Category: Messages from the President

Great Accomplishments from this Semester

Good morning!

With the semester almost half over and spring break just around the corner, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the great accomplishments from this semester.

Our students will be electing their representatives to the Student Government Association today. I hope our students will take time to vote and let their voices be heard. SGA plays such an important role in the lives of our students and on our campus.

I’m pleased to tell you The University of Alabama is once again a top producer for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards, and we are the leader in the SEC. Fifteen of our 47 applicants received the award, one of the highest percentages in the nation. This is the second time in the past three years UA has been recognized as a top Fulbright producer. Ten of our graduates won awards as teaching assistants, and five received Fulbright awards for research and study overseas.

I’m also happy to report that senior Luke Kaliszak, a member of the UA men’s swimming and diving team, was honored last month as the SEC Male Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Luke is an NCAA champion and a 10-time All-American who carries a 3.9 GPA as a pre-med major. This is the third year in a row that an Alabama swimmer has earned this honor. Also, at its meeting last month, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved a $21 million renewal and renovation of the Alabama Aquatic Center, home to the Crimson Tide men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the University of Alabama Dance Marathon announced it raised $341,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at Children’s of Alabama. Thanks to everyone who participated in this great fundraiser for such a worthy cause.

When we return to campus after the break, all faculty and staff will be invited to complete a work experience survey. This email will come from ModernThink, an off-campus vendor. The University is committed to providing a work environment that encourages our employees to thrive in all areas of life, and I encourage each of you to complete the survey.

The next few weeks will be busy ones, but I hope you will mark your calendar to attend the Spring Campus Assembly at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, in the Ferguson Theatre. We will present annual awards, hear from faculty, staff and student leaders, and I will provide a University update. Light refreshments will be served. I hope you will join us.

Best wishes for a happy and safe break next week, and Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Chime In – Workplace Experience Survey

Dear Faculty and Staff:

As part of our strategic plan, Advancing the Flagship, the University is committed to providing opportunities and resources that promote work-life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff. In order to support this effort, we will be introducing a workplace experience survey in the coming weeks, and we invite you to participate.

The University has always been committed to providing a work environment that encourages our employees to thrive in all areas of life. As we continue to grow and move forward, we want to ensure we are making progress in this area. As an employee, your opinion matters to us. We invite you to CHIME IN and add your voice to this project. Your responses will help guide our leadership team as we work to support work-life balance. Your feedback will allow us to see where we are now and how we might improve.

The survey will be coordinated by a third-party, off-campus vendor, ModernThink, and your responses will be kept confidential. After the survey period is over and ModernThink has compiled the results, we plan to share them with the campus community. For more information about the project or the process itself, please visit http://oira.ua.edu/chime-in/.

In addition to aiding our work-life balance efforts, survey responses may also support our accreditation efforts through SACSCOC. Your input is important, and I hope you will take this opportunity to CHIME IN.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Resources to assist those affected by sexual misconduct

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

The conversations around sexual assault and misconduct happening across the national and social media landscape are a timely reminder for everyone to learn about the resources, reporting options and support available to members of the UA campus community.

The University offers a wealth of services, staff and other resources to any member of our campus community, outlined at https://www.ua.edu/sams, which includes how to report any type of sexual misconduct. The UA Sexual Misconduct Policy addresses how the University will respond and provide assistance to affected individuals. The University is also committed to providing employees with training for issues related to sexual misconduct.

Reports may be filed directly with UAPD or other University offices as outlined at www.ua.edu/uact. Confidential reporting is also available through the Women and Gender Resource Center at https://wgrc.sa.ua.edu/ and Counseling Center at https://counseling.sa.ua.edu/. A list of all confidential reporting options is available.

The University’s Title IX Office, located at 107 Burke Hall West, is instrumental to the University’s efforts to foster a campus community free of gender discrimination and sexual violence.

The Title IX Office also protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. A list of frequently asked questions addresses resources and support for pregnant and parenting students and is available on the Title IX Office website at https://titleix.ua.edu/.

Sincerely,
Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President

In light of the racist and disturbing videos posted by one of our students on social media, I want to express my personal disgust and disappointment.

Like many of you, I find the videos highly offensive and deeply hurtful, not only to our students and our entire University community, but to everyone who viewed them. The actions of this student do not represent the larger student body or the values of our University, and she is no longer enrolled here.

We hold our students to much higher standards, and we apologize to everyone who has seen the videos and been hurt by this hateful, ignorant and offensive behavior. This is not who we are; it is unacceptable and unwelcome here at UA. These types of incidents affect community members differently. If you have been impacted and would like additional support, please access resourceshere that are available to you on our campus.

Over the last year, I have had conversations with many of you who shared your UA experiences with me. You have voiced your pride in the progress we have made, but we still have much work to do. I want to thank all of the students, faculty and staff who met today to have conversations about this event and the steps we can take, individually and collectively, to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus. You have my commitment and the commitment of our leadership team to sustain progress and address directly any issues that arise.

I know you join me in taking a stand against this and all reprehensible behavior. As members of this community, we are a family and this is our home. Everyone has a right to feel safe and welcome here.

Stuart R. Bell
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