President Bell Highlights Role of Faculty and Staff in UA’s Success

  • October 19th, 2017

UA President Stuart R. Bell’s address at the Fall Campus Assembly centered on the important role each member of the UA community plays in the University’s success. Speaking to a packed room of faculty and staff, Bell took the opportunity to express his gratitude and encourage those in attendance to look for ways their daily pursuits map into the University’s strategic plan.

“Whether it’s providing a premier educational experience or increasing our innovation, research, scholarship and creative pursuits, or providing an accepting, inclusive campus, or recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff, you should see yourself in these goals because none of these initiatives can succeed without your talent and your commitment,” said Bell.

Bell also highlighted a few major accomplishments of the University and its students at the event on Oct. 17, which included reports from campus leaders and the presentation of faculty and staff teaching, advising and service awards.

“At the undergraduate level, this year’s freshman class is the most academically gifted class we’ve ever had,” said Bell. “Our students continue to amaze us with their credentials.”

Bell noted that 40.6 percent of the freshman class scored a 30 or higher on their ACT and more than 38 percent graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class. More than one-third came in with a GPA of 4.0 or higher, with all of these data points being record numbers for the University.

“Without a doubt, our recruiters in admissions work tirelessly to bring us the best and brightest students from across the country,” he continued. “Then, it’s up to us to educate them, retain them and graduate them, so they can go out and share their talent, their passion and their intellect with the world.”

Bell also noted strides made this fall to increase graduate enrollment.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “We have taken major steps to increase our research productivity, and the two of these are mutually supportive.”

He referenced recent hires and projects that are key to advancing the University in research, diversity, equity and inclusion as part of UA’s strategic plan.

Bell mentioned several alumni who are “making their mark and shining a light on The University of Alabama” with their success. Several have chosen to make generous gifts to the University in recent months because of the positive experiences they had on the UA campus.

“It’s because of you and others before you who have given them not only a great education, but also an experience they have never forgotten,” said Bell.

Also, Bell reminded the audience that, while the University has enjoyed great success in the past, its best days are ahead and there is still much work to be done.

“Our best benchmark has always been ourselves,” he said. “Academically, and on the field, we continually refine what we do so we can be even more successful tomorrow than we were today, or yesterday.”

Throughout his remarks, Bell acknowledged the staff and faculty who work hard every day to impact student success.

“There are so many great things happening, and so many individuals who work hard behind the scenes to make them happen, but each of you sitting in this room is here because you are dedicated to making your own mark on our success,” said Bell.

Among them were recipients of this year’s outstanding teaching, advising and service awards.

Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Awards

The Alumni Association presented the annual awards recognizing faculty members’ commitment to teaching and the impact they have had on students through the teaching and learning process. Recipients are:

  • Daniel G. Bachrach, professor of management in the Culverhouse College of Commerce
  • James Paul Hubner, associate professor and graduate program director in the College of Engineering
  • Kenneth G. Ricks, associate professor in the College of Engineering
  • Heather M. Taylor, associate professor of pediatrics and director of undergraduate medical education in the College of Community Health Sciences

Outstanding Commitment to Advising Awards

The awards for commitment to advising were presented to one faculty and one staff member who have demonstrated excellence in advising students, guiding them to success in the classroom and beyond.

  • Jim Gleason, associate professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Ashley Newsome, academic adviser in the College of Engineering

Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award

Recognizing a department, office, team or center that provides exceptional service through commitment, innovation, creativity and continuous improvement in customer relations, the Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award was named for UA staff member Sam S. May, who in addition to his regular duties, volunteered many hours of his own time tutoring students in chemistry. The 2017 recipients are:

  • Educational Technology Web and Editorial Team in the College of Arts and Sciences, Academic Affairs
  • Crossroads Community Engagement Center, Community Affairs
  • UA Police Department Community Oriented Police Division, Financial Affairs
  • Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs, Research and Economic Development
  • Online Wellness Portal Team, Campuswide

Also, the presidents of the Faculty Senate; Professional Staff Assembly; Office, Clerical and Technical Staff Assembly; and Student Government Association reported on current initiatives and progress toward their goals for the year.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.