Our Future

College of Agriculture Strategic Plan 2011

In light of expanding global and economic challenges, the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s strategic plan presents a vision and mission for the College and its research, instructional and outreach components.

Download a copy of the 2011 Strategic Plan


The green revolution, led by Norman Borlaug, began in the 1960s and sought to increase global food supply, especially in poor areas around the world. By the mid 1980s, advances in science and technology in agricultural production led to a global surplus and historically low prices. Recent trends, however, suggest that the world is heading into an era where agricultural science and technology are again falling behind global food demand. This rise in food demand is a result of several global trends.

First, by the year 2050, it is expected that the world population will increase from its current 7 billion to 9 billion. Most of this growth is expected in Asia and Africa, but most countries, including the United States, are expected to share in the growth.

Second, during the past two decades, globalization of trade has resulted in rapid economic development and rising family incomes in countries with historically low labor cost. It is expected that the result of global free trade agreements will lead to a tripling of the global middle class from the current one billion to three billion people by 2050. This new and rising global middle class will have tremendous purchasing power and will strain global resources and systems.

With an expanding global economy driven by overall population growth and dramatic growth in the global middle class, the grand challenges facing the next generation are related to food, fiber and renewable energy production, environmental sustainability and human health. Solutions to meet these challenges lie in educating the next generation, in research discoveries and technological developments and in outreach programs that lead to increased food production, enhanced profitability and environmental sustainability.

All of these societal challenges are intricately tied to agriculture and are challenges for Auburn University’s College of Agriculture.  There is a need for new research to address these challenges and for training of the next generation of agribusiness professionals, farmers, researchers, business leaders and community leaders to lead efforts in addressing these challenges.  These challenges are both global and local and are pertinent to Alabama and its agricultural sector, which accounts for one-fourth of the state’s economy.


The College of Agriculture will contribute to solving food, agricultural and environmentally related global challenges facing the next generation through excellence in education, research and outreach programs that promote sustained economic development.


The mission of the College of Agriculture is to

  • Prepare students to become future leaders in agricultural and environmental sciences, agribusiness and society;
  • Make scientific discoveries and innovations and develop technologies related to food, energy, the environment and human health and well-being; and
  • Provide education and training to agricultural producers, agribusinesses and other stakeholders.



To prepare the next generation of scientists, business leaders, community leaders and policymakers through high-quality instruction to solve societal problems related to food, fiber, energy, the environment and human health and well-being.


  1. Pursue Targeted Enrollment Strategies to Meet Stakeholder Needs: The College will pursue targeted student recruitment and retention strategies that will produce graduates to meet industry and community needs for workers and leaders that are well prepared to engage in a global and diverse work environment.


    1. Balance enrollment growth by department and discipline to meet industry needs
    2. Enhance student retention efforts
    3. Build greater diversity in the student population
    4. Strengthen partnerships with community colleges
  2. Provide Leadership in Instruction on Food, Agriculture, the Environment and Energy: The College will provide leadership in instruction on food, agriculture, the environment and energy for Auburn University and nationally and internationally in subject areas of excellence. 


    1. Develop more opportunities for students at Auburn University and in the community to learn about food, agriculture, energy and the environment
    2. Expand and enhance instructional delivery methods, including distance education delivery
    3. Establish regional and national leadership and collaboration in select academic disciplines
    4. Increase international collaborations in instruction and training
    5. Engage more undergraduate students in research
    6. Enhance professional development opportunities and experiential learning opportunities
    7. Promote opportunities for study abroad experiences



To promote research discoveries, innovations and development of technologies and best agricultural practices in support of sustainable and profitable agricultural enterprises in Alabama, the nation and the world and to train the next generation of agricultural scientists to meet the societal needs related to food, fiber, energy, the environment and human health and well-being.


  1. Advance Areas of Excellence: The College will advance areas of excellence both within and across departments, taking advantage of historical strengths, existing competencies and geographical advantages to meet societal needs. 


    1. Support the formation of  centers and faculty working groups in areas of excellence
    2. Target hiring in areas of excellence
    3. Promote faculty development opportunities
    4. Enhance graduate programs in areas of excellence
  2. Strengthen the Research Enterprise and Its Impact: The College will increase research capacity, capability, productivity and quality to address our global challenges.


    1. Increase extramural funding
    2. Retain and recruit the most productive faculty, set clear expectations and recognize and reward successes
    3. Provide grantsmanship training and facilitate large and complex grant preparations
    4. Encourage high-quality publications, patent applications and technology transfer
    5. Support professional panel services, editorial services, national awards and other professional recognitions
  3. Sustain a Vibrant, Collaborative, and Supportive  Research Environment: The College will foster a collaborative research environment and will support the development of the facilities and infrastructure that are necessary to advance crucial scientific research.


    1. Promote multidisciplinary, multiinstitutional and interdisciplinary research collaborations
    2. Enhance collaborations, particularly through the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
    3. Provide seed funding for research and cost-share funding for equipment and facilities
    4. Emphasize leveraging of funds

Extension and Outreach


To provide integrated research, teaching, extension and outreach programs that meet the needs of stakeholders in Alabama, the nation and the world.


  1. Provide Integrated and Collaborative Extension and Outreach Programs: The College will foster the development of integrated agricultural research, teaching, extension and outreach programs through proactive partnerships with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, other Auburn University colleges and other institutions and organizations that meet the needs of our stakeholders. These Extension and outreach efforts will engage faculty, staff, and students with stakeholders in Alabama, the nation and the world.


    1. Develop joint field days, stakeholder educational programs and commodity meetings
    2. Provide leadership and support for youth education programs
    3. Increase the international engagement of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members
  2. Promote a Systems Approach to Address Stakeholder Needs: The College will promote a systems approach to address stakeholder needs related to complex agricultural and natural resource issues. The solutions offered through these efforts will enhance economic prosperity, social welfare and environmental sustainability.


    1. Seek more opportunities for integrated research and extension/outreach activities
    2. Extend reach to a broader clientele
    3. Increase faculty activity in service of international agricultural development, food security and export of Alabama products