1/31/06 Contact: Deedie Dowdle, 334/844-9999 (ddowdle@auburn.edu)
David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)

Read full Fisher Report


AUBURN, AL -- Auburn University released today a comprehensive review of the university, with related appendices, as commissioned by the AU Board of Trustees in 2005 and completed by Dr. Jim Fisher, an author and national expert in university management and governance. The report examines every facet of the university, and highlights two primary needs: the successful search for an exceptional new president, and governance reform among all governing bodies of the institution.

"A successful search for the next president at Auburn is the highest priority for Auburn University's Board of Trustees," said Earlon McWhorter, president pro-tem of the Board of Trustees at Auburn University. "Our search consultant, John Kuhnle, proposed that we perform a University-wide review in order to provide the best possible platform for the search, and suggested that we retain Dr. Jim Fisher, the preeminent expert on higher education governance. The Board of Trustees welcomed the suggestions, and unanimously voted to retain Dr. Fisher."

McWhorter said that the final report generated by Dr. Fisher and his team provides an unvarnished look at Auburn.

"Dr. Fisher confirms that good work is being done at Auburn by dedicated people. The report also challenges Auburn in many areas. Many of the recommendations are directed to Board policy and require Board action; others are specific to the president, administrative structure and faculty. I have appointed Sarah Newton, Sam Ginn and Charles McCrary to assist me in reviewing these recommendations. All of the recommendations will be reviewed in detail and taken seriously."

McWhorter said he is confident that the report and the resulting action by the university will move AU towards its goal of being a leader among universities and identifying the individual best qualified to lead Auburn into a promising future.

Interim President Ed Richardson agreed, and added the report provides recommendations that would be of strong benefit to many academic institutions.

"Dr. Fisher's report is a comprehensive view of the university; virtually every area from academics and bylaws to personnel and technology is scrutinized in light of best practices nationally," Richardson said. "There is valuable insight here and this would be a useful tool for any university."

Richardson added that while the university has much to do and many challenges, AU's strengths were also confirmed in the report.

"To have such highly credentialed outside experts affirm the high quality of our students and faculty, our strong retention rate, the loyalty of our students and alums, and the high athletic graduation rate speaks of core strength. We also had confirmation of the progress we've already made toward demonstrating institutional control, and I was pleased to see such a uniformly positive view of the university's most senior officers," Richardson said.

Richardson said he intends to work with the Board to prepare AU to attract an
outstanding president, and "it is indeed time, as Dr. Fisher states succinctly, to move forward without rancor from any party. AU deserves nothing less."

The university will post the next meeting date, once it is scheduled, on its Web page at www.auburn.edu.

Auburn University is a preeminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama's largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

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