Last month, the annual Planning and Resource Alignment Hearings hosted 31 virtual presentations. As a part of Augusta University’s integrated planning process, the hearings provide deans, vice presidents and other administrative leaders the opportunity to share accomplishments and preliminary goals and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year that align with the current strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries.
While sessions have been streamed in prior years, this was the first time the hearings were hosted completely in a virtual environment. Although participants missed the in-person interactions, overall attendance increased. The hearings were canceled last year due to the pandemic, but when compared to the hearings hosted in spring of 2019, this year’s sessions saw a 170% increase in attendance, with 390 unique attendees and a total of 623 attendees access points throughout the week.
University leaders will continue to refine their FY22 Unit Plan and alignment to Beyond Boundaries until the deadline of June 15. Takeaways from the presentations include the following:
Highlights of Recent Efforts and Plans for the Road Ahead:
- Auxiliary Services: Update on New Campus Dining Outlets – Freshens and Pizza Hut at the JSAC Food Court; Einstein’s Bros Bagels at the J. Harold Harrison, MD Education Commons.
- College of Education: Updates on its #PounceIntoTheProfession effort and architectural design plans for the AU Literacy Center.
- College of Science & Mathematics: Early Career Faculty Community; move to the Health Sciences Campus.
- Communications & Marketing: Over 11.5 billion in earned media readership and 1.98 million social media engagements specific to AU’s COVID-19 response.
- Diversity & Inclusion: Campus-wide listening sessions; highlights from the survey results of the campus-wide diversity climate study.
- Faculty Senate: Update on the implementation of AUFS bylaws changes and strategic planning efforts.
- Medical College of Georgia: Launch of “MCG 3+ Pathways Program” (3-Year Curriculum); projected Community Benefit and Economic Value of the Primary Care Program in Southwest Georgia; operationalization of Research MRI/Imaging Center.
Additionally, many colleges/schools and units discussed collaborative efforts to explore in the upcoming fiscal year:
- Establishing a Center for Writing Excellence to provide robust writing and research support.
- Establishing a Provost’s Mentor Fellows Program for faculty mentoring.
- Investing in a Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Inflammaging and Brain Aging.
Colleges/schools also provided updates on newer academic programs and those that will begin this coming fall. Interdisciplinary Programs to explore through the collaboration of multiple colleges/schools include a Master of Science in Management & Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Systems Engineering.
A Snapshot of COVID-19 Responses and Solutions Over the Past Year:
- College of Nursing: Provided services through the Nurse-Managed Health Center and COVID-19 vaccine administration.
- Dental College of Georgia: Established Virtual Dental Helpline; 3D printed 70,000 COVID-19 test swabs.
- Enrollment & Student Affairs: Shifted to telehealth and telemental health services; offered virtual campus visits and orientation experience.
- External Relations: Assisted in the safe return of AU students home from Peru; led the healthcare workers appreciation initiative, Paw Pals; coordinated the AUHS COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Volunteer Recruitment and Support.
- Facilities: Installed CDC signage, stance markers, hand sanitizer dispensers, Plexiglas barriers and UV filtration; set up tents, furniture, generators and air compressors at testing sites and ER triage drive up; calculated classroom and lab maximum occupancy limits; provided 10 students in the Hull College of Business internships within the given restrictions.
- Human Resources: Processed alternate work arrangement requests; managed leave processes under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); supported onboarding over 400 AUHS contractors/loaned staff; Onboarded over 130 international nurses.
- Information Technology: Partnered with the Division of Instruction & Innovation and AU faculty to transition face-to-face courses to be entirely at a distance and then later to hybrid approaches; purchased 320 laptops for identified students with need for distant-learning access to institutionally-licensed software titles; provided drive-up hotspots for students; instituted security controls to support remote work.
- Instruction & Innovation: Led instructional continuity; provided virtual access to the Libraries and Interdisciplinary Simulation Center.
- Intercollegiate Athletics: Followed NCAA and PBC Return to Play recommendations and best practices; developed a task force on AU student athlete mental health issues related to COVID-19.
- Police Department (incl. CEPaR): Collaborated to set up drive-thru test sites, ED triage tent, remote test sites and PPE for AU and surrounding community partners and to arrange vaccine rollout.
- Research Administration: Loaned Core Laboratories equipment to provide COVID-19 testing analysis; developed brochure in English and Spanish addressing vaccine hesitancy through IPPH; ensured efficient review and approval process for COVID-19-related studies through IRB Rapid Response Team.
AU faculty, staff, and students can view all presentations and the Executive Summary Report by visiting the Planning webpage.