Category: Messages from the President

A Message from the President – December 4, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

The University of Alabama annually reaffirms its full commitment to equal opportunity, nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including the policies and procedures that prohibit discrimination and unlawful harassment throughout our campus community. This commitment is supported by our strategic plan, which includes our goal to “enrich our learning and work environment by providing an accepting, inclusive community that attracts and supports a diverse faculty, staff and student body.” A central objective of the goal is to enhance the recruitment, hiring and retention of diverse faculty, staff and administrators.

I pledge my personal commitment to uphold the values expressed in this declaration, as well as to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in all employment-related decisions. I trust all of you will join me in this pledge.

Please review the Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy Statement and contact the appropriate office or individual if you have any questions. This policy, as well as other policies and information related to equal opportunity and unlawful discrimination in employment and education, is available on the Equal Opportunity Programs website and the Human Resources website.

Stuart R. Bell

A Message from the President – November 18, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents,

With a few days of in-person instruction remaining in this semester, I want to thank all of you for your hard work, perseverance and trust.

The eyes of the world were on our university and the University of Alabama System when we announced our goal of opening safely in August, guided by a comprehensive Health and Safety Plan.  Many institutions around the country followed our model, and once again our people led by example.  Special appreciation goes to Chancellor Finis St. John, the Board of Trustees, Governor Kay Ivey, the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Return to Full Operations, the UA Situational Response Team and all who provided the necessary resources to help us achieve our ambitious goal.

A robust testing program has served as a critical component to our success this semester. We are grateful to Dean Ricky Friend, Dr. John Higginbotham and the many faculty and staff at University Medical Center, the Student Health Center and our campus partners who have administered more than 80,000 tests over the past four months.

Students, as you leave for Thanksgiving and winter break, please remember: free exit testing is available to you at Coleman Coliseum. Scheduling an exit test is a smart, practical way to protect you, your family and your hometown community. Appointments will fill quickly, so please schedule your free test as soon as possible.

The work of the Presidential Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, led by Dr. Christine Taylor and her team, has been another signal achievement of 2020. Charged with developing plans to build on our strategic goal to attract and support a diverse community, the committee of faculty, staff and students has produced a comprehensive report, featuring strategies derived from institutional data, best practices and research. This report and its recommendations will be an essential guide star for our continued progress.

At a time when public health dominates the global spotlight, we are pleased to share the news that Dr. Heather Carter-Templeton, a professor in the Capstone College of Nursing, has been inducted into the American Academy of Nursing 2020 Class of Fellows. After a rigorous national selection process, Dr. Carter-Templeton was chosen for her extraordinary commitment and contributions to her field.

My family and I are deeply thankful for the faculty, staff and students here at the Capstone. Our faculty have risen to the occasion and developed innovative instruction methods to connect with students. The transformational educational opportunities for which we are known are changing lives, and our stature as a leader among research universities continues to soar.

Best wishes for safe travels and good health during the holiday season.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

A Message from the President – October 22, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Parents,

Teaching, research and service are thriving at The University of Alabama. It was announced this week that we have experienced record-breaking external funding for research and other sponsored activities, the seventh consecutive year we have achieved an increase in sponsored awards for our research enterprise. For the third consecutive year, external grants and contracts also reached record levels. It is remarkable and unprecedented growth as we continue our ascent as a Very High Research Doctoral University.

Our dedicated faculty are earning national awards and recognition for their remarkable contributions. Congratulations to criminology and criminal justice instructor Douglas Klutz for being named the No. 1 college professor in the United States by Forbes for the second time in his career. Special recognition is also fitting for the four UA professors who have received national recognition early in their careers. The National Science Foundation selected Dr. Janna Fierst, Dr. Qiang Huang and Dr. Evan Wujcik for a CAREER Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious recognitions of top-performing young educators, scientists and academic role models. Dr. Alain Plattner was also awarded the Planetary Science Early Career Award from NASA, which supports outstanding early-career planetary scientists.

We are pleased to announce fall commencement details, including the ceremony times for the four exercises scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12, in Coleman Coliseum. Our December ceremonies will follow the same model that worked well for our nine safe and successful commencement exercises in July/August.

As we reach the third full week of October, I am happy to report many of our fall traditions are alive and well. Like you, I always look forward to our annual gridiron match-up with Tennessee. Last weekend’s thrilling victory over Georgia beamed another bright light on our University and I was proud of the way our student-athletes competed and our students and fans conducted themselves.

Please continue to do your part to protect our campus community. Our united efforts are working and we must remain vigilant to finish the semester strong and Tide Together.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

A Message from the President – October 12, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Parents,

I am very encouraged by the trends regarding COVID-19 cases on our campus and I am optimistic about finishing the fall semester together and returning for the spring semester with increased in-person learning and community opportunities. I am extremely grateful for the enduring commitment demonstrated by our faculty, staff, students and their families during these challenging times. That commitment and resilience have allowed us to continue to be on our campus and now to look forward to an engaging spring semester.

Tomorrow we will deliver important campus updates via our virtual Fall Campus Assembly for faculty and staff. I look forward to sharing good news concerning our progress as a University while also highlighting the recent achievements and remarkable contributions of our campus community. We will recognize our outstanding faculty and staff, including naming recipients of some of our most prestigious awards.

Speaking of awards, the University Awards Committee is currently accepting applications for UA’s six Premier Awards, the highest honors given here at the Capstone. The awards are presented to remarkable students, faculty and staff who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character. The application/nomination deadline is Nov. 15, and recipients will be celebrated during the spring semester.

The 2020 Beat Auburn Beat Hunger Food Drive kicked off Oct. 1 and will run through Nov. 19. All food and monetary donations benefit the West Alabama Food Bank, which serves nine counties. Now more than ever, families need our support to provide nourishment for their loved ones. I encourage you to help us beat Auburn again this year in this friendly, worthwhile competition.

We will welcome the Georgia Bulldogs and College GameDay this weekend for a Top 5 gridiron showdown. The eyes of the nation will be on us once again as Coach Saban and our student-athletes represent the University with class and pride. I am very proud of how our students and fans have responded to the stadium guidelines established to ensure a safe game day experience.

In closing, with only 60 days until fall commencement, each of us has so much for which to be thankful. I appreciate your ongoing dedication and support as we finish the semester strong andTide Together.

Stuart R. Bell

October 1 Update

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents,

I am greatly encouraged by the continued efforts and excellent progress of our campus community in staying safe and healthy. For the third successive week, positive COVID cases at the University have dropped dramatically. Last week we saw a 60 percent decrease in student positives and record lows in occupancy of our isolation/quarantine space. I encourage everyone to stay the course and remain vigilant by sharing health information through UA Healthcheck, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

Earlier this week, Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope shared positive news about new guidelines allowing additional student activities. Effective today, and with safety measures in place, UA student organizations can begin hosting non-social engagement events that support their mission. Our more than 600 student organizations offer opportunities for growth, connection and leadership development that are an integral part of the Alabama experience. These new guidelines will allow these organizations to engage our students as they have in past semesters.

Class schedules for spring will be published next week and we have recently announced a modified 2021 Spring Semester calendar. First and foremost, we will see greater in-class learning opportunities for students across the board and on-campus residence will continue as normal in the spring. Please note these calendar modifications:

  • Our student Winter break is extended by one week with classes beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13.
  • With travel concerns and the lengthened Winter break, we will not include a Spring break week.
  • The last day for students to add/drop classes without a “W” is Wednesday, Jan. 20.
  • Classes will not meet on Monday, March 15, but University offices will remain open.

This weekend our 2020 game day protocols will enable us to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all fans visiting Bryant-Denny Stadium. Whether enjoying a watch party from home or cheering from the stands, it will be an exciting afternoon of SEC football.

I am proud of your continued commitment to our mission and remain grateful for your support. Tide Together, we will persist and prevail.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

A Message from the President

To students, faculty and staff:

This past week’s increase in COVID-positive cases among our students is of grave concern to me and to everyone who loves and cares for The University of Alabama.

Our Health and Safety Plan is guiding our operations aimed at reversing this trend through educating, testing, reporting, specialized care for at-risk students and disciplinary actions when required. As we accelerate education and enforcement efforts on and off campus, we look to each of you to do your part.

Those who fail to abide by the Health and Safety protocols face serious consequences. To date, we have issued more than 400 conduct referrals for COVID-related violations. Interim measures removing individuals from campus have been imposed in several of these cases. Those who blatantly disregard the rules will not be given the option of jeopardizing the semester for everyone else.

In addition to wearing your mask and practicing social distancing, it is imperative that you comply with all aspects of our testing and isolation or quarantine protocols. Students with COVID symptoms should seek testing through the Student Health Center or the University Medical Center testing site at Coleman Coliseum.

If you choose to test off campus, you are required to share positive results with the CV19 Support Program immediately by calling 205-348-CV19. Anyone who fails to disclose a positive test or violates the University’s isolation or quarantine protocols is subject to severe disciplinary action.

Sentinel testing will begin soon. The updated UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Planoutlines mandatory participation for cause and cluster testing. Please read these updates carefully and contact the UA COVID-19 Support Program if you have questions.

Everyone who truly values the Alabama experience will continue to follow our Health and Safety protocols, which provide a path to complete the semester together on campus. I want to thank all of you – the vast majority of our campus community – for your sacrifice and commitment in support of our shared goals.

Tide Together,

Stuart R. Bell


Dear students, faculty and staff,

This is a critical moment for The University of Alabama.

Despite the robust testing, training, health and safety measures we carefully and clearly implemented, there is an unacceptable rise in positive COVID cases on our campus.

Make no mistake, this trend is a real threat to our ability to complete the semester on campus. The solution is proven: testing, mask wearing, social distancing, personal hygiene and compliance with crowd size limits are all that are asked as we work together to complete the semester together.

Violations to our health and safety protocols, both on and off campus, are subject to harsh disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from UA.

UAPD and the Tuscaloosa Police Department are partnering to monitor bars, restaurants and off-campus residences where the city’s COVID-19 ordinances and UA guidelines are not being followed. Joint task force officers are risking their personal health and safety to protect yours. UAPD officers are also focusing efforts on our residence halls and Greek housing to ensure safety and compliance.

Completing the fall semester together is our goal. The margin for error is shrinking.

Now is the time to take action, commit to protect each other, and hold each other accountable. Thank you for taking your responsibilities seriously. Together, through shared sacrifice and commitment, we will achieve our goal.

Tide Together,

Stuart R. Bell

Student Behavior Expectations for Fall 2020

Dear students, faculty and staff,

The University recently shared with all of you the policies and directives that underpin our plan to return to operations this semester.

The expected rules and behaviors of all students and student organizations have been clearly defined. While we are appreciative to those who have taken these expectations seriously, I am deeply disappointed that those guidelines are not being followed by each and every member of our student body.

This afternoon the Division of Student Life will announce additional directives that are focused solely on the safety and well-being of our campus community. That information also will be shared with the parents and families of our students.

Tide Together now more than ever, we are seeing the harsh consequences at other universities which have been forced to close abruptly because safety protocols were not followed.  The eyes of the nation are following us closely and I am confident we will meet and exceed our status as frontrunners.

Despite the challenges, we can measure success by many benchmarks.

  • Our student re-entry testing is nearly complete and the positive rate is around 1%, far below national averages. Results will be posted at beginning Monday afternoon on the new System-wide data dashboard and will be updated as we move into sentinel testing.
  • More than 20 employees have been assigned to focus solely on exposure notifications, isolation, quarantining and sanitization protocols. More than 450 beds have been dedicated for isolation purposes. Although more than 90% of those beds are vacant, we will expand those resources as needed.
  • Hundreds of hours have been invested by our Situational Response Team and the President’s Advisory Committee to develop and implement guidelines that are consistent with the UA System Task Force Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan. Their work continues 24/7.
  • As an institution, we are 45,000 strong, representing every county in Alabama, every state in the nation, and most countries around the world. It is a privilege to lead you.
  • Please know that I am counting on each of you not only to do your part to keep our campus safe, but to report any activities that you believe might compromise the overall health and safety of our University community. Reports can be made online or by calling 1-866-362-9476.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions, which we urge you to share at

Thank you,

Stuart R. Bell

Fall Semester 2020 Preparation

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Classes begin on Wednesday, and it is great to have everyone back!

We have been proactively preparing for your return to campus. I hope you have stayed informed through our weekly Inside UA updates, our comprehensive website and our recent COVID educational videos produced by SGA and Strategic Communications. It is critical that each of us takes personal responsibility to wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid large social gatherings and participate in the UA Healthcheck. With your help, the guidelines we have established will keep our community as healthy and safe as possible. We anticipate a successful fall semester at the Capstone, and I am glad you are here.

Recently, and in preparation for the fall semester, the University of Alabama System updated its Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan. Updates to the UA Return to Full Operations Plan have been made, as well, to include new protocols and recommendations from health experts. Please review both plans carefully to ensure your understanding and compliance with all necessary safety procedures.

I do want to take this opportunity at the beginning of a new semester to reaffirm and reinforce the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I appointed a committee last fall aimed at enhancing the UA experience for all students, faculty and staff under the leadership of the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Christine Taylor. As outlined in my message last week, careful planning has continued over the spring and summer for the continuation and implementation of many important diversity initiatives that will be presented by a variety of offices, departments and organizations on campus.

In addition, earlier this month the UA Board of Trustees made the unanimous decision to amend the name of Nott Hall, which is now called Honors Hall, to demonstrate and honor our values. UA will continue to be a welcoming and inclusive home for all people.

As we begin the fall semester with eager anticipation, please know I am honored you chose The University of Alabama to pursue your educational goals or as the place to share your expertise with our future legends. Across campus, our people will continue to make a positive difference and to help others, even in an ever-changing world. Please take a minute to watch this special videocreated for you as we begin the new semester as a unified campus community.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

Update on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome back! As we begin the Fall 2020 Semester, I would like to take the opportunity to update you on a matter that is very important to me. In October 2019, I appointed a Presidential Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The committee, led by Dr. Christine Taylor, vice president and associate vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion, is actively identifying practices that are aimed at enhancing the UA experience for all students, faculty and staff.

Even during COVID-19 restrictions, the committee continued its progress. I personally appreciate the time and energy invested by each of them — students, faculty and staff. Fostering a culture of inclusivity is one of the four primary goals of my Strategic Plan for the University. This is personal and critical for me.  As I have stated previously — bias, violence and acts of hate contradict the values of our beloved institution.

Over the summer, the timeliness and importance of the committee’s tasks have been underscored by recent events both on and off campus. Our Board of Trustees, the chancellor and I took action to remove plaques from the Quad. The Board has appointed a working group to thoughtfully review building names across the System, and Nott Hall was recently renamed as Honors Hall. Those discussions and the work of the Board continue.

While the final report of the Presidential Advisory Committee is concluding, we will undertake a number of efforts immediately. These initial actions are intended to, and will, maintain our momentum, and the momentum of the important work being undertaken by Dr. Taylor and the committee.

Recruiting, Retaining and Graduating More Diverse Students

  • Enrollment Management, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and the Division of Community Affairs will continue to expand the University’s efforts to recruit diverse students through programs such as Our Bama and Vision Days.
  • DEI will work collaboratively with Alumni Affairs to expand programming.
  • The Graduate School will strengthen our pipelines with Historically Black Colleges or Universities.
  • Future Bama Bound sessions will include further information about DEI resources for students.
  • We will assist SGA to institutionalize its DEI Certificate Program.
  • University administration will continue to hold diversity student leader meetings each semester as we did during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Faculty

  • UA will develop and implement campuswide inclusive hiring practice workshops.
  • We will explore proposals to establish student, faculty and staff awards related to DEI.

Creating a More Welcoming Campus Community

  • Campus tours will highlight UA’s resources to support DEI initiatives.
  • We will continue to support efforts to complete the process of joining Universities Studying Slavery, a consortium of universities across the nation and world that share resources as they confront the role of slavery and racism in their histories and its impact today.
  • UA will institutionalize the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Campus Commemorative Committee.
  • UA will continue to affirm its dedication to academic freedom and free speech on campus. In June, the UA Board of Trustees passed a resolution underscoring the importance of its commitment to these principles.
  • The Intercultural Diversity Center has been expanded and relocated to the Ferguson Student Center. Larger plans are being discussed for the future.

Developing Cultural Competence for Faculty, Staff and Students

  • HR will add information on DEI resources and support to orientation presentations.
  • The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will continue to expand its support and capabilities.

As stated, these are just the beginning. As the Advisory Committee wraps up its work, expect more announcements and initiatives. I am ready to move forward and continue to strengthen our work related to diversity, equity and inclusion.  Our University takes pride in preparing some of the country’s best and brightest minds for leadership in an increasingly diverse and global society. The efforts we make today will undoubtedly have a positive impact on UA’s future and the future of our students.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell