Spring Semester Update

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The end of the semester is a busy time so I want to make sure you are aware of several things that may be of particular interest to you this month.

This week we will be hosting Honors Week activities as we recognize many of our students for their commitment to excellence in the classroom. We are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Computer-Based Honors Program and its official renaming to the Catherine J. Randall Research Scholars Program.

Speaking of celebrations, the School of Social Work is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, which will include a dedication of Little Hall after recent renovations. I hope you have also heard we are celebrating 125 Years of Women at UA as we recognize the impact women have had on the University since Anna Adams and Bessie Parker first enrolled in 1893. A list of events will appear on our website throughout this year.

As part of the nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Denny Chimes will sound 39 times at precisely 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, once for each year of Dr. King’s life. It was also 50 years ago this month that the Black Student Union was founded on our campus. To commemorate this milestone, BSU will host a weekend-long celebration April 19-21.

Later this month, we will recognize excellence in research and scholarship at Faculty Research Day. I hope you can join us April 17 at 4:00 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center. You can view the online list of 12 faculty who are being honored, and we will present the President’s Faculty Research Award at the event.

While I am mentioning faculty, please join me in congratulating Dr. Trudier Harris, a UA English professor, who was named a recipient of the 2018 SEC Faculty Achievement Awards, and is now a nominee for SEC Professor of the Year. This year, Harris also has received the 2018 Clarence E. Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing and was named a 2018-19 Fellow of the National Humanities Center. We wish her all the best.

Other significant awards were presented March 22 at the Premier Awards dinner. I hope you will take time to read the recipients’ bios because they are quite impressive. Student recipients were Marissa Navarro, Maggie Holmes, Asia Hayes, Nivory Gordon III, Theresa Stoddard and Manoj Sunny. Dr. Kristy Reynolds received the faculty award, and Lamea “Elle” Shaaban-Magana received the non-student award for demonstrating the highest standards of scholarship, leadership and service.

I also want to congratulate Maret Montanari for becoming UA’s first Public Relations Student of the Year as named by PRWeek. This is the highest honor given to PR students across the nation. It certainly speaks to our outstanding public relations program, which has been in the top five nationally eight out of the last 10 years.

Let me take a moment to congratulate our men’s wheelchair basketball team for bringing home their second national championship. It was also great to see our men’s basketball team advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Avery Johnson is building a terrific program, and we are already excited about next year.

A special thank you goes to our facilities and grounds crew that went to Jacksonville State University last week to help in the aftermath of an EF3 tornado that hit their campus March 19. About 50 of our students also went over the weekend to assist in this important effort as JSU works to reopen for classes. I spoke with JSU’s president, John Beehler, last week, and he told me how much their campus appreciates the tremendous support they have received from us.

We have new leaders for both our Student Government Association and Faculty Senate. Congratulations to Price McGiffert of Tuscaloosa, our new SGA president, and Dr. Rona Donahoe, professor in geological sciences, who is the new president of the Faculty Senate. I look forward to working with both of them in the coming year.

I hope you will mark your calendars for our spring Campus Assembly Tuesday, April 17, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ferguson Theater. We will present annual awards, hear from faculty, staff and student leaders, and I will provide a University update. Refreshments will be served. I hope you can join us.

Lastly, please take time to complete the survey about work-life balance that was sent to you by email. Your input is important as we work to make The University of Alabama one of the premier places to work in higher education. The email is from Modern-Think, and it contains both a link and a password. The deadline is April 13.

I know I say it often, but thank you for everything you do each day to make this such a special place for all of us who live and work here.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell