Beyond Auburn Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020: "Making a Difference"

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Dr. Royrickers Cook

In January, we received the exciting news that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced the renewal of Auburn University’s Community Engagement classification for 2020 through 2026. In March, Auburn, like the rest of the United States and the world, was engaged in mitigating the growing coronavirus pandemic. Both events illustrate the significant importance of outreach to the community in good times and challenging times as well.

The Carnegie Community Engagement classification is the highest national distinction an institution can earn for its outreach and engagement mission. Auburn, which has held the classification since 2010, achieved its renewal after a comprehensive year-long application process. Highlighting the tremendous impact of Auburn’s faculty, staff and student engagement, the Carnegie designation clearly affirms Auburn’s strategic promise that outreach is the community’s “first resource for...practical and innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental issues.”

Auburn’s wide-ranging responses to the pandemic also demonstrate how the university is indeed the first resource of community engagement especially for accessible instruction, assistance, and service to the greater public beyond campus in times of crisis. For example, many outreach professional training programs and lifelong learning activities have been converted for delivery on-line so people can continue to meet their educational goals while sheltering at home. Governmental and economic development assistance enables communities and businesses address local concerns arising from emergency closures. Service initiatives such as our maskmaking initiative helps fulfill critical need for personal protective supplies in the area.

Significantly Auburn is one of only 71 very elite institutions nationwide to receive both Carnegie’s R1 research designation and Community Engagement classifications, demonstrating the university’s significant commitment to both the research and outreach enterprises. This critical connection between research and engagement can be seen as Auburn’s faculty contribute their scholarship and expertise to innovations in medical technology and epidemiology, and also in providing ready information on topics ranging from public health, home and business finances, and family well-being as Alabama copes with the impact of the pandemic on daily life.

Indeed, outreach engagement is about working together in the here and now; it’s the University’s boots on the ground in communities across the state and beyond. It’s Auburn’s partnership with the people that’s making a real difference in our collective quality of life — today and every day.

Join us in making a difference!

War Eagle and stay safe,

Royrickers Cook, Ph.D.

Vice President for University Outreach and Associate Provost

Auburn University Outreach and Osher Lifelong Learning Help Produce 10,000 Masks Amid COVID-19
Scott Bishop | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Medical facilities across the region in dire need of protective face masks soon will get a much-needed boost in supplies, thanks to a new Auburn University initiative. Through a coalition of university units and faculty led by Auburn University Outreach’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI at Auburn, plans are underway to produce 10,000 protective face masks to meet the growing demand due to COVID-19. Several area volunteer groups, with OLLI at Auburn members who enjoy sewing as a hobby, are already making masks as part of church or other local service projects.

Orange and blue mask

Completed masks will be made available to local clinics and community health providers to meet a growing need amid short supplies and the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks produced by volunteers will be collected at OLLI at Auburn’s Sunny Slope office for distribution to the Auburn University Medical Clinic, East Alabama Medical Center and a number of health care facilities across the region.

“OLLI at Auburn has a dedicated and talented base of members who are eager to help during this public health crisis,” said organizer Scott Bishop, director of OLLI at Auburn. “Where we saw a need was to provide support to these individual efforts with some collective assistance, and thus help ramp up the production of personal protective masks at this time of great need.” The masks are designed to cover an individual’s mouth and nose comfortably and fitted with ties so that one size fits all. Volunteers can sew the masks from cotton fabric templates to be available at Sunny Slope. The templates will have four pieces of fabric—two from quilting cotton and two from cotton knit—that will be pre-cut from the pattern in the instructions. The sewing kit will also include instructions for how to sew the mask and tips for wearing and caring for a mask. Instructions and the demonstration video will available on the initiative’s website at

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting high number of cases nationwide and in East Alabama have created a shortage of medical supplies, especially PPEs, or personal protective equipment. While not surgical-grade PPE, these volunteer-made masks are useful for a variety of health situations, saving commercial masks for where they are most needed.

“One of the most extraordinary aspects of the Auburn Family is it capacity and willingness to help the community in times of need,” said Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University. “University Outreach and OLLI at Auburn represent the best of that spirit of service, and I appreciate their leadership in this initiative.”

Vice President for Development Jane DiFolco Parker announced the Auburn University Foundation will provide $20,000 in funding to support the acquisition of materials to produce the masks.

“Our fellow outreach offices and many other university units have provided much support as well,” said Bishop.

University Outreach is working with units across campus, including the Auburn University Medical Clinic, Media Production Group and faculty from the Department of Industrial and Graphic Design and the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Medical Clinic Director Fred Kam advised on the design and applications for the masks; Science and Engineering Education Professor Christine Schnittka created prototypes and designed an instructional plan; Industrial Design Department Head Clark Lundell provided laser-cut fabrication templates and MPG Director Bruce Kuerten produced an online video demonstration featuring sewing instructions.

“Auburn’s outreach mission and strategic purpose is to provide practical and innovative solutions to significant public needs, and this interdisciplinary initiative is a powerful example of that responsiveness,” said Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach.

The enthusiasm generated by the collaboration is apparent, says Bishop, who encourages members of the community to join the effort.

“By making a mask, you can make a difference for our community, especially at this critical time—we welcome everyone’s help in this special initiative,” said Bishop.

For more information about the initiative and to learn how you can volunteer, visit or call Scott Bishop at OLLI at Auburn at 334-844-3146.

COVID-19 Response continues on page 15 or for updates, visit:

Carnegie logo

Auburn University achieved an outreach milestone with renewal of the institution’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in January. The prestigious Carnegie designation is the most significant national affirmation for Auburn’s land-grant mission of Outreach. It’s also recognition that the university’s engagement is having a positive impact and making a real difference in the lives of Alabamians, especially during challenging times such as the current coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education system, the Community Engagement designation is the premier institutional recognition for a university’s total outreach and extension body of work in the community. The designation recognizes the scope, quality and impact of an institution’s outreach mission through its institutional engagement in the community. Auburn has held its engagement classification continuously since 2010 and received renewal of the designation through 2026.

Carnegie also recognizes Auburn in its classification system as a comprehensive, doctoral granting, research institution and awarded the university its highest “R1” research status this past year. Auburn is among 119 institutions receiving the Community Engagement classification this term, for a total of 359 universities now holding this important designation. Considering only 71 institutions nationwide hold Carnegie’s R1 research designation and the community engagement classification, Auburn is indeed one among a very elite group of universities nationwide to earn both recognitions.

Guy at table

“We’re honored to hold this national recognition for our outreach and community engagement,” said Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University. “Outreach is a defining aspect of our land-grant heritage, and this classification reflects Auburn’s significant commitment to serving the public in Alabama and beyond.”

Auburn received its CE classification renewal following a year-long application process led by the Division of University Outreach’s Office of Public Service. All universities considered for Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation must complete the rigorous study assessing institutional support for engagement, curricular engagement and student activities, faculty scholarship, community partnerships, outreach and extension work. In order to be selected for the classification, institutions must demonstrate sustained community engagement which is strategically aligned among mission, culture, leadership, policies, administration and organizational resources.

Auburn’s application included information from campus and community sources representing each school and college, outreach units, Alabama Extension, Student Affairs and civic partners. The application also noted Auburn’s expansion of its outreach division since the last classification, the growth in faculty engagement and service-learning across the curriculum, and the documented impact of the university’s many engaged partnerships in the community. In all, more than 240 individuals and sources were engaged in the completion of the application.

53,000 Number of meals produced last year by Campus Kitchens

“This prestigious distinction recognizes Auburn’s critical outreach role in engaging the university’s knowledge base and expertise directly with communities to solve pressing societal problems and improve the quality of life for the public we serve,” notes Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach.

“The critical and strategic importance of outreach engagement can be expressly seen now as the university mobilizes its scholarship, expertise and service responses to the current public health crisis.”

Engagement central to AU’s mission

Indeed, Auburn University’s 2019-2024 strategic plan emphasizes “impactful service” particularly for economic development and improving quality of life through effective engagement. The strategic plan and includes goals for faculty scholarly engagement, student civic engagement, continuing professional education and lifelong learning programs, community development and college readiness support.

Significantly, Auburn’s goals mirror the many ideals emphasized in Carnegie’s definition of community engagement.

In its classification guidelines, Carnegie describes community engagement as “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” Similarly, Auburn’s strategic plan promotes engagement in “deep and longlasting partnerships [that] maximize mutual benefits to Auburn and its partners.”

Carnegie stresses that genuine engagement cuts across teaching, research, student experience, and community outreach to promote “civic responsibility, address critical societal issues, and contribute to the public good.” Like Carnegie, Auburn’s 2019 mission statement and strategic plan states that engagement and outreach leverages the value of the university’s instruction and research “to enable our students, graduates, faculty and partners to transform the fruits of our research and scholarship [to] meet our communities’ most pressing needs.”

Campus Kitchens

“Auburn provides education, research, extension and outreach programs to advance economic prosperity and quality of life,” said President Gogue. “By engaging our academic base with external partners, we tackle the complex issues facing our state, including healthcare, educational access, disaster recovery and economic development.”

In its official letter of renewal to Auburn University, Carnegie’s Community Engagement management team led by noted engagement scholar John Saltmarsh cited the centrality of outreach engagement to its core missions. Said Saltmarsh, Auburn “documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.” Auburn, adds Saltmarsh “responded to the classification framework with descriptive, coherent, and compelling evidence of exemplary practices of institutionalized community engagement.”

Of course, Auburn University has long prided itself for its land grant commitment to instruction, research and outreach. However, earning the Carnegie Community Engagement seal represents Auburn has, as Carnegie proclaims, “achieved the highest distinction in its institutionalization of a public purpose” and serves as a model for other institutions which “contribute[s] significantly to the strength of community engagement across higher education.”

Measuring impactful service
Old people painting

Ultimately, Auburn’s Carnegie Community Engagement classification is an affirmation that the university’s outreach and extension work is having a real impact into the communities it serves. The value that Alabamians and others beyond the state derive from Auburn’s engagement is significant in terms of economic opportunity, access to learning resources, and availability to institutional expertise to address critical issues. Engagement benefits Auburn as well by enhancing faculty scholarship, student learning, and promoting community partnerships. These impacts are documented through Auburn’s strategic planning key performance indicators, Carnegie’s engagement self-study framework, and in many other ways.

Economic impact – Auburn’s $5.6 billion overall economic contributions to the State of Alabama represents dramatic return on investment for taxpayers and other AU stakeholders. The university’s economic contribution reflects both direct and indirect impact through spending, creation of jobs, and enhancement of human capital, or earning power, of those participating in the institution’s high-quality educational programs. Beyond these impacts, Auburn’s economic engagement includes community development, application of innovative technologies, and academic support for the state’s industries and workforce.

Institutional capacity – Engagement at Auburn University is thoroughly institutionalized across its academic community. In addition to Alabama Extension and University Outreach programs, there are almost 100 initiatives and outreach centers hosted by Auburn’s schools and colleges. These programs are responsive to a wide range of societal issues and provide a vital network for collaborative engagement among faculty, students, and community partners. Engagement is also significantly incorporated in Auburn’s curriculum through some 220 courses including community-based research and experiential or service-learning components. Annually, 9,400 Auburn students participate in community engaged coursework. Many more students volunteer through community service projects such as the “Big Event.” Engagement also attracts significant external support to the university and helps drive faculty outreach scholarship. Last year, Auburn received almost 400 contracts and grants totaling more than $26 million awarded to outreach and extension initiatives.

71 Number of institutions nationwide like Auburn earning both Carnegie R1 and Community Engagement Classifications

Ultimate Accessibility – By its nature, engagement is about making the university’s expertise and learning resources available to the public we serve. “Central to our heritage as a land-grant university is the responsibility to provide opportunities for all people,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “Auburn’s outreach and extension endeavors have a constant and impactful presence throughout the state, reaching more than 30 percent of Alabamians each year, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and historically underserved.”

Auburn faculty and student initiatives provide expertise and capacity-building assistance directly to address such critical community problems. In a conservative annual estimation, these initiatives provide more than 162,000 hours of service project hours directly into under-resourced communities around the state, but also nationally and through global outreach initiatives. University Outreach and college-based units offer more than 1,200 professional, career and workforce training programs annually, including non-credit training and on-line certificate options. Last year, some 39,000 participants registered for these high quality, flexible programs in a variety of technical and high demand fields. With its network of offices in every county of the state, Alabama Extension reaches 1 in three Alabamians, more than a million and a half people, with educational programming in agriculture; forestry, wildlife, and natural resources; family and consumer sciences; economic and community development; 4-H and youth development; and urban affairs.

Community impacts – Auburn University’s engagement produces many significant impacts for communities and individuals served. For example, Auburn faculty and staff engagement collectively produces annually an estimated 162,000 project hours in the community. The Independent Sector, a national organization of non-profits, foundations, and other service providers, annually provides estimates of the value of community engagement projects. Adjusted at Independent Sector’s rate of $22.65 per service hour for Alabama, these engagement projects provide more than $3.6 million of value to the communities served.

Another example of demonstrable community impact, Campus Kitchens Project working with Tiger Dining facilities and other off-campus sources, recovers unserved food to provide nutritious meals for those in need. In addition to the sustainability element of saving vital food from waste in a landfill, the 50,000 pounds of food recovered last year generated 53,000 meals for distribution through 27 community agencies. According to a 2018 Feeding America Product Valuation Study, the average wholesale value of donated food is $1.68 per pound, making Auburn’s food recovery worth $84,000. Once transformed into meals, the value expands. Using a Meals on Wheels cost model of $5.65 per unit, the value of the meals distributed annually would be almost $300,000. Yet, for the people in hunger served by these programs, having a source of regular meals is priceless.

Responsiveness to crisis – At no time is the university’s engagement capacity more evident than in times of crisis. For example, the Auburn Family has responded to a number of significant weather emergencies in the state over the last ten years with extraordinary outpourings of volunteerism from collecting vital supplies to clearing debris and rebuilding damaged homes. But these events also ignited scholarly engagement which has produced a wide range of responsive and proactive community resources including a storm recovery information website through Alabama Extension, Emergency Management Certificate programs in University Outreach’s Professional and Continuing Education office, and a variety of curricular and co-curricular disaster relief responses in Auburn’s schools and colleges. Similarly, faculty and student engagement has tackled a number of longstanding health crises impacting the Black Belt and other under-resourced regions in Alabama, including multidisciplinary initiatives addressing healthcare access, food security, clean water, and adequate housing.

Surgery on teddy bear

Presently the reach and power of Auburn’s engagement is evident in the university’s responses to the current coronavirus pandemic. As the institution managed a sweeping conversion to remote operations and online teaching strategies – a monumental enterprise in itself – Auburn’s faculty, staff, and students mounted simultaneously an array of community outreach aimed at mitigating the impact of coronavirus. Within a month, Auburn’s engaged experts were providing advisories on government recovery legislation, producing online educational and informational programs for homebound learners, posting online information circulars for individuals, governments and business dealing with pandemic conditions, and producing innovative research and developing adaptations of medical equipment, such as a promising CPAP-to-emergency ventilator conversion. University Outreach’s ambitious initiative to create protective mask templates and produce 10,000 finished masks to first responders and medical personnel has engaged a large collaboration of campus units, community agencies, and volunteers to meet the critical need for masks across the region. For those impacted by the pandemic, this engagement can be lifesaving; for those involved in the work of these initiatives, the engagement can be life changing.

Extended impact – Indeed, engagement by its nature is life changing and there is an inestimable long-term impact for all parties involved in Auburn’s many outreach programs. For example, summer academic camps and college access programs inspire and empower firstgeneration students to seek educational attainment beyond high school. Accessible professional and workforce related training programs increase participants’ skill capacity and potential for better jobs, enabling them to better support themselves and their families.

The lives of limited resource housing residents have been improved through health screenings, disease prevention activities, and education provided in the community by university pharmacy and nursing students. Incarcerated individuals engaged in training detection canines for the highly effective Auburn Dog Prison Program also benefit by gaining purpose and skills to reenter society as a responsible and productive member of the community.

Impacts are long term and far reaching. An Alabama Extension study reported that participants in the 4-H program are four times more likely to give back to their communities long term. A former mentor of at-risk children in Project Uplift notes that “I don’t think my college and future career would have had the same outcomes if I hadn’t been part of Project Uplift.” There are many such examples of exemplary engagement programs and powerful community outcomes at Auburn which meet the university’s strategic goal of producing “impactful service” clearly adding value to the quality of life in Alabama and well beyond.

The “Human Touch”
Lady teaching kids

One of the core beliefs of the Auburn Creed is especially relevant to community engagement – “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.” Carnegie itself stresses that engagement is a “mutually beneficial exchange” noting that the element of “partnership and reciprocity” is the key to achieving “the public good,” or as the Auburn Creed says, “happiness for all.”

Those elements of partnership and human relations drive Auburn University’s success in community engagement. The Carnegie review process includes a major focus on partnerships and their impact on the community and university alike. Across the many outreach and extension programs documented as part of the Auburn’s Carnegie study, it was clear that strong faculty, student and community partnerships were integral to the effectiveness of those initiatives.

University/community partnerships engage public to private sector organizations, civic and governmental agencies, nonprofit and faith-based groups, and many other interest groups representing varied constituencies. AuburnServes, a web-based networking site supporting faculty, staff, student and community partner engagement lists some 200 area civic agencies serving a wide range of societal issues and community needs. Beyond the local area, across the state and even internationally Auburn’s University Outreach units, academic departments, and the Extension System work in tandem with community partners to address problems, create opportunity, and improve lives.

Behind successful engaged partnerships are dedicated people who form the deep and sustained working relationships that drive successful and reciprocal community partnerships. This was demonstrated amply in a focus group of 15 projects and some 40 partner representatives convened as part of the Carnegie application self-study process. The participants—community members, faculty, students and staff—were asked to reflect on their work together in various engagement initiatives. The participants were invited to tell their stories of collaboration, representing both university and community perspectives of their work together, to determine if there were echoes of promising practices across projects.

162,000 Number of service hours produced annually by campus service-learning and volunteer projects

They were eager to share these stories, and though their accounts were as diverse as the backgrounds of the participants and topics of the projects/partnerships, echoes of best practices did emerge. Interestingly, most of their accounts were not organizational in nature, but primarily focused on elements of strong interpersonal relationships including trust built over time, commitment to open and honest communication, and willingness to overcome unexpected challenges together. Longevity of their partnerships was a central point of pride among these groups. One faculty and community partner could not remember how they first met, only that they had built their program together—perhaps the strongest indicator of a healthy community engagement relationship.

Making a real difference – together!

The Carnegie Community Engagement classification represents the most comprehensive study an institution can undertake of its engaged outreach function. As an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice, the study provided Auburn with a nationally recognize framework to compile and analyze comprehensive data and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity, commitment, and support for engagement at the university. It clearly defined the roles of those engaged in Auburn’s outreach work—faculty, students, staff and community partners – as well as the organizational structure and relationships among the Outreach division, academic departments, Extension and other units supporting community engagement. The Carnegie process also provided an opportunity for intensive self-assessment and quality improvement, and significantly informed the strategic planning process for engagement.

The Carnegie Community Engagement designation is a prestigious achievement for Auburn University. But it an institutional classification, not an individual recognition of any one agency of the university. Carnegie’s classification represents how we collectively are making significant strides engaging with community partners, building on community assets, addressing a wide array of community challenges, and produce impactful results. Together, we engage to instruct, assist, and serve our greater public—sometimes as service provider, sometimes as convener, but always as a ready partner. Together, this engagement makes a difference.

People looking at fish

“I am excited that Auburn has once again received recognition by the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement classification,” Cook said. “This shows that we as the Auburn Family value public service, and it underscores how our engagement is making a real difference toward the public good in our state, especially at such critical times as the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as better times to come.”

To learn more about Auburn’s outreach engagement, go to and to

Auburn’s Spencer Durham Named to Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force

Dr. Spencer Durham, associate clinical professor in the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, has been named to Alabama’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Dr. Spencer Durham

The task force is a collection of cabinet and state agency officials, as well as disease specialists in the state of Alabama. Durham, who also practices as the infectious diseases clinical pharmacist with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, is a board-certified infectious diseases pharmacist.

“This is an unprecedented time in medicine and what we are learning about COVID-19 is literally changing on an hourly basis,” said Durham. “I am truly honored to be able to help Gov. Ivey and the citizens of Alabama navigate through this situation. If I am able to help offer a unique standpoint as an infectious diseases pharmacist, I will do all I can to help.”

The task force will discuss any developments and precautions on a routine basis and will make recommendations to the governor as necessary. Gov. Ivey has designated Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, to serve as chair of the task force and to lead any public announcements and directives.

Durham is the lone pharmacist on the task force, providing the perspective of a profession that is battling the virus in the hospitals and educating and working with patients in the community every day.

Lab guy with white coat and gloves

“Pharmacist representation on this task force is essential as we are often the most accessible medical professionals for patients,” said Durham. “During this uncertain time, patients in the community setting are still going to need prescriptions filled, both new prescriptions and ones for chronic disease states. Health system pharmacists are part of the team caring for patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the state.

“This crisis is causing a burden on all aspects of the health care system, including pharmacists and pharmacies, so representation on this task force offers an important perspective that the governor and other state leaders need to hear.”

Along with serving as an associate clinical professor in the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, Durham also serves as the director of alumni and professional affairs. He graduated from the Harrison School of Pharmacy with his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2007 and completed a post-graduate residency at Children’s Health System/UAB in 2008.

Durham holds a dual board certification as a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) and a Board Certified Infectious Diseases Pharmacist (BCIDP). He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in respected journals and several book chapters and is an active speaker each year at national, state and local conferences, where he educates health care professionals on topics related to infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship.

Auburn’s CPAP-To-Ventilator Device Passes Major Test on Live Animal

As life-saving ventilators grow scarcer worldwide in the fight against COVID-19, an Auburn University research team is racing against the clock to get a device they’ve built into mass production. The innovative unit—which turns a CPAP machine into an emergency ventilator—was successfully tested on a live goat last Friday.

Two men standing in front of table looking at CPAP machine

The device, named RE-InVENT, can be assembled using approximately $700 in readily available components, in addition to a standard CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines are commonly used to help people with obstructive sleep apnea breathe more easily during sleep.

On Friday, April 3, a 200-pound male Boer goat was anesthetized and ventilated with a RE-InVENT system for approximately two hours in Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital. Goats of this size have lung capacity similar to that of humans.

“It went better than I expected in being able to ventilate the animal,” said anesthesiologist Glenn Woods, who is affiliated with multiple Alabama hospitals. “This test confirms RE-InVENT’s potential to meet the demand for desperately needed ventilators.”

Stuart Clark-Price, associate professor of anesthesiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, supervised the first animal test of the RE-InVENT device.

“A functioning ventilator is one of the most important tools hospitals have for helping COVID-19 patients,” Clark-Price said. “In our test we were able to ventilate the goat and safely maintain appropriate oxygen content his blood. Then he was brought out from under anesthesia and fully recovered to return to normal activity.”

Lady stands in front of machine

Now that the team has successfully tested the new ventilator, its next step is to look for ways to increase the unit’s capacity.

“We knew in the beginning that even though our original concept was pressure-limited, it could serve many patients,” said Joe Ragan, a lecturer in mechanical engineering who handled computer-aided modeling for the RE-InVENT and assisted with its mechanical design. “Now we’re looking to boost pressure in order to narrow the gap between our machine and fully developed ventilators.”

The team is currently developing a peripheral “booster box” that would essentially double the device’s pressurization capacity by employing an additional CPAP machine.

“Essentially, we are using a CPAP machine to pressurize the air inside an air-tight compartment, and then another CPAP machine to pressurize that pressurized air,” said assistant mechanical engineering professor Michael Zabala, who is helping lead the REInVENT project. “We like the results we are seeing and believe this holds great promise.”

Auburn Korea Corner Leads Initiative to Supply Local Hospitals with Donations
Group photo of people standing outside hospital donating supplies

Auburn’s Korea Corner and members of the local Korean community recently donated thousands of medical supplies to East Alabama Medical Center and other regional health care centers addressing the critical shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19.

Korea Corner, part of the Office of Professional and Continuing Education in University Outreach, is a cultural resource center that promotes educational experiences and collaboration between Auburn faculty members, students and the local Korean community.

Auburn University Korea Corner

13,020 masks
(KN95 and N95 masks)
50 medical gowns
315 containers of hand sanitizer
4,006 snack bars

supplies donated to local hospitals, including East Alabama Medical Center and Baptist Medical Center

“In this time of unprecedented difficulty for so many of our friends and neighbors, Auburn University’s Korea Corner is humbled to be able to do our part for the Auburn-Opelika community and the front line health care workers that are working tirelessly to keep our residents safe and healthy,” said Suhyun Suh, associate professor emerita and coordinator at Korea Corner. The donation drive was a collaboration between Korea Corner, Auburn Korean School and Auburn Opelika Korean Church. The supplies were donated to East Alabama Medical Center and Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery.

Auburn Engineering Spearheads PPE Donation to East Alabama Medical Center

The Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is donating vital personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to East Alabama Medical Center to aid in the local effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The donations include 10 gallons of hand sanitizer mixed by the Department of Chemical Engineering and 400 3D-printed protective face shields.

“The Auburn Engineering family is working in close partnership with East Alabama Medical Center and the Auburn University Medical Clinic to help leverage our capabilities and expertise in whatever ways we can to help during this time of crisis,” said Steve Taylor, associate dean for research in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Donations of supplies of all sizes were made from faculty across campus, including from the College of Agriculture, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

In total, the donated supplies from accross campus include:

426 pairs of eye protection
(goggles, safety glasses and face shields)
1,719 respirators
(N95, N99, N100, R95 and surgical masks)
275 boxes of hand protection
(nitrile gloves and latex gloves)
312 pieces of body protection
(disposable lab coats and coveralls)
5 - 60 oz bottles hand sanitizer
10 gallons hand sanitizer
(mixed in the lab)
400 - 3D printed face shields

“We had faculty who were able to give an overwhelming amount of supplies, and that is amazing, but we’ve also had some who have only had two or three items available to give, and that’s great too,” said Christian Brodbeck, research engineer and a co-organizer of the collection efforts. “No matter the size of the individual donations, we can make a huge difference when we pull our resources together.”

Emmanuel Winful, engineering safety manager who also coordinated the collection efforts, worked with chemical engineering faculty member Bill Josephson and staff member Brian Schwieker to prepare two formulations of hand sanitizer for the hospital following guidelines developed by the World Health Organization – an absolute ethanol formulation and an isopropyl alcohol formulation.

“I think this partnership has allowed the College of Engineering to identify the needs facing the hospital during this public health emergency and leverage the resources and expertise within the college to support the best way we can in addressing the crisis,” Winful said.

Leveraging a network of on-campus 3D printers, a multidisciplinary group of volunteers from engineering, the College of Agriculture and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction have also been able to 3D-print face shields to add to the donation. In just a few short days, 400 shields were printed, assembled and delivered and the team does not plan to stop printing until the hospital has the supplies it needs. With printers running around the clock, the team can produce about 150 face shields per day.

“We’re looking at ways to utilize and leverage the capabilities the university has to augment and supply whatever demand the hospital has that they’re in short supply of or anything innovative that will help them save lives,” said Eldon Triggs, lecturer in aerospace engineering.

In addition to Triggs, the full group of volunteer faculty and staff using fabrication equipment to 3D-print face shields includes:

  • Michael Ogles, director, NASA programs
  • Darren Olsen, associate professor, building science
  • Jerrod Windham, associate professor, industrial design
  • Jordan Roberts, lecturer, mechanical engineering
  • Garon Griffiths, research engineer
  • Chad Bailey, industrial design UTM
  • David Gowan, industrial design tech
  • Robert Capps, industrial design laboratory assistant
  • Jon Davis, lecturer, biosystems engineering

Outreach’s COVID-19 Response - Mask Initiative
Lady at sewing machine

Through a coalition of university units and faculty led by Auburn University Outreach’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI at Auburn, more than 1,500 masks have been created with a goal of creating 10,000 masks. Mark Lipscomb (below) with OPCE prepares fabric for cutting and Elizabeth Essamuah-Quansah (top right) with Outreach Global examines the mask donation delivery board. For more information about the mask initiative and to learn how you can volunteer, visit

8,039+ masks distributed!

Man using iron on fabric  Woman pointing to dry erase board

Screenshot of website

Class with people in it

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have an abundance of ideas for creative business concepts and innovations. While they have no shortage of vision, what they sometimes lack is direction, support and resources to bring their ideas to reality. The Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, recognizes the special needs and concerns of entrepreneurs and is dedicated to providing support for them. GEDI has developed an Entrepreneurship Pop-Up Workshop to help small businesses thrive and succeed.

GEDI Transitions Programs to Online Format

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, has migrated several workshops and programs to an online format enabling participants to complete training in the comfort and safety of their homes. GEDI has created a COVID-19 Resources page which includes informative articles, webinars and resource links. The page can be found here:

In addition, the Leadership Institute programs previously scheduled to be hosted in various locations around the state will now be offered online. Registered participants will be automatically transferred to the online offering. Anyone interested in registering for these programs, can sign up at:

GEDI recently hosted regional workshops in Selma, Alabama, and Athens, Alabama, and will continue to provide them in other communities. The workshops, conducted by GEDI Interim Executive Director LaKami Baker and Associate Director David Mixson, are designed for individuals with early-stage ideas or those seeking to grow their existing business. Participants learn about developing value propositions, identifying market potential and addressing risks. Based on the Lean Startup Methodology, participants use a Business Model Canvas in combination with Customer Discovery to gather valuable insights about their business ideas.

The sessions cover how to expand a network of innovation partners, mentors and potential collaborators, how to develop successful business cases for securing funding and developing greater self-confidence and a new way of thinking about how to value your business.

Class with people in it

GEDI provides the workshops at no cost to participants through a Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant to Auburn’s University Center. Auburn’s University Center is a partnership among GEDI, The Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of External Engagement. This cross-disciplinary approach enables the center to broaden its mission and impacts, resulting in a stronger, better developed innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Alabama. The center accomplishes this mission by linking Auburn’s expertise with entrepreneurs and economic developers through training and hands-on project assistance.

The center assists students, faculty and other Alabama entrepreneurs with concept and prototype development, business plan assistance and commercialization expertise. The center collaborates with the Alabama Launchpad competition, part of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, to run an Auburn Regional Alabama Launchpad business plan competition open to all entrepreneurs within five counties in east central Alabama.

For more information, contact David Mixson at 334-844-4704 or

Online workshops and programs:

Leadership Institute programs:

Group of people holding ghana flag

Outreach Global’s short term service learning and unique global programs have seen tremendous growth and have been impactful to Auburn students, faculty, staff, alumni, community groups and global partners. Outreach Global has exposed over 80 participants in the past three years.

“Our service learning and volunteer programs have expanded,” said Elizabeth Quansah, director of Outreach Global. “In addition to the School of Nursing, the office has now collaborated with Harrison School of Pharmacy, College of Liberal Arts Africana Studies program, College of Architecture, Design and Construction and Social Work Department and faculty and students to offer more educational abroad experiences, impactful services and training for our global partners both online and onsite in more African countries, Ireland, North America and other parts of the world”.

Valarie Thomas, associate clinical professor in the School of Nursing, agrees that the impact on faculty, students and staff has been profound.

Group of AU Nursing students standing in front of building in Ghana

“The collaboration with School of Nursing for the Ghana health care program has benefited over 1,800 residents in Sekondi since 2018,” said Thomas. “It has provided medical supplies to the Ghanaian health care partners.”

“Spring break has always been my least favorite break,” said Cara Borowski, a graduate of the School of Nursing and past participant of the Ghana health care. “I never felt like what I did served a purpose. It always seemed like wasted time. Ghana changed that. We were able to host a four-day free health clinic where we offered screenings for hearing, sight, urine, glucose and general vital signs. I was able to witness a woman get the prescription for glasses she never knew she needed, share the smile of a man who had walked six miles to see us, dance with a mother when I told her that her child was healthy and hold a sick infant in my arms while we rushed to get his fever down. The friends I traveled with I can now call family, and the faculty that guided us are now both mentors and friends.”

Borowski’s testimony is one of the many positive feedback the office receives after each program. The staff of Outreach Global invites you to explore the world and become a global citizen.

“ ... We were able to host a four-day free health clinic where we offered screenings for hearing, sight, urine, glucose and general vital signs. I was able to witness a woman get the prescription for glasses she never knew she needed, share the smile of a man who had walked six miles to see us, dance with a mother when I told her that her child was healthy and hold a sick infant in my arms while we rushed to get his fever down. The friends I travelled with in the School of Nursing – I can now call family, and the faculty that guided us are now both mentors and friends.”

– Cara Borowski, a nursing graduate and past participant of the Ghana health care program

Group of people in Ghana

Elizabeth Ivy QuansahElizabeth Ivy Quansah, director of University Outreach’s Outreach Global office, was selected to receive the 2020 International Leadership Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, or UPCEA. Founded in 1915, UPCEA is the leading educational organization devoted to professional, continuing and online education in North America. The award recognizes innovative leadership in global education programs and services, collaborations and partnerships and research.

In 1998, the School of Nursing, or SON, began a partnership with the City of Auburn’s Boykin Community Center. The program began with health fairs and quickly grew to include numerous health promotion activities when the Harrison School of Pharmacy, or HSOP, and the School of Kinesiology joined SON’s efforts at the Boykin Center. Their combined effort resulted in funding to support mobile health clinics which aided the efforts of students from SON and HSOP.

Following the success of the joint effort, the deans and directors from health professional programs and campus leaders met in 2015 to discuss the possibility of establishing an Interprofessional Education, or IPE, program. The proximity of several of the health sciences programs made it ideal to facilitate a consortium. Faculty leaders from the SON, HSOP, College of Liberal Arts, College of Human Sciences and VCOM-Auburn established an IPE program.

Doctor wearing scrubs holding patient's hand

Incorporating IPE was critical to improving the educational experiences provided to students, provide care for the underserved in the area and to meet the requirements of each school’s accreditation standards. In 2016, faculty from the schools and colleges received funding to support the development and implementation of the IPE program. The program offers seminars, simulations and mobile health clinics to students from social work, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy and medicine.

“The IPE brings together experts from around the university and beyond to prepare students to function effectively in patient-centered teams,” said Gregg Newschwander, dean of SON. “Communities are best served when professionals involved in their care function collaboratively rather than competitively. It is rewarding to see students from many different disciplines learning from and with each other. It paints a brighter picture for the future of health care.”

“IPE mobile clinics provide a unique opportunity for students from multiple professions to learn about teamwork, communication and collaboration,” said Sarah Owens Watts, assistant professor and ITE liaison from SON. “However, one of the greatest impacts this program has is on the community it serves.”

The mobile community clinics in numerous locations provide care to those that are considered underserved with a primary focus on the older adult population. It also provides care to patients who do not have an established primary care provider or insurance.

“Since all members of the inter-professional team are present for this in-depth assessment and the development of care plans, patients are often able to be provided a plan that is specifically designed to improve their health outcomes and current living situation,” Watts added.

The program has developed partnerships with Area Agency on Aging, senior centers, senior housing facilities and properties, a public housing unit, churches, a faithbased clinic, a Hispanic health fair and local food banks.

Last year the program operated 31 clinics and screened almost 400 adults. Because of the positive impact of the clinics, many directors and leaders from the community sites have requested the clinics return as frequently as possible to provide health care to the population.

Three women wearing white coats stand together looking at papersAs part of its mission to care for those in Alabama, the Harrison School of Pharmacy has faculty positioned at practice sites throughout the state, providing care in a variety of specialty areas while training fourth-year pharmacy students on rotations.

Rebecca Maxson, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and a three-time Auburn alumna, maintains a site at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD, clinic.

In the U.S., CKD is primarily a complication from diabetes or hypertension which results in patients with multiple co-morbid disease states and medications often 10 to 20 doses per day. Due to their high disease and medication burden, CKD patients often struggle with understanding their medication regimens, affordability and medication adherence.

Since 2006, approximately 130 patients per month with CKD, up to initiation of dialysis or kidney transplant, are seen by nurse practitioners in conjunction with a pharmacist at the clinic.

Maxson and fourth-year pharmacy students see the patients before the nurse practitioner, performing complete medication histories, providing education about medications, developing ways to manage the complicated regimens and assist patients who struggle to afford their medication co-pays.

Additionally, they provide patient education on diabetes and hypertension, provide in-services to the nurse practitioners about new medications and guidelines and assist the clinic director with developing clinic protocols and performing research.

“My favorite days in clinic are when I can improve a patient’s quality of life by solving roadblocks the patient has experienced with insurance or their community pharmacy, improving their adherence by explaining how their medications work, working with the nurse practitioners to streamline their medications and especially seeing my fourth year students make these impacts in patients’ lives,” said Maxson.

For the students on rotation, the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of patients makes the experience a valuable one.

“I quickly saw how much this clinic impacted their patients,” said Mary Pat Holder, a member of the Class of 2020. “Each patient seemed to be very knowledgeable about their condition thanks to this staff ensuring wellbeing at each visit.”

Colored post-it notes that say Make a Difference

The clinic was recognized as a high-value nephrology practice based on research published in December’s Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. A highvalue practice was determined based on ranking in the top quartile on both quality and cost. Researchers also visited the CKD clinic as part of their visit to four highvalue and three average-value sites to qualify aspects of high-value sites.

According to the research team, a key aspect of high-value practices was using multidisciplinary teams of nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists and social workers to empower patients to better manage their medications.

With the increased focus in health care on improving quality while controlling costs, the CKD clinic’s interdisciplinary team of nurse practitioners from UAB and an Auburn pharmacist and pharmacy students is recognized as a model that other nephrology practices can emulate to improve their patient care.

“Patients have built trusting and professional relationships with these health care professionals,” said Brooke Layton, a member of the Class of 2020. “It shows the importance of working inter-professionally for the sake of the health of the patients.”

1.62 million
Number of people served
statewide by Alabama Extension

People sitting around a table discussing somethingIn an effort to elevate the quality of health care for those in Alabama, students in the Harrison School of Pharmacy, or HSOP, work as part of interdisciplinary teams in clinics in the Auburn and Mobile areas.

As part of these interprofessional education, or IPE, clinics, students are exposed early in the curriculum to their role as a pharmacist as well as their role on interdisciplinary teams, effective communication and ethical patient care.

Students on Auburn’s campus participated in IPE mobile clinics in Lee, Chambers, Tallapoosa, Macon and Russell counties. The clinics took place at senior centers, public housing properties, churches, food banks and other areas.

“Going to the patient’s environment has allowed students to learn more about the community they live in and reach a diverse group of patients,” said Jeanna Sewell, HSOP’s director of interprofessional education.

The interprofessional teams include students from nursing, social work, nutrition, medicine and pharmacy. Students participate in approximately 30 mobile clinics per year, providing a variety of clinical services. In just the last year, students have served nearly 400 patients in the area.

“During these clinics, students conduct assessments of patients, which allow students to help patients gain access to community resources and provide education on medical conditions,” said Sewell. “Many of the patients served through these clinics are older and often have limited access to health care services. While providing these services to patients, students have improved in their attainment of interprofessional collaboration competencies, which we hope will allow students to care for patients as a team in their future professions.”

Students sit in desks in classroomOn HSOP’s campus in Mobile, student pharmacists work in collaboration with students from the University of South Alabama’s medical, nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy, audiology and social work schools to operate the USA Student-Run Free Clinic.

Housed within the local Salvation Army, the clinic provides wellness and self-care education to underserved individuals in the area. In 2019, students served 358 patients with an estimated $49,000 of care provided to patients at no charge. Services at this clinic include HIV screening, dental screenings, in-house physicals and flu shots. Students were able to secure approximately $6,500 in grant funding to further expand the clinical services.

The interprofessional nature of the clinic is evident in its board with 12 different disciplines represented, including undergraduate pre-health professions students who entertain patients while they wait to be seen.

Mobile-based students participate in a comprehensive and complex patient review with medical, nursing and physician assistant students through the USA Family Medicine Clinic. Students evaluate patients who are high utilizers of health care resources using a patient-centered population health-based approach.

“Auburn’s pharmacy school is continually developing and participating in new IPE initiatives to address health care needs in the local communities, while also providing invaluable experiences for interprofessional collaborations between our students and those of other health professions,” said Sewell.

$5.6 Billion
Auburn’s economic
impact on Alabama

Each year Auburn Youth Programs, or AYP, a program area within the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, serves thousands of youth who travel from around the globe to attend one or more of the 60 summer camps and programs offered on Auburn University’s campus. This spring, however, AYP was presented with an unusual set of circumstances as the COVID-19 crisis halted travel, and students around the globe shifted to online experiences. This summer, together with its university and community partners, AYP virtually connects campers to Auburn University by delivering a selection of online programs.

The highly popular camp offered in partnership with the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has been converted to the Virtual Vet Camp Experience and covers topics such as canine anatomy, snake handling and everything in between. By staying connected through Zoom, participants build community, experience live interactive instruction and engage in a team competition with other campers. Virtual Vet Camp has separate offerings for junior high, senior high and rising 12th graders.

For students interested in the medical field, Discovery MedCamp is a cutting-edge opportunity similar to telemedicine that offers students a chance to work with Auburn University Interprofessional Education faculty while experiencing health care careers in pharmacy, nursing, social work, medicine and nutrition in the 21st century. Participants gain a broad knowledge of the role each discipline plays in health care. By participating in a virtual health clinic that simulates a real-world patient experience featuring mock patients and providers, students engage with others in an online community to examine symptoms, create a care plan and discuss the role of different providers. Discovery MedCamp, hosted by the Southeast Alabama Area Health Education Center, or SEAAHEC, explores health careers in an online format and prepares students approaching graduation to make better informed choices regarding a chosen field of study prior to entering college.

The Summer Reading Skills program, previously offered in locations throughout the state of Alabama, is now presented in live online programs through face-to-face video instruction. In the program, individuals of all ages and stages of reading develop a deep love of reading by engaging in a dynamic online class, interacting with each other and the instructor in real-time. Between classes students complete independent reading and online skills lessons, so they continue learning and reading throughout each week.

Additionally, AYP is expanding online offerings with a lineup of STEM-related camps. Led by a live instructor with a background in computer science or game design, each program is powered by the camper’s innate imagination and designed to bring their ideas to life in a fun, hands-on learning environment. Students work in pairs or teams mirroring real-life experiences and the collaborative nature of the design process. Programs are offered to students ages 8-14 and include coding, game development, animation and robotics programming.

AYP has also worked closely with the Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture to offer an online version of Architecture Camp. Through a combination of live sessions and prerecorded video, students will complete architectural design projects with guidance from the university’s highly qualified program faculty.

While on-campus camps remain scheduled for July, Auburn Youth Programs continues working with community and campus partners, such as the Auburn University School of Nursing, to increase its digital outreach through online camps and programs.

AYP, offered through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, is an extension of University Outreach that sponsors and executes a variety of summer programs designed to educate and inspire youth. AYP exists to promote educational and enjoyable summer programs to empower youth to find their passion, strengthen skills and shape their future. By expanding camp offerings to an online format, students can experience life at Auburn University from anywhere in the world.

To learn more about Auburn Youth Programs or to see the complete list of online camps and programs, visit

Since 2007, Auburn University has hosted over 1,800 high school teachers at the AP Summer Institute, or APSI. Offered by the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, and in partnership with the College Board, APSI is designed to aid the professional development of teachers, counselors and administrators who are involved with Advanced Placement, or AP, courses.

Two men wearing lab googles examine science instruments

Auburn is one of two locations within the state of Alabama for AP teachers to receive training to be certified as AP instructors. Offered each summer and endorsed by the College Board, APSI workshops are designed for teachers who are teaching an AP course for the first time and for experienced teachers desiring refresher training. Topics include subject matter content, test construction, pupil and teacher selection, College Board policies and procedures and preparation and grading of AP tests.

For the past two years, Auburn University APSI has hosted the only AP coordinators workshop for Alabama school principals, AP counselors and coordinators within the state.

Representing school districts from Alabama and the southeast, OPCE partners with the College Board, owner of Advanced Placement resources, in providing AP materials, curriculum guidelines and exam material required for AP teacher certification for new and experienced teachers.

Due to campus closures, APSI is transitioning to an online experience for all 2020 AP sessions. OPCE is working closely with instructors to design high-quality online learning experiences that adhere to the College Board guidelines for APSI. Most classes will utilize a combination of live online resources and self-paced material. Directions for course access will be sent to registered participants soon. In order to give participants a better experience, OPCE is adding one day of instruction to each topic workshop.

All workshop instructors are College Board endorsed consultants who have current information regarding AP policies, including updates on exam changes for students. The classes are conducted on campus with specific classroom space provided by partners in colleges and schools. The College of Sciences and Mathematics and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences have provided classroom space, lab space and technical resources for AP topic areas for the past 13 years. The Alabama Science in Motion, or ASIM, team members provide lab assistance to the endorsed consultants while on campus. ASIM provides science assistance in securing lab supplies and proper storage of the supplies prior to the APSI science workshops each summer. ASIM also provides critical assistance with the AP teachers and the consultant during the week of APSI to ensure safety during lab experiences.

Two important Alabama groups collaborate with OPCE in providing direction for AP teachers and tuition support for AP teachers. The Alabama State Department of Education and A+ College Ready are vital links for Auburn University APSI support in offering tuition scholarships to teachers throughout Alabama. All school districts support the effort to provide training for AP teachers.

A+ College Ready, a program of A+ Education Partnership, partners with 207 high schools and feeder middle schools to create cultures of high academic expectations for students, teachers and administrators. A+ College Ready’s goal is to increase the number of students in Alabama enrolled in math, science, English, social studies and computer science AP courses with students earning qualifying scores on AP exams and attend and succeed in college. Through the program, students and educators are equipped with the tools, resources and support needed to achieve academic excellence.

Training will occur June 22-25 and July 13-16. AP topics offered regularly are English literature and composition, U.S. history, government, politics, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science and computer science principles.

To learn more, contact Claire Twardy at 334-844-5100 or or go to

Woman speaks at podium during presentationThe City of Auburn’s Boykin Community Center is a gathering space for many local organizations and groups. The renovated former elementary school in Northwest Auburn is home to two child development centers, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County-Auburn Unit and the Auburn Senior Center, which is sponsored by the Lee-Russell Council of Government’s Area Agency on Aging.

The Auburn Senior Center is a natural partner of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, or OLLI at Auburn, which has a mission to enhance the quality of life for people over 50 through educational and social activities. The partnership between OLLI at Auburn and the center is an opportunity to bring educational programming to a part of Auburn that has been underserved with the types of public lectures and workshops OLLI regularly offers to the wider community.

People sitting around table chatting at community center

OLLI at Auburn began taking monthly presentations to the center in 2019. Recently there was a talk on Alabama rivers by retired Auburn Professor Bill Deutsch, a demonstration and workshop by traditional white oak basket maker Estelle Jackson and a visit from Bernard LaFayette Jr., associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

In January, OLLI at Auburn began offering public programming in Boykin’s auditorium. Once a week during the winter term, OLLI at Auburn presented a lecture series with topics that ranged from African American historical sites in the Blackbelt to Creek Indians in Alabama.

“The City of Auburn is pleased to be partnering with OLLI at Auburn to bring new educational and insightful programs to Boykin,” said Alfred Davis, community services director for the City of Auburn. “We are encouraged by the attendance of the first courses and look forward to continuing to offer learning opportunities for more of Auburn’s residents.”

Woman demonstrates how to weave baskets while others look on

The weekly programs are presented in partnership with Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill as well as the center. Each of the presentations begin with a bring-your-own lunchtime social time, followed by a talk and questions and answers.

OLLI at Auburn embodies and implements the Outreach mission to promote lifelong learning, respond to the changing needs of society and engage with communities to increase the quality of life for the public we serve.

Two women in white coats sit at computerEmbracing technology, students and faculty at the Harrison School of Pharmacy, or HSOP, are fulfilling their commitment to care for those in Alabama and deliver accessible health care through the Population Health Clinic.

The clinic is a collaboration between the Auburn University Pharmaceutical Care Center, located within the HSOP, and the Tuscaloosa Veterans Administration, or VA, Medical Center. Pharmacy students working in the clinic review electronic health records to identify patients who would benefit from additional medications, immunizations or laboratory monitoring. After identifying these patients and reviewing with their preceptor, students contact them by telephone to discuss the findings from the record review.

Students have placed more than 500 calls and reached more than 200 veterans, resulting in nearly 1,000 interventions since August 2019. These interventions have included vaccine recommendations, referrals to other providers for additional medical and health care and orders for needed laboratory tests and medications.

HSOP has a long-standing relationship with the VA system in Alabama with students rotating at clinic sites and faculty members collaborating on outreach projects. Being familiar with the relationship, Garrett Aikens, a member of the HSOP Class of 2011 and the associate chief of pharmacy at the Tuscaloosa VA, reached out to discuss his telehealth program and identify opportunities for students to work with the veteran population.

“This experience is valuable because it allows students to connect what they learn in the classroom to the real world,” said Courtney Gamston, professor of experiential practice and a member of the HSOP Class of 2013. “They apply their knowledge in a slower-paced, more controlled environment early in the educational process. Doing so allows them to see the value of their education as well as how they can use that education to positively impact the health of their patients.”

The Population Health Clinic employs the practice of looking at a certain population as a whole and utilizing statistics and analytical data to identify ways of helping patients. After reviewing statistics, those in the clinic can develop strategies for intervention. Common areas analyzed could include vaccination rates, medication adherence, appropriate medication therapy, need for laboratory evaluation and many others.

While this experience provides a valuable learning opportunity for students, it also provides a service for a respected population that may not always have easy access to health care.

“Patients can live several hours away from the closest clinic location,” said Pamela Stamm, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “Telephonic care improves patient access to health care and can also reduce the time they need to travel to and from the clinic for an appointment.

“While we have these patients on the phone, we can address other questions or concerns they may have. This program has also allowed us to connect with patients that have been out of care and are due for clinical appointments and labs and to get them linked back in with their care teams.”

Leaning on Auburn’s land grant mission, the clinic embraces the opportunity to assist this population and improve their health outcomes.

“Working with the veteran population, students have gained perspective into the needs of this community and realized just how much care and attention its members need,” said Gamston. “They have really enjoyed being able to be a part of bridging gaps in care and moving their patients towards improved health.”

$26 million
Sponsored grant funding annually
for outreach projects campus-wide

Ralph FosterRalph Foster, assistant vice president for University Outreach and Public Service, has been recognized by the Gulf-South Summit with the organization’s 2020 Outstanding Practitioner Contributions to Service Learning in Higher Education.

The Gulf-South Summit is a coalition of universities promoting effective practices in community engagement. The award recognizes university administrators for demonstrated excellence in creating, providing and sustaining opportunities for engaging university faculty and students in community engaged service-learning initiatives.

Jim Franklin

The Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, is pleased to welcome Jim Franklin to its team. Franklin joined OPCE as the assistant director for Auburn Youth Programs in January. He previously served the YMCA of Greater Montgomery as the executive vice president and chief operations officer. Franklin earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Auburn University Montgomery and brings over 32 years of leadership and management experience. Franklin and his wife Wendy have a son and twin daughters who are students at Auburn University.

Basketball coach wearing suit shown beside courtThe Auburn Tigers hosted Coaching for Literacy’s Fight for Literacy Games initiative when the University of Mississippi visited the Auburn Arena on Feb. 25. The initiative brings coaches, players and fans together for a common cause to use the power of sports to raise awareness about the problem of illiteracy and raise funds for literacy programs nationwide.

The partnership with Auburn University, now in its second year, provides financial support to the Office of Professional and Continuing Education’s Summer Reading Program. This year the effort raised over $4,500 through corporate sponsorships and fan pledges.

Colorful classroom with children sitting on the floor listening to someone readThe Summer Reading Program is offered in over ten Alabama locations, including Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Auburn. Since 2010, this program has helped students in these communities to build strong reading skills and develop a deep love of books and reading. Students enjoy weekly classes led by an experienced, dedicated teacher trained by the Institute of Reading Development. Students have access to interactive online lessons between classes and are assigned books to read independently outside of class. Courses for K-12 students and adults are available. To learn more, go to

University Outreach is grateful to these employees for their years of service.

Shavon Williams headshot
5 years
Shavon Williams
Office of Professional and Continuing Education
Scott Bishop headshot
15 years
Grace Bishop
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Claire Wilson headshot
15 years
Claire Wilson
Encyclopedia of Alabama
Julia Heflin headshot
20 years
Julia Heflin
Government and Economic Development Institute
Markie Southerland headshot
25 years
Markie Southerland
Government and Economic Development Institute
Joyce Thomas-Vinson headshot
25 years
Joyce Thomas-Vinson
Office of Public Service
Gail Gauntt headshot
30 years
Gail Gauntt
Office of the Vice President for University Outreach
Aaron Carpenter headshot

Originally from Dothan, Alabama, Aaron Carpenter is an Auburn University graduate alumnus, holding degrees in Political Science (B.A.) and Public Administration (MPA). He has worked on community-based outreach programs at Auburn University’s since 2017, helping with the creation of Auburn University College of Liberal Arts’ Alabama Community Capacity Network. Beginning in January 2020, Aaron joined the Outreach Global team as Outreach Coordinator to enhance programing, and build new networks with international academic institutions, businesses, nongovernment organizations and government institutions.

The Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, is offering an online web design certificate for individuals interested in a career as a professional web designer or developer.

From design concept to web page creation, the four course program gives participants the tools for success in web page creation including an understanding of color and typography, web design concepts, coding languages and best business practices. Students can expect to build foundational knowledge of HTML and CSS; learn the basics of Javascript and other essential web technologies; use analytics, SEO and user experience to guide development and design decisions; and use the Bootstrap Framework to create a responsive design.

In order to earn a certificate, students must complete four courses: Foundations of Web Design, Intermediate Web Design, Web Development Tools and Advanced Web Design. No prior coding or web design experience is needed. It is recommended that individuals seeking their certificate take the courses in order.

OPCE is proud to add this program to its lineup of online learning and certificate programs, helping individuals acquire high demand skills and remain competitive in today’s job market.

For more information or to register, visit

Two people sit in back of truck with bag of christmas donations Auburn freshman gymnast Adeline Sabados made Christmas brighter for a 12-year-old girl she may never meet.

“I had so much fun picking out the nail polish,” Sabados said. “I can’t imagine Christmas without gifts. That’s not all Christmas is about, but it’s a big part of it. It was so fun.”

Sabados and her fellow Auburn student-athletes purchased gifts for 52 Lee County children through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, a service project of Auburn’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC.

Each member selected Angel Tags containing a child’s age, gender, sizes and wish list and shared them with teammates from their respective sports. The student-athletes’ generosity and competitiveness kicked in, and Auburn’s softball team shopped for a department best of supporting 12 children.

“We tried to go above and beyond for each of these kids because it’s all they get for Christmas so we really tried to exceed all the tags’ expectations,” Sabados said. “To see all the bags of gifts, it was truly incredible.”

“The kids would ask for a basketball and a pair of socks,” said junior volleyball player Chesney McClellan, SAAC community engagement chair. “With our athletes, we were giving away basketballs, basketball goals and basketball shoes. You could really tell they were intentional with their giving. I think that says a lot about our student-athletes.”

The initiative connected student-athletes from Auburn’s 21 teams.

“It’s not only providing the gifts and doing the shopping,” McClellan said. “It’s also seeing other student-athletes doing the same things you are and participating in the same way. That motivates each other to continue to help others and to continue to support each other.”

In the same way the student-athletes work together to compete for championships, they used teamwork to improve their community as well.

“People need to know that we really do try to be greater than ourselves here, and we know that we can have a large impact if we collectively come together, the more than 500 of us,” Sabados said. “We really do try in SAAC to reach out to every single person.”

“Our student-athletes work just as hard outside of the courts or the field as they do on the field,” McClellan said. “I’ve never been prouder to be a student-athlete doing this project because this was the very first time I’ve ever done it.

“It really goes to show that student-athletes aren’t just the ones who put on the jersey and are out there competing. They do so much more outside of their competition field. They are very intentional about everything they do. I definitely saw that through this project, and I could not be prouder to be a studentathlete here and to be alongside the other 550 Auburn student-athletes.”

Cheryl Pritchett headshotAuburn University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education, or OPCE, Dietary Managers’ Advisory Committee would like to recognize Cheryl Pritchett for providing 25 years of expertise and service to the field. Pritchett, a 1983 graduate of Auburn’s Dietary Manager Program, retired in December 2019. She served as an invaluable member of the advisory board, contributing to the growth and quality of the Dietary Managers Program at Auburn University.

Pritchett’s work experience involved food service for nursing homes, assisted living homes and hospital dietetics. Her expertise, knowledge and advice regarding standards of practice and regulatory standards has been widely sought by dietary managers, registered dietitians and administrators, throughout Alabama and its neighboring states.

Scott Bishop headshotScott Bishop has been named director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI at AU), a unit of the Division of University Outreach. She was recommended by a search committee after candidate interviews in February. Bishop previously served as interim director over the last year.

“Scott Bishop had extensive experience working in educational outreach in her prior position at the Jule Collins Smith Museum, and has performed exceptionally in developing and implementing a broad range of programming at OLLI over the last year,” said Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach. “She has also contributed greatly to the overall Outreach team, and I look forward to Scott’s continued support for the mission of OLLI and University Outreach.”

Bishop joined OLLI after 15 years at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art developing academic and public programs and facilitating campus and community partnerships. She earned a BA (Philosophy) and MA (English) from Auburn University, and she studied Art History at the graduate level at Emory University. Raised in Elmore County, she has been a resident of Auburn since 1974. She and her husband, Associate Professor Emeritus of Art Gary Wagoner, raised two daughters who attended Auburn City Schools, one of whom is a graduate of Auburn University.

“As interim director, I have had a wonderful opportunity to serve the vibrant OLLI membership as well as the greater community engaged by University Outreach,” said Bishop. “I am excited to continue in my role as director promoting lifelong learning and helping OLLI achieve its organizational goals.”

Keith J WardCenter for Governmental Services Director Emeritus Keith J Ward, 81, passed away at home on Feb. 24. Ward, who first came to Auburn in 1976, was also professor emeritus of Public Administration. He retired from Auburn University in 1998. Born in Idaho, Ward received his bachelor’s degree in political science and his master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University. He received his doctorate from the University of Tennessee. Ward served as director of the Office of Public Service and Research, which was later renamed the Center for Governmental Services as part of the Division of University Outreach.

As director, Ward established a robust array of policy research initiatives and training programs for state and local government, which today is regarded as Alabama’s leading resource for public officials. Joe Sumners worked for Ward in the 1990s in CGS and later became executive director of the unit when it was merged to form the Government and Economic Development Institute.

Recounting Ward’s contributions as CGS director, Sumners said, “Thousands of state and local government officials were trained and inspired by the County Commissioner Training Program, the Public Personnel Administer Training Program, Alabama City-County Management Association programs and other initiatives which Ward was instrumental in developing.”

Sumners said that Ward was also Alabama’s top thought leader for good government and professionalism in local government administration. Ward served on many statewide commissions and was a leading advocate for tax reform, constitutional reform and tort reform in Alabama.

“Keith believed that we had an obligation and an opportunity to make a difference,” said Sumners. “He certainly made a difference throughout this state. And he sure mattered to me.”

Group photo of CGS employeesWard also contributed greatly to the formation what is now the Division of University Outreach under Vice President Ann Thomson in 1988. As director of one of three public service units comprising the new division, Ward helped shape the division’s structure of instructional and technical assistance services, as well as advising the development of policies and organizational resources which are still the core of outreach work at Auburn today.

“I do not believe any person has made a more significant contribution to Auburn University Outreach than Keith,” said Sumners.

Fellow CGS Emeritus Mike Easterwood said, “Keith Ward was an exceptional leader and someone who cared a great deal for his staff. He was a great asset to the university, the Auburn community and the state of Alabama.”

Keith Ward is survived by his wife of 38 years, Rowena Ward, his children, grandchildren and extended family.

Four women stand for photo holding donated stuffed animalsThe state of Alabama’s Department of Finance, Division of Risk Management donated over 200 stuffed animals, over-the-counter vitamins and other medications in support of the Outreach Global Ghana health care program.

The Involvement Awards

Most Exceptional Campus Organization (Registered Organization)
Campus Kitchen Project

Group photo of campus kitchens students wearing grey tshirts

Outstanding Incorporation of Diversity and Inclusion
Campus Kitchen Project

Group photo of campus kitchens students wearing grey tshirts

Corey M. Edwards Advisor of the Year
Joyce Thomas-Vinson

Joyce Thomas-Vinson headshot

Students in kitchen pose for photo Alternative Student Breaks, or ASB, a student-led service program within Student Involvement, recently partnered with Auburn Global to charter a servicelearning experience for both domestic and international students during winter break. The trip was the first partnership with Auburn Global, a program that gives international students the opportunity to attend Auburn University through services designed specifically for international students while easing the transition to the United States.

The group served at two sites in Washington, D.C., A Wider Circle and D.C. Central Kitchen, two nonprofits that help eliminate hunger and urban poverty in the area. A site leader, two trip advisors and 14 student participants assisted in preparing over 5,000 meals, sorting donations and assisting clients throughout the week.

Students pose for photo in front of Lincoln memorialParticipants learned about the nation’s history by touring the U.S. Capitol building, visiting Smithsonian Museums and viewing monuments and landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the White House.

“We are so proud to launch a partnership with Auburn Global and Alternative Student Breaks that intentionally connects international and domestic students in service,” said John Michael Roehm, assistant director for Student Involvement.

“This trip provided students a unique opportunity to spend time away from Auburn learning not only about social issues in D.C., but also more about those students who participated on the trip. We hope to continue to grow additional opportunities to connect domestic and international trips in the future.”

ASB conducts service trips for students on all university breaks and some holidays. Learn more about ASB and find upcoming trips at

Auburn University began sponsoring an annual two-day tax seminar in 1973 when the need to provide farm tax courses to Alabama farmers was discovered. Fundamental to the university’s land-grant mission, the courses taught tax education in regard to the unique needs of agricultural producers and landowners.

In attendance that inaugural year was George Hodge, a cotton farmer, tax preparer and Auburn alumnus. Hodge, a 1963 graduate in accounting, has returned to the course nearly every year since. While cleaning out his desk in 2016, Hodge found his original certificate of completion from that first tax program he attended in 1973. It is something he shared with the program director and something he treasures from his attendance at the program over 45 years. Hodge has traveled for more tax programs than football games and has seen the program itself evolve from a farm tax school to a regional leader in continuing professional education for tax preparers in the Southeast.

Woman at desk looking at papersThe Office of Professional and Continuing Education acquired the tax program and created the Auburn University Accounting and Tax Training Institute in 2001. Maintaining its land-grant heritage, the program is one of 29 universities in the U.S. that make up the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation. The foundation produces the annually updated National Income Tax Workbook that is used by over 30,000 tax professionals nationwide and for the Auburn University Tax seminar participants each fall.

With over 2,200 tax professionals attending the program each year, the institute has moved away from tax education for farmers and now focuses on new tax legislation, current tax law trends and ethics topics for all tax professionals. The course qualifies for 16 hours of continuing professional education for CPAs, EAs, attorneys, certified financial planners and other tax professionals.

The Auburn University Accounting and Tax Training Institute is the largest Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation member provider of tax courses and participants attending the programs. The program offers its nationally accredited, two-day tax seminar in 16 cities across Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The two-day seminars provide robust training to participants with topics ranging from legislative updates to ethics. Training is provided by top-notch instructors including nationally recognized speakers, expert tax professionals and federal and state tax specialists. In addition to the two-day seminars, the institute offers one-day live seminars and online courses.

The institute is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors and an IRS Provider of CE for all tax professionals. Continuing legal education accreditation is also offered through the state bar associations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi for attorneys completing the program.

Each year the program provides an opportunity for participants to not only meet yearly continuing education requirements but also to receive updates on new legislation. The program drew record-breaking numbers in response to the 2018 tax reform changes, which represented the most significant changes to tax law in the U.S. in 30 years.

The program, which continues to expand both geographically and online, has cultivated a loyal following and fostered tradition as it brings high-quality advanced training to tax professionals.

“Tax is a long-term relationship business,” said Claire Twardy, Office of Professional and Continuing Education assistant director and program developer for the Auburn University Accounting and Tax Training Institute. “For many tax preparers the season does not simply begin in January and end in April. Instead, preparers develop lifelong relationships with their clientele. They see them as family.”

For more information, visit or contact Claire Twardy at or 334-844-5100.

Maddie Marsh

Global studies sophomore Maddie Marsh always wanted to change the world. Recently, she was one of three students in the world chosen to speak at the board meeting of The ONE Campaign, an international advocacy group that works to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030. At the January meeting, Marsh shared her experiences as a student activist with ONE board members.

“After hearing our personal stories, the board members were so supportive and willing to help us even more, which was so encouraging,” Marsh said. “It was such a cool environment with so many influential people all in one room, all passionate about the same thing, wanting to help The ONE Campaign and help us. Extreme poverty could end by my lifetime, and it’s so incredible that that’s something I could see to the end.”

ONE Campaign CEO Gayle Smith said Marsh was a perfect candidate to share her experiences with the board.

Three women and one man pose for photo together“More and more, young activists are starting conversations about how we address the key issues of our time,” said Smith. “Not only is Maddie Marsh starting the conversations, she is taking action to urge our elected officials to fight poverty and preventable disease around the world. It was inspiring to see her passion and hear how she is rallying her peers at Auburn to join her in advocating for the world’s poorest.”

Marsh collects letters to legislators and meets with those representatives to urge them to pass legislation with a global impact. She also spreads the word about the campaign’s important work to end extreme poverty at major music festivals including Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee, and Rockweave in LaGrange, Georgia.

Marsh first learned of The ONE Campaign’s work when Scoggins Berg, The ONE Campaign southeast regional organizing manager, spoke in her global studies class. Berg said work with The ONE Campaign trains students how to apply what they learn in class and effectively enact change.

Group photo of students making hand gestures“With global studies students here at Auburn, they are already positioning themselves to want to help,” Berg said. “You present this opportunity where you can live anywhere but your voice matters and it counts. I think that’s really empowering. Maddie is brilliant, passionate, has spent time abroad, she’s seen extreme poverty up close and she didn’t have to wait until graduation to make a change. All of that wrapped together made her a perfect candidate to share her story with the board.”

Marsh has participated in mission trips to Bolivian orphanages with her church. She said that’s where her passion for changing the world began, and it eventually led her to global studies and The ONE Campaign.

“I fell in love with being in another culture and helping those kids,” Marsh said. “Although every time I came back to the U.S., I was kind of sad and almost angry because I wanted to do more, so I asked myself if there was anything I could do from here. The mission of ONE, ending extreme poverty and preventable disease, is so powerful to me because that’s what I’m passionate about. And this is it. This is what I can do domestically, day-by-day to help people.”

In addition to her work with ONE, Marsh is a manager for Auburn’s gymnastics team, a CBS Sports college ambassador and will complete an internship with Speedo this summer.

Last Updated: June 3, 2020