UA in the News: September 25, 2012
September 25, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Out-of-state count rises
Crimson White – Sept. 25
As the total enrollment of the University of Alabama has grown substantially in the last decade, so too has the number of out-of-state students. They make up 55 percent of this year’s record-setting freshman class, a four percent jump since 2011, according to a University official. The class, composed of a record of 6,397 students, was selected from an applicant pool of more than 26,400 — 17,799 of which were from outside of the state of Alabama, said Mary Spiegel, executive director of undergraduate admissions. Georgia, Texas and Florida topped the list of states of origin of freshman students, with Tennessee, Illinois, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio behind. “This is a truly outstanding freshman class,” said Judy Bonner, UA executive vice president and provost, in a press release regarding the enrollment numbers. “As our applicant pool has grown, we have become increasingly more selective. These students have exceptional academic credentials.” The number of National Merit Scholars in the freshman class has risen 32 percent since 2011 to 239 students, 191 of which are from out-of-state, Spiegel said. Additionally, the number of National Achievement finalists has increased by 12 since last year to 42, 10 of which are from out-of-state. Spiegel said the University hosts numerous college fairs and high school visits through the fall and spring to recruit both in-state and out-of-state students to apply and attend. “The University has expanded our recruiting efforts both in-state and out-of-state,” Spiegel said. “Increasing enrollment by recruiting academically talented students from Alabama and across the country has been a top priority to achieve academic growth and achievement. It is important for the University to have students from out-of-state because they help to create a diverse student body and enrich the college experience.”
New York artist, UA alum to show work at Sarah Moody gallery
Al.com – Sept. 24
New York artist and University of Alabama alumnus Thornton Willis will appear at a reception and Q&A session from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art on the UA campus. The Q&A session will begin at 7 p.m. Willis’ appearance supports an exhibit called “Thornton Willis: Structural Abstractions,” that features selections from a decade of his large abstract oil paintings. The show will run from Oct. 4 until Nov. 16 at the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art. The exhibit features three bodies of the Willis’ work, including his latest paintings, lattice paintings and triangle paintings. Willis’ awards include a painting fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, painting and printmaking fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Fellowship, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Painting Fellowship and membership in the 2004 Southern Mississippi College of Arts and Letters Wall of Fame. His work is featured in more than 40 collections, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; and the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at UA.
UA and Chamber of Commerce start Young Entrepreneurs Academy
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Sept. 24
Parents, if you are pushing a certain career on your child – stop – and listen to this. The “hot” careers coming by 2020 may not be what you would expect…New technology is increasing the demand for workers in many fields, including engineering, healthcare and finance…a young entrepreneurs academy in Tuscaloosa, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the University of Alabama. It’s for middle and high school students, an after school program November through May. It’s the first program of its kind in Alabama. (Students) write business plans, make pitches to investors…
UA students sent to Black Belt for fellowship, leadership
Crimson White – Sept. 25
Thanks to a new Honors College program, students no longer need to be Fellows to help out their fellow man in Alabama’s Black Belt region. The new initiative, called 57 Miles, focuses on getting Honors College students involved in assisting with economic, social and educational issues in Perry County, Ala., with the ultimate goal of establishing a year-round presence in the area. Wellon Bridgers, the University Fellows Experience coordinator who has been working closely with the development of 57 Miles, said the new program should further solidify the UA presence in Perry County. “It’s really an extension of the University Fellows’ work in Perry County over the past four years through the Black Belt Experience,” Bridgers said. “Dr. [Jacqueline] Morgan [associate dean of the Honors College] wanted to take the original vision for the partnership and expand it to all Honors College students, because we feel everybody has something to offer.” The initiative officially launched the week of Monday, Sept. 17, but Russell Willoughby, a sophomore majoring in English and French and one of two interns helping to get the project off of the ground, said the concept has been gaining momentum for about a year and fully materialized in August…The Honors College will be hosting an “Evening with Perry County” on Oct. 5 in which new student volunteers will have an opportunity to meet with community members and learn about the area in which they will be helping. Several educational round table discussions are also scheduled for the coming months. “It is absolutely critical that all of our students learn about the community they are going to be working with,” Bridgers said.
Ph.D student wins international award
Crimson White – Sept. 25
A University of Alabama student and faculty member won two awards at a prestious conference for people in the microelectronics and packaging society earlier this month. The International Microelectronics and Packaging Society is the largest society dedicated to the advancement and growth of microelectronics and electronics packaging technologies through professional education. They held their annual international symposium in San Diego earlier in the month. Anurag Gupta, a third year Ph.D. student with a major in materials science in the department of electrical and computer engineering, was awarded the prestigious Steve Adamson Memorial Award for leadership and contribution to chapter activities and extensive involvement and contributions to publications in technical fields of knowledge. Gupta attended the conference with another UA Ph.D. student Kaushal Kannan and faculty advisor Bruce Kim. Kim was presented with the Outstanding Educator Award for his mentorship and involvement with the student chapter activities as well as his extensive technical contributions in the field of packaging…“[The Conference] had more than 100 companies with over 1,000 participants, both national and international from academia to industry,” Gupta said.
UA students graduating on time with help from DegreeWorks
Crimson White – Sept. 25
It is too early to gauge the effectiveness of The University of Alabama’s graduation campaign Finish in Four, a UA official said, but data shows that UA students are graduating on-time above the national average. “Since the Finish in Four campaign started in 2011, there hasn’t been sufficient time to see changes in the graduation rates,” said Judy Bonner, Executive Vice President and Provost of the University. According to “College Completion,” a website sponsored by the Chronicle of Higher Education, The University of Alabama has a four-year graduation rate of 37.9 percent compared to the national average of 31.3 percent for four-year public universities. The University’s six-year graduation rate is 63.7 percent, over twelve points higher than the national average. Finish in Four, a campaign designed to encourage four-year graduation, kicked off in 2011. It utilizes DegreeWorks to help students monitor their credit hours and plan semester course loads. DegreeWorks offers many tools to help students navigate course selection and understand course requirements, Bonner said. “If students fully utilized the tools available in DegreeWorks, the time students spend with academic advisors could be used for career planning rather than course scheduling,” she said. “DegreeWorks is a great software and enhances the advising process, but it doesn’t replace advising,” said Rebekah Welch, director of the Office of Nursing Student Services. “DegreeWorks had made it easier to help students with life-type advising. Advising is more than just course selection.” With less time needed for course selection, Welch said she can now devote more attention to advising students on careers.
Female a cappella choir finds singers
Crimson White – Sept. 25
The Honors College Assembly recently hosted tryouts for The University of Alabama’s first ever women’s a cappella group and chose 12 non-music majors as founding members. Tryouts consisted of an opportunity for each woman to show off her voice in an individual audition and a chance to arrange her own music and sing with a group. Madison Butz, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said she had the idea to start the group for a while and finally found an outlet through the Honors College this year. She was both pleased and surprised at the number of girls who showed up to try out. “I was actually really nervous because I thought nobody would come, but we ended up having 23 girls, which was a lot more than I expected,” Butz said. “We split them into two groups and they had 20 minutes to pick a song and arrange their own music. “It literally blew me away. I had no idea these girls would be so talented. But we only took 11 because we wanted to have a group of 12, and I want to sing with the group. I had to cut a lot of people which was really, really hard for me because they were all great.”… The organization is unlike any other choir on campus – it is the first a cappella group for females and none of its members have a major or minor in music.
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.