UAB COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER DEBUTS NEW FACILITY
On August 23, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center officially celebrated the grand opening of the recently renovated Wallace Tumor Institute. The historic opening is the culmination of a $30 million renovation project, funded with state bonds, that began in 2010 with the intention of creating an interactive, multidisciplinary environment that fosters increased collaborative efforts and scientific breakthroughs. Improvements include larger, more open laboratory spaces, a skylight atrium expanding from the second to sixth floors, a state-of-the-art advanced imaging facility in the basement and a clearly marked and welcoming front door.
UAB SCHOOL OF MEDICINE CHOOSES NEW LEADER
Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., has been named the next senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. Vickers, a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, is a world renowned surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, pioneer in health disparities research and a native of Alabama. He was recommended after an extensive national search. Vickers, 53, spent his formative years as a young faculty member at UAB, beginning in 1994, and he directed the section of gastrointestinal surgery here from 2000 to 2006. He was the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He began his new post at UAB on October 15.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER, CONDOLEEZZA RICE AT UAB
The UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center presented An Afternoon with National Leaders, followed by a staged reading of Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963 on September 15. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and former secretary of state, political scientist, author and Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice, Ph.D., spoke and participated in a discussion moderated by UAB President Dr. Ray L. Watts. The ASC and ArtPlay presented a staged reading of Christina M. Ham’s play Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963 as part of a nationwide reading.
UAB ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY CARDIOLOGIST FIRST TO USE NEW HEART CATHETER ON A U.S. PATIENT
UAB electrophysiology cardiologist Tom McElderry, M.D., has become the first surgeon in the United States to use the new IntellaTip MiFi XP catheter in a patient. The device was given FDA approval in the United States in August for the treatment of atrial flutter, an arrhythmia that affects nearly 1 million people in the United States. IntellaTip MiFi XP is engineered to deliver highly localized electrical information in real time. An innovative set of electrodes around the catheter’s tip provides electrograms of the heart – photos of the heart’s electric anatomy – with a higher resolution than any other ablation catheter. These electrograms help clinicians assess lesion maturation and differentiate viable from nonviable tissue. McElderry, associate professor of medicine and section chief of electrophysiology in UAB’s Division of Cardiovascular Disease, worked with Boston Scientific for five years on the sensor technology.
UAB OPENS FIRST AND ONLY MULTIPLE MYELOMA CLINIC IN ALABAMA
The UAB Division of Hematology and Oncology and the Bone Marrow Transplant Program have established the only multidisciplinary myeloma clinic in Alabama. The Multiple Myeloma Clinic was developed by a group of UAB physicians who have a special interest in clinical trial development and the identification of therapeutic and preventive targets, as well as understanding the pathogenesis of the disease and environmental and genetic events that lead to malignant transformation of the plasma cell.
UAB ANNOUNCES RECORD TOTAL ENROLLMENT AND INCREASED ACT SCORES
Fall enrollment at UAB is at a record high for the fifth consecutive year; figures released show a year-to-year total enrollment increase of 3.6 percent, up to 18,568 from 17,999 in the fall of 2012. In 2013, the average ACT score for the freshman class increased to 25 from 24.5 in 2012, and the average GPA increased to 3.62 from 3.54. UAB’s freshman enrollment is the largest in its history and increased for a fifth consecutive year, with gains among in-state students, as well as those from other states, other countries and Jefferson County, AL.
UAB MEDICINE CONTINUES RESTRUCTURING, ADDS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF INPATIENT SERVICES
UAB Hospital has added a senior vice president of inpatient services position to its operational structure and has named former UAB Hospital Interim CEO Anthony Patterson to the position. This appointment took effect in September and is part of a reorganiza-tion of the UAB Medicine operating structure, which included elimination of the UAB Hospital CEO position and the creation of a UAB Medicine COO position recently filled by Reid F. Jones, former University of Alabama Health Services Foundation executive vice president and senior vice president of ambulatory services. Patterson reports to Jones in his new role.
UAB HOSPITAL RANKED AMONG AMERICA’S BEST HOSPITALS FOR WOMEN
UAB Hospital has received the 2013 Women’s Choice Award, ranking among America’s Best Hospitals for Patient Experience for women. This distinction is the only award that identifies the country’s best health care institutions based on robust criteria that consider female patient satisfaction and what women say they want from a hospital, including quality physician communications, responsiveness of nurses and support staff, cleanliness and trusted referrals from other women.
NEW UAH STUDENT ORGANIZATION IS ORGANIZED
A new student organization, the Society of Optics Students (SOS), has been launched this fall at UAH. The purpose of this organization is to (a) promote the growth and understanding of the importance of optics in UAH and the north Alabama region and (b) provide a means for undergraduate and graduate students to get involved in optics related research and educational activities. SOS is established as an integrated component of Dr. Lingze Duan’s NSF Career project. Dr. Duan is currently serving as the faculty supervisor and physics graduate student Mark Sterrett is the president.
MAE DEPARTMENT AT UAH HOSTS DEAN OF ENGINEERING FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY
The MAE Department hosted Dr. Lance Collins, dean of the School of Engineering at Cornell University, who gave two seminars in the COE Distinguished Lecturer Series. Along with a seminar on his current research, Dr. Collins presented a description of “The New York City Applied Sciences Initiative – A Unique Public-Private-Academic Partnership for Economic Development” in which he described the partnership between Cornell, The Technion in Israel, and New York City to build a graduate degree campus in the heart of the city based on the cooperative development of entrepreneurial talent. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and staff from the mayor’s office attended the presentation.
INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING PROFESSOR HOSTS TECHNICAL INTERCHANGE MEETING
Dr. Phil Farrington hosted a Technical Interchange Meeting between NASA/MSFC and AMRDEC Personnel on the topic of Production Engineering and Logistics. The objective was to facilitate increased collaboration between NASA and the AMRDEC. Plans are underway for additional meetings focused on related topics such as Materials, Systems Engineering, and Maintainability.
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AT UAH
- The UAH Department of Music Faculty Orchestra, Dr. C. David Ragsdale, associate professor and conductor, performed works by Vaughan Williams, Liszt, and Gould with new music faculty members, Dr. Melody Ng, assistant professor of piano and Dr. Aaron Cain, assistant professor of voice, in a September 19 concert. An audience of nearly one thousand people attended the program which also featured the Huntsville Community Chorus and Billy Orton, instructor and conductor.
- José Betancourt, associate professor of art, opened “Blueprints” a traveling exhibition and lecture, with collaborator Susan Weil in September 2013 at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, Tuscumbia, AL.
UA LIBRARIES MADE JUMP IN VISITORS, RESEARCH RANKINGS
The Association of Research Libraries ranked UA at No. 79 in the top 115 research libraries in the United States and Canada, up from No. 92 at the time of the last rankings — and that’s taking into account that more and more libraries are joining the ARL’s ranking system. The total number of visitors registered at 1,733,143 for fiscal year 2012, compared to 904,017 total visitors in fiscal 2002. That’s a 91.7 percent increase in a decade. Break the numbers down further, and the stats begin to look even more impressive: In Gorgas Library alone, there were 921,265 visitors in fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2002, there were 373,843. That’s an increase of 147 percent in 10 years. Dr. Louis Pitschmann, dean of libraries, said the more the libraries embrace technology and digital information, the more students are taking advantage of what is being offered.
UA, COMMUNITY COLLEGES ENCOURAGE SCIENCE, MATH TEACHING CAREERS
UA’s impact on K-12 STEM education will grow over the next five years following the announcement of a $1.45 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, a national education initiative of the NSF, encourages talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, majors and professionals to become middle and high school mathematics and science teachers. The UA Noyce Scholars Program has awarded 21 two-year scholarships ($16,000 per year) over the next five years to undergraduate and master’s level students who plan to major in chemistry, mathematics or physics and complete teacher certification. The Noyce project builds upon the Alliance for Physics Excellence grant. UA oversees the research arm of the Alliance for Physics Excellence project and also works with its physics pre-service teachers.
UA HELPS AREA TEACHERS TRANSITION TO NEW STEM CURRICULUM
A group of professors at UA is helping K-12 teachers in West Alabama change how they teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, subjects. Through the UA/University of West Alabama Regional In-Service Center, math, science and education faculty have begun their second year of professional development and in-class support with teachers from school districts in Demopolis, Hale County, Lamar County, Marengo County and Tuscaloosa. The Center earlier secured an $800,000 Mathematics and Science Partnership Competitive Grant from the Alabama State Department of Education to establish Improving Mathematical Practices for Alabama Classroom Teachers. This initiative, known as IMPACT, helps teachers to prepare for curriculum and testing changes under the Alabama College and Career Ready Initiative.
UA, BRYANT MUSEUM COMMEMORATED 100TH BIRTHDAY OF LEGENDARY COACH
UA and the Bryant Museum commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant with a variety of activities and events. Coach Bryant would have celebrated his centennial milestone on September 11, 2013. New additions to the Bryant Museum’s section on the coach and a new book and a new documentary about Bryant’s life were unveiled. In addition, the museum will issue a new poster each game day to honor Bryant. The summer 2013 issue of Alabama Heritage Magazine included an article about the coach written by acclaimed author and UA graduate Winston Groom, and the fall issue of the UA Alumni Magazine will feature a story about Bryant written by award-winning writer and UA professor Rick Bragg.
UA’S PLANK CENTER CELEBRATED PR EDUCATOR FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at UA has completed its fourth Fellowship Program for Public Relations Educators. In 2013, seven applicants were selected and placed with host organizations for two weeks during the summer. Educators selected to participate in the Plank Center Fellowship program spend two full weeks in the offices of the sponsoring organization. Key beneficiaries of the fellowship are public relations students who can be assured that their professors are knowledgeable in the current practices and issues facing practitioners and that practitioners have a greater appreciation for the value of theory and research of their classrooms in today’s public relations work. Fellows worked in world-class agencies and corporate settings, seeing first-hand the issues and challenges practitioners face today.
UA STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN COOPERATIVE EDUCATION WITH CORPORATIONS
More than 150 UA students during the fall 2013 semester are receiving a hands-on educational experience at more than 60 companies and organizations through UA’s Cooperative Education Program. In the program, students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time employment in work related to the academic major or career interests of each student. The experience enhances the students’ employment prospects after graduation. While in school, students carry regular course schedules. While on co-op, they work with professionals in their fields who supervise their training and work. At work, co-op students earn competitive salaries and may receive benefit packages in addition to valuable on-the-job experience. Students maintain their full-time student status while at work and have priority registration status each semester.
UA START-UP FIRM SET FOR LAUNCH AFTER PLACING IN BUSINESS COMPETITION
A UA start-up company developing technology to charge cell phones and other portable devices wirelessly was a winner in a statewide business competition. Judges from the 2013 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition awarded e-Electricity with $23,500 to help further the company’s goal to develop wireless harvesting, allowing mobile devices to recharge wirelessly by converting radio waves to electricity, eliminating the need for an electrical outlet. The company is based off technology developed by Dr. Jaber Abu-Qahouq, a UA associate professor of electrical and computer engineering who is also a consultant with the company. Dr. Whitney Hough, venture development associate with UA’s Office for Technology Transfer; and Will Sanders, a UA senior marketing major, from Mobile, are members of the team led by Sloan McCrary, a UA Master of Business Administration student from Alpharetta, GA.
UA GRADUATE SCHOOL OFFERED PREVIEW DAY
The UA Graduate School hosted Graduate School Preview Day recently in the Ferguson Student Center on campus. Representatives from graduate programs offered at UA answered questions about graduate study in their colleges. UA Graduate School staff presented an opening session, “The Benefits of Investing in a Graduate Education.” Breakout sessions with graduate program directors and other graduate faculty and staff were held to discuss UA’s graduate degrees. The event also included a seminar on graduate admissions tests.
UA CELEBRATED HOMECOMING WITH THE THEME “LEAVING A CRIMSON LEGACY”
UA’s Homecoming Week 2013 was held September 29 – October 5. The theme was “Leaving a Crimson Legacy.” The highlight of Homecoming Week was the UA football game against Georgia State University.