Category: Messages from the President

A Message from the President

The University of Alabama is committed to foster and support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff. We have been very purposeful in our efforts to make sure all voices and viewpoints are welcomed, heard and encouraged.

In recent days, I have met with students, faculty and organizational representatives who are disappointed in some of our efforts and feel strongly that more must be done. Our vice presidents of diversity and student life have heard the same strong sentiments in the conversations they have been leading. While numerous meetings and town halls have been held and more will be scheduled, what matters most is how we respond and address these concerns.

The full resources of our great university are focused on this effort. You have my personal commitment that we will continue to take what we hear and learn from you to move The University of Alabama forward.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Start of the Fall Semester

Dear Campus Community:

Welcome to The University of Alabama! If you’re new to UA, I look forward to seeing what you will do as a member of the Alabama family. To returning faculty, staff and students, I know you will make this another great year. We could not achieve all we do without your contributions. The fall semester brings exciting opportunities to impact the world through teaching, research and service.

We continued to be very productive on campus over the summer. Construction crews were involved in over 100 projects to better our facilities and to meet the needs of all our campus constituents. One of our recent additions, and the summer’s largest project, was the Capstone Parking Deck, which added 1,000 new parking spaces in a key area of campus. It was completed just in time for the fall semester to begin, and certainly everyone on campus will benefit.

Students, I hope you’ve taken part in some of the fun “Yea, Alabama! Weeks of Welcome” events hosted by University Programs. Tidechella was a tremendous success and provided an exciting way for you to meet others on campus. I enjoyed seeing many of you at the Welcome Back Breakfast enjoying Chick fil-A on Ferg Plaza, as well. More upcoming events include the Druid City Music Festival on Aug. 24, the Tide Dye Fest on Aug. 25 and the BFSA Welcome Reception on Aug. 26 – plus many more entertaining ways to get plugged in and learn about our people and our campus resources.

I hope all students will also take advantage of the launch of Tide Loyalty Points, the official fan loyalty program created through a collaboration between Alabama Athletics and the Alabama Student Government Association. We’re gearing up for another great season of athletic events. UA’s intramural sports, adapted athletics programs, club sports and two student recreation centers are ranked among the best in the nation. Every student on campus has the opportunity to participate in the pride and tradition that defines Alabama athletics.

We were pleased to announce the College of Arts and Sciences has a new dean, Dr. Joseph P. Messina. With experience and success that includes an 18-year career at Michigan State University, Dr. Messina will provide vital leadership for the College. Also, Dr. Kathleen Cramer is now working as interim vice president for Student Life, and we appreciate her service and partnership with our students. Dr. Richard Friend, who served as interim dean for the College of Community Health Sciences over the past year, was also named dean of the college in July. His extensive clinical and administrative experience will serve the University well as we continue to bolster UA’s research initiatives. Recently, the UA Office for Research and Development unveiled a five-year strategic plan to advance research activities on campus. As a University with Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity status, creativity remains on the forefront of UA’s blueprint for worldwide impact.

Finally, I hope everyone will wear their Where Legends Are Made gear proudly this fall as a demonstrative way to tell the story of the University’s most renowned students, athletes and alumni. UA received the top honor in the 2019 Circle of Excellence awards competition for the Legends campaign, and our UA legends are an important part of our legacy. I know we’ll continue to add to the list of successful alumni as we advance in the future.

I’m proud to be your president, and I look forward to another semester of campuswide achievements, new discoveries and lifelong friendships.

Again, welcome back and ROLL TIDE!

Stuart R. Bell
President

An important message about gender discrimination and sexual misconduct

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

With the summer semester underway, I want to remind everyone of the University’s commitment to promoting and maintaining a safe, respectful campus environment. The well-being and security of every member of the UA community is a top priority, and we will continue to work to eliminate gender discrimination and sexual misconduct on campus.

There are numerous resources and reporting options in place to provide support to those affected by sexual misconduct. For a full description of the University’s services, staff and resources available, please visit https://www.ua.edu/campuslife/safety/sams. The services and assistance detailed on the site are in place to help the campus community with both prevention and response to sexual assault and sexual misbehavior.

Also, please take time to review the UA Sexual Misconduct Policy which describes how the University may take action and provide assistance to affected individuals involved in a sexual misconduct report. Those found to be in violation of this Policy will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination from employment or expulsion from the University. Resources to aid victims of sexual misconduct include medical treatment, counseling services, academic assistance, safety planning, housing assistance, assistance with filing a criminal report and help with community resources.

The Title IX Office, newly located in Capital Hall, oversees UA’s efforts to promote a secure campus community free of discrimination based on gender. Reports of sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination can be made to the Title IX office directly, by emailing (titleix@ua.edu) or by calling 205-348-5496. Reports may also be filed with The University of Alabama Police Department by calling 205-348-5454. The Women and Gender Resource Center also provides confidential reporting, counseling services and advocacy for victims. A full list of reporting options is available by visiting UAct.

Another vital resource in the Tuscaloosa community is the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center, located at 1601 University Blvd. East, Suite 150. The Center can be reached by phone at 205-860-SAFE (7233). Anyone 14-years-old or older, regardless of gender, who has experienced sexual assault can go to the SAFE Center, which offers the latest advances in providing high-quality care to those affected by sexual assault in a compassionate, patient-centered environment.

I also highly recommend you take advantage of the digital resources and support the University provides the entire campus community. Text “UASAFETY” to 444999 to receive a downloadable Contact Card with valuable contact numbers and information related to safety and support resources, such as UAPD and the Title IX office. Also, to receive immediate access to information during an emergency and for the ability to contact campus law enforcement agencies quickly, please download the UA Safety App. Through the app, you can also livestream 92.5 FM UA Info Radio and follow the UA Safety Twitter feed for UA Alerts, weather information, a built-in GPS for campus and safety tips. Users who already have the app installed should visit the App Store or Google Play on their device to make sure they have the recently updated version (April 2019).

Please know The University of Alabama takes the issue of sexual misconduct very seriously. We will regularly share information about the wide range of resources available to the campus community. I hope you will continue to partner with us in an ongoing effort to combat and eliminate sexual misconduct.

Stuart R. Bell
President

End of Semester Message from President Bell

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

It has been another incredible semester, and as we close out the 2018-2019 academic year, it’s a good time to reflect on what we have achieved together. The University will confer over 6,000 degrees at commencement next week, and that means over 6,000 dreams were realized through the passionate pursuit of an education with significant future impact.

Just today, we were thrilled to learn the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program selected three University of Alabama students as Goldwater Scholars for 2019-2020. Beating Princeton, UA tied with both Harvard and Cornell and continues to be in the top three nationally for the number of program recipients. Currently, the Capstone has been honored with 56 Goldwater scholars. Congratulations to UA students Peyton Strickland, Ryan Tuckey and Thomas “Hank” Richards for the highly esteemed honor.

UA is also pleased to add two new Boren scholarship recipients to our list of outstanding student successes. New Orleans native Michelle DeGeorge will study in the Czech Republic and Nicholas Hayes of Memphis, Tennessee was selected to study in Tanzania. Both represent a spirit of civic service that benefits our nation.  Linguistic and cultural immersion abroad adds to the educational experience of our students. I encourage you to explore the hundreds of programs UA offers in locations all around the world through the Capstone International Center.

Earlier this week, it was a privilege to present Dr. Subhabrata “Subha” Chakraborti with the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, which is one of the highest honors bestowed on UA professors. Dr. Chakraborti is a professor of statistics for the Culverhouse College of Commerce in the Department of Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science. The prestigious award signifies Dr. Chakraborti’s steadfast dedication to his students and to research. We’re grateful for his service and significant contributions to the success of the University.

Congratulations to UA history professor Dr. David Beito and his wife, Dr. Linda Royster Beito, for recently receiving one of the nation’s highest honors. They received the gold prize out of more than 1,500 entries from the largest publishing trade association in the United States for their book, T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer. This honor exemplifies the creativity and innovation of our faculty, who are helping us advance in substantial ways.

Finally, a hearty “well done” to the UA Adapted Athletics program, unquestionably one of the finest in the nation. Under the leadership of program director Dr. Brent Hardin and assistant director, Dr. Margaret Stran, the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams are both national championsfor the first time in Alabama history. It is the 6th national championship for the women’s team and a back-to-back championship title for the men’s program. We’re very proud of the coaches, staff and students who represented the University so well through their efforts.

I’m honored to lead this great University. I’m so glad you chose UA as the place to begin your own legendary journey if you’re a student, or to help mentor and mold legends if you’re faculty or staff. Through research, creative activity and public outreach, we are changing the world. Susan and I wish you all the best, and we look forward to seeing those remaining on campus for the summer sessions and those enrolled for the fall semester.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Spring Semester Message

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Spring break is right around the corner, and I think I can safely assume we’re all ready for some warmer temperatures and sunshine! I wanted to take this opportunity while you are still on campus to share some of the central events and exciting accomplishments of the UA community.

Current freshmen and seniors were sent an important link on Feb. 7 for a National Survey of Student Engagement. Please take a few minutes to leave your legacy by telling us about your experience at the University. Because the survey is only given once every several years, it is a unique opportunity for you to help us continue improving the education we provide in a way that can impact thousands of future UA students. Thank you for your constructive feedback.

Speaking of our impressive student body, recently a Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law moot court team won a national competition, defeating more than 150 other teams and bringing home UA’s first championship in the event’s history. Remarkably, of the 28 teams who qualified for the finals, the UA team was the only one made up solely of second-year law students. Another notable achievement was the recognition of the University as a top producing institution for Fulbright Scholar students for the third time in four years. UA had 15 alumni and graduate students who received Fulbright student awards. I was also very proud to see UA’s recent ranking for internship placements. The Princeton Review positioned UA No. 1 among schools in the Southeastern Conference and No. 10 in the nation. The University will continue to develop and support students through knowledge, training and networking opportunities that will enhance their future endeavors.

Because the University is committed to its mission of advancing teaching, research and service at the highest level, I hope all faculty and staff will support UA’s faculty and staff giving campaign, We Are UA. Through your participation and generosity, our student body and surrounding community will see the positive impact of philanthropic investment in the Capstone. Thank you for giving to this important campaign.

Congratulations are also extended to Dr. Mercy Mumba, assistant professor in UA’s Capstone College of Nursing for receiving the prestigious Southern Nursing Research Society’s Early Science Investigator Award, given to nurse scientists who are less than five years into a professional career following the completion of a doctoral degree. Dr. Mumba was the youngest PhD graduate in UA’s history, and her research has been presented at many local, regional and international conferences.

Finally, I want to personally invite all faculty and staff to attend the Spring Campus Assembly on Tuesday, April 9. Several members of UA’s faculty and staff will be recognized for their commitment to service and excellence. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with other University professionals, network and enjoy refreshments. I hope you will join us.

Susan and I wish you a relaxing and revitalizing spring break. Campus is breathtaking during the second half of the spring semester and should be in bloom when you get back! Enjoy your break, and thank you for your ongoing commitment to the Capstone.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Lee County

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I was devastated to learn of the tornado that hit Lee County and the surrounding area yesterday. At least 23 people were killed in Lee County, including children, and some individuals remain unaccounted for at this time. We are reaching out to our students and those in our community who may have been impacted by the storms to offer them support.

The loss of life, as well as the damage to homes and businesses, has also affected our friends on the Auburn campus, with students and colleagues there experiencing inconceivable loss. We are deeply saddened for those impacted by this terrible tragedy.

Please continue to keep your fellow Alabamians in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with a disaster that we here in Tuscaloosa know all too well. The UA community is caring and compassionate, and we will extend our support during the recovery efforts and beyond.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Promoting and Maintaining a Safe, Respectful Campus

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Each semester I pledge to maintain The University of Alabama’s commitment to promoting and maintaining a safe, respectful campus environment. The well-being and security of every member of the UA community is a priority and, as part of that commitment, we will continue to work to eliminate gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct of any kind on our campus.

With the spring semester underway, I want to, again, share important information about the resources, reporting options and support available to those affected by gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct, including new resources such as the SAFE Center and the new Title IX Office location.

The Title IX Office has recently moved from its space in Burke West. The Title IX Office is now located at 2814 Capital Hall. Please see the Title IX website for detailed directions to the new Capital Hall office. The Title IX Office oversees the University’s efforts to foster a secure campus community free of discrimination based on gender. Reports of sexual misconduct or gender discrimination can be made to the Title IX Office by visiting the new location, emailing (titleix@ua.edu) or calling 205-348-5496. We also encourage reports of sexual misconduct to be made with The University of Alabama Police Department at 205-348-5454. Confidential reporting, counseling and advocacy are also available through the Women and Gender Resource Center(WGRC) and UA Counseling Center. A full list of reporting options is outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy and available by visiting UAct. For more information about resources available to those impacted by sexual misconduct, please see the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Services and Support website.

Last November, the Tuscaloosa community gained a vital new resource in the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center. The SAFE Center is centrally located at 1601 University Blvd. East, Suite 150 and can be reached by phone at 205-860-SAFE (7233). The SAFE Center is a 24-hour facility offering the latest advances in providing high-quality care and forensic examinations to those impacted by sexual assault.

In addition, the University provides resources for safety and support. Text “UASAFETY” to 444999 to receive a downloadable Contact Card that provides relevant contact numbers and information related to safety and support resources like UAPD, the Title IX Office and the WGRC. You can also download the UA Safety App, which, among other things, gives immediate access to information in case of an emergency and includes the ability to contact campus law enforcement agencies quickly. The Safety App also features a built-in GPS to provide walking directions to any building location on campus, including the locations of shelters and AED Defibrillators.

Please know that The University of Alabama takes the issue of sexual misconduct very seriously. We will regularly share information about the wide range of resources available to the campus community. I hope you will personally commit to partner with us in an ongoing effort to combat sexual misconduct.

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Start of Spring Semester

Dear Campus Community:

Welcome back! I always enjoy the beginning of a new year and a promising, new semester. Even though last night’s game did not end the way we had hoped, I know our fans, students, alumni, faculty and staff share my pride in our Crimson Tide football team. It was a tough matchup, but our players proved themselves to be some of the finest student-athletes in the league, and we played with dignity and integrity with the entire nation watching. The coaches and coaching staff led with dedication and a tireless devotion to helping our players reach their full potential. There is a reason we are consistently in the running to be the number one team. We had an impressive season and anticipate another exciting year of football in fall 2019.

As you know, December was busy with activities and holiday preparations, but for many students it was also a month that represented the achievement of their educational goals. We awarded some 2,233 degrees during fall commencement on Dec. 15. Some of those recent graduates have left campus for the beginning of a new career. For others, graduation marked the completion of one degree program with another challenging academic goal ahead. Regardless of the path, we are always very proud of all our alumni and eagerly anticipate the legendary influence they will have on their communities and the world.

Another very exciting announcement of UA’s new research ranking came during the holiday break. For the first time in University history, UA achieved Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity status as listed by the Carnegie Classification. This important classification is given exclusively to institutions that grant doctoral degrees and is determined by criteria such as research funding, research staff and the number of doctoral graduates. Not only is this status an impressive accomplishment for the Capstone, it also demonstrates our continued commitment to research and scholarship productivity and innovation.

And, as long as we’re celebrating important events, the recent hiring of Dr. Jamie R. Riley as UA’s assistant vice president and dean of students (effective Feb. 25) is also exciting news. Dr. Riley brings a wealth of student-focused experience and proven leadership ability with him to campus, and we look forward to him beginning his new role as an important student advocate.

Finally, with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday two weeks away, we are excited to share several events planned to encourage student, faculty and staff involvement in learning and service opportunities. Because the University is committed to the principles and legacy of Dr. King, we invite everyone to participate in the lectures, campus tours and conversations that will take place Jan. 14-30. Several very special scheduled events include the MLK Day of Service (“The Fierce Urgency of Now: A Day On—Not a Day Off!”) on Jan. 21 from 8 a.m. until noon and the annual Realizing the Dream legacy banquet (Jan. 18) and concert (Jan 20). We encourage your participation and recognition of Dr. King’s remarkable impact on our country.

As we begin the spring semester, I look ahead to what we can accomplish. I know our faculty, staff and students will continue to achieve great things; we ALL have legendary potential.  I challenge you to make this year your personal best. I hope you have a memorable spring term, and of course, ROLL TIDE!

Stuart R. Bell
President

End of Semester Message from President Bell

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As the fall semester nears its close and students gear up for exams and a well-deserved break, I want to tell you how proud I am of this University community. I appreciate your hard work, your dedication to education and the way you represent the Capstone. It is our people that make UA such a special place. With less than two weeks until commencement and the beginning of the holiday break, Susan and I wish you and your family a joyful and blessed holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Students, I know you are tirelessly preparing for semester exams. Be diligent, focused and confident in what you have learned this semester. You should be very proud of yourself and your educational accomplishments. You chose to attend a legendary University, and I know you are pursuing the goals you have set for your future. I wish you the best on your exams.

Tonight, Susan, Dr. Grady and I are hosting our traditional late night breakfast for all students at Lakeside Dining Hall. With the recent improvements at Lakeside, the facility is a wonderful gathering place for everyone, and we hope you will join us. The fun begins at 10 p.m., and you should come hungry. There will be plenty of food to enjoy, including chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and breakfast pizza. The best part is that all the food is free! There will also be a DJ to provide music while you relax and refuel.

And, to everyone in the UA family, I am especially proud of our campus community for helping us not only surpass our United Way campaign goal, but also for making this year’s contributions the largest giving total in UA campaign history. We reached a record-breaking goal of $469,483 for United Way of West Alabama. With approximately 90 cents of every dollar raised being directly distributed to agency and initiative programs, we can take pride in knowing we have invested in a worthy cause that benefits those in need in our community. Thank you for giving so generously.

Faculty and staff, what you do every day adds tremendous value to our University. We have a large campus and it takes us all being committed to a shared vision to achieve our mission. I know our employees care and are personally invested in our students. As a student-centered research university, and with our faculty working alongside our students, we are educating the future leaders of the world.

We are also making some remarkable advancements in the area of research which have far-reaching impact. I’m very proud of the external grants and contracts for research, instruction, fellowships and service that totaled almost $100 million, the highest in UA history. The total includes $62 million in research awards, and it is the highest in the University’s history. Research encourages professional excellence in both faculty and students, and we know UA students are the next generation of specialists and professionals. When our students are engaged in research that requires purposeful progress and critical thinking under the guidance of their professors, they are sharpened and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future. We will continue to focus on the power of creative thought through innovation and advanced research at The University of Alabama.

Finally, we are all celebrating the achievements of our highly acclaimed football team for winning the SEC championship against Georgia. The win in Atlanta continues Bama’s SEC Championship legacy, and was the Tide’s 27th SEC title. Enjoy the holidays and then put on your Alabama gear to cheer on the Crimson Tide on Dec. 29 for the Capital One Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. It’s going to be a great game.

Best wishes to you all as you close out the semester. I wish you a safe and happy holiday break.

Roll Tidings!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Fall Semester Update

Dear Campus Community,

The recent tragedies in Pittsburgh and Louisville were terrible and disheartening. As we grieve for the victims, their families and their friends, we stand strong in our promises of respect, inclusivity and service.

We are a community that cares for others. If you need assistance, we are here for you. Please visit https://counseling.sa.ua.edu/ for information on how to get help.

In times like these, I find solace and hope in the commitments we make as members of The University of Alabama community. Take time today to renew our unwavering oath and reconfirm our Capstone Creed:
“As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.”

The UA inclusiveness and heart are evident in our strong start to the semester, welcoming many new faculty and staff and enrolling students from every county in Alabama, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 78 countries. We continue to attract the best and brightest to our campus.

Our faculty remain focused on influencing the lives of our students and making substantial contributions in research, scholarship and creative activities. After reviewing this past year, we expect to report our faculty have set a new record for research awards on our campus, and we will be highlighting that exciting news in the coming days.

Following a national search, we were pleased to announce Dr. Russell J. Mumper as our vice president for research and economic development effective Jan. 1, 2019. As part of UA’s strategic plan, Dr. Mumper will continue advancing our research and economic development efforts. Dr. John Higginbotham has been serving as UA’s interim vice president for research and economic development, and we are fortunate to have had his leadership.

Our students continue to impress. Recently, UA’s dance marathon was honored by Children’s of Alabama for raising and donating more than $1 million to the hospital over a seven-year period. What began as the vision of a small group of impassioned students has turned into a transformational service opportunity that is changing lives. In fact, our student body has completed over one million hours of volunteer service in the past year. I’m very proud of how our students demonstrate they are socially conscious through their efforts to make our world a better place.

Over the past year, we have celebrated 125 Years of Women at UA and honored women on campus through awareness, education and service. I encourage everyone to give back to their respective communities through service for 125 minutes on Wednesday, Nov. 28. You can use social media to share your kindness with #ServingFor125.

One of our alumni, Jody Singer, recently made national news as a female pioneer. She was appointed as director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and is now managing one of NASA’s largest field installations. She is the first woman appointed to the position, and we are proud of her achievements.

Truly, our alumni and donors continue to amaze us with their philanthropy. The University benefits from the donations and support of our friends and graduates. We had a record year in fundraising through the generosity of 62,300 donors, raising more than $224.3 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Our alumni remain steadfast in investing in the future of our University.

One such backing came from a $26.5 million donation from Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. and his wife, Eliza, in September. The Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law will be even better positioned to continue to prepare students for meaningful contributions throughout their legal careers. UA students and alumni are also benefiting from the generosity of Marillyn and James Hewson, two UA graduates who embody the Capstone’s core values. Marillyn has an impressive career as chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, was recently named CEO of the Year, and is No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of Most Powerful Women for 2018. The Hewsons’ gift will include support for the construction of Hewson Hall and will provide more space for UA’s 9,000 future business leaders while broadening the impact of the Culverhouse College of Business.

I am proud to serve as your president. Thank you for your impact. Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President