business school projectStudent scholars from the Collat School of Business are working with area high school students this month on a research project to discover opportunities to improve social and economic conditions in Birmingham.

This year, the program will focus on analyzing the historic 6th District in the City of Birmingham, which includes neighborhoods such as Five Points South, Glen Iris, Arlington-West End and Woodland Park.

Collat students will partner with students from each of the Birmingham City School System high schools. The students will work together to evaluate the 6th District to discover ways for improvement and advancement in education, housing, recreation and entertainment, retail and commercial, crime prevention, and health disparities.

“Both the high school students and the Collat students are getting real-world experience, analyzing data and developing plans for their community that can actually make a difference,” said Nathan Oliver, a Collat instructor and director of this summer program. “They are truly invested in offering ideas for improvements for their city.”

Students are meeting with Councilor Sheila Tyson of the Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon and Birmingham Police Chief Allen Hatcher, among others, during the program.

business school project 2Collat business scholars meet with Councilor Sheila Tyson before a Birmingham City Council meeting.At the end of the project, the analysis will be used to help benchmark Birmingham’s urban development progress against that of other cities that carry similar characteristics. Students will analyze what each city has done differently and how its actions have led to its current state. The final presentation will take place Friday, Aug. 1.

“UAB has deep roots in the Birmingham community, and we want to be an integral part of its bright future,” said Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of UAB’s Collat School of Business. “This project helps students gain confidence by giving them an understanding of how their skills, knowledge and abilities can help them go out and change the community for the better.”

Collat’s Business Student Scholars Program is a service-learning program that enables students to apply business concepts and knowledge in real-world settings while mentoring local high school students. This is the program’s fourth year.

Previous business scholars built a marketing plan for a Black Belt community, investigated economic opportunities in Wilcox County and studied the effect of the civil rights movement on Birmingham’s business community.