Every year, the United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) pursues an ambitious annual campaign, and every year, area companies share their employees, or "loaned executives," with the organization to help it reach its funding goals. (For some sense of the scale of this undertaking, the United Way’s 2014 goal is $38,250,000.)
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The city of Birmingham is an open book for students in one UAB English course. It serves as both subject and setting for their work, which hones their skills for writing about place for different public and academic audiences. And they quickly find that Birmingham’s story has plenty of blank pages for them to fill.
Published in Announcements
July 25, 2014

Red Carpet Entrance

College of Arts and Sciences Students have Documentaries Accepted at the Upcoming Sidewalk Film Festival


Sidewalk Film Festival has accepted three films produced by six College of Arts and Sciences students in the documentary shorts category. In addition, one College alumnus, who produced a film as part of a summer environmental filmmaking fellowship, was accepted into the prestigious, Birmingham-based festival.
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Julie Price admits that her mind has been in the gutter lately. That's because she’s figuring out how to funnel the abundant rain that falls upon UAB and repurpose it for watering campus green spaces. “It doesn’t make sense to spend time and money to clean water for drinking and then throw it out on the lawn,” says Price, appointed UAB’s inaugural sustainability coordinator in 2013. “We’re taking a different stance and treating stormwater like a resource.”
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For the past four years a UAB student has been chosen to participate in the weeklong training that focuses on ways to advocate in the global fight against poverty, hunger and injustice. Brendan Rice participated in the Oxfam CHANGE Initiative training in 2011 and set a path that UAB students have followed each year since. Oxfam choses 50 students each year for its program and encourages them to create action on their campuses and in their communities.
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The African American Studies Organization was honored with the Program/Event of the Year Award at the Student Excellence Awards ceremony on April 23, 2014. The award, presented by Student Life, recognizes a group of students or a student organization that has developed and implemented an outstanding, innovative program that significantly contributed to the quality of life at UAB.
Published in Announcements
May 02, 2014

So What?

The importance of The College to the community

By Cynthia Ryan, associate professor of English specializing in composition and rhetoric.

Kairos. The ancient Greeks coined the term to describe the opportune time and place for action. The savviest folks in the courtroom or at the agora, a common meeting place back in the day for deliberating with fellow citizens, were those who knew not only how to craft a stellar argument, but also when and how to deliver it to achieve the desired result. While we’re a long way from ancient Greece in 2014 Birmingham, we in the College of Arts and Sciences know a thing or two about embracing ideas when the time is right, the iron is hot, the planets align . . . you get the idea.

Cynthia Ryan. Cynthia RyanAs the stories in this issue reveal, students and faculty across CAS are engaged in the kinds of cutting-edge research and energizing collaborations that will make this a year to remember. Our new dean, Robert Palazzo, set the stage when he described the college as “a platform for the collision of ideas.” Over time, we’ve come to value what happens when you gather lots of folks, not of the same mind, to tackle issues that affect multiple disciplines and stakeholders. The result can be pure magic.

Several of the alumni entrepreneurs profiled in the magazine illustrate the point. For instance, Stephen Brossette, M.D., Ph.D., launched the company MedMined after recognizing that data he was gathering for one purpose could be used to solve another problem of significant import: tracking infection rates in hospitals and among specific populations to assist in predicting and responding to disease. Surrounding himself with engineers, UAB professor of optometry Larry DeLucas, O.D., Ph.D., saw that the exciting ideas and products they were co-developing could be shared with a much wider audience — a decision that’s taken both him and his discoveries into outer space.

The brand of storytelling that comes to life in UAB’s Digital Media Lab also reflects kairos at its best. As director of the center Rosie O’Beirne notes, a new media landscape requires that students from many orientations come together to do what they do best in collaboration to create the kinds of multimodal projects that define how we know what we know in the 21st century. Writers. Graphic designers. Musicians. Videographers. By working in tandem at this pivotal time in The College, these student-experts are dabbling in the innovative methods for creating texts that will carry them forth into meaningful, ever-evolving contexts that we can only imagine at this historical moment.

Kairos brings us together with those outside UAB, too. An excellent example is the growing partnership between the National Science Foundation, UAB’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Birmingham Business Alliance — work that will lead to applications using diamonds for a variety of purposes, among them knee implants, lasers, and sensors. As Yogesh Vohra, Ph.D., professor of physics and associate dean in The College explains, the synergy between scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovative centers in the area is anticipated to help all involved “move ideas from the laboratory across the hurdles separating them from commercial use.”

All of these instances reveal people embracing opportunities to put thoughts into action when and where they will be of value.

And let’s not forget the tasty sea urchins growing in the aquaculture lab of Stephen Watts, Ph.D. While Watts’ research makes for entertaining television, it more importantly addresses a vital need: a sudden drop in the population of the species due to overfishing and an accompanying loss of jobs. It’s an endeavor whose time has come. The ancient Greeks would be proud.
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
May 01, 2014

AEIVA Opens

AEIVA at night. The UAB College of Arts and Sciences opened its new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts to the public January 16.

The votes are in, and “stunning,” “sparkling,” and “dynamic” are the terms most used by the news media to describe UAB’s new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts with its “soaring, glassed-in atrium.”

The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts is located across from the Alys Stephens Center on 10th Avenue South. The art and art education facility houses three galleries, faculty offices, art and design studios, a sculpture garden, and state-of-the-art classrooms with Apple computers and projection capabilities—as well as a new home for UAB’s own art collection, which includes Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Picasso, and Warhol as well as student works. A series of rotating exhibits from the permanent collection will change every few months.

Visitors in one of AEIVA's art galleries. “One of the really nice things that Randall [Stout, the building’s architect] has done is to supply visual continuity to Birmingham and the rest of the campus,” says Robert Palazzo, dean of UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The new institute shows just how vast the attention to art is, in this community, in terms of personal treasures and stewardship of art. There’s a culture of people who are really serious about art, and I haven’t seen that in a lot of other cities.”

The third gallery features selections from the UAB Permanent Art Collection. Both shows will be on exhibition January 16 to March 6. The AEIVA, located at 1221 10th Ave. South, is open to the public 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday. The institute is closed Sundays and holidays.

Visit the AEIVA online at www.uab.edu/cas/aeiva or call (205) 975-6436. A complete schedule of events presented by the UAB Department of Art and Art History at the AEIVA in 2014 is available.
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
As Pamela Sterne King leads her students around the long-neglected Lyric Theatre, this monument to Birmingham’s boomtown heyday comes back to life.

The Lyric, built in 1914, is one of the few remaining venues nationwide with the acoustics and close audience seating designed for vaudeville shows. A nonprofit group now owns the theatre and is raising funds to restore it as a performing arts center.
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Brendan Rice. By Brendan Rice

My interest in social justice is grounded in the profound belief that my generation must and will play a central role in fixing the broken systems of our world. For me, this translates to the broken global food system that leaves nearly a billion people without enough to eat. Based on this core value, I have structured my college experience around acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to be a leader in the global effort to eliminate hunger and poverty.

As a high-school student, I attended a leadership camp through the Alabama Poverty Project, where I learned about social-justice issues affecting Alabama and the nation. After receiving a letter from Dr. Bob Corley, then director of the Global and Community Leadership (GCL) Honors Program, I visited the UAB campus and sat in on a class with Rosie O’Beirne, co-director of the media studies program. At that point, I knew that UAB would be the place where I would have the nurturing support to pursue my goals. I saw the GCL program as a curriculum path for me and other students to develop our desire to make a difference in the world as wellgrounded leaders in our chosen fields. We use the phrase “passion to action” a great deal in the program. This has characterized my time at UAB, as I seek experiences that translate my genuine interest into a well-grounded leadership.

Huge Energy for Ending Hunger

Through GCL, I worked on service projects with Jones Valley Urban Farm and Alabama Possible. Service is incredibly important for college students. It helps us meet community needs, and, perhaps even more important, starts to build our framework for understanding complex societal issues.

When I attended the Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) summit at Auburn University my freshman year, my interest in food security and previous experience in service suddenly made sense in the larger context of the global phenomenon of hunger, an issue that affects nearly one out of seven people on this planet.

The UFWH movement now includes more than 300 colleges and universities where students have taken the initiative to make fighting hunger a core value of their institutions. The magnitude and energy of this effort was made real at the summit, where equally passionate students were coalescing around the common goal of ending hunger.

When I returned to campus, I helped start the UAB chapter of the organization, which is growing in members and visibility. This past year, the group organized a number of events, including a World Food Day potluck conversation and a refugee camp simulation, which shared the stories of the world’s most marginalized in context of UAB. The World Food Day potluck combined a celebration of food with a discussion on our broken global food system—one that allows for hunger in a world of plenty.

The issue of hunger and the growing movement of people who care about it will be reflected in the work UFWH continues to do on campus. Universities Fighting World Hunger at UAB provides a space for students to see how their stories and interests fit in with the broader narrative of a world moving toward the ability to ensure that everyone has enough to eat.

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, if you are a student, I urge you to get involved in this important work and join the UFWH. My story is woven into the work of ensuring that the scourge of hunger does not persist in a world with as much exhilarating possibility as ours. What is your story? My bet is that your narrative, in all of its uniqueness and vitality, is not only compatible with but absolutely essential in the broader work of all of us working together to end hunger.
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
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