MEMORANDUM To: From: Re: UAHuntsville Faculty and Staff David B. Williams, President End of Semester
As the semester draws to close, I would like to thank everyone for staying the course. We prepare to breathe a collective sigh of relief as this year’s class graduates on time on Friday. We welcome Dr. Tom Wolfe as our Commencement speaker to give one last lecture to our graduating class. If you are intending to come and listen, please make sure you have a ticket since the Friday evening ceremony is sure to attract a capacity crowd. It will be good to see Spragins Hall dressed up to celebrate, even as we recall the memorial service there for Professors Maria Davis, Adriel Johnson and Gopi Podila, a few short months ago. We should all thank our Biological Sciences faculty and staff colleagues for the remarkable job they have done in coming together to ensure that all their students complete their programs of study on time and for taking on the added responsibility of assuring that all students were looked after and mentored. Even as we remember the tragedy of February 12th, we have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to. As we maintain our focus on the future, we can take pride in some remarkable achievements over the last year. Our faculty and staff continue to garner honors and our students continue to accomplish great successes. The university, led by our faculty and staff hosted a number of events across the disciplines, many providing a national stage for UAHuntsville to show off its very best. And speaking of “best,” USA Today / The Princeton Review ranked us # 22 in the country, best value in a public university. Despite living with a 7.5% pro-rationed budget for this academic year, we have continued to increase the budgets of all but one college and continued to hire new faculty in all colleges. This achievement is in stark contrast to hundreds of other universities across the nation where faculty and staff are suffering lay-offs or furloughs and academic programs are cut. Let’s remember a small selection of accomplishments in the last academic year: We made several key academic-leadership appointments • Dr. Caron St. John, the associate dean for research, graduate programs & outreach in the College of Business & Behavioral Science at Clemson University, is now Dean of our College of Business Administration.
Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Riverside will become Dean of the College of Engineering in August. Professor Sonja Brown-Givens became the first female African-American to serve as a department chairperson at UAHuntsville.
Our faculty and academic departments continue to gain national recognition. • • • • • • • • • • • • Dean Fay Raines of the College of Nursing assumed the position of Chair for the TriCouncil of Nursing. Professors Nancy Finley and Kate Leonard were awarded a grant by the American Association of University Women to encourage Students Over the Traditional Age (SOTA) in Engineering. Prof. Gang Li won the IUPAP award for young scientists. Dr. Ross Burrows won a US Airforce Young Scientist Award. Prof. Vladimir Florinski won an NSF CAREER award. Prof. Monica Dillihunt was awarded the AERA’s Division E Distinguished Research Award in Human Development. SLP Diagnostics took the top prize ($100,000) in the Alabama Launchpad competition for nascent start-up companies. New MS and PhD degrees in Modeling and Simulation were approved and students are being enrolled starting in May 2010. A new Masters Degree in Information Assurance and Security will be offered in Fall 2010. A new MA specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology will be offered in Fall 2010. Integrated BS-MS (JUMP) Programs were initiated to our best students to complete both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in 5 years. An innovative MBA Program was approved for delivery in China, in Chinese.
Our research expenditures, already the larges in the nation for a public university of our size continue to grow: • • • We are experiencing another 10-12% growth in research expenditures for FY10, amounting to a record ~ $82M. Proposals and awards are also running at a rate higher than the 10-12% in research-expenditure growth. According to NSF, our Atmospheric Science research program ranked 13th among 108 universities with $9.7 million in research expenditures. Huntsville was ranked second out of 387 metro areas in Moody’s Economy’s report on expected employment growth. Two Huntsville strengths were: 1 per capita income, and “UAHuntsville is becoming increasingly competitive”.
Our students continue to distinguish themselves: • • Joy Agee, a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship. Jennifer Staton, a senior History major and English minor, won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English and U.S. Cultural Studies in Germany.
• • • • • • •
Mary Crouch, a senior Spanish major with a minor in Global Studies, received an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright Grant for Colombia. Senior David Pinkleton is a candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives in District 20. Freshman James Lomax is running for City Council District 3 seat, representing South Huntsville.
Ms. Laura Kehre was awarded the National Consortium for MASINT Research (NCMR) and the Defense Intelligence Agency scholarships.
For the 16th time we won first place in the SE USA in the concrete canoe competition and will soon compete in the nationals at San Luis Obispo, CA. Over 70 companies and 800 students attended the spring 2010 Career Fair. 21 student athletes earned 4.0 GPAs for the 2009 Fall and Spring semesters. Over 100 made the Dean’s List.
Our campus attracted national leaders: • Jim Maser, CEO of Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, opened the company's only university-based 'skunk works'. Other distinguished visitors included Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India; Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Dr. Harrison Schmitt, former senator and moon walker, Marilyn Horne, leading opera singer, Kristina Johnson, Under Secretary of Energy, Dr. Dennis C Dickerson, noted US Civil Rights authority and many others.
We continue to invest in our academic and student-oriented infrastructure • • Our new 400-bed LEED-certified residence hall is scheduled for completion before the fall semester. A new dining area, complete with retail store, Chick-fil-A and Papa John’s Pizza will enhance our on-campus life. A newly renovated Wilson Hall was opened with state-of-the-art hospital facilities for our nursing students, a superb art gallery and laboratories for our visual arts students as well as six high-tech classrooms for our Professional and Continuing Education programs.
So whichever way you look at it, this has been a memorable academic year. We have much to be proud of and will continue to make history next year as we grow in both quality and quantity in all aspects of our education, our scholarly research and our service to the Huntsville/Madison County community. We are proud to be the University of Alabama IN Huntsville and we will CHARGE ON!