Auburn University President Steven Leath has tapped Beth Guertal, professor in the Department of Crop, Soils and Environmental Sciences, to lead a strategic planning process that will bring 500 new tenure-track faculty in the next five years.
Leath made the announcement during a March 29 ceremony marking his installation as Auburn’s 19th president. The commitment is a key component of a comprehensive, five-year strategy to expand Auburn’s education, research, partnership and economic development initiatives to meet pressing social needs.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity to help directly shape Auburn’s future vision,” said Guertal, who will serve as co-chair with chemical engineering professor Bruce Tatarchuk. “Our task will be to garner input and advice from university people and those we serve to develop the university’s vision, mission, focus and impact goals over the next five years.”
Leath, who began his academic career as an extension plant pathologist and has spent the majority of his career serving at land-grant universities, said Auburn is poised to be a world leader in impact research.
“Our vision for Auburn is to become a world-class academic, research and service university in the true spirit of our land-grant heritage,” Leath said. “The strategy and initiatives launched today are designed to position Auburn as an undisputed go-to destination for that special caliber of student, faculty, staff and development partner driven to make a meaningful impact on the state of Alabama, the nation and the world.”