Category: Messages from the President

A Message from the President – December 7, 2021


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Students, it’s finals week, and I encourage you to continue the exemplary work you’ve been accomplishing all semester. As courses wind down, your final exams and projects are an opportunity to demonstrate all you have learned. I’m proud of you for finishing another semester strong. Congratulations to those of you who are graduating for achieving such an important academic and personal milestone. We look forward to celebrating with you this weekend at commencement.

Celebrations are in order for Dr. Russell Mumper, vice president for research and economic development, who was just elected to the prestigious National Academy of Inventors. The NAI Fellows Selection Committee praised him for demonstrating “a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.” This is a well-deserved recognition. Congratulations, as well, to Dr. Ravi Kumar, director of the Center for Convergent Bioscience Medicine, for being selected for the Humboldt Research Award. Dr. Kumar’s designation is further proof of his ongoing contributions to outstanding research, and the award brings additional recognition to the innovative research being conducted at the Capstone.

It was another record-setting weekend for Alabama Athletics, with our incredible student-athletes raising the bar as the first school to beat AP top-5 teams in college football and basketball on the same day. The atmosphere in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium was electric as Alabama fans cheered on the Tide to a 41-24 win over the Bulldogs. It was the 29th SEC title for the Crimson Tide and back-to-back championships. Congratulations to our coaches and players for the victory and for earning the top seed in the College Football Playoff. Commendations are also well-deserved for quarterback Bryce Young’s nomination as one of four finalists for the 2021 Heisman Trophy, and for Will Anderson’s selection as the recipient of the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

During the holiday break, I encourage you to take time to rest and enjoy fellowship with family and friends. With all the activities of the season, it’s easy for memorable moments to pass too quickly. Cherish this time with your loved ones and be present in the joy, celebrations and hope for the future. Susan and I wish you the happiest of holidays and peace and prosperity in the coming New Year.

Roll Tidings!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – November 23, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Thanksgiving break begins Wednesday for our students, and it’s an especially meaningful holiday this year as more families and friends will be resuming traditional gatherings. I know you’re looking forward to being with your loved ones and celebrating the many reasons we have to be grateful. Susan and I are especially thankful for our UA family, and we wish everyone a safe and restful break filled with the aromas, sights and sounds of home.

Please join me in congratulating senior Nicholas “Nick” Hayes for his selection as UA’s 16th Rhodes Scholar. A Randall Research Scholar, Nick was one of only 32 students in the country to be chosen for his outstanding scholarly achievements, character, commitment to service and potential for leadership in applied mathematics and German. We commend his success and recognition from one of the most established and celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. We also applaud all our students for setting a new school record and collecting over 319,000 pounds of food for the West Alabama Food Bank in our annual Beat Auburn Beat Hunger Food Drive.

Moreover, we are thankful for a record-breaking year at The University of Alabama, where our research efforts have realized remarkable success. The University is now ranked No. 1 in the SEC and in the top 10 among all 131 Carnegie-designated research universities in the nation for research growth. UA faculty, staff and students continue to expand knowledge, spark innovation and better society in significant ways.

Earlier this month, we officially dedicated Wade Hall in honor of Dr. Archie Wade. A legendary and beloved professor, Dr. Wade was the first Black UA faculty member, a founding member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association and actively involved in the integration of our football program. Having worked for 30 years in the building that now bears his name, Dr. Wade continues to be an inspiration.

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Reed, associate professor of biology, our winner of the 2021 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award. A specialist in evolutionary genomics, Dr. Reed was chosen for her leadership as director of the Genomics Education Partnership, which has amplified funding and significantly increased student engagement. Dr. Reed’s work continues to bring us notable recognition and inspires creative thinking, research and science.

While enjoying the cooler temperatures, I’m certain you have also been appreciating the melodic sounds of “New York, New York” and “Yea, Alabama” on campus recently, as our Million Dollar Band is preparing for its first appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band will march down Central Park West in New York City to represent UA as the largest and one of the most talented student organizations on campus.

Much farther away, UA’s Dr. Jennifer Feltman is also representing the Capstone in Paris through her hands-on research, contributing to the restoration of the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. Dr. Feltman is one of only 14 specialists appointed to begin working on the project. It is a privilege to have an esteemed member of our faculty involved in the historic restoration.

Whether in Tuscaloosa, New York City or even Paris, UA’s fingerprints can be seen almost everywhere. Drawn together by a shared purpose and driven by our mission, our efforts make a difference. Whether faculty, staff or student, what you do every day contributes to our legacy as the Tide continues to rise. I’m thankful for you!

Roll Tide,

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – October 5, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we continue to expand our influence as a flagship university, every investment we make in our facilities is an investment in our UA community.

With the official opening of the Parker-Haun Tennis Facility, our champion wheelchair tennis team now has a championship-caliber facility. Likewise, our Alabama Initiative on Manufacturing Development and Education, Alabama IMaDE, opened the doors to its new manufacturing complex last week. The new center will provide students and faculty with high-end technology to engage in real-world experiences that will solve future industrial challenges.

I was pleased to learn we are one of six recipients of the 2021 WOW Award as a Digital Learning Hero by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The award recognizes the College of Continuing Studies’ Instructional Technology and Academic Services and the Office of Information Technology’s Center for Instructional Technology for their efforts to support our transition to emergency remote learning and virtual events during the pandemic. We are grateful for the heroic efforts of the ITAS and CIT teams and their leadership.

Every year I am proud to present the Premier Awards to faculty, staff and students who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character. I encourage you to consider nominating a worthy student, faculty or staff member for one of these prestigious awards by the Nov. 1 deadline.

In case you haven’t seen it, our Department of Human Resources has unveiled an inspiring videoto welcome new faculty and staff to our community. This recruitment and orientation tool effectively highlights the University’s traditions, values and expectations. It is also a good reminder that whether your journey at the Capstone is just beginning or you are a seasoned employee, you make it possible for us to accomplish our mission.

And finally, please join our efforts to provide meals for underprivileged children and families in West Alabama through the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger Food Drive and help us continue to dominate this friendly rivalry for a good cause.

It is an honor to work in partnership with you.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

The Rising Tide

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I want you to be among the first to know about a momentous opportunity for the Capstone:
We have just embarked on the largest fundraising campaign in state history, The Rising Tide Capital Campaign, to further our mission of exemplary teaching, research and service.

As you know, philanthropic giving is a key driver of excellence in the UA experience. Gifts allow us to expand opportunities for students through scholarships, fellowships and programs for leadership development, as well as to advance our research efforts and bolster our already competitive facilities and athletic programs.

Our $1.5 billion undertaking will impact all areas of campus. It will allow us to further elevate our students as future legends, to champion the fields of research and athletics, to recruit and retain elite faculty, and to develop the potential within us all to serve, support and lead. Communities, organizations and individuals near and far will be impacted in remarkable ways.

The Rising Tide represents a gathering wave of students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters whose collective influence is greater than what any of us can accomplish individually. Together, we are a force strong enough to transform the landscape of the world around us. I cannot wait to see the University’s impact grow as we reinvest in our success.

I invite you to learn more about this historic effort at risingtide.ua.edu. Join us as we create the next chapter of UA’s legacy.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – September 1, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Because The University of Alabama remains committed to promoting and sustaining a safe, respectful campus environment, every semester I pledge to share important resources and reporting options to provide support for those impacted by sexual misconduct, gender discrimination or harassment. Please know we take these issues seriously. The well-being, safety and security of every member of our community is, and will remain, an absolute priority.

The UAct program provides a central location for information about reporting sexual misconduct and other issues. Any member or visitor of our campus community who has concerns about sexual harassment or sexual violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence, is encouraged to report those concerns by utilizing the reporting options designated by UAct. UAct designates multiple reporting options across campus and also includes an option to file a report online.

The University of Alabama Police Department, which can be reached at 205-348-5454, provides a comprehensive array of law enforcement services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through a dedicated staff of sworn, state-commissioned police officers. University police officers work with Tuscaloosa County’s violent crimes task force, which has jurisdiction for all investigations of sexual assaults that occur in the county.

In addition, the Women and Gender Resource Center provides victim advocacy and counseling services for members of the UA community who are victims/survivors of interpersonal violence, as well as family and friends who have been impacted by the abuse. On-call victim advocates are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, for crisis intervention and support.

The University’s Counseling Center also employs counselors available to provide services to students affected by sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The Center also offers one-on-one counseling and outreach programming. Ulifeline contains many mental health resources that students may access at no cost to learn more about mental health, with free online mental health screenings also available.

All of these resources are summarized on the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Services and Support webpage. I encourage each of you to be informed about the resources and reporting options available. Please take the time to review UA’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy, which provides information regarding how to report prohibited conduct, how a report may be addressed or investigated, options for informal resolution of reports, and supportive measures available to students and employees. For comprehensive Title IX information and to report sexual misconduct, please call the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Jessica Humber, at 205-348-5496 or email her office directly at titleix@ua.edu.

One of the most important values at The University of Alabama is the belief in the inherent dignity of every member of our community. I hope you will personally commit to partner with us in an ongoing effort to combat sexual misconduct.

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – August 24, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

We’re now one week into the fall semester, and I hope you’re embracing all the opportunities UA provides. We want to enhance your experience here and help you find new and exciting ways to lead and serve others.

Students, as you’re getting plugged in on campus, be sure to visit Get on Board Day, one of our most popular traditions for getting connected, on the Quad Thursday evening. You can also use the SOURCE to explore the 600-plus student organizations at UA. From service and mentoring to ballroom dancing and gaming networks, there is a group for everyone.

A hearty Roll Tide is in order for the six current and 12 former UA adapted athletes who will be competing in the Tokyo Paralympics starting today. Representing three countries, the student-athletes and one assistant UA coach will showcase their skills over the next two weeks as they compete in several events. A UA staff member will also serve as an official.

Congratulations are also due to Dr. Leigh Terry, assistant professor in the UA College of Engineering, for receiving a Fulbright Specialist Award. Dr. Terry will be collaborating and working with faculty in Barranquilla, Colombia on research and teaching projects related to water quality.

I want to remind everyone to be especially vigilant about observing the COVID precautions we have in place in accordance with the UA System Health and Safety Task Force and recommendations by the CDC. Please get vaccinated if you have not already done so; it’s the best way to ensure a successful fall semester. Also, make sure you’re wearing face coverings in all classroom buildings and on campus transportation.

I’m proud of the University’s involvement in spearheading a project to help get 70% of eligible individuals in the Black Belt vaccinated over the next year. Through a $1 million grant and the efforts of Dr. Hee Yun Lee, associate dean for research in the UA School of Social Work, and an interdisciplinary team, UA will assist with vaccine information and outreach programs to support remote and pop-up vaccination clinics through 18 counties in the state.

It’s going to be a great semester at the Capstone. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to our University. Tide Together, we are improving the world through UA’s mission — one champion at a time.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – August 18, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

It is exciting to have everyone back on campus for what I know will be a remarkable, productive and life-changing Alabama experience. With classes beginning today, activities are in full swing, and campus is once again full of anticipation and energy. Please take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities available to you, keeping our health and safety protocols in mind.

Students, I hope you will participate in the many special events planned during the Weeks of Welcome. This morning I was excited to join several other administrators to serve you a welcome back breakfast at the Ferguson Student Center Plaza.

In addition to our amazing students, we continue to feature the most talented faculty and staff in the nation. Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar, professor of interdisciplinary arts with UA’s New College and School of Music, for being selected for two grants from the esteemed Fulbright program to teach and research abroad. Dr. Lesley Reid, professor and chair of our department of criminology and criminal justice, was named associate provost for faculty affairs effective Sept. 1 after previously serving as interim dean in two colleges. In addition, Dr. W. Edward Back has been appointed interim dean of the College of Engineering, bringing with his leadership a revered career in higher education and infrastructure engineering. We’re also pleased to welcome Susan Norton, a talented professional with more than 25 years of HR experience, to the University as senior associate vice president for human resources on Oct. 1.

I hope you familiarize yourself with some updates and changes on campus this fall. Crimson Ride will be even easier to use with new route names and a mobile app to track buses. Bama Dining has added several perks for students and faculty, including an app for mobile ordering. And, the new 2nd Avenue Overpass opened this month and is already significantly helping traffic flow.

Awesome activities, talented students, dedicated faculty and staff, and a beautiful, innovative campus — what a semester it will be as we learn, work and grow Tide Together! I am grateful to everyone who has made our return possible. Please wear your mask, get vaccinated to keep you and our campus safe, and continue to use healthinfo.ua.edu as a valuable resource for information and updates.

It is my continuing honor to serve as your president.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – August 10, 2021

The countdown to the fall semester is underway, with only eight days remaining until the first day of classes. I am excited for the semester’s start, and as our campus community prepares for a return to in-person instruction, events and activities, I want to emphasize again how important it is for you to be vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.

Students, please call the UA Student Health Center to schedule your vaccine appointment or you may use the patient portal. In addition, Saturday vaccine clinics for students are being offered Aug. 14 and Aug. 21, and vaccine rewards are being provided for students enrolled for the fall semester. Faculty and staff, the University Medical Center offers free vaccination as well.

With safety strategies in place, we are hopeful that more people will be vaccinated and statewide and local cases will decline. We will continue to be flexible in the coming weeks and keep working together. Please help us stay Tide Together by getting your vaccine as soon as possible.

In other campus news, I want to thank Director Donald Keith and the devoted staff at UA’s Office of Emergency Management for earning continuation of their emergency management accreditation, a noteworthy accomplishment that no other university has received. I am very proud of our Emergency Management team and their dedicated work, in unison with units across campus, to plan and prepare for emergencies.

Finally, I want to again congratulate our graduates from the summer class of 2021. UA’s recent commencement ceremonies honored over 1,400 degree applicants, including 187 first-generation students. At one ceremony, I observed a first-generation student with a decorated cap that stated, “Nevertheless, she graduated.” Yes, you did and we are very proud of you!

UA students are driven, pioneering and persistent. And, with the fall semester we look forward to welcoming a new class of rising legends.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – July 26, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Last week, The University of Alabama System released an update to the System’s Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan, including important policies for the upcoming fall semester. Please review UA’s Fall 2021 Plan for Operations carefully and adhere to the guidelines in place to help protect our UA community.

I strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated as soon as possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We must do all we can to stay healthy, care for others and ensure that a robust Alabama experience is possible for everyone this fall. All students who upload proof of vaccination will receive a reward in the form of Bama Cash as a thank you for doing their part to protect themselves and our community.

As we continue to anticipate the fall semester, the summer term at UA is drawing to a close. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates with friends, family and our UA community at summer commencement this weekend. Over 1,400 talented men and women are poised to take their next steps as distinguished UA alumni and leaders in their respective career fields and communities.

UA’s championship status continues to command prestigious national recognition. Congratulations to the Alabama Astrobotics team for recently winning NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition. The victory marks the seventh time in nine years the team has clinched the title in what was its sixth consecutive win for UA and the College of Engineering. Very impressive!

Beyond the national stage, our athletes are primed for international prestige, with four current student-athletes and 17 alumni representing 13 countries competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Additionally, six current student-athletes are preparing to compete in the Paralympic Games. I know Bama fans everywhere are cheering them on in their respective events, and we will all be watching the results with pride.

Finally, I hope you are continuing to enjoy the stories of the Everyday Champions we have been featuring to highlight some of UA’s legendary faculty and staff. Individuals such as Jeanine Brooks work behind the scenes, boldly support our community’s efforts and embody the spirit of the University. I invite you to nominate a champion in your department, division or college, as the efforts and positive impact of one have a strong influence on us all.

I am thankful to each of you for the way you support and represent the Capstone.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President – June 29, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

The Summer 2 term begins today, and I want to send congratulations for several recent student accomplishments. Our UA community is leading and achieving in remarkable ways.

The UA EcoCAR Mobility Challenge team was recently named the third-year champion of the four-year national auto engineering competition, besting 10 other universities. We commend their success and will keep a close watch on next year’s final round of the competition. And our Model UN team showcased their talents in leadership and public speaking in the 2020-2021 North American College Model U.N. World Division, moving up 10 spots in the rankings and claiming UA’s first delegation award at a ranked conference.

An impressive 11,813 full-time undergraduate students were named to the Dean’s List or President’s List for Spring 2021, an indicator of their notable academic endeavors. And soon we will recognize over 1,000 student candidates at UA’s two summer commencement ceremonies on July 31 at Coleman Coliseum.

Talented students like these are cultivated by our esteemed faculty. During the past academic year, four UA professors received early-career national recognition for leading-edge research through the National Science Foundation. Dr. Chris Crawford, Dr. Adam Hauser, Dr. Jason Pienaar and Dr. Aijun Song were the recipients of CAREER Awards, one of the nation’s most prestigious recognitions of top-performing young scientists. Their research advances knowledge and enhances lab instruction, but their work also has outreach potential in local schools and in our community. The Alabama Water Institute also recently selected three UA faculty members as inaugural fellows in the AWI Faculty Fellowship Program. Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Davis, Dr. Leigh Terry and Dr. Milad R. Esfahani for their contributions and support of our next generation of water-research scientists.

We also want to recognize some of the unsung heroes of the Capstone who make a difference every day. Throughout the summer we will be highlighting some of our Everyday Champions who work behind the scenes to support our community with a spirit of pride, determination and ingenuity. We are honored to spotlight these individuals and I hope you will join me in thanking them for their many contributions.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take one last opportunity to recognize the incredible accomplishments of our student-athletes. To say it has been an impressive year seems understated. An extraordinary 18 of our 21 teams reached the national postseason this year, with football participating in the College Football Playoff and 17 teams competing in NCAA Championship events. From winning the CFP National Championship to cheering on the softball team in the Women’s College World Series to witnessing numerous individual accolades and honors, UA student-athletes dominated the competition. Their collective efforts have culminated in a No. 7 national ranking of the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, which includes fall and winter sports. Final rankings will be announced later this week, and we are in a great position for our highest finish in program history.

In academia, research and athletics, we continue to prove we are champions. UA is the catalyst for legendary results, and I am honored to serve as your president.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President