Year: 2009

UA Center’s November Housing Reports Show Year-Over-Year Increases

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two reports from The University of Alabama’s Alabama Center for Real Estate show year-over-year increases in the state’s latest monthly home sales and new construction figures.  

These latest looks at the Alabama housing situation are now available on the Web, courtesy of the center, known as ACRE, that is a part of UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce.

The Alabama Housing Report, which tracks total home sales on a monthly basis, shows Alabama home sales in November 2009 up more than 53 percent from November 2008 and down just less than 4 percent from last month. The complete report can be found at

New home construction figures in November 2009 show a 17.8 percent increase from November 2008 and a 6.5 percent decrease from October 2009. The complete New Construction Report can be found at

UA in the News: December 22-23, 2009

UA and UT Students to Help Feed the Homeless In Pasadena
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Dec. 21
CBS42 (Birmingham) – Dec. 21
Students from the UA SGA are joining their counterparts from the University of Texas. They will help feed homeless people in Pasadena, the day before the championship game at the Union Station Homeless Services Adult Center. The students will serve some 300 meals during breakfast and lunch at the center.

Town Hall: The history of Big Al (Video) 
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 23
Kathleen Cramer, senior associate vice president for student affairs, and Tommy Stevenson discusses the history of the University of Alabama mascot, Big Al.

All is forgiven for Griffith, leader of state GOP says
Huntsville Times – Dec. 23
…”Congressman Griffith is obviously in survival mode at this point. He knows that the president is not widely popular in his district, and he also knows that the Republicans would have thrown everything they had at him in 2010,” said Dr. David Lanoue, head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Alabama. “My guess is that this decision will solidify his hold on the district and that he will survive the cries of turncoat. Senator Shelby did this 15 or so years ago, and it obviously did him no harm.”

Full report: FBI stats show decrease in Mobile-area crime 
Mobile Press-Register – Dec. 22
…”We clearly have a trend down in violent crime in the United States,” said Robert Sigler, a retired University of Alabama criminal justice professor. Theories have abounded as to why crime has continued a steady march downward, but Sigler acknowledged, “We really have no idea whatsoever.”…

UA School of Library and Information Studies Awards More Than $8,800 in Books to Black Belt Schools

Sharon Robinson, ABC Elementary School library media specialist, and Dr. Jaime Campbell Naidoo, UA SLIS Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies awarded more than $8,800 in books to elementary and high school library media centers in the Black Belt region of the state through the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt Program.

Schools in the Black Belt region were asked to apply for the book give-away program in mid-November. A total of six schools were selected to each receive an average of more than $1,400 in new books for children or teens. The winning schools for the 2009 SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt Program are:

▪ Gordo High School (Pickens County)
▪ ABC Elementary School (Wilcox County)
▪ J. E. Terry Elementary School (Dallas County)
▪ Shiloh Elementary School (Dallas County)
▪ Chisholm Elementary School (Montgomery County)
▪ Robert C. Hatch High School (Perry County)

The SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt is an annual program that provides free books to school library media centers in the Black Belt region each December. The program is just one of the many ways in which the School of Library and Information Studies gives back to the local community, region and state.

Heather Perrigin, Gordo High School library media specialist, and Naidoo

Schools in the Black Belt region of the state are encouraged to apply again in November 2010 to receive free books for their school library media centers during the 2010 SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt Program. If additional information about the program is needed, contact Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo at or SLIS at 205/348-4610.

The School of Library and Information Studies in the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences houses Alabama’s only library education program accredited by the American Library Association. The School offers both a Master of Library and Information Studies and a Master of Fine Arts in the book arts.

UA in the News: December 19-21, 2009

The mystery behind mistletoe
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 21
… In Scandinavian myth, Balder, the god of the summer sun, was brought back to life by white mistletoe berries. (In fact, mistletoe berries are poisonous, and special care should be taken when using mistletoe around small children). Balder’s mother, Frigga, the goddess of love, was so grateful for her son’s return that she kissed everyone who walked beneath a tree bearing mistletoe…Kissing under mistletoe sealed Roman marriages, and in the 18th century, it was the British custom that a young woman standing under a ‘kissing ball’ of mistletoe decorated with ribbons and evergreens could not refuse to be kissed…Mary Jo Modica is horticulturist at the University of Alabama Arboretum.

W. Ala. jobless numbers drop slightly
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 19
…Sam Addy, director for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama, said the good news in the latest figures is that Alabama and the Tuscaloosa area are following the national trend. He noted that manufacturers as a whole might not be hiring a lot, but they are adding more hours and days to their production schedules, which helps their workers. He said he still believes the state’s unemployment level will rise to more than 11 percent before peaking sometime next year…Addy said the country is going through what he called the “Great Recession” — a global recession that is the worst in most people’s lifetimes…
Birmingham News – Dec. 20

UA’s Rural Health Institute Awarded Grant to Expand Telemedicine Efforts

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Rural Health Institute for Clinical and Translational Science has received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program to expand telemedicine efforts in rural Alabama.

The Rural Health Institute was awarded $99,800 for one year and was one of 191 applications that competed for funding. The institute is part of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and conducts research to improve health in rural Alabama.

Through the grant, the Rural Health Institute will assist the College in increasing the availability of clinical telemedicine in rural areas in Alabama, especially in regard to psychiatry and obstetrical services. The project will also enable medical students and residents to learn more about the telemedicine and its application in rural areas, according to Dr. John C. Higginbotham, the Institute’s director, who also serves as the College’s associate dean for research and health policy.

The College provides tele-psychiatry services to rural mental health centers in West Alabama. Through a program with the West Alabama Mental Health Center in Demopolis, mental-health centers in that city and in five surrounding counties are directly linked to psychiatrists at University Medical Center, which the College operates.

The USDA grant will enable the College to purchase more cameras, monitors and other special digital equipment and add four more rural primary-care clinics to its telemedicine efforts, Higginbotham says. Those clinics are in Walker, Bibb, Pickens and Monroe counties.

The Walker County facility in Parrish, established in 2001 by faculty of The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, is a nurse-practitioner operated community health center where care is provided by nursing faculty and students. The Bibb County facility is currently used for training the College’s Family Medicine resident physicians.

The other two sites in Pickens and Monroe counties are part of the College’s Tuscaloosa Experience in Rural Medicine project, an undergraduate medical education program that provides clinical education to third- and fourth-year medical students through an extended 17-week clerkship in a rural setting.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates a comprehensive, state-of-the-art medical clinic, University Medical Center, where College faculty members conduct their medical practices and where 70 third and fourth-year medical students and 36 family practice residents receive clinical experience and training. The College’s research component supports faculty and student research efforts, including clinical trials.




‘Realizing the Dream’ Concert Unites Voices at UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Emerging artists from Tuscaloosa and Birmingham will highlight the “21st Annual Realizing the Dream Concert Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, in the Concert Hall of Moody Music Building on The University of Alabama campus.

With the theme “Realizing the Dream: Then and Now,” the Realizing the Dream Committee celebrates the voices and talents of the younger generation who share King’s vision for a peaceful and just society while remembering the King legacy and call to action.

The concert will entwine music and dance with excerpts from King’s speeches, read by Dr. Aaron Dobynes, pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., and a 1984 graduate of UA, as well as others. The featured singer is soprano Belinda George-Peoples, a schoolteacher in Birmingham, who has soloed with the Alabama Symphony and performed in Sweden and Spain.

Also performing is the Prentice Concert Chorale, Tuscaloosa’s first integrated choral group, which was founded in 1966. In addition, the program includes the Tuscaloosa City Schools Middle School Honor Choir and students from UA, Stillman College and area high schools.

Tickets are $15. Phone 205/348-7111 for more information. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

In addition to the concert, the Realizing the Dream committee, in collaboration with the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is presenting the Legacy Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at the Hotel Capstone. Tickets for the banquet are $25 a person or $150 for a table of eight. For details, phone 205/348-7111. The featured speaker is Dr. Trudier Harris, a Tuscaloosa native, author and recently retired professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

At the banquet, three people will be honored: Jerria Martin, a native of Selma and a senior majoring in English at Stillman College, will receive the Horizon Award. Dorothy Montez McDade, a retired teacher at the University of Texas-El Paso and Hispanic ministry coordinator for Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Tuscaloosa, will receive the Call to Conscience Award. Odessa Warrick, a nurse and a Tuscaloosa advocate for education, a clean and safe community and equal opportunity, will receive the Mountaintop Award.

Funded in part by an endowment from the Fiesta Bowl, which also funds minority scholarships at UA, the “Realizing the Dream” concert brings together different parts of the community in ways that are fresh and rewarding. The Martin Luther King Jr. Realizing the Dream Committee is comprised of faculty and staff from Shelton State Community College, Stillman College and The University of Alabama. The committee’s mission is to raise consciousness about injustice and promote equality, peace and social justice by creating educational and cultural opportunities for growth, empowerment and social change so that every person may experience the bounty of life’s abundant possibilities.

UA in the News: December 18, 2009

UA student writes, directs Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre production
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 18
Jameson Sanford is 19, and he’s double majoring in math and theater at the University of Alabama, so he doesn’t have time to overcommit. So because he had spent almost two years writing an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” for Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre, and was designing sets and lights for this week’s production at the Bama Theatre, he naturally accepted the job of director, guiding 76 actors, along with stage crew and volunteer…Theatre Tuscaloosa, through its Second Stage program, held a couple of readings of early drafts of the script in 2008, and UA assisted with technical details…

Heisman Trophy Arrives at UA
FOX 6 – Dec. 17

UA Students To Help Feed Homeless In California
WSFA (Montgomery) – Dec. 17
Students at the University of Alabama doing their part to help others while taking in the national championship game.

Results of 2010 census crucial for Alabama cities, towns
Montgomery Advertiser – Dec. 18
Those thousands of uncounted people represent millions of federal dollars that went to other states over the past 10 years because in census records those people didn’t exist, according to Annette Jones Watters, project manager for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama. “The Brookings Institute estimated in 2008 that Alabama gets $1,269.33 of federal domestic assistance each year for each person counted in the census,” said Watters. “Appropriations for federal dollars are not made by the estimate of what probably was the correct population. Those dollars are allocated on the basis of the actual count.”…

Students from UA, UT Show Community Spirit to Help the Homeless in Pasadena

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Students from The University of Alabama Student Government Association are joining their counterparts from The University of Texas in a show of good will through a service project to feed homeless people in Pasadena, Calif., prior to the BCS National Championship football game between the two schools.

Students from the UA and UT SGAs will cook and serve food on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 from 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m. (Pacific time) at Union Station Homeless Services Adult Center, located on 412 S. Raymond Ave in Pasadena. The students will serve some 300 meals during breakfast and lunch at the center.

The BCS Championship game will be played on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 at 5 p.m. Pacific time, 7 p.m. Central time.

“We are excited to partner with The University of Texas and serve people of need in the Pasadena area. As students at The University of Alabama we are committed to not only serving people in the Tuscaloosa community, but people beyond Tuscaloosa as well,” says Steven A. Oliver, UA SGA president.

When the SGA began talking about helping in Pasadena, “I was immediately receptive to the idea of a service project in California – what a great way to reach out and touch lives across the country,” says Dr. Lowell K. Davis, UA assistant dean of students, who will also be at the service event.

“I am looking forward to serving alongside the SGA president from Texas, and I look forward to other such partnerships in the near future,” Oliver adds.

The mission of  UA Student Affairs is to foster an environment supporting learning, healthy lifestyles, leadership and career development, personal growth and inclusiveness.

Union Station Homeless Services, 626/240-4550, is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting homeless and very low income adults and families. Its mission is to help men, women and children rebuild their lives and end homelessness.

UA in the News: December 17, 2009

Next-Generation Air Transportation System to Ultimately Succeed, Computer Scientist Predicts – Dec. 16
The Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, is due for national implementation in stages between now and 2018. “I am predicting ultimate success and a system that will provide a much safer travel environment,” says Dr. David Brown, a University of Alabama professor who has used data mining to help improve FAA safety databases…

Education Budget Cuts to Cause Increase in Mobile Technology Use – Dec. 17
As budget cuts in education continue, we will see more use of mobile technologies in the classroom in 2010, predicts Dr. Vivian Wright, a University of Alabama educator.

Suicides almost double ’08 total
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 17
… for people who lose their jobs to become depressed, said Lloyda Williamson, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of Alabama. “People’s lives and identities are often based heavily on what they do,” Williamson said. “If they lose their career or job, they are sort of lost. That is frequently a problem.” If financial resources are tight, people are also less likely to recognize that they may have other options, Williamson added. “If they don’t see a way out of their financial situation, they may feel their situation is hopeless when that may not be the case,” she said…

Disdain for poor grammar brings UA student success
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 17
Sharon Eliza Nichols…author a book called “I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar.”…the 25-year-old University of Alabama law student…The publisher ordered 15,000 copies of the book for the first printing, and Nichols said 7,500 are scheduled for the next. “It’s amazing, and I was really shocked,” she said. “I know I don’t have 15,000 friends, so it’s not just them who are buying it.”…

UA Student Authors Children’s Book  
WCBI (Columbus, Miss.) – Dec. 15

…University of Alabama sophomore Abigail Hardin….

NFL safety net: an education – Dec. 17
Accolades continue to pour in for University of Alabama cornerback and former Robinson High standout Javier Arenas, including being named an Associated Press All-American this week. Yet it’s also worth noting that Arenas earned a degree in public relations in just 3 1/2 years. While he’s projected to be a high-round pick in next year’s NFL draft, Arenas said he went to Alabama to get an education. “You want the degree to be on the safe end because you never know what’s going to happen,” Arenas said Wednesday. “And no matter what happens, someday I’m going to come back to it.”…

Got Handshake? The Silent Communicator
Psychology Today – Dec. 17
…The University of Alabama conducted a revealing study you should know about. Info is power and all that. Notice the positive and negative associations affiliated with a handshake done right or conversely, wrong…

Soil Microorganisms’ Role Cited as a Missing Factor in Climate Change Equation, According to Paper Co-Authored by UA Scientist

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Those seeking to understand and predict climate change can now use an additional tool to calculate carbon dioxide exchanges on land, according to a scientific journal article co-authored by a University of Alabama researcher and publishing this week.

The research, publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ Early Edition, incorporates into global computer models the significant impact an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, has on the chemical form of carbon dioxide released from the soils and reduces uncertainties in estimates of CO2 taken up and released in terrestrial ecosystems.

The same enzyme is present in foliage and soils, but it leaves a different imprint on CO2 involved in photosynthesis and respired by soils.

“Our paper presents measurements from all the major regions of the world where we have experimentally determined the effect of this enzyme, produced by many microorganisms, on carbon dioxide released from the soil,” said Dr. Behzad Mortazavi, an assistant professor of biological sciences at The University of Alabama, and a co-author of the article.

In computer models used to estimate and predict carbon dioxide, or CO2, exchange, scientists had previously incorporated the role this enzymes plays in the vegetation, but had neglected to include its role in soils, according to the collaborative paper written by 18 co-authors from around the world.

Revising the computer model predictions to take the soil enzymes’ impact on CO2 into account reduces the discrepancies between the model and atmospheric observations, according to the paper whose lead authors are Lisa Wingate and Jérôme Ogee.

While scientists had suspected the enzyme was also active in soils, Mortazavi said the impact of the enzymes within soil on CO2 had been difficult to measure and thereby was not factored into the computer models.

In order to effectively tackle the complexities regarding humans’ impact on climate changes, it’s important to accurately understand the natural processes, the UA scientist said.

“In general, it’s very challenging to determine how much carbon is taken up by photosynthesis versus how much carbon is released by respiration,” Mortazavi said. “It’s important to know the contributions of these two processes because as the climate is warming, the balance between carbon taken up and released on land will change. Warmer temperatures can increase the microbial activity in the soils, leading to a greater release of CO2 from the soil.”

Ideally, the amount of carbon dioxide removed naturally through the carbon cycle balances the total carbon dioxide emissions. The amount of carbon released into the atmosphere has grown out of balance because of the increased number of human activities such as the use of fossil fuels, many scientists believe.

As the world debates what steps should be taken to address human activities believed to contribute to climate change, Mortazavi said it’s important the naturally occurring processes are measured accurately, something to which this research will contribute.

“This is an additional tool to look separately at the uptake of CO2 by photosynthesis, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the release of CO2 by respiration.”

UA’s department of biological sciences is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.