course taught by visiting professor Douglas Coutts, who was on sabbatical assignment from the United Nations World Food Programme. During the course, the students conducted a feasibility study on the need for the establishment of Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn. The results of the study revealed that 18% of people in Auburn deal with food insecurity. This led the students to seek out a sponsoring office and get chartered at Auburn University.

The partnership with D.C. Central Kitchen has been essential to the establishment of Campus Kitchens at Auburn. The national leader and model in the community kitchens movement has been serving the nation’s capital through food recycling, hunger relief and job training since 1989. D.C. Central Kitchen provides guidelines, best practices and startup funding for Auburn and other campuses around the country.

Campus Kitchens is sponsored by the University Outreach’s Office of Public Service. The office handles all administrative support as well as providing daily supervision to students. As the program has grown, Outreach has sponsored a Volunteer in Service to America, or VISTA, to provide additional hands-on supervision. Whitney Lee, this year’s VISTA, has found working with the program to be extremely rewarding.

“Through food pick-ups and deliveries, we have been able to truly connect and engage with the community,” said Lee. “Being a part of a cause greater than yourself is the true reward.”

One of the most critical partnerships is with Tiger Dining. Nine campus dining facilities provide leftover food for the students to collect. They also provide guidance related to food preparation and storage. Tiger Dining was instrumental in establishing a partnership with Residence Life which allows Campus Kitchens to operate out of the basement of Toomer Hall.

In addition to the food retrieved from campus facilities, the students have developed a partnership with Golden Corral in Opelika. The addition of this site has resulted in almost doubling the amount of food received weekly. Each night after the restaurant closes, the students pick up the remaining food. Students even pick up on late Saturday nights while their counterparts are studying or enjoying student life.

Golden Corral is excited to partner with Campus Kitchens. “We’re one of the first off-campus businesses to be doing it,” said Angel Rodriguez, kitchen manager at Golden Corral. “I was approached by the head of the organization here in Auburn, explaining what the program is about and saying that they could help us out with the food that we would normally dispose of. It would go to somebody in need. Every night that we disposed of things that really could go to a needy person, my heart broke. So this is a great opportunity.”

Collecting the food would be in vain without the partnerships of the distribution sights. Seventeen nonprofit agencies throughout the county depend on the food provided to help build capacity and expand their services. Some of the agencies receiving meals include those working with youth, elderly and underserved populations. The food delivered to the agencies may be packaged as individual meals that can be microwaved and eaten, or it may be delivered in large pans that can be heated and served cafeteria style.

St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Opelika is one facility receiving pans of food that are served cafeteria style to people in the community. People are invited to come in for a hot meal on Tuesday nights. Althea Ashford works with the feeding program and said the partnership with Campus Kitchens has resulted in dramatic program growth.

“We started our feeding ministry by delivering meals to five elderly members with limited mobility,” said Ashford. “Since we started receiving food from Campus Kitchens, we have opened our program up to anyone in the community who needs a hot meal. Now we feed 75 or 80 people every Tuesday.”

In order to maintain the program, students must continually purchase supplies needed to collect, store, package and distribute meals. There are many unseen partners who donate to the program through Tiger Giving Day. For the past three years, Campus Kitchens has been included in Tiger Giving Day and has exceeded its goals. Publix has become a financial partner and has donated $5,000 the past two years.

Powered by dedication and partnerships, the Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn continues to make a difference in the campus and community. As a land-grant institution, Auburn University is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation and the world through forward-thinking education, life-enhancing research and scholarship and selfless service. Campus Kitchens epitomizes that selfless service.

For additional information, go to

“Alabama Justice,” an educational exhibit telling the stories of eight Alabama-based, landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, is currently touring the state as part of Alabama’s bicentennial. The exhibit was developed by Steven Brown, professor of political science at Auburn University, and Backstory Educational Media.

The exhibit highlights Alabama’s contributions to American constitutional law through landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases which originated in the state, and profiles three U.S. Supreme Court justices from Alabama. It features well-known cases such as the Scottsboro Boys, and it covers issues including civil rights, equal protection, city zoning and prayer in public schools.

Though originating in Alabama, these cases all had national implications in the interpretation of federal law which endure today, noted Brown. “These cases are important because of the rights and liberties the court recognized or established in them that apply to all Americans,” said Brown.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices from Alabama profiled include John McKinley of Huntsville, John Archibald Campbell of Mobile and Hugo Black of Ashland. Each made contributions to administrative and judicial proceedings which still impact the Supreme Court today. The most recent Alabama justice, Hugo Black, was part of the unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education which ruled that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

In this interactive, multi-media exhibit, visitors can learn about the arguments of the cases, hear audio from the rulings and see original photographs concerning the cases. Digital interactive components enable viewers to easily scroll through the historical materials for each case. Additional panels include information about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as profiles of Alabama’s three Supreme Court justices. Brown hopes visitors will gain an appreciation for these special cases and the people involved in securing the rights and liberties we enjoy today.

The exhibit was developed by Brown with support from a University Outreach Competitive Scholarship Grant, an IGP Innovative Research Grant, the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Political Science. The exhibit and tour is sponsored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Auburn University and the Alabama Bench and Bar Historical Society.

“Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces that Changed a Nation” will tour the state throughout 2019, appearing at Auburn University’s Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Vulcan Park Museum in Birmingham, the Mobile History Museum, the George W. Carver Museum in Tuskegee and the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery. A book based on the exhibit is forthcoming.

For 100 years, the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership has been an annual leadership tradition. The conference began in 1919 at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with an industrial foundation, which is still the cornerstone of the conference today.

In 2000, the conference moved to Auburn University and was managed by the Auburn University College of Business and fulfilled the leadership prerequisite that was then required for its MBA students. Auburn University Office of Professional and Continuing Education began managing the conference in 2011. Today the conference provides an exceptional management leadership development experience for private and public sector principals, employees and representatives.

Each year the conference boasts a line-up of leading national speakers, including Auburn University faculty, staff and alumni. This year’s event features Deborah Boswell, an Auburn University alumna and in-demand communications coach and consultant who works with some of the nation’s top companies, coaching executives, managers and technical professionals. Her presentation will focus on how enhanced listening skills can save time, build teams and make organizations more profitable.

This year’s conference will be held on Oct. 2-4, and promises to be challenging, motivational and inspirational. To view this year’s conference schedule or to reserve your spot, visit

Auburn Athletics has an excellent brand perception across the southeast, but how can that brand raise national visibility?

Craft beer giant Back Forty Beer wants to increase its footprint with additional retail locations. What is the smartest strategic business model and financial structure to make this a success?

Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Jackson, Mississippi, is facing multi-faceted competition like never before. How can this retailer differentiate itself to consumers, and if relocation is an option, where?

These companies and five other organizations, including manufacturing and supply chain giant Georgia-Pacific, sought the help of 129 Auburn MBA students. After four months of crunching data, formulating business plans, identifying consumer trends and comparing peer organization strengths/weaknesses, presented their findings before company executives – who took their recommendations to heart.

Formerly known as the Capstone, Auburn MBA’s Team Resource and Applied Consulting, or TRAC, Program tasks teams of students to tackle real-world business problems similar to what they might encounter later in their careers.

“The students are expected to deliver the companies value, identify where they can save costs and increase efficiencies,” said Gary Page, executive-in-residence at the Harbert College of Business who identifies and recruits companies to participate in the TRAC program. “The students benefit from real-world experience. That’s the underlying objective.”

Peter Stanwick, associate professor in management who teaches the TRAC program, said the benefits to the program were numerous. “Students get exposed to an actual corporation and actually get to take a snapshot of time to see what’s going on,” he said. “What they are able to do is apply the knowledge they have learned throughout our program and then take on the role of a consultant – an external third party – to come in there with a completely objective viewpoint.”

That viewpoint didn’t go unnoticed, either. “What we receive is an external perspective as opposed to a perspective from within the company,” said Eric Tanguay, vice president for projects and services at Georgia-Pacific, who noted that hearing from student teams offered diverse ideas and “a different way of thinking about certain things.”

“My team jotted probably three or four things that said, ‘Wow! Maybe we wouldn’t have thought about it this way, whether it’s a consultant who’s going to be biased and tell us what we want to hear versus maybe somebody who doesn’t know a lot about us.’ Not knowing a lot about us actually helps,” Tanguay said.

Not knowing about Auburn Athletics, on the other hand, does not help. In this case, it was all about increasing brand identity.

“What we wanted to do was take a look holistically at (Auburn President) Dr. Steven Leath’s vision and (Athletics Director) Allen Greene’s vision and align those thought processes to how it effects corporate sponsorships, Auburn Athletics, Auburn University and how we are able to connect brands to fans,” said Chris Davis, vice president and general manager of Auburn Sports Properties. “The information the students provided was awesome and sometimes that extra nugget gives us an opportunity to develop something unique to the Auburn Family.

“The students’ work speaks volumes to the (MBA) program. Every single group had great nuggets. They were able to identify all of the different stakeholders outside our university sector and developed key ideas from that.”

Originally from nearby Opelika, Kent Hagan is a resident physician at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Not only did he praise the program’s necessity to pull together lessons learned through a variety of MBA classes, but he considered the TRAC program to be “eye-opening.”

“It opened my eyes to why management does certain things, why finance departments do certain things, and it opened my eyes to ask the right questions – not only point out problems but to have the skills to identify solutions,” the former high school football kicker said. “This can help push my organization forward wherever I might end up in the future.”

One aspect of the TRAC program isn’t just the boardroom-style presentations before corporate executives or the professional-style, multi-page business proposals that dwarf the size of term papers. It’s working in a team environment. Some students are resident students. Some are distance students. In this program, they must work together regardless of geography.

“This is the first time that I was on conference calls and had to coordinate with people that I wasn’t faceto-face with,” said Evan Katz, of Lexington, South Carolina, who plans to graduate in May. “That was challenging, but I developed a lot in how I can work with people and I feel like I’m going to have to do that through my career.”

Julie Jacobs, who has interned within Auburn Athletics and at the Country Music Association in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated in December, said the TRAC program equipped her professionally and personally for the next phase of her career.

“This project allowed me to not only add value to my client through in-depth research and analysis, but also for value to be added to me, as I honed communication skills, grew my network and learned more about my client’s industry,” she said. “The TRAC program paired students with clients in a way that allowed each student to utilize their existing skills and further develop the concepts we have been taught throughout our MBA experience.”

If your organization is interested in teaming with Auburn MBA’s TRAC program as a project client in the future, contact Gary Page at

When it came time to select their 2018 fall outreach project, there was one specific initiative that seemed like it would be the perfect “tie-in” to the Student Philanthropy Board’s mission to learn about nonprofit work through hands-on community service. In the last few years, the Student Philanthropy Board, or SPB, has led fundraising drives in support of local and regional nonprofits. Previous drives have benefited hurricane victims, children in need, food banks and homeless shelters. This year, SPB selected the “Tie-a-Tie Tuesday” program at Auburn High School, which not only provided a tangible contribution, but also an educational lesson that participants would benefit from for the rest of their lives.

Auburn High School Assistant Principal Damian Sinclair is always on the lookout for “unique and creative opportunities to connect with students.” Inspired by his fraternity’s tradition of teaching the fading art of tying a tie, Sinclair decided to start an educational program last fall at AHS by grabbing a tie from his personal closet. He picked a random student in the school hall, tied the tie around his neck and provided a one-on-one lesson. After the student mastered the skill, Sinclair told him he could keep the tie. The student, who had never owned a tie before, was thrilled.

That first lesson has since turned into many. Sinclair’s fraternity brothers and other teachers helped launch the program by donating ties and their time teaching students how to tie a tie. He believes that owning a tie and knowing how to tie it will make the students feel empowered and professional – an achievement he wants every young man in 7th-12th grades to experience through the program.

When SPB learned of Sinclair’s initiative, members decided that they should sponsor a tie drive. The service project was a unique outreach opportunity that would benefit the community and also provide SPB’s sponsor organization, the Women’s Philanthropy Board and its men’s auxiliary, The Phils, a chance to directly participate in their fundraising project.

Each fall, the Women’s Philanthropy Board holds a “Burgers and Bow Ties” networking event that debuts a calendar featuring the newest members of The Phils wearing bow ties. Invitations to the 2018 annual event included a request from SPB for attendees to help them “Tie a Knot of Success” by donating new or gently used ties at the event. WPB members and guests responded by donating more than 300 ties. An additional 100 ties were donated by Jos. A. Bank Clothiers and Auburn University fraternity members.

During the event, Sinclair was presented with the ties and shared he was “overwhelmed and overjoyed” by the donation and the support of SPB and the Women’s Philanthropy Board. “Tying a tie and wearing it makes me feel professional. If our students get into that mindset, I feel like we can help them get to different places in their lives and help them have success,” said Sinclair.

The Student Philanthropy Board is a student organization open to any Auburn University student. It is a mentoring initiative sponsored by the Women’s Philanthropy Board, the flagship division of the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies in the College of Human Sciences.

They learned, and they served.

Sixty-one Master of Accountancy students from the Harbert College of Business recently spent a week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, learning from industry professionals they would never encounter on domestic soil, and spent time with school children at a Brazilian favela, while painting one of the school’s old theaters.

“If you consider the many thousands of accounting graduates that enter the workforce each year, it becomes almost necessary to diversify yourself in some way,” said Claire Brien, a MAcc student who will work for EY* after graduation. “The international trip provides Auburn accounting students with the opportunity to study international culture, business practices and reporting standards that create the business world we live in today and, therefore, distinguishes us from our peers.” One of the industry visits included a meeting with four Brazilian entrepreneurs.

“These entrepreneurs are involved in a wide variety of industries,” said MAcc student Ward Easterlin, who will also work for EY after graduation. “However, each of them faced similar struggles in starting their businesses. Despite their difficulties, each of those businessmen and women were very driven and optimistic in reaching their goals. This experience allowed me to realize the importance of following my dreams despite the hardships that will come.”

The team also met with a panel of partners from multiple accounting firms, including EY and PwC.

“The students were provided a perspective on what it’s like to be an accountant in Brazil, so that was really interesting and the students had really good questions for them about the differences in what their experience will be like versus a new person working at one of those firms,” said Kerry Inger, assistant professor in the School of Accountancy and one of seven faculty making the trip. “The students got a different perspective on doing business in a different place. They also realize that it is similar. Even though it is a very different culture and country, there are people starting their own businesses. There are accounting firms, too. It made a connection for the students from a business perspective.”

No annual MAcc trip to South America is complete without a service project. This year, the MAccs raised nearly $14,000 for Viva Rio, a humanitarian entity which described itself as “a social enterprise that fosters peace, inclusion and freedom through innovative projects in areas impacted by poverty and violence.” The money is being used to help improve schools in Brazil’s favelas, the poorest neighborhoods that surround the city.

“But when we are on the ground (in town), we also like to be involved,” Inger added. “We don’t just want to give money and not be present.”

The team helped repaint a theater at a local school and showered the schoolchildren with time and gifts.

“It melted our hearts to see our students playing with these kids and caring for them,” Inger said.

Brien considered the service project to be the most beneficial portion of the trip.

“Auburn is a land-grant institution that ‘believes in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with … fellow men’ and I feel that this opportunity was a perfect illustration of that as we donated both money and time to fellow men, and we’re better for it,” she said. “As a student studying in America, it was easy for me to imagine poverty based upon different charity drives and television ads, but I had never truly experienced it firsthand until visiting Rio.”

Easterlin added, “As graduate students in a rigorous program, it is very easy to get caught up in our busy schedules as we balance school and work.

“Therefore, we tend to forget about the needs of others as we focus on everything that is expected of us. These service projects allowed us to take time to refocus on what is one of the most important aspects in life, which is serving others and putting others’ needs above our own.”

Former Auburn University Vice President Ann E. Thompson, 87, died on March 2. Thompson served as both the director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (now System) and as vice president over what is today University Outreach. Born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, Thompson began a lifelong association with Extension as a member of the 4-H program. At the 1947 State Fair, Thompson was named state champion in the 4-H calf show. In 1954, she graduated Auburn with high honors in home economics, and later received an Ed.D. from Oklahoma State. Thompson served in extension posts in Alabama, Florida and Virginia before returning to Auburn in 1984 as Extension director. In 1988, President Jim Martin gave Thompson the additional title of vice president, charging her with overseeing several new and existing outreach units on campus. Upon her retirement in 1994, President William Muse lauded Thompson’s accomplishments in “broadening the accessibility of all citizens to every area of the university’s work.” Thompson played a major role in expanding information technologies linking campus learning resources with communities across Alabama, as well as expanding facilities supporting lifelong learning. One of these which Thompson noted she was “particularly proud,” is the Alabama 4-H Center; today a building is named for Thompson on its Shelby County campus. “It has been a decade of great change, and I hope progress and achievement for the university’s outreach mission,” Thompson said on her retirement from Auburn. “We can’t change the past, but we can improve our future through educational outreach.” Truly, Thompson does leave a great legacy in a vibrant outreach mission which, as she often stressed, “focuses on real needs [to] make a difference in the lives of people.”

Professors in the Auburn University Department of History are assisting local Korean residents with a better understanding of history and culture through a collaboration between the Korea Corner and the College of Liberal Arts’ Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill.

During the 2018 fall semester, doctoral candidate Alex Colvin presented on Southeastern Creek Indians, followed by a lecture on slavery in the South by Keith Hebert Assistant Professor and Public History Program Officer. Kenneth Noe discussed the American Civil War, and Professor Emeritus Wayne Flynt gave an overview of “Ten Things Korean Americans Should Know About Alabama.” Korean translators include Jung Won Hur in the College of Education and Minchul Park from the Korean community.

“I learn as much from my Korean audience as they learn from me because they see Southern history through a fresh perspective that brings new life to age old topics,” said Hebert, who also presented on the topic of reconstruction of the South after the end of the Civil War.

For more information on Korea Corner, go to For more information on the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center, go to

Stacey Nickson, director of the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, or CEOE, participated in Fulbright Association award ceremonies for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 28. Merkel received the association’s J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. Nickson, former president of the Alabama Fulbright Association, currently serves as a director on the National Fulbright Association Board. CEOE is part of Auburn’s University Outreach division.

The Fulbright Association honored Merkel for her remarkable, compassionate leadership and her strong commitment to mutual understanding, international cooperation and peace.

“The Fulbright Prize is the very symbol for how important international friendship is,” said Chancellor Merkel upon receiving the Prize. She thanked the Fulbright Association for its work and stated that she believes “the Fulbright Program decisively contributes to the good relations between Americans and Germans.”

Significantly, it was the first time in the award’s 25-year history that the Fulbright Association hosted this event outside of the United States. Nickson was among prominent Fulbright Association members, international educators, politicians, diplomats and media gathered to recognize Merkel.

“It was an honor to represent Auburn University and the state of Alabama in Berlin,” said Nickson. “And it was thrilling to meet Chancellor Merkel who is such a remarkable world leader.”

Auburn University Outreach’s online Encyclopedia of Alabama, or EOA, was integral to a poster presented at “Conversations in Celebration of Teaching” in January 2019. The event, sponsored by the Office of University Writing and the Biggo Center, was designed to highlight innovative work connected to teaching at Auburn. The presentation, in the style of an academic poster session, by Claire Wilson, senior content editor with EOA, and Robert Boyd, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences, was one of several multi-disciplinary presentations.

Wilson and Boyd’s poster highlighted an assignment for students in a conservation biology class that required them to repurpose their technical scientific writing on rare Alabama species for a general audience. Using EOA entries as the target publication format, students wrote an article no longer than 1,000 words designed to be accessible to the general public and written at a 9th-grade reading level. To date, nine of the articles on critically threatened or threatened species found in Alabama that were developed for the assignment have been accepted for publication in EOA. The example highlighted in the presentation was on the Black Warrior Waterdog (, a critically endangered amphibian found only in the Black Warrior River Basin.

The Encyclopedia of Alabama is a free, online resource that covers the state’s history, culture and natural environment.

The Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, will offer more courses than ever in 2019 through its Economic Development Association of Alabama, or EDAA, Leadership Institute program. For the first time ever, participants will have the opportunity to earn their certificates in less than a year, as the full slate of courses will be offered. To earn the EDAA Leadership Certificate, students must complete four one-day courses and attend one summer or winter EDAA conference.

This year’s program kicks off in Alabama’s Blackbelt with the following courses: Essentials of Economic Development, Building Community, Attracting Retail, Building Workforce, Business and Industry Marketing and Attraction.

For more information or to register, go to

In fall 2018, the Auburn University chapter of Circle K International collected more than 200 pairs of shoes from their classmates. SHOES4BOOKS was conducted in partnership with Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental, or Jean Dean RIF. The shoe collection drive raises funds to place books in the homes of at-risk young children across Alabama. Jean Dean RIF earns funds from Funds2Orgs based on the number of pairs collected. Those funds are then used to purchase high quality and age appropriate books. For many of the recipients, these are the first books in their homes. After the shoe drive, all donated shoes are redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of microenterprise partners in developing nations.

“We were excited about the response we received this year. We plan to make this an annual event and increase our number of shoes each year,” said DeForest Tuggle. Tuggle served as president of Circle K for the past year.

For those who are starting a human resources career, seeking recertification or looking for opportunities to develop leadership skills, The Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, is a leading resource provider.

In 2015, OPCE began its partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM, to provide human resources certification and training. OPCE is now the providing partner for three distinct Alabama regions including Auburn/ Opelika, Montgomery and North Alabama/Huntsville. As the designated SHRM provider, OPCE offers courses to human resources professionals including CP/SCP Certification Exam Test Prep and the SHRM Essentials of HR.

In addition to its role as a SHRM provider, OPCE offers seminars and conferences throughout the year that qualify for SHRM recertification credit.

The Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership is an annual leadership conference renowned for its line up of leading national speakers and attracting some of the most successful managers in America. This year the conference will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Oct. 2-4 in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and qualifies for SHRM recertification credits.

OPCE also sponsors the AU Leadership Series, a quarterly lineup of speakers who present innovative leadership and management skills to inspire success in all organizations. Each seminar in the series is recognized by SHRM to offer 3.75 PDCs for recertification.

For more information on these programs, including how to register, visit or contact

During the spring Employee Recognition Program several outreach employees are being honored for reaching years of service milestones. Tanja Redd is celebrating 10 years. Laura Hill, Encyclopedia of Alabama, and Barbara Daron, OLLI at Auburn, are celebrating 15 years. Sheree Wilson, Government & Economic Development Institute, has completed 30 years. Sarah Burney, Office of Public Service, has completed 35 years. Congratulations to each of these employees for achieving these milestones.

Auburn University’s Campus Kitchens Project has always been focused on helping those in need. That was before the March 3 tornadoes that ripped through Lee County taking lives, destroying homes and creating an instant crisis.

Daniel Crifasi and Amy Qazi are two of the students from Auburn’s Campus Kitchens who led the effort to bring food to those who lost everything and to the volunteers helping survivors recover.

The group delivered more than 300 pounds of food to Providence Baptist Church the day after the tornado, then 50 pounds the next day. The church near Auburn operated as a rescue and assistance center.

“We are just trying to help the community,” Qazi said. “Auburn and Lee County are so small; everyone knows each other. The more help we can get, the better things will be.”

When there are no storms to respond to, the group works on bridging the gap that causes food insecurity in the area. The Campus Kitchens Project is a national program with locations at many colleges and universities.

“I think one thing that is unique about the Campus Kitchens Project is that we are directly seeing the people we impact,” Qazi said. “Being able to make sure everyone has a meal at night is such a fulfilling and humbling experience. It definitely teaches you not to take anything for granted.”

The BraveHeart Center for Place and Purpose, or BCPP, Photography Exhibit and Disability Awareness Campaign was displayed during December 2018 in the Supreme Court and State Law Library at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. This represented a continuation of the traveling exhibit that began at the Auburn Public Library during the month of October. In addition to professional quality and iconic Auburn photographs, the exhibit includes principles and strategies for building more inclusive communities.

In December 2018, BCPP Inclusion Ambassadors, Auburn University interns and student volunteers and First Presbyterian Church volunteers made the incredibly fun and affirming trip to the State Capitol to view their photographs on display in a very special place. Each of the 11 BCPP Inclusion Ambassadors had a separate panel which showcased their artistic talent. This was their opportunity to be seen, valued and heard through their photography.

Historically, individuals with disabilities who face moderate to severe life challenges have had fewer opportunities to celebrate and share their innate talents with their communities. Upon arriving, one of the BCPP photographers was greeted by a state trooper who said, “I saw your work up there.”

The trooper’s greeting was followed by a warm hug, which was this photographer’s way of saying “Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing my work.” Another BCPP photographer visited the exhibit with her family the previous weekend. While visiting, she was recognized by Capitol staff and was able to greet a tour group and show them her work.

The mission of BraveHeart Center for Place and Purpose is to transform society’s response to individuals with disabilities by cultivating compassion, connection and community through outreach, relationship and inclusion. The BCPP Traveling Photo Exhibit is one of several unique community inclusion strategies utilized in support of this mission. Other strategies include: Compassionate Outreach Drives, Monthly Community Movie Days and Art Helps and Heals the Heart.

BCPP was founded in fall 2016 as an outreach initiative of the social work program in Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts in collaboration with First Presbyterian Church of Auburn. The program serves as a dynamic, innovative learning experience and service opportunity for Auburn University students as they prepare for professional roles post-graduation.

BraveHeart Center for Place and Purpose Traveling Photo Exhibit was made possible with support from Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, Auburn University Outreach and private contributors.

For more information and inclusion opportunities, contact

What we think of as the scholarship of engagement has made great strides since Ernest Boyer’s (1990) seminal “Scholarship Reconsidered” and continues to inform the university’s conception of how we serve the greater good from both community and scholarly perspectives. Discourse among academics and community professionals continues to be reflexive and discerning for the best ways collaborative relationships can be developed and sustained. This discourse also calls for metrics that point to real outcomes and broader impacts.

At the core of this discourse has been the demonstration of best practice in the formation of collaborative relationships, mutually beneficial partnerships and partnership sustainability. Best practices are professional standards or behaviors and actions that reflect competence. Indeed, competence is a key factor in the application of the discipline of community engagement and development of publicly engaged scholarship.

For example, there is a significant base of literature devoted to best practice in student engagement related to service-learning opportunities, field experiences and other curricular and co-curricular experiential applications of engagement (such as Furco, 1996; Arnold, Dolenc and Wells, 2008). Service-learning, as a community engagement pedagogy, can enhance both student growth and result in a public good. Best practices in experiential education promotes in-depth application of knowledge in a real-world context and fosters awareness and skill development that cultivates civic and social responsibility.

Scholarship drawn from the community itself is also a valuable component in the process of engagement. Valuing place and the people whose agency devoted to community engagement are critical in collaborative relationships and partnerships. Best practice in community engagement centers on reciprocity, begins with the community in mind, aims to establish a sustainable partnership, maintains a balance of power, progresses from individualistic to collectivistic action and connects across learning contexts. Principally, it listens, connects and is a steward of the partnership. When reciprocity is achieved, open communication is demonstrated, inclusive of everyone’s voice and represents the fundamental understanding of power and differentials. Reciprocity can be a buffer to mitigate the misuse of the partner relationship. Reciprocity is keenly important for the realization of meaningful collaboration, mutual benefit and increased empowerment that can ultimately catapult and leverage sustained broader impacts. Consequently, reciprocity is an indicator of success for communities, individuals and institutions that have formed relationships that are allengaged, all-involved and all-committed.

Engagement is by nature as diverse as those engaged in the process - faculty, staff, students and community partners - thus, there is an infinite variety to the practice of engagement across communities far and wide. There is a clear value to examining best practices in engagement, not just those which simply exhibit elements of engaged practice, but those in which competent and sustainable collaborations produce innovative, effective and mutually beneficial outcomes.

(This essay abridged from Thomas, C. M., and Foster, R. (2018). This is engagement: A perspective on the special edition of the Journal, 2017 ESC Conference Special Edition, Journal of Higher Education and Outreach and Engagement, 22, 3, 1-7.)

AU Leadership 2019 - Matt Overby 3-19-19; Lori King Taylor 5-16-19; Allison Blankenship 8-9-19

The AU Leadership Series returned for 2019 with a lineup of speakers who will present innovative leadership and management skills to inspire success in all organizations.

The series kicked off on March 19 with Matt Overby, president and executive director of Summit Leadership Foundation. In his presentation “The DNA of a Level 5 Leader,” Overby used his past experience in corporate operational leadership roles with national brands including Chickfil-A, Starbucks Coffee Company and Target to help participants apply the attributes of a healthy culture, emotional intelligence, teamwork, vulnerability, generational differences and communication to become leaders worth following.

In addition to Overby, two speakers are scheduled later this year.

Lori King-Taylor, expert in leadership development and organizational effectiveness, will speak May 16. King-Taylor specializes in assisting companies and their employees develop the skills and strategies needed to improve individual, team and organizational performance. In her workshop, participants will master the use of emotional intelligence as a leadership tool.

Allison Blankenship, author, former Fortune 200 regional director and Auburn University alumna will be the speaker Aug. 8. In her highly interactive program, participants will gain hands-on tools to motivate and persuade others.

The AU Leadership Series is presented by the Office of Professional and Continuing Education. Each seminar in the series qualifies attendees to earn .4 CEUs and is recognized by SHRM to offer 3.75 PDCs for recertification. For more information or to register, go to

Auburn’s Outreach Global Office, in collaboration with Leslie Cordie, assistant professor of adult education at the Department of Educational Foundations Leadership and Technology, is developing internships and volunteer programs in Ireland focusing on a crosscultural learning experiences, workforce development, nursing, pharmacy, business, information technology (engineering), non-degree certificate programs and other related disciplines.

Through its internships and volunteer programs, Outreach Global aims to expose students to career opportunities while providing professional development and training for faculty and staff. The pilot program will commence in Ireland in summer 2020.

This program is designed to complement existing internship programs on campus and offer alternative international experience for students who cannot afford traditional study abroad programs. The time frame for the program ranges from two weeks to a maximum of three months. Participants will be responsible for program fees and flights and all other logistics will be coordinated by the Outreach Global office.

Internships and volunteerism pave the way for students to gain real life career experience and brings them closer to their dream jobs. Students also get network opportunities with employers and other stakeholders. The opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture, history and the socio-economic structure of Ireland is another advantage for participants.

The time to connect with the global emerging markets is now. Join the Outreach Global Office for global exposure, internships and volunteer opportunities.

For more information, contact Elizabeth I. Essamuah-Quansah, director of Outreach Global.

Last Updated: August 21, 2019