A Birmingham native and graduate of West End High School with more than 25 years of experience as an educator and champion for urban students and children with special needs, Voltz has been responsible for the university obtaining millions of grant dollars for educational research and teacher training. She also has published scores of academic articles and book chapters on topics ranging from strategies for success in diverse classrooms to urban special education in the context of standards-based reform.
"Debbie Voltz is uniquely qualified for this position given her tremendous experience as a teacher, researcher and administrator, as well as for her talent for preparing effective grant proposals," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Thomas DiLorenzo. "As a full professor with strong ties to the education community, she is positioned to leverage all of her talents and strong connections for the benefit not only of UAB faculty, staff and students, but also the faculty and students of the Birmingham City School System - indeed, throughout the state."
Voltz, who will report to DiLorenzo, will continue as director of the Center for Urban Education. She also will be a member of the newly constituted UAB Deans' Council, said Provost Eli Capilouto.
"Dr. Voltz is passionate about education scholarship and research, and deeply committed to community outreach and service," Capilouto said, noting that Voltz is the first African-American academic dean in UAB's only-42-year history as an autonomous university.
"In particular, Debbie's commitment to interdisciplinary research and scholarship make her someone who can lead a strategically positioned School of Education in collaborative efforts with the rest of the college and the university," Capilouto said. "I am truly delighted she will be spearheading our efforts in this area."
Voltz, who received her bachelor's degree in elementary education and special education at the National College of Education in Evanston, Ill., obtained her master's degree in special education at UAB and her doctorate of education from the University of Alabama. She has been a member of the UAB faculty since 2003. Prior to joining UAB, Voltz worked in the trenches as an elementary teacher in Birmingham's public school system and taught teacher preparation programs at several colleges, including Alabama State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Louisville. She also has taught internationally at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and at the College of New Jersey's Johannesburg program in South Africa.
"I am honored to serve in this role," Voltz said. "Nothing brings me more joy than giving teachers the tools they need to inspire others with the gift of knowledge.
"I am confident that through strategic partnership efforts and a strong focus on areas of excellence in our teaching and scholarship, the School of Education's dynamic faculty, staff and students can help raise the bar in classrooms throughout Birmingham, the state of Alabama and beyond," she said.