WHAT THE SYSTEM IS
The University of Alabama System consists of three doctoral research universities: The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The System is governed by The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama as stipulated by the Alabama Constitution.* The purpose of the Board of Trustees is to ensure the effective leadership, management, and control of the institutions of the System in order to provide for a definitive, orderly form of governance, and to secure and maintain responsive, progressive, and superior institutions of higher education. The Board of Trustees created the present multi-campus structure in 1969, and each of the component institutions has a unique mission that is consistent with the broader mission of the System.
HOW THE SYSTEM IS GOVERNED
The Board of Trustees executes its governance responsibilities through a chancellor, who serves as the chief executive officer of the System. A president heads each campus with responsibility for campus administration and reports directly to the Chancellor and through the Chancellor to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees and the Chancellor delegate certain administrative functions and maintain such offices as deemed appropriate to meet the administrative needs of the System. The Chancellor also provides linkage between the System and various components of state and federal governments, as well as other educational groups and organizations.
WHAT THE SYSTEM DOES
The Institutions of The University of Alabama System exist to serve all people of Alabama through teaching, research, and service programs. As resources permit, the institutions extend these functions to the nation and beyond through a wide variety of educational programs and services. The institutions of the System assist students in developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to function as responsible and productive citizens in a democracy. They endeavor to improve the quality of life through programs for high-quality research, public service, outreach, cultural enrichment, health care, and economic advancement.
The Mission of The University of Alabama System is based on these principles:
1. The careful management of resources is achieved through strong and responsive governance. The System maintains an effective process for the review and approval of academic and financial matters at the institutions and System levels and strives to achieve the most effective and efficient use of resources by encouraging inter-institutional cooperation whenever possible and appropriate.
2. The System promotes opportunities for equal access for all qualified students and values diversity among its students, faculty, staff, and administration.
3. The System encourages collaboration with elementary/ secondary schools, community colleges, and other institutions of higher education whenever possible and appropriate and supports the PK-Ph.D. concept as a way of helping to ensure high-quality programs, services, and student performance at all levels of education.
4. The quality of education is regularly assessed with the goal of improvement. The System promotes careful planning, review, and evaluation to ensure the best possible results from the programs, services, and activities of its institutions.
5. The System recognizes that its component institutions differ in mission, role, scope, and academic characteristics, and is committed to maintaining institutional diversity.
6. To achieve selective excellence, the System recognizes that academic resources may be concentrated according to different patterns at different institutions and with different results.
7. The System helps stimulate the continuing awareness of ethics and human values.
8. The System assumes an active role in advocating for and responding to the needs of its component institutions.
9. The System recognizes the linkage between a quality system of higher education and future economic opportunities for its students and acknowledges its vital role in promoting the economic advancement of Alabama.
10. The System supports its institutions as they engage in high-quality, innovative, and relevant research that involves the discovery, dissemination, and application of knowledge.
11. The System recognizes the need to serve citizens beyond the boundaries of the campuses through outreach programs and services.
12. The System is committed to providing high-quality health care through its hospitals and clinics as it engages in preeminent medical education, research, and health related programs.
13. The strength of the System depends on the quality of its leadership. A commitment to seek, appoint, and support administrators, faculty, and staff who ascribe to sound academic principles and possess professional and personal characteristics that ensure solid and positive growth of all aspects of the System is essential.
Approved by the Board of Trustees on April 18, 2003
* The official description of the corporate body, encompassing the three-institution organization and the System administration, is
The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama. For the purpose of this mission statement the term System shall be used to refer to the entire corporate body.