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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: February 28, 2013

Members of Congress to visit UA
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Feb. 27
On Friday, members of congress will visit the University of Alabama as part of an annual civil rights pilgrimage. More than 300 people will participate in the pilgrimage led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Because 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door,” the group added a visit to Tuscaloosa as part of its traditional visit to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma.
POLITICO – Feb. 28

University of Alabama design students earn second place
Tuscaloosa News – Feb. 28
Three interior design students at the University of Alabama earned second place in the global Design for Disaster Relief video competition. The contest asked students to a design a temporary housing unit of up to 400 square feet that could be used for a family of four. Kristen Lopez of Birmingham, Paige Hamlin of Atlanta and Ericha Turner of Huntsville designed 45-foot shipping containers that used solar panels for energy and flotation devices lining the bottom to help keep the unit afloat in case of flooding. The students also tied in soothing greens throughout the interior and a boardwalk theme of white wood and beadboard trim to represent Atlantic City, N.J. “The devastation from Hurricane Sandy was unfolding on TV as we worked on this project,” Lopez said. “We thought if we could create a new design, then maybe it would be something that could help someone now. It was a fresh wound that needed to be tackled right away. I was very emotional creating the video, and I figured if I was that emotional making the video, then maybe someone watching it would stop and really pay attention.”

College scholarships for foster care students
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Feb. 27
There’s a new partnership between the University of Alabama, University of North Alabama and the UMCH that could give more students a chance at a college education.  The United Methodist Children’s Home is providing an opportunity for young people using its existing Tuscaloosa and Florence group homes starting in fall of 2013.  The UMCH is offering scholarships and housing opportunities to foster children attending college. University of Alabama junior, Motell Foster, is a perfect example of the kind of impact scholarships like these can have on children who came from alternative living situations.  Foster received his scholarship to the University of Alabama through the Presbyterian Home for Children, and it’s made a huge difference in his life. 

New devices, technology help transform some teachers into ‘facilitators’
Anniston Star – Feb. 28
Saks Elementary School teacher Monique Grier says that when she began teaching about a decade ago it was difficult to imagine a classroom with a computer for every student … Grier’s move from educator to facilitator is representative of a larger trend that is slowly emerging in public schools. The facilitator trend is separate from, but accelerated by, the technology trend, leaders in digital education said … The concept of educators as facilitators is growing in popularity, but the trend is still evolving and the concept is not being practiced uniformly. “I think it is what everyone is striving to do,” said Andre Denham, who teaches education majors at the University of Alabama. “It takes a long time for things to change.” Denham said traditional teaching techniques still have a stronghold in many grade schools across the country, but at colleges and universities, teaching young educators to think like facilitators is standard. This semester Denham is teaching two sections of education students how to do just that. In Denham’s class, students focus on comparing and contrasting traditional teaching techniques to new ones while they learn how to encourage students to learn on their own with teacher guidance. “It’s a shift in thinking right now where the teacher is not looked on as the disseminator of education, but they are facilitating learning,” Denham said.

JSU education students tout skills for potential employers
Anniston Star – Feb. 28 
…JSU education students had their skill sets on display Wednesday in the Houston Cole Library. Called a reverse career fair, the event gave the students a chance to show off their knowledge and skills to visiting potential employers…Along with their handmade displays, many students also used iPads and laptops to show off their skills and how they can integrate new technology with their curriculums …  Dr. Andre Denham, assistant professor of education policy, leadership and technology studies at the University of Alabama, who did not attend the event, said during a Wednesday phone interview that new teachers today must have a strong knowledge of technology and its uses to be successful in today’s classroom. “They have to understand the principles of technology integration in the classroom,” Denham said. “It’s not just looking at technology as a one-all solution for everything … they have to understand which technology tools are appropriate.”

Rural hospitals face difficult times
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Feb. 27
Many West Alabama residents live in rural communities, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for those in less populated areas to receive quality health care. WVUA’s Travis Leder joins us now in the studio … so Travis, I hear that some of these towns are facing the shutdown of some of their small hospitals. Absolutely Tamika, rural health experts say many hospitals in the south are hurting financially … University of Alabama medical doctors say some of these small health care hubs are in dire straits because rural doctors and their patients are also feeling the effects of what some say is a system that needs to change for the better.

Faculty differs on constitutionality of gun laws
Crimson White – Feb. 28
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the most vexing parts included in the Bill of Rights. The longtime, heated debate on its meaning may be more important than ever following pushes for new gun regulation through legislation in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Susan Hamill, a professor at The University of Alabama School of Law, said she advocated responsible gun control measures and used the Constitution as a basis for her views during her 2010 campaign for state legislature against current Republican representative Bill Poole. “I am in favor of reasonable gun control, addressing both the kinds of guns and registration and background checks,” Hamill said. “I do not believe a ban on assault weapons would be unconstitutional. I also think it is constitutional to require background checks and registration.”…In 2008, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. In a five-to-four decision, the court struck down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban and articulated for the first time that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own a gun for self-defense, according to a Washington Post report…Paul Horwitz, a constitutional law professor at the Capstone, said the constitutionality of an assault weapons ban would hinge on the details of the proposed legislation. However, he was skeptical of the Heller decision. “I think the Heller opinion is a strained historical reading and does not give adequate attention to the preamble of the Second Amendment,” Horwitz said. “It doesn’t come out in an outrageous place, but I’m not totally convinced by it.”

Saturday in the Park events return to Moundville
Crimson White – Feb. 28
For the Moundville Archaeological Park, each spring brings with it the return of Saturday in the Park. The annual event held from the end of February through May at the Moundville Archaeological Park that celebrates the history of Native Americans in the Southeast. The programs help teach visitors about Native American culture, all the while making it fun and interesting for children and adults alike. It also serves as a hands-on element supplementing the Jones Archaeological Museum, which is located in the park. Betsy Irwin, education coordinator for the park, said she is particularly excited for this year’s series, which will offer several brand new events that she hopes will bring in returning visitors who want to see something new or people who just want to be outdoors…New events include a wild plant walk on March 23 by renowned plant expert and author Darryl Patton. Additionally, Becky Collier of Alabama 4-H will bring raptors for an up close look as part of the birding trail program on May 18.

“Hermitage Cats Save the Day” children’s musical coming to UA March 6 – Feb. 27
A jazz musical fantasy for children is coming to the University of Alabama Moody Music Concert Hall on March 6 at 6 p.m. “Hermitage Cats Save the Day” is a musical drama for kids with a jazz score by Chris Brubeck, a trombonist, vocalist, bassist and son of the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck. The family-friendly musical will require audience participation and is intended for elementary-aged children. Brubeck, who performs jazz and classical music, is a Grammy nominee.  He will be in attendance for the performance and will be available for a question and answer session at 2 p.m. on March 6 in UA’s jazz rehearsal room. “Hermitage Cats Save the Day” is based on a children’s book by Mary Ann Allin and Maria Haltunen, “Anna and the Hermitage Cats.”

Third annual AMLC comes to Ferguson
Crimson White – Feb. 28
Graduate students from the department of modern languages and classics will host the Third Annual Alabama Modern Language Conference in the Ferguson Center March 1-2. This year, the AMLC theme is “Redefining Borders: Bridging the Gap between Languages, Literatures and Cultures,” Sandrine Hope, co-organizer of the conference, said. “Any student who is interested in language will find something of interest,” Hope said. “The panels will address subjects from various literatures such as Spanish, French and German, to linguistics and teaching languages.” Hope said most of the presenters will be graduate students from the University, but there will also be 25 presenters coming from other universities around the country.

Quidditch games to move away from Quad, to spring
Crimson White – Feb. 28
The University of Alabama’s “Quidditch on the Quad” tournament made headlines over the last two years. This spring, Quidditch will return to the Capstone, but will no longer be on the Quad. John McDonough, the Quidditch coordinator for the Honors College Assembly, said “Quidditch on the Quad” has become “Quidditch at the Capstone” because it will be held on the Recreation Center fields instead, which will open up more opportunities for the event. “At the heart of this event is a sport tournament, and the Rec Center fields, where we are hosting the event, are a lot safer and better equipped for sport,” McDonough said. “The Quad is obviously a very important and protected center of campus. Moving to the Rec fields allows us a little more freedom.”

Sorority hosting 5k to benefit arthritis charity
Crimson White – Feb. 28
Alpha Omicron Pi sorority is hosting the 6th annual Run for Roses 5k on Saturday, March 2., supporting their national philanthropy, The Arthritis Foundation. “It is important for us to provide our community with a way to learn more about arthritis,” Maegan Gundy, philanthropy chair of Alpha Omicron Pi, said. Gundy said Alpha Omicron Pi is expecting about 500 people to show up. The cost is $10, which includes post-race food and the 5K walk/run…All proceeds will benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Alabama has growing business, education ties with Turkey – Feb. 28
Alabama business recruiters met Wednesday in Montgomery with a delegation of officials from Turkey, the latest in a series of growing ties between the state and the country. Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, and his staff met with Veysel Yurdakul, governor of the Bitlis province in Turkey, and those traveling with him, following the Third Annual Turkish American Day at the Alabama Capitol…Also this week, executive MBA students from the University of Alabama are in Istanbul for an immersion study. Their work focuses on learning more about the Turkish culture and economy, as well as exploring the successes and strategies of companies there.

Health Hut takes ‘Cash Cab’ approach to students’ health education
Crimson White – Feb. 28
Fans of the Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab” can now experience the show first-hand. The health edition, that is. The University of Alabama’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness is implementing a new educational outreach method: driving students around campus and asking them health-related questions for prizes. Starting March 4, Health Hut interns and health ambassadors will drive their fellow students to their classes in the “$wagon,” a Global Electric Motorcar with the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness emblem etched on its sides. The peer educators will ask UA students questions about the health topic of the week during the free ride to class and dole out giveaways in turn for participating.

Students right illiteracy, social immobility through campus initiatives in region
Crimson White – Feb. 28
There are counties in the Black Belt region of Alabama where as much as 30 percent of their population lacks basic prose literacy skills, according to a report released in 2009 by the National Center for Education Statistics. Nisa Miranda, director of the University Center for Economic Development, said the high illiteracy rates in the counties of Alabama’s Black Belt region contribute to the immense poverty and resulting social immobility in these areas. She said University of Alabama organizations and students are working to address this issue, but the problem is massive and systemic. “The counties that surround The University of Alabama are all, by and large, very poor,” Miranda said. “Right now, they have no farming to speak of, and little industry.” Miranda said the key to changing the economic climate in impoverished Black Belt counties is education. To that end, the UA Center for Economic Development is holding a book drive to reduce the disparity in resources between schools in the Black Belt and wealthier schools. Students will be able to donate books at eight collection sites, which will be set up on campus throughout the month of March.

Auburn University in brief for Feb. 27 – Feb. 27
… Joshua Rothman will discuss his book, “Flush Times and Fever Dreams” March 4, at 3 p.m. in 317 Thach Hall. Rothman is associate professor of history at the University of Alabama and director of the Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South. His book sheds light on the connections between slavery and capitalism in Jacksonian America. The free public event is sponsored by the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts.

Despite talk of retirement, longtime UA faculty member stays
Crimson White – Feb. 28
Anyone who has passed through the College of Communication and Information Sciences in the past few decades knows they have a secret weapon – one that almost escaped the hallowed halls of Reese Phifer early this semester. To the dismay of many faculty and students, Jim Oakley, career counselor and recruiter, put in his retirement for January 2013. Nevertheless, when Oakley’s situation changed, previously forcing him to consider retirement, he reassessed his plans for the future. “I thought, ‘what am I going to do now,’” he said. “My three kids and the dean told me ‘Just stay,’ so here I am. I could be sitting at home at the coffee shop, but I’m here.” Oakley’s relationship with the University began in 1985 when he retired from a long career in journalism as publisher for his local newspaper.

Charities team up for city’s inaugural half marathon
Crimson White – Feb. 28
More than 800 people will run in the inaugural Tuscaloosa Half Marathon Saturday, March 2. The event will raise money for ReadBAMARead, an organization started in the wake of the April 27, 2011 tornado to help refurnish elementary school libraries, and to an effort by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa to rebuild elementary school playgrounds. University of Alabama assistant gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth is a co-founder of ReadBAMARead. She said this marathon is meant to celebrate the regrowth of the city and raise money for their cause.


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.