Students who wish to file a complaint against a staff member or service provided through UAB Career & Professional Development must do so by completing the online Student Complaint Form. This policy does not apply to university policies such as sexual harassment, equity/diversity complaints, admission decisions, academic and non-academic conduct and other student grievance policies addressed in academic catalogs and the student handbook.

Informal Complaints
Before making a written complaint, students are encouraged to seek a resolution by discussing the issue informally with the relevant staff member most associated with the matter. A staff member with whom a concern is raised by a student is expected to deal with the matter in an open and professional manner and take reasonable and prompt action to try to resolve it informally. A student who is uncertain about how to seek informal resolution of a concern is encouraged to seek advice from Suzanne Scott-Trammell, Executive Director of Career & Professional Development, 205-934-4324, 936 19th Street South.

Formal Complaints
Where it has not been possible to resolve a concern informally, a student may make a formal complaint. Formal complaints must be submitted in writing on the prescribed form. The written complaint must be submitted within one month after the occurrence of the action or matter unless the Executive Director agrees to receive it beyond this time frame. If the complaint involves the Executive Director personally, the form should be submitted to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Executive Director will maintain a file of all documentation in relation to the complaint and must assure that any staff member named in the complaint receives a copy as soon as possible.

Complaints will be acknowledged by the Executive Director within three working days. The resolution process may include meetings with relevant staff and/or the complainant. Should a meeting be held, the parties may, if they wish, be accompanied by a peer support person.

Resolution of Complaints
The Executive Director must make a decision in relation to the complaint and must communicate in writing his or her decision within 30 days of receiving the complaint. If the resolution of the complaint involves a potential grievance for an employee, the Executive Director must follow the appropriate procedures in the UAB employee handbook.

Appeals
A student who is dissatisfied with the decision under this policy may appeal to the Vice President of Student Affairs. An appeal must be submitted in writing within two weeks of the letter communicating the decision. The Vice President will consider the relevant documentation and may, at his or her discretion, consult the Executive Director who made the decision. If he or she determines that the complaint process has been conducted in accordance with this policy and the outcome is appropriate, the Vice President may dismiss the appeal. Otherwise, he or she will decide on the appeal in consultation with the Executive Director and any other involved parties. The Vice President will communicate his or her appeal decision in writing to the parties involved.

Confidentiality
All student related information will be considered confidential and protected under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Records relating to employees and other records that do not include student information are not confidential.

Updated 8/04/2015

UAB News

  • Birmingham Flag Project looking to reimagine city’s flag
    Each entry to the project will be exhibited at the UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Project Space from Oct. 19-24, with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20.

    Current City of Birmingham flag.The Birmingham Flag Project wants you to design a new flag for Birmingham.

    Birmingham has a flag, but most people in and around the city and across the state probably have not seen it. Designed nearly a century ago, it is neither a well-designed flag nor a representative symbol of what Birmingham is now and aspires to be, organizers say.

    The Birmingham Flag Project is an open competition aligned with Design Week Birmingham. The group believes that good design is a transformational tool, used to engage, connect and inspire.

    As communities across the nation and around the world — from Portland, Oregon, to New Zealand — have joined together to redesign their flags, the Birmingham Flag Project invites creative individuals, artists, students and collaborative teams to reimagine the Birmingham city flag. Whether a longtime resident, visitor or newcomer to the Magic City, everyone is encouraged to apply.

    The Birmingham Flag Project was inspired by the Design Week Birmingham 2014 Flag Design Workshop, led by Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co., who was the DWB keynote speaker and visiting artist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History. UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Media and Outreach Coordinator Jared Ragland and Associate Professor Doug Barrett have collaborated with Design Week to carry out the project.

    The deadline for submitting a flag design is 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14. The top designs will be shared with the public for voting Thursday, Sept. 24. Voting closes Oct. 18, and votes can be cast online or at polling stations located across the city of Birmingham. The winning selection will be announced Oct. 24 during Design Week Birmingham’s closing event.

    During UAB’s 2014 flag workshop, students from Birmingham City Schools, UAB, Auburn University and University of Montevallo joined some of Birmingham’s top creative directors and designers to discuss flag design and draft new ideas for the Birmingham flag.

    In the same spirit of community building and collaboration, the Birmingham Flag Project is dedicated to engaging each of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods and beyond through an open call for designs.

    A panel of judges will jury submissions and select three to five top designs. From prominent design professionals to university professors, local tastemakers to civic leaders, the Birmingham Flag Project has invited a diverse jury that understands how a new flag can represent Birmingham’s complex identity and that is committed to helping shape its future.  

    The deadline for submitting a flag design is 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14. The top designs will be shared with the public for voting Thursday, Sept. 24. Voting closes Oct. 18, and votes can be cast online or at polling stations located across the city of Birmingham. The winning selection will be announced Oct. 24 during Design Week Birmingham’s closing event.

    Each entry will be exhibited at the UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Project Space from Oct. 19-24, with an opening reception scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Viewing hours for the exhibition are scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday or by appointment. Project Space is located in the UAB Humanities Building at 900 13th Street South. For information or to schedule a visit, contact Project Space director Jared Ragland at raglandj@uab.edu.

    Entry details, a media packet and educational resources can be found at www.bhmflagproject.com.

    Design Week Birmingham is an annual citywide event inspired by the belief that good design matters. Each October, design professionals, artists and other creative individuals gather for lectures, film screenings, exhibitions and workshops to promote communication and collaboration and build lasting relationships across the design community.

  • Intellectual sweat lands major NIH fund to study exercise
    Researchers will seek molecular answers to how exercise delivers benefits and compete for a UAB center.

    This summer, the NIH Common Fund announced a five-year, $170 million effort to reveal — in molecular terms — how exercise delivers its many benefits throughout the body.

    Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham was one of the key investigators who helped NIH staff do the research for their successful application to the Common Fund. Now UAB will compete to help lead the research program after Requests for Applications are released in September, says Bamman, a professor of cell, developmental and integrative biology and director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine.

    This new Common Fund, “Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans,” targets a huge gap in understanding. While it is clear that exercise, or physical activity (PA), improves health outcomes and prevents disease — benefits that include better musculoskeletal function during aging, retaining heart wellness, improving cognition, and preventing cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer, the mechanisms of how PA does this are little understood.

    “This program will … advance our understanding of how activity improves and preserves health,” NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said this summer. “Armed with this knowledge, researchers and clinicians may one day be able to define optimal physical activity recommendations for people at various stages of life, as well as develop precisely targeted regimens for individuals with particular health needs.”

    The path leading to this Common Fund took years. As Bamman and other exercise medicine researchers served on various NIH study panels, they would always emphasize that a lot of work was needed to discover the mechanisms that link PA and prescriptive exercise to those beneficial outcomes.

    Definition of exercise:
    “Exercise is dedicated time for structured physical activity (PA) — of sufficient intensity and volume — to achieve a physiological goal.”  —Marcas Bamman

    “It was a major leap forward when several NIH program officers from multiple institutes came together and recognized the need to apply to the Common Fund,” Bamman said. The Common Fund is a yearly strategic planning effort by NIH to spot emerging scientific opportunities or pressing challenges in biomedical research. It usually covers research that doesn’t fit neatly into any single NIH institute or center (for example, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute on Aging, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, or the National Cancer Institute).

    Unlike grants awarded to university researchers, applications to the Common Fund come from the NIH staff; but those staffers rely on the help and expertise of university researchers to discern a need and craft a proposal.

    For Molecular Transducers, the NIH issued a Request for Information in December 2013. Bamman and fellow experts in exercise medicine put together a concerted response that identified key knowledge gaps. Five working groups were then organized by early spring 2014, to look at: 1) Tools to facilitate clinical trials research to probe the mechanisms of PA, 2) Integrated physiological mechanisms of how PA benefits tissues and organ systems, 3) The role of tissue stress in the benefits of PA, 4) The role of mitochondria in the mechanisms underlying PA benefits, and 5) Tools to discover and identify circulation and tissue signals that bring about the effects of PA.

    Bamman and John Jakicic, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh co-chaired the clinical trials working group, which had four academics and about eight NIH program officers. “We had weekly phone calls and a lot of interactive writing,” Bamman said.

    Gaps in knowledge regarding the health benefits of PA:
    • Constructing a network model that guides and informs PA research.
    • How do all cells/tissues respond to exercise?
    • How are the responses to exercise communicated and coordinated among tissues?
    • How do acute responses to exercise translate over time to training adaptations and benefits?
    • What are the dose/response relationships that maximize specific health benefits?
    • What biological and environmental factors likely mitigate the acute and adaptive responses to PA?
    See “Understanding the Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Physical Activity-Induced Health Benefits” in Cell Metabolism, July 2015, for more details.

    The five working groups culminated in a two-day NIH Workshop in Bethesda, Maryland, in October 2014 titled “Understanding the Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of PA-induced Health Benefits.” The workshop had 18 academics and about 60 NIH staff. Bamman and Jakicic presented recommendations of the clinical trials group.

    Using all this groundwork, the NIH program officers wrote a Common Fund application that they submitted last February. They requested $108 million over five years; NIH funded the program with $170 million.

    “That tells me the NIH director anticipates substantial impact from this program,” Bamman said.

    Now the competition begins

    The Molecular Transducers Common Fund is expected to conduct a large-scale exercise clinical trial with at least 3,000 participants across at least seven centers beginning FY2017, Bamman says. Also included will be one coordination center and a handful of specialized centers that focus on bioinformatics, genomics and transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, and animal studies. Competition will be fierce when the NIH announces Requests for Applications (RFAs) this fall.

    UAB may have a head start in the race for the coordination center, due to its leadership of a 3-year-old, grassroots, multicenter effort that was launched without any funding to improve research in exercise medicine.

    “I figured it was time for a national, coordinated network to lead large-scale multisite trials,” Bamman said, “so I surveyed all of the CTSAs (the NIH-funded centers that perform clinical and translational science) about a national effort. We received a lot of interest.”

    The result is the National Exercise Clinical Trials Network, or NExTNet. This network has grown to 60 member universities today, and UAB is the coordinating center.

    Resources and research needed to potentiate the discovery of the mechanisms for the health benefits of PA:
    • Controlled clinical trials with standardized PA interventions and measures
    • Discovery of the molecular transducers of adaptations to PA: Role of “-omics” technologies.
    • Mechanistic research in animal and cell models.
    • Exercise physiologists trained in integrative biology and interdisciplinary teams.
    See “Understanding the Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Physical Activity-Induced Health Benefits” in Cell Metabolism, July 2015, for more details.

    NExTNet members have a shared database listing all of the physical and research capabilities of each member site, in order to facilitate collaboration. NExTNet is also building a database of aggregated data from previous studies and a list of existing sample inventories retained from earlier research that might aid a new study. NExTNet members work to standardize exercise training and testing procedures, whether aerobic or strength, in terms of intensity, volume and the amount of supervision. They also are standardizing the collection procedures for biological samples, such as blood and muscle, and the use of single sites for sample analysis, to get reliable, reproducible results.

    “The RFAs will be an opportunity for UAB,” Bamman said. “I am hopeful that UAB can compete successfully to serve as the coordinating center and as one of the clinical sites.”

    From humans to animals

    The Common Fund money for “Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans” will allow a national, coordinated research effort.

    “The Fund program will generate data and biospecimens from a large cohort of untrained people — most likely 3,000-plus, who lack chronic disease. The goal is to finally reveal the molecular mechanisms by which exercise works,” Bamman said. “This is a big, big program, with a lot of moving parts.”

    “We know that exercise has clinical value; but we don’t know what dose is optimal, and we don’t fully understand the molecular biology of it,” Bamman said. “Exercise activates a process in every tissue, and in every cell. One of the important questions is, what’s exercise doing to the brain?”

    Early results from the human studies will guide mechanistic animal studies, especially for critical tissues affected by exercise that are not easily studied in humans, such as lung, liver, brain and heart.

    “We certainly want to be part of the effort that identifies those mechanisms,” Bamman said.

  • UAB hits initial $2M goal toward restoring football
    According to AL.com, Hatton Smith – the Royal Cup executive tasked with leading efforts to raise $13 million toward facility improvements – said the fundraising committee already has more than $2 million cash in hand.
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