UA in the News: September 15-17, 2012
September 17, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Despite a Struggling Economy, Students Flock to Colleges
U.S. News – Sept. 14
…Another institution that is seeing record enrollment numbers this fall is The University of Alabama, where 33,602 students are currently working toward degrees, the school’s website states. This total represents a 5.8% increase over the fall 2011 enrollment number. While more individuals may be studying at the university, neither they nor their academic programs have experienced a dip in quality. “This is a truly outstanding freshman class,” said Judy Bonner, the university’s executive vice president and provost, as quoted by the website. “As our applicant pool has grown, we have become increasingly more selective. These students have exceptional academic credentials.”
Bryce Hospital property discussed at UA
NBC 13 (Birmingham) – Sept. 15
In Tuscaloosa, this week, the master plan for the University of Alabama campus was unveiled. Part of the plan includes the Bryce Mental Health Hospital property that the university bought in 2010. This plan would convert some of the existing buildings into academic facilities, a university welcome center and culture center that would house some museums.
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Sept. 15
Building for the future
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 16
Christina Elliott remembers clearly the Gulf oil spill that occurred in 2010 and the damage done to animals and the surrounding environment. She remembers the aftermath and the thousands of volunteers and workers who helped clean up the mess. On Saturday, the Northside Middle School eighth-grader learned just how difficult a massive cleanup process could be when she attempted to replicate the spill on a much smaller scale. The oil spill cleanup activity was one of four that more than 140 middle school girls from across the state participated in during the “Wow! That’s Engineering” event at the University of Alabama. Hosted by UA’s section of the Society of Women Engineers, the event feature hands-on projects that provided opportunities for the girls to experience varied areas of engineering. With a theme “Energize Your Future,” the projects focused on energy efficiency and environmental works, from making an electrical circuit for a dance pad — similar to those seen in the Xbox game “Dance, Dance Revolution” — to creating a miniature merry-go-round and solar car. “We’re trying to relate to their age and level, to show them that engineers even develop the games they like,” said Kelsey Terry, a UA senior majoring in mechanical engineering.
Website has trove of local historic photos
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 16
The time machine that is the Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum roams back to the 19th century, rolls into the 20th and continues up to the 2011 tornado … Though they’ve had it online almost two years, creators are hoping to spread the word wider and begin to get more folks involved in its evolution, starting with an open house 2:30-4:30 p.m. today in the Rotary Room at Tuscaloosa Public Library. Betty Slowe, former Tuscaloosa News librarian, and Elizabeth Bradt, retired from the public library, will be among those available to talk about the project and tell how others can get involved…Steven L. MacCall, an associate professor in UA’s School of Library and Information Studies, helped find the right software for an online database, then provided student interns who scanned many of the images. The Virtual Museum needed to be done right, as it eventually links up with other professionally kept online records…Taylor Watson of the Paul W. Bryant Museum contributed images from Corollas, UA’s yearbook; the city of Tuscaloosa paid for the online space; and various groups began contributing from image collections.
UA labs testing patient tissue in move toward FDA approval
Crimson White – Sept. 17
This fall, The University of Alabama’s Department of Biological Sciences will begin research to prove a treatment of chronic pain in patients with gastrointestinal disorders and fibromyalgia. Carol Duffy, an assistant professor in the department with a research concentration in the herpes simplex virus type one, will head the research side of the project alongside William Pridgen, a private practice general surgeon at Tuscaloosa Surgical Associates. Pridgen said he began working on the clinical side of a hypothesis 12 years ago, when he could not successfully treat several of his patients’ chronic pain problems. “I did a lot of reading, trying to find the culprit, and I came to the conclusion that it must be something viral that stays in all of us and acts up with stress, and then I came to the herpes family,” Pridgen said. To see if the herpes virus was a causative agent, he started treating 74 patients with this diagnosis in two ways. Pridgen gave the first group a drug that would treat HSV-1 and treated the second group with the same drug, in addition to a pill typically used to treat arthritis. The patients who took the two pills had much better results, which led him to patent the drug combination, Pridgen said. Duffy said she knew he was onto something, but while his hypothesis is sound, it has not been proven. “Before we can get FDA approval and for the medical community to start prescribing this diagnosis, the hypothesis has to be tested several different times and ways,” she said. Duffy has begun collecting tissue samples she will examine in University labs for the HSV-1 virus from Pridgen’s diagnosed patients and a control group made up of people with unrelated GI problems.
Finding teaching moments after a disaster
The White House – Sept. 14
Suzanne Horsley is being honored as a Champion of Change for her service to the American Red Cross.I am both humbled and honored to be chosen as one of the Champions of Change for helping to build more resilient communities. My experience in disaster responses has shown me that while the most horrible circumstances may bring out the best in people, individual and organizational preparedness is still the key to surviving a disaster. I am fortunate that my work as a public relations professor at the University of Alabama allows me to incorporate work for the public good in my teaching, research and service responsibilities…After the September 11 terrorist attacks, I had a desire to find a job that mattered. I decided to go back to school to become a public relations professor and do research in crisis and disaster communication. During my academic journey, I have found a natural fit as a disaster public affairs volunteer with the American Red Cross. The training I have received and the experience I have gained by deploying to disasters has had a tremendous impact on my teaching, my research, and my approach to service learning in the classroom…It’s not often that students get to see an immediate impact from their work for a client, but last year, timing was everything. On April 26, 2011, students in my public relations campaigns class presented a check for $2,000 to our local Red Cross chapter. They had raised the funds to support disaster relief during their semester-long project to increase awareness of the organization…Suzanne Horsley is a Public Relations professor at the University of Alabama and a long-time volunteer for the American Red Cross
103.7 Q (Birmingham) – Sept. 14
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Sept. 14
A stable job?
Inside Higher Education – Sept. 17
Mark Heinrich, the newly selected chancellor of Alabama’s Department of Postsecondary Education, knows that his new job does not come with the best track record. “If I hadn’t been chosen, the new chancellor would have been the fifth chancellor I’ve worked for in five years,” said Heinrich, who is currently the president of Shelton State College. Indeed, Heinrich, who was chosen in a unanimous vote of the State Board of Education, will be the seventh person to lead the Alabama Community College System since 2006. He will take over a system that has been plagued by corruption, instability, underfunding, and a poor public image, but he says he is ready for the challenge…“If [the business and civic communities] know that by investing more in the colleges they will get the high-tech, highly trained workforce that will command $60,000-$70,000 annual salaries, I think they will be more willing to make this investment,” said Stephen Katsinas, the director of the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama, who has studied the Alabama community college system and those of other states. Public investment is going to be critical, Katsinas said, because the community college system faces significant budget problems and needs to increase its revenue.
Bird watching trail opens Friday
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 17
Millions of people throughout the U.S. enjoy bird watching, and West Alabama is poised to lure their tourism dollars with the launch of the latest state birding trail. The West Alabama Birding Trail’s official launch is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday in Pickensville at the Tom Bevill Visitor Center, 43 miles east of Tuscaloosa at 1382 Lock and Dam Road. The West Alabama trail is the latest of eight that eventually will cover the entire state as part of the Alabama Birding Trails project, which is overseen by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and funded by the Alabama Tourism Department. One of the goals of the project is to spur economic activity by bringing tourists into rural areas around the state. Susan West, the CEO of the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, said studies show that the people participating in this form of tourism typically have disposable income, which means bird watching could be an important source of revenue for the state…The West Alabama trail covers eight counties: Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marion, Pickens and Walker.
Study abroad fair to educate and inform students about international study opportunities
Crimson White – Sept. 17
The Capstone International Academic Programs will host their Study Abroad Fair on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Ferguson Center. The fair is an opportunity for UA students to learn about the possibilities and benefits of studying abroad. This semester’s fair is primarily for the Capstone International Center’s affiliates, so they can showcase all of the programs that are offered by their company to UA students. “We have a lot of students who don’t want to do an exchange or a faculty program because maybe we aren’t offering a program they are interested in, so they would go on an ‘affiliate program,’” Holly Hudson, the director of Capstone International Academic Programs, said. The third party affiliates have been approved and vetted through the Capstone International Program so students who go on these programs are able to receive UA credit. There are hundreds of affiliate programs, but the international program is only partnered with 15, Hudson said. “We would like for UA students to know there are all sorts of options for studying, volunteering and interning abroad while also getting credit for it,” Hudson said.
City orchestra to open season at Moody
Crimson White – Sept. 17
Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra will open its season this year with “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a collaboration of students and teachers performing professional classical music. The concert will be held in Moody Music Hall’s Concert Hall Monday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Audience members will hear the works of two Russian composers: Sergei Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 25,” also known as the “Classical Symphony,” and Modest Petrovitch Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as well as the “Clarinet Concerto” by American composer Aaron Copland. Osiris Molina, assistant professor of clarinet at the University, will be the soloist in the Copland piece. “Pictures at an Exhibition” will include both faculty and student musicians from The University of Alabama’s School of Music. One such member is Cynthia Simpson, a senior majoring in music performance who plays the French horn. Simpson is the assistant principal horn at the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra. This upcoming concert marks her first subscription show with the company. “At first, I was really nervous,” Simpson said. “In most ensembles, I’ve been in here, I’ve been playing with people my age, but in this, the faculty is surrounding me on stage. I’m the assistant to my own teacher. He’s sitting right next to me as I play.” The blend of faculty and students is nothing new to TSO, which has been working with students who have a high caliber of musicianship for years, most frequently placing them as substitutes for regular orchestra members. With the exception of voice and piano, most music performance department faculty members are in TSO, providing students an opportunity to hear their own teachers play in an orchestral setting.
Students to debate Alabama’s immigration law in Ferg to commemorate Constitution Day
Crimson White – Sept. 17
In honor of Constitution Day, two teams of UA students will debate the merits of Alabama’s illegal immigration law, also known as H.B. 56, in the Ferguson Center Theater at 3:00 p.m. The debate will center on the issue of the federalism in enforcing immigration law and whether Alabama’s authority is preempted by the national government’s power over immigration. Political science professor Joseph Smith said the sponsors chose H.B. 56 because it is controversial and relates to the important constitutional issue of federalism. “This is a great introduction to the legal issues surrounding federalism and national preemption of state laws,” Smith said. The debate will specifically focus on section 27 of the law, which prohibits Alabama courts from enforcing any contract made by someone in the country illegally…A team from Smith’s Constitutional Law course will argue that Alabama has overstepped its authority in passing section 27, while a team of students from UA’s Mock Trial team, coached by lawyer and political science doctoral student James Todd, will argue that section 27 is a proper exercise of state police authority.
UA Honors College offers personal relationships, positive experiences
Crimson White – Sept. 17
With one in four incoming freshmen enrolled, the Honors College is poised to become one of the largest student communities on the University of Alabama campus. Based on four pillars – innovative scholarship, advanced research, cultural interaction and civic engagement – the College offers both academic and social opportunities for students. “Being a member of the Honors College has positively shaped my experience at The University of Alabama, both academically and socially, through gaining new friendships and becoming more involved on campus,” Morgan Canada, a junior majoring in nursing, said. “My advice for students is to take full advantage of all the opportunities the program offers, including scholarship, honors abroad courses and service opportunities.” The Honors College offers the University Scholars program, an opportunity that allows Honors students to work ahead in graduate studies, in addition to offering research opportunities in topics ranging from Parkinson’s disease to historical social trends. To receive an Honors designation on a diploma, students must complete 18 credit hours worth of seminars and honors departmental courses, as well as maintain a 3.3 GPA in all programs. Departmental honors courses typically feature smaller enrollment, a contrast Canada said she appreciates over large lecture-style classes. “Because the Honors College offers smaller classroom sizes of no more than twenty people, I have gained personal relationships with my professors and classmates,” Canada said. “I am able to effectively communicate with my professors by having one-on-one relationships and forming study groups with my classmates.”
Students reflect on study abroad experiences following 2011 tornado
Crimson White – Sept. 17
At The University of Alabama, April 27, 2011 marked more than the date of a natural disaster. It became the last day of school, the end of the spring semester and for two UA students, the start of a year-long adventure. Bentley Brooks Rodrigue, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, and David Vogt, a senior majoring in German and history, left the devastation in Tuscaloosa, went home and prepared to spend the 2011-2012 school year overseas. Vogt, who spent a year in Erfurt, Germany, left Tuscaloosa on April 28, 2011 and flew to his home in Phoenix, Ariz. a few days later…Rodrigue, who spent the next year in London, England, went to her home in Cincinnati, Ohio immediately following the tornado and said she felt horrible for leaving at a time when Tuscaloosa needed help…Both students were part of programs that did not include other UA students, went abroad knowing no one and had almost no one to relate their tornado experiences with. “Since there are almost no tornados in Germany, no one really understood what Tuscaloosa had gone through,” Vogt said. “I told my story and showed them pictures and they were naturally shocked, but it didn’t go much further than that. While in Germany, I received a copy of The Crimson White commemorating the six-month anniversary of the tornado and it was just surreal.”
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.