In 2012, the Harbert College of Business wrote a new strategic plan, dubbed Auburn Business @ 50. This plan, which set us down a new path with the college’s 50th anniversary in 2017 as a milestone, was written to be bold and ambitious. The plan called for us to do some things differently and it called for us to generate resources to do some things we were heretofore unable to do.
Overall, the plan identified more than 100 action items to accomplish. As I reflect upon our progress over the past three years under the new plan, I am amazed at the progress. Many of the things which required us to change (without additional resources needed – about half the action items) have been accomplished. Many of the action items, however, required a significant influx of resources. Now, we are generating these resources as the first set of endowments from the Harbert gift produce earnings this year. Thus, 2015 is the year we start executing the portions of our plan which require the additional resources. Accordingly, here are some of the major initiatives for 2015:
- Eminent scholars and professorships. We are currently trying to hire three eminent scholar/ endowed chair positions in supply chain, finance, and business analytics. We are also hiring five faculty in management (2), marketing, accounting, and business analytics.
- Research centers. In 2014, Dr. Brian Gibson (Wilson Professor of Supply Chain Management) began designing a supply chain research center. In 2015, we expect to formally launch the supply chain center and begin designing a new center in investments and wealth management.
- Facilities. Look for some changes in Lowder Hall in 2015: (1) student team meeting and breakout rooms; (2) office area for research centers; (3) high-tech lab space for Bloomberg terminals and an analytics lab. We also hope to complete the student-side remodeling of the hallways during the summer of 2015. Finally, we continue to pursue our plans (and funding) for a new graduate business building.
- Online undergraduate program(s). Per Auburn University’s strategic plan, an initiative is underway to develop several online undergraduate programs. One of the areas of interest is business. Subsequently, we are looking to launch (in fall 2015) an undergraduate degree in business administration (note: this is a completer program).
- MBA+. The greatest growth opportunity for MBA programs are those designed for non-business undergraduates – dubbed the MBA+ at HCOB. The MBA+ is used to provide a sound business educational foundation for those from other disciplines, such as engineering. In fact, we have an excellent opportunity to partner with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering to produce an outstanding AU graduate with an undergraduate degree in engineering and an MBA. Although the planning for an MBA+ was started in 2014, look for some final plans and early implementations in 2015.
- Professional Education. The HCOB looks to develop a suite of non-degree educational offerings targeted to various external constituents. This effort will weave together a variety of elements, including the workforce development initiative underway at AU, our online educational offerings, the talents of the college’s Media Production Group, the connections of our Office of Professional and Career Development, and the great work of the Auburn Technical Assistance Center in delivering programs.
As you can see, we have a busy year ahead of us. To be successful, we need the engagement of all of our stakeholders. I hope you will join us as we continue to build the Harbert College.