Category: Messages from the President

Message from the President 4/20

 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The past month has been a unique experience for our campus community. We have faced individual challenges and difficulties, but the foundation of The University of Alabama is strong, and our mission of transforming lives through teaching, research and service has not wavered. We are in this together, and our foremost priority remains the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.

Last night, UAPD, Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue and UA facilities crews worked tirelessly to contain a fire in the third-floor sections of the south wing of the Moody Music Building. We are thankful for the quick response and efforts of our first responders. Director of Bands Ken Ozzello and School of Music Director Charles “Skip” Snead were also on-site alongside Mayor Walt Maddox and me throughout the evening. While the cause of the blaze and the extent of the damage is still unknown, what matters most is that no one was injured.

Even as national events unfold, our students continue to do their part in communities around the globe. UA senior John Glidden III returned to his hometown of Closter, New Jersey, where he is volunteering as an EMT at both a virus testing site and a non-profit ambulance service. While he’s finishing his final few weeks of classes and preparing for his future career at Lockheed Martin as an aerospace engineer, John is also giving back to those in need. He is a great example of how one person can contribute, even in a time of adversity. Other UA students in a group calledUASpace are now working to inspire the next generation of students to pursue STEM fields. UASpace members created math and science lessons for Alabama public school students that help bring virtual space-centered instruction to rural areas of the state for students learning at home. These students exemplify the actions of thousands of UA students who are actively helping those in need.

Even with social distancing measures in place, UA’s Career Center continues to find innovative ways to support our students and their professional goals. Now more than ever, students can stay connected through Handshake, UA’s online recruiting system where employers can link with students to do virtual events, career fairs and interviews. Companies in the state and across the nation continue to recognize the value of a degree from Alabama, and we will continue to offer resources to aid our students’ internship placements and job searches.

The University of Alabama’s Writing Center and Capstone Center for Student Success have also made the transition to online services. Tutors at the Writing Center are available to provide personalized writing assistance, while the Capstone Center for Student Success is offering free online tutoringacademic coaching and skills sessions through Zoom. I encourage our students to utilize these valuable resources as the semester draws to a close.

We remain hopeful of the possibility of returning to on-site instruction later in the summer. Recently we announced that all summer courses with a class start date before June 22 will be taught in an online or remote format, which includes Interim, summer 1 and full summer term sessions. Even though we would like to see our students back on campus sooner, we are confident in the quality of our online programs, which offer students appealing multimedia content and easy access to their instructors and peers.

Prospective and admitted new students are still visiting Tuscaloosa, just in a different, virtual way. Our essential research efforts continue to move forward, and we continue to deliver superior coursework. We invited our Spring 2020 graduating class to join the summer commencement program. We also continue to provide students with the opportunity to accessshort-term financial help with housing, technology, travel and other necessities.

We remain strong. We remain determined. We remain a community.

Thank you for the courage and compassion you continue to demonstrate. You make me proud, and I am honored to serve as your president.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

President

Message from the President April 13, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

It is hard to believe there are only three weeks remaining in the spring semester. I miss seeing our students on campus. I know the current circumstances in our nation do not define us as a University, but they do give us an opportunity to grow in thankfulness and grace and to rally together for the good of those around us.

I have never been prouder to lead this institution, as we witness the kindness and resiliency of our people. UA students continue to find ways to be compassionately involved in relief efforts. Students have been shopping for seniors through a free grocery delivery service in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham called Leave it To Us, a non-profit organization begun in Chicago during spring break by UA junior Michael Arundel. UA freshman Nathan Eads is managing a student group in Atlanta making 3D printed face shields for health care workers funded through a gofundme.com account created to raise revenue for the cause. UA junior Matthew Roy, who plans to attend medical school next year, is volunteering at the Ross Bridge Medical Center test site in Hoover with a small group of others, contacting patients through telemedicine and assisting with test sampling. These stories are just a small sample of the many ways our students are responding to the needs of others during this unique time, and I will be sharing more examples in the coming weeks.

We also continue to observe special ceremonies traditionally held on campus. Our UA community cherishes the recognition of the achievements of our graduating class at commencement. Although our plans must be contingent on how our summer health outlook progresses, we are moving forward to provide the spring Class of 2020 with the same opportunity to celebrate. Students who were approved to graduate in May are invited to be part of the summer commencement programs on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1. We will be sending out more information in the coming weeks and hope all spring graduates will be able to join us. Last Friday, we also held a live virtual Tapping on the Mound ceremony to induct new members in University honor groups and to recognize various recipients of student and faculty awards.

Even in the midst of current events, I encourage all our students to complete a 2020 Alabama census form, which is also available online. The census is vital to determining funding to the state for important health care, education, housing and infrastructure development programs. Congratulations are also in order for UA student Hannah Slater, a Randall Research Scholar studying chemical engineering and chemistry and the 57th UA recipient of the prestigious Goldwater scholarship. The UA campus community is also invited to attend video presentations by the five finalists for the position of UA executive vice president and provost, beginning April 13 and continuing through April 28. The presentations will be recorded and posted on the provost search website, and you can send questions for the candidates in advance to Dr. Russ Mumper, chair of the search committee, at mumper@ua.edu.

Finally, I again want to recognize our esteemed faculty for their ongoing success in providing meaningful and thought-provoking content for their courses and for supporting their students to success. UA’s Center for Instructional Technology, led by Dr. Ivon Foster-McGowan and Dr. Rachel Thompson, is providing essential support to all UA faculty, instructors, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students needing assistance with instructional technology and technology accessibility, and we’re grateful for their expertise.

As the semester continues, I encourage you to remain committed to your goals and to finish with the resolve with which you began. You are our champions, and I am honored to be your president.

Stuart R. Bell

President

Message from The President – Spring Commencement

Dear Spring 2020 Graduating Class,

The recent change to remote learning and the challenges we are all facing during this unprecedented time for our nation and our University have greatly affected us all. I know those planning to graduate this spring were looking forward to our traditional commencement activities.

Commencement is a milestone marking the end of one valuable journey while forging the beginning of a new, promising path.   It is a special time for you, your family and our faculty, and I want you to have the opportunity to walk across the stage in celebration of your success.

Although our plans must be contingent on how our summer health outlook progresses, we are moving forward to include our spring graduates in our summer commencement events scheduled for Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1.  Please consider this special invitation to join those ceremonies.  We will be providing more details in the coming weeks on how to register and the date and times for each ceremony.

We will also be recognizing the achievements of our spring 2020 graduating class in May through online and social media outlets to highlight our shared pride in you. No matter where you are as you finish the semester, you are an important and special part of our UA family. As you finish the semester strong, know we are right here cheering you on. I look forward to congratulating you on stage very soon. I am very proud of the many ways you have excelled in your time with us and will continue to excel.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

President

A Message from the President 4-6-20

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome to week two of online instruction, remote work environments and the “new normal” for our UA community. I know for many the changes we have experienced caused some initial apprehension, but I am already hearing positive feedback about the ways in which we are all rallying together. Working and studying remotely takes more time, patience and flexibility, but I am confident we are achieving the same excellent outcomes that are the standard of the Alabama experience. As you continue to settle in to your new routines, please know how proud we are of you and what you are accomplishing in the over 6,600 classes that have now been launched online.

I want to personally thank Dean Jonathan Halbesleben and his incredible team in the College of Continuing Studies for the critical work they are doing to ensure the success of UA’s online learning environment. Helping faculty and students teach and learn online has always been their specialty, but now they have taken an essential leadership role to bridge the gap for those who are new to remote learning.

Students, I know you will finish strong. We are here to help you continue pursuing your education and preparing for your remarkable future. You remain our top priority as we make decisions, and we’ve had to be a little creative to continue some of our important traditions. For the first time in UA history, the 2020 SGA Inauguration Ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook on March 31. Congratulations to SGA President Demarcus Joiner and the members of the Executive Council for the honor of representing and serving our student body.

The commitment and ingenuity of our faculty continue to impress, and I hope you will help me congratulate Dr. Subha Chakraborti, professor of statistics and Morrow Faculty Excellence Fellow, for being selected as UA’s 2020 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner. After nearly 36 years at The University of Alabama, Dr. Chakraborti’s influence has been widespread, from impactful research to extraordinary teaching accomplishments and scholarly contributions. His success exemplifies the many talents and expertise of our esteemed faculty who continue to transform the lives of their students.

We are also doing everything we can to support health care workers, families and businesses in our local communities. Currently, two groups across three colleges on campus are collaborating with health care professionals to produce 3D-printed face shields for the medical workers on the front lines in our area, and UA students across the nation are taking an active role in relief efforts. Last week, 10 UA Greek houses donated over 2.3 tons of food to the West Alabama Food Bank, and five additional houses plan to contribute. The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network and partners across the state are also helping small businesses prepare to apply for loans to provide them with enough working capital to remain open and to operate effectively. UA’s mission statement prioritizes service, and we will continue to seek opportunities to help those in need.

Friends, The University of Alabama remains steadfast and resilient. Despite the adjustments necessitated by current events, one thing will always remain the same: Our people will continue to rise to the challenges presented, work together and safeguard the success of our faculty, staff and students. Right now, the only thing missing is you. We can’t wait to have our future legends back home. I look forward to seeing you on campus just as soon as possible.

You and your families remain in my thoughts, and I am honored to serve as your president.

Stuart R. Bell

President

A Message From The President

Dear UA students, faculty and staff,

Welcome back — well, virtually back. I would like to start by expressing my pride in the resiliency and dedication that have been shown by each of you over the past weeks. We have all learned and embraced new guidelines of social distancing and how we can do our part, helping ourselves and those around us remain safe and healthy. The UA community has faced and overcome challenges throughout our history and this challenge will be no exception.

We are beginning the last quarter of our spring semester in a different way, but that should not diminish our quest for excellence in all that we do. Students, I want to encourage you to remain dedicated to your studies during this challenging time. Faculty and staff, thank you for continuing your unwavering commitment to our University and our students. Especially over the last few weeks, I have witnessed again the dedication of Dr. Kathleen Cramer and our Student Life staff. Their determination to protect the student experience and student-focus of this campus are unmatched.

Our faculty and Provost’s office, with the support of our specialized IT team and UA’s Center for Instructional Technology, have been busy over the extended break, working to ensure that the best academic resources are available to each of you. The unexpected may occur — so be prepared and remain flexible during the transition in the delivery of your classes.

Our lives have been significantly altered by these unforeseen circumstances, but remember, we will face this challenge together as a community. I was reminded this week of the heart and ingenuity of our students through a story from the Today Show. Wherever you go, whatever you do, your Alabama spirit shines through to the communities and nation around us. We will all emerge from this even stronger than we were before.

My thoughts and well wishes are with each of you, and I look forward to seeing everyone on campus once it is determined that we can resume full operations as normal. In the meantime, I ask that all of us remember — and live — the 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.

As we move into the final weeks of this semester please continue to monitor campus updates concerning COVID-19 on our website healthinfo.ua.edu.

Thank you and Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

President

A Message from the President – COVID-19

COVID-19 presents serious public health concerns. The University of Alabama is committed to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, while maintaining our mission of teaching, research, and service.

Social distancing is a key barrier to the spread of the virus. To assist with this national task of social distancing, and in keeping with UA system policies, the following actions are in effect until further notice.

As you consider these measures, I call upon each of you – faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and supporters – to model the creativity and strength of the campus community we have come to expect.

Remote Teaching and Learning

After tomorrow, classes will be canceled until March 30 to allow additional time for UA to transition – to the maximum extent possible – to alternative and remote learning. Faculty will determine how to best use existing technology, such as Blackboard and Zoom, to support students as they work to complete their educational requirements for the semester. Teaching will resume March 30 via these new methods.

Student Accommodations

Students should not return to campus when classes resume, and will continue their course work via distance learning subject to the following limited exceptions: (a) international or other students who do not have alternative accommodations; (b) students from areas without high-speed internet or other means of receiving remote instruction; and (c) students with exceptional hardships, or academic, employment, clinical or research requirements that should be reviewed by the respective campuses on a case-by-case basis. Arrangements will be made to ensure any students who must remain on campus have access to essential services. A move out plan will be communicated at a later date.

 

Domestic and International Travel

In addition to previously announced travel limitations, all university-funded travel, both foreign and domestic, is suspended. Travel sponsors can apply for exceptions to this restriction by completing a form that will be posted at healthinfo.ua.edu.

 

University Events

All non-essential University meetings, gatherings and events are canceled until March 30. Any exceptions must be specifically requested and approved via a form that will be posted on healthinfo.ua.edu

Other University Business

Due to these changes, a number of essential personnel will be required to work over spring break. Supervisors will be in contact about those schedules. Other University operations will continue as originally planned, with employees returning from spring break March 23. Thereafter, there is a potential for flexible work arrangements in alignment with our focus on social distancing. Supervisors should work directly with employees to make any necessary changes.

Education Abroad

Education Abroad has created a list of FAQs on the coronavirus, international.ua.edu/educationabroad/prepare/health-safety/coronavirus-faqs/.

Exposed or Sick Individuals

Do not return to campus if you meet the following criteria:

  • If you have traveled to a CDC COVID-19 Level 2 or 3 country (on personal or University business) or come in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, you are required to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health
  • If you have the symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider. You may also call the Student Health Centerprior to visiting at (205) 348-3854 or after hours at (205) 348-0386. If you are an employee and have concerning symptoms, please call the University Medical Center at (205) 348-4696 or (205) 348-1770 before visiting.

Assistance with Remote Teaching and Learning Technology

We will examine how to best support employees and students who have special health or other needs impacted by these decisions. Faculty may call upon a specialized IT team to assist with online teaching. More information on IT assistance will be posted on healthinfo.ua.edu, as it becomes available.

I know this is not how we expected to begin spring break. Please take preventive measures to protect yourself and those around you. Exercise extra caution when traveling and interacting. This includes washing your hands frequently with soap and water and avoiding shaking hands and other physical contact.

Together we will overcome this challenge. Please monitor healthinfo.ua.edu for updates and additional information, in this rapidly evolving situation.

Promoting Respect and Safety for Our Campus Community

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As part of our ongoing pledge to promote and maintain a safe and respectful campus environment, I want to remind our campus community of the many resources, support and reporting options available to victims of sexual misconduct. The University is proactive in helping to prevent sexual assault or misconduct and will not tolerate gender discrimination or sexual violence of any nature.

As a representative of The University of Alabama, every individual should refrain from any behavior that threatens the freedom or respect due to every member of our campus community. For detailed information about how the reporting of sexual misconduct will be addressed, I encourage you to review UA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and the UAct website. Any student, faculty, staff member, applicant or campus visitor who has concerns about sexual harassment or sexual violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence, is encouraged to seek the assistance of an appropriate University official.

The University’s Title IX Office, located at Suite 2418 in Capital Hall, works diligently to oversee the University’s compliance with Title IX and to foster a campus community free of illegal gender discrimination and sexual violence. Reports of sexual misconduct can be made to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Beth Howard, at titleix@ua.edu or by calling (205) 348-5496. Other reports of misconduct may be filed directly with UAPD at (205) 348-5454, which provides a comprehensive array of law enforcement services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through a dedicated staff of sworn, state-commissioned police officers.

Confidential reporting can be submitted through the Women and Gender Resource Center (WGRC), where a victim advocate is on call 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, for crisis intervention and support. Confidential reports may also be submitted at the UA Counseling Center, which offers one-on-one counseling and outreach programming on any topic relevant to mental health that has an impact on the success and well-being of our students. The Tuscaloosa SAFE Center is another important agency that provides free, compassionate, patient-centered healthcare, advocacy and counseling services to those who have experienced sexual assault.

In addition, the UA Student Health Center provides quality, caring healthcare services and promotes student health and wellness, including psychiatrist evaluations. The Ulifeline website also contains many free mental health resources for UA students. The UA Safe Zone Resource Center is another important resource, as well, for providing educational outreach, community support and crisis intervention resources for LGBTQIA+ members of the UA community and their allies.

Finally, I also recommend all students, faculty and staff download the UA Safety App. This helpful app gives immediate access to information in case of an emergency, including the ability to quickly contact campus and law enforcement agencies. It also features a built-in GPS to provide walking directions to any building location on campus, including the locations of shelters and AEDs. I encourage you to utilize all of the on-campus resources that work to make our community a safer environment for all members of our UA family.

Please know The University of Alabama takes the issue of sexual assault and misconduct very seriously, and each semester we will continue to educate our campus community about the resources available. I hope you will personally commit to partnering with us in an ongoing effort to combat sexual wrongdoing and to ensure that every member of the UA community is treated with dignity and respect.

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome to a new decade! It’s so good to have you back with your campus community. I hope your holidays were filled with celebration and special moments.

A new year is always exciting and full of promise. In January, many people spend time reviewing the past while preparing for an exciting future. At The University of Alabama, our future includes you and your unlimited impact. As the semester begins, so do many opportunities for you to gain new knowledge, flourish personally and influence others in a positive way.

Two UA Legends recently achieved notable recognition for their contributions. Marillyn Hewson and Vicki Hollub both earned a place on Forbes 2019 list of the world’s most powerful women. Both businesswomen attribute much of their success to the education, training and support they received while on our campus. A degree from Alabama changes lives, and we’re proud of our students and alumni and remain firmly committed to our mission.

Students, I want to personally invite you to attend the upcoming public presentations that will be held on campus between Jan. 13 and Jan. 23 as we begin the final stages of a national search for our new vice president for student life. It’s an important leadership role, and the selected candidate will work closely with you, the faculty and our staff to foster learning and development and to further develop a strong sense of community at UA. Your attendance will demonstrate your investment in our shared goals as we finalize the selection process. More details are available on the search website.

Tickets go on sale today for two special upcoming campus events. The 2020 Realizing the Dream Legacy Banquet is scheduled for Jan. 17 and will feature award-winning journalist Laura Ling. Then on Jan. 19, I encourage you to attend the Dream Concert in Moody Music Concert Hall showcasing Grammy-nominated gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds. Both events celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and are hosted in part by UA’s Division of Community Affairs. Also, in honor of Dr. King, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office is hosting an MLK Service Day on Jan. 20, and the website will be featuring more events scheduled for later in the month. These are important opportunities for our community to come together to spotlight leadership, peace and unity.

Faculty and staff, I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Paul Houghtaling, coordinator of voice and director of opera at UA, for receiving the 2019 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award. We are proud of his achievements and the many awards he has received over the course of his career for his commitment to teaching. Through Dr. Houghtaling’s efforts, the University’s Opera Theatre program continues to gain national prominence. The 2019-2020 season resumes with a new work created especially for the UA Opera Theater on Feb. 27, Feb. 28 and March 1 in Bryant-Jordan Hall.

And finally, not only did we celebrate the dawn of 2020 on Jan. 1, but we also applauded the Crimson Tide’s win in the Citrus Bowl. With a 35-16 victory over Michigan, we ended the season with an 11-2 record that marks the 9th consecutive season with 11 wins or more. We are the nation’s most successful bowl team, and most importantly, we played with integrity and grit. I’m proud of how our student-athletes and coaches represented the University so well and look forward to success in our spring sports.

The momentum of the new spring semester has only just begun, and I know 2020 will be another impressive year of impact from the talented students, faculty and staff at The University of Alabama. I’m honored to serve as your president.

Stuart R. Bell
President

A Message from the President

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

It’s hard to believe the end of the fall semester is upon us.

I know exam week can be busy for many of us. Students, I am confident you will finish well. You and your faculty have been preparing all semester so you are well equipped for success. Each semester brings you one step closer to your educational goals. I’m proud of your tenacity and your many accomplishments, and I’m also thankful for you. Every student is an important part of our campus community, and we’re all cheering for you this week.

Commencement will follow on Saturday with more than 2,300 students receiving their degrees. Part of the work leading to that day is preparing our students to be good citizens of our increasingly diverse global society — citizens who are culturally competent and ready to operate effectively in our communities, the workplace and in the world at large. While we all may leave in different directions and celebrate this season in different ways, we share the commonality of being part of one big Alabama family. Cherish your family and friends, and respect all of your classmates and our community members.

This season always reminds us there is much to celebrate. This Friday, Dec. 13, I hope you can join us for a very special ceremony set for 10 a.m. at Manderson Landing. In honor of theTuscaloosa Bicentennial, the University will present a sculpture of Minerva, whose likeness is included on the University’s seal, as a gift from the Capstone to the citizens of Tuscaloosa. Thesculpture is breathtaking, and the unveiling will be an opportunity for the University and thecommunity to gather in solidarity. I hope you will bring your family and friends to help us commemorate what will certainly be a very memorable day.

We are also still celebrating another recent accomplishment. Two weeks ago we announced a record-breaking year of giving to United Way. Through the Division of Community Affairs and theCollege of Arts and Sciences, spearheaded by Dr. Samory Pruitt and Dean Joseph Messina, UA faculty and staff contributed $483,807 to the United Way of West Alabama. Not only are we a community at UA, but we give back to our larger community. I am so proud of the ways our faculty, staff and students serve, advance the common good and live united.

As we pause to enjoy the holidays, I also want to thank all faculty and staff for another impactful year of teaching, research and service. You are the foundation of what makes this great institution so successful, and your investment in our students is making a global difference. When you share your extensive knowledge, expertise and time with your students, you are contributing to thelarger legacy of this University. Simply put, your efforts are the core of who we are, and I’m honored to serve as your president.

Finally, as the calendar year ends, we can look forward to cheering on the Crimson Tide at theVrbo Citrus Bowl against Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 1, in Orlando, Florida. The game will be another fun way to gather over the holidays in our Alabama gear. I know fans across the nation will be rooting for our team, and we are all very proud of our players, coaches and athletic staff.

Best wishes to all of you as the semester draws to a close. I hope you enjoy a restful and joyful holiday break with family and friends. There is no greater way to be refreshed than by spending quality time with those we love.

It’s a wonderful season to make memories, and Susan and I wish you and your family many blessings in the new year.

Roll Tidings!

Stuart R. Bell
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