Category: Messages from the President

Start of Spring Semester

Dear Campus Community:

Good morning! I hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday break. It is always exciting to start the semester with a national championship, and I know I speak for the entire University community when I say we are incredibly proud of our student-athletes and coaches for their success. I would also like to congratulate the 25 of those student-athletes who were able to wear SEC Graduate patches in the playoffs (this is the highest number of any SEC team, by the way). What a tremendous accomplishment to complete your degree and be a member of a championship-winning football team!

Speaking of graduates, in December we awarded just over 2,200 degrees. Commencement is a special time for our faculty, students and their families as they recognize the culmination of years of hard work. We’re proud of all of our alumni and look forward to hearing of their continued success as they depart our campus.

So many of our students are attracting national recognition for their work. The staff of the Crimson White recently received first-place honors as the Four-Year Weekly Newspaper of the Year. We also celebrate with our students of Project Health, who were named a NASPA Outstanding Peer Education Group at the end of 2017. I know we have many more achievements in store for the UA family in 2018.

Later this afternoon, I’ll be cutting the ribbon on our Stran-Hardin Arena, a state-of-the-art adapted athletics facility. This initiative is a result of remarkable leadership from Drs. Margaret Stran and Brent Hardin as well as significant generosity from donors Kathy and Mike Mouron and many others. I look forward to seeing students in our championship-winning Adapted Athletics program have a space designed specifically to accommodate their sports programs.

With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on the horizon, there are a couple of functions about which we are particularly excited. Realizing the Dream always packs the weekend with great events, and this year will be no exception. Also, for students interested in giving back to the West Alabama community, there is a service day on Monday, January 15. We encourage your participation.

Finally, as we look forward to welcoming our new vice president for financial affairs, we are filled with gratitude as we consider the leadership current Vice President Lynda Gilbert has offered to the University for more than a decade. She has faithfully served the Capstone during a time of unprecedented growth and success, and we thank her for the legacy she leaves with us.

As we kick off this new year, I know it will be another academic semester filled with achievements and accolades for our faculty, staff and students. Best wishes to each one of you for a wonderful spring term, and Roll Tide!

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Busy Semester

Good morning!

What a busy semester it has been, and I want to thank you for all you do to make this University the very special place that it is. As we get ready for finals week, Susan and I will be hosting our traditional Midnight Breakfast for all students beginning at 10 p.m. tomorrow at Lakeside Dining. We hope you’ll come by and see us.

As we look back on this semester, we were thrilled to see students from our College of Communication and Information Sciences bring home high honors from the annual Public Relations Student Society of America Conference. UA’s Capstone Agency won Best Campaign and Best Tactic in the Student-Run Firm Awards, and UA’s PRSSA chapter won a national award for university service due in part to its impressive work on the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger campaign. During this year’s food drive, our students collected over 260,000 pounds of food, beating Auburn’s collection by over 27,000 pounds. This friendly competition continues our campus tradition of caring for those in the community around us.

team of students and faculty from our College of Engineering is having an impact beyond our borders. They recently collaborated with the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research to assess damage where Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida. Data they collected should lead to better construction so homes can withstand damage from future storms.

Our research efforts are gaining national attention. The University was recently accepted into the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which focuses on research and training in atmospheric system sciences. This membership will expand our opportunities to be part of groundbreaking discovery to improve our understanding of the Earth. Another recognition we celebrate is that of Dr. Jared Allred, assistant professor of chemistry, who recently received an Early Career Research Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. This award will fund student-involved research to understand new materials.

And, to all of you, I am incredibly proud of our campus community for exceeding our goal in this year’s United Way campaign as we raised a record-breaking $454,929 for United Way of West Alabama. Thanks to all of you who donated for continuing to embody the Capstone’s giving spirit.

Finally, we celebrate the achievements of our football team in making it to the College Football Playoff for the fourth year in a row. We will ring in the New Year by cheering on the Crimson Tide in this year’s Sugar Bowl.

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

Roll Tidings,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Semester Achievements

Dear Campus Community:

Good afternoon! I hope you enjoyed a restful and safe fall break over the weekend. We are happy to have everyone back on campus today as we begin another week at the Capstone. It’s been a great semester so far, and I wanted to share a few of the high points with you, just in case you missed them.

Our students continue to raise the bar of achievement. Joshua Williams, Tuscaloosa native and doctoral student in the School of Music, won first place in the professional division of the International Horn Competition of America. This is one of the greatest feats in the world for horn players, and we’re incredibly proud of his talent. Also bringing home championship-level success, a group of our MBA students won the grand prize at their recent case competition. Liz Alley, Jessika Banks, Bryonna Rivera Burrows, and Myles Ward competed and beat 41 other teams from across the country, winning $25,000 in scholarships. We can all share pride in their teamwork and commitment to excellence.

Our students and faculty compete and win, and so many of you are performing research that will change lives. Several of you have put your minds together to design a prosthetic hand device for children who need them. This innovation stands to have a lasting effect on many in our state and nation for years to come. And earlier this month, the School of Social Work was awarded a $1.35 million grant from the Department of Justice to ensure a more positive outcome for victims of human trafficking in Alabama. I’m proud of the work our researchers are doing to tackle real-world issues for Alabama and the rest of the world.

Helping us reach all of these accomplishments and dream even higher are our faithful alumni and friends. Last week we announced that 2017 has been a record-breaking year in terms of giving at the University. Our Capstone family boldly surpassed the previous record year (2012) with generous contributions from many. We are grateful for their tremendous support and look forward to seeing its impact for generations to come.

We’ve not yet reached the halfway point for the academic year, and already we have so much to celebrate. I’m sure our list of achievements will continue to grow, and I’m proud to come to work each day on a campus filled with so many exceptional individuals. By the way, if you’d like to apply for or nominate a student, faculty or staff member for one of our Premier Awards—the highest honor we bestow at the Capstone—please do so by November 13.

Thanks for all the great work you’re doing, and Roll Tide.

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Campus Assembly

It was great to see so many of you at yesterday’s Campus Assembly. I understand we had a record crowd, and this speaks to the level of interest, engagement and personal commitment that each of you share as we work together to advance The University of Alabama to the next level.

While each of you has an important role in our success, we were pleased to highlight a few who made extraordinary contributions this year. Those honored yesterday included Dr. Daniel G. Bachrach, Dr. James Paul Hubner, Dr. Kenneth G. Ricks, Dr. Heather M. Taylor, Dr. Jim Gleason and Ashley Newsome. Groups recognized were the Educational Technology Web and Editorial Team in the College of Arts and Sciences, Crossroads Community Engagement Center, UAPD Community Oriented Police Division, Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs (AIME) and the Online Wellness Portal Team.

I am proud to work alongside each of you every day. Thank you for all you do!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Important Message about Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Resources

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Student well-being, safety and security are, and will remain, an absolute priority on our campus. To that end, each semester I share information about resources, reporting options and support available to those affected by sexual misconduct. In this instance, I would also like to affirm that The University of Alabama is keenly attuned to the national discussions surrounding Title IX, and continues to study the recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.

The University’s current Sexual Misconduct Policy (https://titleix.ua.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct-policy-2/) complies with the law and will be updated, if necessary, to comply with any future changes. Our processes and the employees who work on these issues are dedicated to the core principles of non-discrimination, supporting involved parties, fundamental fairness, and due process.

We always encourage the reporting of any type of sexual misconduct. A list of reporting options, including confidential options, is included on the UAct website (https://www.ua.edu/campuslife/uact/). Additionally, the University offers an array of services and other resources to any member of our campus community who is affected. Below is a brief list of some of the campus offices available to assist with issues associated with sexual misconduct. Detailed information about these and other entities and services is available on the University’s website (https://www.ua.edu/sams). Please review and understand these important resources and services.

Finally, I would also encourage the campus community to engage in ongoing efforts to combat sexual misconduct. One such effort is the SGA’s upcoming “It’s On Us” campaign, which is scheduled for next week. I hope you will find a way to participate.

Sincerely,
Stuart R. Bell

Welcome to the Capstone

Dear Campus Community:

To our new students, faculty and staff, welcome to the Capstone! And to those of you returning, we are glad to have you back on campus. As we celebrate this Week of Welcome, I know you join me in welcoming over 10,000 incoming freshman, graduate and transfer students who are now part of our University family.

I want to share with you a few things that happened while many of you were away this summer.

Our Astrobotics team won the national championship for the third year in a row, competing against 45 other university teams at the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. These young men and women kept their focus on a common goal and pursued champion-level success while also meeting the demands of their rigorous academic schedules. We congratulate them for this great achievement.

Two of our esteemed alumni, Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough and Mrs. Susan N. McCollough, recently made the largest endowed gift to the College of Arts and Sciences in over twenty years. In June, our board of trustees approved the establishment of both the Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough Institute for Pre-Medical Scholars and the Susan N. McCollough Art Biennale, which will advance the academic preparation and success of those studying medicine and art at the University for many years to come.

Just last month, our Capstone College of Nursing received a $1.7 million grant to fund the Bama-Latino Project, which allows us to transform the nursing workforce in Alabama and across the nation so it is more representative of patient populations. As our state’s flagship university, we are grateful for the opportunity to create a lasting impact on our state and our nation through this important funding.

Earlier this month, we welcomed Dr. G. Christine Taylor, our new vice president and associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Taylor’s background and experience will be an asset to our leadership team, enhancing our ability to deliver a premier higher education experience to all of our students.

Again, I’m glad all of you are back on campus. I know that like last year, we have many tremendous accomplishments ahead of us, and I look forward to celebrating them with you. As you prepare to start the semester, I hope each of you will refresh your understanding of our values, expressed in the Capstone Creed. We share a commitment to inclusion and respect for all, as I mentioned last week.

Best wishes to all of you for a great semester, and Roll Tide.

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Resources to assist those affected by sexual misconduct

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

With the start of a new academic year, I would like to remind everyone of the numerous resources the University has in place to assist those affected by sexual misconduct.

As you know, the University’s Title IX Office oversees our efforts to foster a campus community free of gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. The Title IX Office can be contacted by calling (205) 348-5496 or by visiting their office at 107 Burke Hall West. Additionally, we have recently updated our Title IX and UAct websites. These can be found at http://titleix.ua.edu and https://www.ua.edu/campuslife/uact/. To supplement these websites, we created a web page (www.ua.edu/sams) that compiles the primary resources and support services our campus offers related to sexual assault and misconduct. These resources and services are available to any member of our campus community.

In our ongoing effort to assess and enhance the resources available to support those within our campus community who may be impacted by sexual assault and misconduct, we continue to move forward on a number of fronts. For instance, the University has been working with our community partners to develop a community-based program to respond to the acute emotional, medical and forensic needs of sexual assault victims. These efforts, which began last fall, are showing progress. We will continue working steadfastly toward this goal and expect to make an announcement soon. As previously shared, DCH is providing Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training to many nurses who will provide this important care to our community.

Recently, I asked our UA School of Law to work with the Alabama Law Institute to draft legislation modifying Alabama’s sexual assault statute. We plan to introduce this proposed legislation in the 2018 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. This issue is of highest importance, and we have a unique opportunity to lead the state of Alabama forward in making this important change.

We will again be providing training opportunities throughout the academic year to the campus community to assist individuals with preventing and addressing sexual misconduct. In addition, we plan to supplement the training UA professionals and UAPD officers handling sexual misconduct issues already receive with sessions facilitated by Margolis Healy & Associates, a nationally recognized safety and security consulting firm. This training, which will focus on ways to effectively conduct trauma-informed Title IX and sexual assault investigations, is part of our continuing efforts to train and equip our law enforcement and University personnel with the latest information.

The University encourages individuals to report any type of sexual misconduct. You may do so by contacting UAPD at (205) 348-5454 or by visiting the department at 1110 Jackson Avenue. Other reporting options and contact information are available on the UAct website at www.ua.edu/uact.

Please know the University takes the issue of sexual assault and misconduct very seriously. As we begin a new year, I hope you will take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these important resources and services.

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message about Charlottesville

I was deeply saddened by the violence that unfolded over the weekend in Charlottesville. The images were shocking. Our hearts are with those impacted by this terrible tragedy.

As we prepare for a new academic year, it’s important for you, as a valued member of our campus community, to know that The University of Alabama does not condone the use of hostile or racist language, or any threats of violence. We have and will continue to condemn all statements grounded in bigotry and hate. We strive to have an inclusive learning, living and working environment that encourages open and respectful dialogue, and we value each and every member of our University community.

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Year in Review

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The University of Alabama has finished another successful academic year. It began with record-breaking enrollment of 37,665 students, and ended with the presentation of more than 5,000 degrees last month.

Students, faculty and staff have once again distinguished themselves academically and professionally, and our sports teams are excelling at the national level. UA has continued to grow in overall quality and reputation, and we have much to look forward to as we head into the fall semester.

I’m pleased to share with you this video, highlighting some of our successes this past year, successes the entire UA community made possible.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Campus Achievements and Updates

Dear Faculty and Staff:

With the end of the semester upon us, I trust all of you have had a productive spring term. I hope you will join us at Commencement as we celebrate with 5,327 graduates and their families in four ceremonies on Friday and Saturday. These will top off a truly wonderful semester.

Just a few weeks ago, we learned all four of our nominees to the highly competitive Goldwater Foundation were selected as Goldwater Scholars. This is the third time in seven years we have had the honor of seeing all of our nominees selected, and this year only three other universities across the country can say the same—Stanford, Princeton and Iowa State. We remain number one in the nation for total Goldwater Scholars with Harvard at number two.

Additionally, 14 of our graduates are Fulbright Award winners. These students will spend the next year teaching, researching and studying in eleven countries around the globe. As we celebrate these accomplishments, I must thank all of you for your committed service to our students, which leads them to reach and exceed their aspirations.

As we head into the summer and fall, we expect to have some new leaders in place. We are currently in the final stages of our search process for the vice president and associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. We expect to have someone on board by fall.

We are also searching for a new vice president for financial affairs. Dr. Lynda Gilbert has led the division for more than a decade and has helped this University grow and thrive. We thank Dr. Gilbert for her dedicated service, and we appreciate her commitment to remain involved during the search and transition process.

I want to thank each of you for your continued service to our students and University. Every day, you are engaging our students and doing your part to make the Capstone the special place that it is.

I look forward to welcoming all our Bama Bound students in the weeks ahead, and I know you are equally excited about all that awaits us this fall. Best wishes to all of you for a great summer, and Roll Tide!

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President