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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: November 13, 2012

University of Alabama names Joe Benson interim provost
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 12
Joe Benson has been named the University of Alabama’s interim provost. A longtime faculty member and administrator, Benson has served as vice president for research and vice provost at UA since 2009. He will continue to serve as vice president for research as well as provost until his planned retirement next summer. “Dr. Benson is a respected member of the faculty and an academic leader,” Bonner said in a statement. “He has been the president of the UA Faculty Senate, chair of the department of geology, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, in addition to his current position.” Bonner said she will announce search committees for the positions of provost and vice president for the Office of Research in the coming weeks.  Benson began his professional career at UA in 1978 as an assistant professor of geology. – Nov. 12
Birmingham Business Journal – Nov. 13
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Nov. 12
CBS 12 (Chattanooga, Tenn.) – Nov. 12

UA engineering professor developing better ankle prosthesis
Product Design and Development – Nov. 12
Most people probably do not spend much time contemplating the mechanics of walking, likely unaware of their ankle’s crucial role. The human ankle supplies considerably more energy than both the hip and knee, making it a critical part of walking. Unfortunately, the standard below-knee prosthesis does not produce enough power to support an amputee’s walk…Dr. Xiangrong Shen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Alabama, hopes to develop a solution to this problem. After receiving a grant of about $564,000 from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, he launched a four-year project with researchers from UA, Vanderbilt University and the Georgia Institute of Technology to produce alternative below-knee prosthesis capable of actively powering the ankle joint in use. According to Shen, there are two key components in the new prosthesis. The first is a special type of liquid fuel called monopropellant. Monopropellant works as an energy-storing medium and decomposes upon contact with certain catalysts. The use of this fuel allows for a light-weight prosthesis that stores enough energy to operate for daily use.

UA seeks to help student veterans with new office of Veteran and Military Affairs
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12
The University of Alabama will hold a grand opening for its Office of Veteran and Military Affairs Friday. The facility has been up and running since summer. Over the last 11 years, you’ve heard about the horrors of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan … Injured or not, as the U.S. ends those wars, many vets will seek to move their lives forward with a college education. But even for those without obvious injury, the transition to campus is not always easy … any student can face challenges adapting to college life. But if you’re one of the 800 or so students on this campus who has spent the last several years supporting troops in the field or with a front row seat to combat yourself, starting or resuming your college education when you’re surrounded by people who can’t really relate to your experience can leave a veteran feeling all alone on campus.
Crimson White – Nov. 13

UA student gives keynote speech at Tuscaloosa’s Veteran’s Day Ceremony
NBC 13 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12
Veterans all over were marching to the same beat, giving similar messages, asking for continued support. University of Alabama, Army reservist Jordan Carpenter is about to return to civilian life but says his service of support won’t end. “Not while my brothers and sisters are returning from overseas with life-changing injuries, both seen and unseen, and not while we have those who serve under old glory have not heard a simple direct thank you.” And that’s a simple plea from many of the veterans, several attended this ceremony, which was moved under a pavilion because of the rain.
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12

HONORS AND AWARDS: A summary listing of colleges receiving institution and individual honors and awards
Community College Weekly – Nov. 12
Stephen Katsinas, director of the Education Policy Center at The University of Alabama, has been named winner of the university’s 2012 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award. Katsinas, an expert in higher education finance and state/federal higher education policy, has served as director of the center since 2005. The award is presented annually to a UA faculty member judged to have made extraordinary research contributions that reflect credit on the individual and the university.

US Supreme Court to decide on changes to the Voting Rights Act
The Voice of Russia – Nov. 13
The US Supreme Court has agreed to take up a challenge to a section of the Voting Rights Act that includes a provision for pre-clearance for states to make changes to their voting laws. Nine pre-clearance states must pre-clear any changes to their voting laws, including redistricting or passing rules such as voter identification laws. The Department of Justice or federal courts must determine that the change does not discriminate against a group that has been discriminated against before in the past in that state. Voice of Russia American Edition’s Carmen Russell-Sluchansky spoke with Brian Fair, a constitutional law professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, to discuss the challenge. The point is to say – if you are making a change then the burden is on the Government to justify the change and that the change will not have a negative impact or suppress, or deny, or abridge the right to vote of minority voters in your community. That seems like a good thing, given the history of open discriminations sponsored by the Government that empowered political dynasties throughout this country.

Democrats still hold most Ala. courthouse offices
Associated Press – Nov. 12
After losing their last statewide elected office in the Nov. 6 election, Alabama Democrats still can console themselves with one statistic: At least they still hold a majority of the elected offices in county courthouses statewide…William Stewart, retired chairman of the political science department at the University of Alabama, said the strong Republican showing in the presidential and statewide races indicates the majority of Alabamians are conservative and don’t like the national Democratic Party. But he said many Alabama voters are willing to split their ballots to vote for Democrats in county races where they know the candidates. Stewart said county courthouses will likely remain the base of the Democratic Party for the next few years. “I don’t see how they can win statewide races any time real soon,” he said.
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 12 – Nov. 12
Gadsden Times – Nov. 12
Florence Times Daily – Nov. 12

UA School of Music presents Jazz Standards Combo, Crimson Slides Wednesday – Nov. 12
This Wednesday, the University of Alabama School of Music is proud to present the Jazz Standards Combo with the Crimson Slides in Moody Music Building’s Concert Hall. The concert will include Michael Davis’s “Green on Blue”, Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny  Berke’s “Here’s that Rainy Day,” Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” and “I Mean You” by Thelonius Mok and Coleman Hawkins, among other performances. Tiffany Schwarz, the School of Music’s Arts Events Coordinator, fills us in on what you can expect from the show. “Generally attendees can expect a high energy show with a little something for everyone. Jazz Standards and Crimson Slides are two of the ensembles that we have who always create an atmosphere of fun and unpredictability,” said Schwartz. The concert is free and open to the public, but they do ask that you bring cans to support the Beat Auburn/Beat Hunger Drive.

Moundville to host beadwork demonstration
Crimson White – Nov. 13
Visitors to Moundville Archaeological Park will be able to see the making of Native American beadwork firsthand this Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. Beadsmith Cat Sloan will demonstrate techniques such as finger weaving, twining and beading. She will also discuss Native American textiles. Sloan’s demonstration is part of Moundville’s new Saturday in the Park program, which is designed to educate visitors on the lifestyle of Mississippian Indians who inhabited Moundville in the past.

Interview with Kellie Wells, author of Fat Girl, Terrestrial
Huffington Post – Nov. 12
Kellie Wells is the author of three acclaimed works of fiction, including Compression Scars, the winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award. Her latest, Fat Girl, Terrestrial (Fiction Collective Two), tells the story of Wallis Armstrong, a giantess in the town of Kingdom Come, Kansas, where children mysteriously vanish. The novel has picked up endorsements from Kathryn Davis, Kate Bernheimer and Jaimy Gordon, who raves that “When the present generation of writers shakes down to its unique and irreplaceable voices, Kellie Wells will be one of them.” I spoke with the University of Alabama professor about her inspiration for the wild storyline, her attention to language and why the suffering of the body makes for good fiction.

Spanish Club to host Scrabble in Espanol
Crimson White – Nov. 12
Wednesday night, a group of University of Alabama students will be competing in the University’s first Spanish Scrabble Championship. The Spanish Club, run by faculty advisor Karina Vázquez and two UA graduate students, Jessica Hubickey and Toloo Riazi, will host the competition. “The Spanish Club is an organization created to promote and enhance the Spanish language and culture among University of Alabama students,” Hubickey said. “We felt that a Spanish Scrabble Night would be a great opportunity to allow students to unite, relax and show off their Spanish vocabulary skills while playing a fun game practicing and engaging with the language.” All UA students can compete in the championship. Those not majoring in Spanish or without any experience with the language can compete using a bilingual dictionary.

UA students give eye care screenings at day cares
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Nov. 12
Do you know if your young child has vision problems? It’s very important to be on top of our children’s eye care…That’s where Impact Alabama steps in. Stephen Black is president of the organization which heads up Focus First. Here, students from the University of Alabama and other campuses go out to daycare centers in rural and urban areas to aid in providing eye screenings for kids 16 months to five years old.

UA group to make chili for charity for Hurricane Sandy relief
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Nov. 12
Residents of New York, New Jersey, and communities all along the Northeastern Seaboard are still struggling to pick up the pieces after Superstorm Sandy. Recovery from a natural disaster is a long process, something we know all too well in West Alabama … Sally Jones is here from the University of Alabama to tell me more about it … “Chili for Charity” is Thursday, November 15th at the Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market.

Students begin to rely on Linkedin for jobs
Crimson White – Nov. 13
In spring 2010, Gayle Howell began believing in Linkedin. Howell, the manager for the Career Center Satellite of the College of Engineering, said that was when she saw the professional social network work to beat one man’s unemployment. “I worked with a gentleman who found himself laid off from work,” Howell said. “He was 50 years old and had two daughters who were students on campus, for whom he was paying tuition and he lost his job. He came to me because we serve our alumni here at the career center. He was pretty afraid of what was going to happen to his family.” Howell said they worked together to update his resume and polish it up. The man had just started using Linkedin…“He worked his job search very hard, very strategically, eight hours a day. At the end of two months, he had nine offers, and he gave all the credit to Linkedin. And then kept getting offers after he accepted a job. That was the turning point for me.” At the beginning of this year, Howell was approached by a student with a Linkedin success story, shoring up her love for the network. “He said he wanted to tell me what happened to him,” she said. “He updated his Linkedin file with the skills that he acquired with his summer internship and within two days of doing that, he got a call from Apple Computers. They asked him if he wanted to fly out to California for a job interview.”

New book catalogues UA student contribution in World War II
Crimson White – Nov. 13
The University of Alabama commemorated Veterans Day on Nov. 7 with a release of a book outlining the University’s contributions during World War II. The book, “All of Us Fought the War: The University of Alabama and its Men and Women in World War II,” by Delbert Reed, is the product of old Crimson White articles, Corolla pages and alumni magazine articles, along with more than 100 personal interviews…The book features stories from former Tuscaloosa mayor Al DuPont, Medal of Honor recipient Charles Davis, and 11 students who served as generals during the war. It also includes pictures and names of the 350 students who lost their lives during wartime. More than 8,000 former UA students served in World War II, while a few thousand more were able to attend the University on the GI Bill after serving in the war…Ken Gaddy, director of the Paul W. Bryant museum, which published the book, said they are honored to be sharing the stories. “We want to preserve these folks’ memories and records and distribute them,” Gaddy said. “We want to publish the book so current students can read it. These people were that age.”

High academic standards pay off for UA Nursing students
Crimson White – Nov. 13
Beads of sweat roll down each student’s neck as alarms ring to let them know that their patients — or in this case, high-tech computer-based mannequins — are unstable and need immediate attention. Pressure is heavy in the room as professors observe every move from behind a glass wall. This is a typical day for a University of Alabama upper-division nursing student, one of the most rigorous undergraduate programs at the Capstone. “Nursing is difficult,” said Kelsey Williamson, a senior and forth-semester nursing student. “There are days when I leave the hospital extremely tired from working all day only to come home to study for a test the next day. One has to give it their all knowing one day they will be able to make a difference in someone’s life.” The process of getting into the Capstone College of Nursing is difficult in itself. Unlike most other majors at the University, prospective nursing students must go through a strenuous application process before starting upper-division courses their junior year. The Capstone College of Nursing takes applications each summer and fall, accepting 96 students each term. This summer, 96 out of 199 eligible applicants were accepted. In the fall, 96 were taken from a group of 188.

LETTER: Thanks for helping golf tournament
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 13
Dear Editor: Thursday, Oct. 4 was a beautiful, sunny day at Ol’ Colony Golf Course and a special day for the golf tournament for CrossingPoints. This program is a collaberation between the University of Alabama’s Special Education and Multiple Abilities Departments in the College of Education and the Tuscaloosa city and county school systems. My family became involved with CrossingPoints when Walt, my 29-year-old down syndrome grandson, entered the program. Today he works at the Supe Store at the University of Alabama as a result of his training from this transition program. He is a happy, well adjusted young man who can’t wait to go to work each day. I would like to send heartfelt thanks to the following: Honorary Chairperson Coach Jay Seawell; corporate sponsers, the UA Office for Academic Affairs, Alagasco, Bryant Bank, Zeigler, Burk-Kleinpeter Inc., Drake Printers, and Gene Dean. Many thanks to Dean Jim McLean, the CrossingPoints teachers Amy Williamson and John Myrick, and all those who played, donated prizes, made a contribution or helped the day of the tournament. You made this a big success!


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.