Executive Committee Members
Chair of Faculty Senate
Michael Froelich, M.D.
Michael Froelich, M.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. His clinical subspecialty and areas of interest are in obstetric anesthesia and pain medicine. Froelich earned his medical degree from the University of Vienna Austria in 1988. He served an internship in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine at the University of Munich in 1990 and followed that with an anesthesiology residency at Emory in 1995 and a fellowship in obstetric anesthesiology in 1996. He would add a master of science in clinical instigation in 2004 from the University of Florida.
Froelich is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the European Academy of Anesthesiologists, the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists, the International Anesthesia Research Society, and the Society for Neuroscience. Froelich has been a member of the UAB faculty since 2006.
Chair-Elect of Faculty Senate
Chad Epps, M.D.
Chad Epps, MD is an Associate Professor and Director of Simulation in the Schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing. Dr. Epps received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at the University of Florida before moving to New York City to continue his training in Anesthesiology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. After residency, Dr. Epps completed a fellowship in Human Simulation at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Epps' educational focus is in human simulation and the development of simulation curricula. He has served as a guest lecturer for multiple programs both internal and external to UAB. He was the 2010 recipient of the School of Health Professions Excellence in Teaching Award and a 2013 recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Dr. Epps was elected to the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee in 2009 and served as chair from 2011-2013.
Past-Chair of Faculty Senate
Julio Rivera, D.B.A.
Dr. Rivera is currently the Interim Director of the Honors College at UAB, and holds an appointment as an associate professor in the UAB School of Business. He has a BS in mechanical engineering as well as an MS in business computing science from Texas A&M University, an MBA from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctorate in business administration from Mississippi State University. He has published more than 15 articles and professional papers. During his time at UAB, Rivera has been intimately involved with the deployment and maintenance of student and faculty computing resources. Currently, he teaches primarily in the telecommunications and programming areas, and he periodically engages in consulting activities with area organizations.
An immigrant from Honduras, he has experience working outside the United States with United Fruit Co. subsidiaries, as well as CEMCOL a Honduran corporation. Dr. Rivera is married and has two children.
Secretary of Faculty Senate
Pat Higginbottom, MLIS, AHIP
Pat Higginbottom, MLIS, AHIP is an associate professor and serves as associate director for public services at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences. She received her master’s degree in library and information sciences from the University of Alabama in 1993 and has been at LHL since then, serving in a variety of positions. She is a distinguished member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals and participated in the UAB BLAZE Leadership program in 2010/11.
Higginbottom served on the UAB Faculty Senate when it was initially formed in 1995, again from 2006 until 2008, and she currently serves as secretary of the Senate. She has served on all of the standing committees at one time or another and was chair of the Governance and Operations Committee from 2006 until 2008.
Parliamentarian of Faculty Senate
Joe Van Matre, Ph.D.
Joe Van Matre, Ph.D., is a Full Professor in the UAB School of Business, and has over forty years of service to the university. He has taught a variety of statistics courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level over his career. He has also published in several journals including The American Statistician, Decision Sciences, Journal of Health Care Marketing, JAMA, Quality Management Journal and others. He was senior author of Statistics for Business and Economics. His non-academic work has brought consulting experiences with several organizations. Clients have included the U.S. Bureau of the Census, BE&K, Bradley, Arant, Rose and White, EEOC, Alabama Gas Corporation, Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, Red Cross, Southern Research Institute, and O’Neal Steel. He is a member of the American Society for Quality, the American Statistical Association, and the Decision Sciences Institute.
Dr. Van Matre’s Ph.D. is in Business Administration with a major in Business Statistics. His postgraduate interests in the quality movement led to further studies at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Productivity Through Quality and Intermountain Health Care. Joe used these opportunities to learn from some of the nation’s leading quality gurus (e.g. George E. P. Box and Brent James), and co-authored an article on Deming for Business Horizons, an article on quality measurements and one on teamwork for Quality Management Journal, and an article on Total Quality Management (TQM) for the Journal of AHIMA. He has been awarded the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence and has three similar awards from the students in the Executive Masters in Health Administration.
Chair of Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee (FPPC)
Mike Wyss, Ph.D.
J. Michael Wyss, PhD, is Professor Cell Biology, Medicine, Neurobiology and Psychology and Director, Center for Community Outreach Development (CORD). He received a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1976. During his postdoctoral studies at Washington University School of Medicine he applied cell biological methods to elucidate the role of the limbic cortex in behavior and autonomic control, and has continued to expand this research at Birmingham (1979-present). Other studies are testing the mechanisms by which a decrease in norepinephrine release in the anterior hypothalamic nucleus leads to of salt-sensitive hypertension.
As Director of CORD, he leads many of UAB's K-12 research and outreach programs to area K-12 students. He is Chair of the UAB Conflict of Interest Review Board. Dr. Wyss has served as Chair of the UAB Faculty Senate and has served on the FPPC since 2011.
Chair of Curriculum Committee
John Mayer, Ph.D.
John C. Mayer, Ph.D., is professor and associate chair of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Florida. He spent two years as a post-doctoral student in mathematics at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. His research interests are in topology, dynamical systems, and mathematics education, and he has published over 30 papers in these areas, many co-authored with his students. He is an avid proponent of the liberal arts and sciences, and believes that students are entitled to an education that has breadth and depth, and in which they are challenged to think for themselves. He has taught from the lowest level courses in the mathematics department, including those for non-majors, up to graduate courses in his areas of expertise, and he has mentored students at all levels, from high school research through undergraduate research to Ph.D. research.
Mayer has been at UAB since 1984. He was born in Pennsylvania, eldest of his siblings, raised in New Jersey and Florida. He taught middle and high school for nine years before returning to graduate school. He was a member of the committee that drafted the constitution of the current UAB Faculty Senate and served on the initial Senate under that constitution. During the past seven years he has been principal investigator for the Greater Birmingham Mathematics Partnership, a partnership among nine area school systems, UAB, and Birmingham-Southern College, funded by the National Science Foundation, and targeted on improving instruction in middle school mathematics. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and is vice-president/president-elect of the Alabama Association of College Teachers of Mathematics. He is a recipient of the MAA George Polya Award for expository writing. Mayer also serves as the President of the Alabama Association of College Teachers of Mathematics.
Chair of Research Committee
Elizabeth E. Brown, Ph.D., MPH
Elizabeth E. Brown is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology, Medicine and Microbiology. Dr. Brown received her PhD in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University. She subsequently completed two fellowships at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the first in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the second, in the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity (LGD), Section of Immunogenetics and Molecular Epidemiology. Dr. Brown joined the faculty at UAB in 2006 and served as an Adjunct Scientist at NCI from 2006 to 2010. Her primary research areas are immunogenetics and molecular epidemiology of select cancers and autoimmune disease.
At UAB, Dr. Brown cultivated research and teaching programs in molecular and genetic epidemiology. She serves as course master for Advanced Principles of Molecular Epidemiology and Doctoral Seminar in Epidemiology. Dr. Brown participates in numerous NIH study sections and Special Emphasis review panels. She is a founding member of the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium and currently serves as Chair of the Coordinating Committee, which is central to setting research priorities and fostering large-scale collaborations worldwide to facilitate improvements in our understanding of this disease.
Chair of Faculty Affairs Committee
Chad Steele, Ph.D.
Chad Steele, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Medicine with secondary faculty appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Pathology. Dr. Steele attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana University), receiving a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1995 followed by a Master’s degree in December 1998 in the Department of Microbiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans and subsequently a Doctorate in the same department in December 2000. Dr. Steele conducted lung host defense research during his post-doctoral fellowship at LSUHSC-NO in the Department of Medicine. In July 2003, Dr. Steele was recruited as faculty to the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remained until June 2007. In July 2007, Dr. Steele was recruited to join the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
Dr. Steele has served on the UAB Faculty Senate since June 2010 and was appointed to the UAB Faculty Senate Executive Committee in June 2011 as Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee. Dr. Steele’s functions in this role include conducting annual evaluations of Department Chairs, Deans, Library Directors, Provosts and President, serving on the Mervyn H. Sterne Grants Special Acquisitions Committee and as an ex-officio member of the UAB Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee. Dr. Steele also serves on UAB Faculty Senate Research Committee and participates annually in the Faculty Development Grant Program administered by the UAB Provost’s Office.
Chair of Finance Committee
Jeanne Hutchison, Ph.D.
Jeanne Hutchison is a tenured faculty member in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. She holds a BS in mathematics and physics from Creighton University and an MS and PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to teaching a variety of mathematics courses, she is currently the main advisor for mathematics majors. She has served off and on as a member of the UAB Faculty Senate since its inception and is repeating as the chair of the Finance Committee and as a faculty representative on the UAB Fringe Benefits Committee.
Chair of Governance and Operations Committee
Rosalia Scripa, Ph.D., P.E., IOM
Rosalia Scripa is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the UAB School of Engineering and holds a secondary appointment as a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UAB. A first generation college student, Rosalia received a B.S. degree in Ceramic Science from Alfred University (1970), a M.S. degree in Ceramic Science from The Pennsylvania State University (1972), and a M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida (1976). Scripa joined the UAB School of Engineering faculty in 1976 as the first woman to teach engineering at UAB.
During her tenure at UAB, Scripa has held several administrative positions including: Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the School of Engineering; Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs and Faculty Affairs, and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, all in the Office of the Provost. Most of her career at UAB, Scripa has been involved in NASA- sponsored Microgravity Research, and spent a year at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. serving as a Program Scientist in the Materials Science Division with responsibility of overseeing all Glovebox experiments for the 1995 Space Shuttle Flights.
She has received over 50 awards and honors including: the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center Certificate of Appreciation for her work as co-investigator on a Semiconductor Crystal Growth Experiment aboard a 1992 Space Shuttle Mission; the National Research Council Space Studies Board Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her extensive contributions to the area of Microgravity Research; the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers “Outstanding Engineering Faculty Member in the State of Alabama”; the Alumna Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Florida; the Golden Key Award for Excellence in Teaching; and the World Congress of Arts, Sciences and Communications Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of Lifetime Contributions to Science and Education. Scripa was the First recipient of the “Distinguished Engineering Educator Award” awarded by the National Society of Women Engineers. She is especially proud of having received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Ellen Gregg Ingalls/National Alumni Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching at UAB.
Scripa has authored, co-authored and published over 85 technical publications at the national and international level. She has served on several professional/technical Boards and Committees including the National Research Council Space Studies Board Microgravity Committee and the Board of the American Association of Crystal Growth.
Scripa has served as a Senator from the School of Engineering on the UAB Faculty Senate several terms and as a School of Engineering Representative on the UAB Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee (FPPC). She has also served as a Senator-at-Large on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. In 2006, Scripa was presented with a Resolution from the UAB Faculty Senate for “her service, her hard work, her dedication, and her many contributions to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and to the UAB Faculty Senate.”
Alecia Gross, Ph.D.
Alecia K. Gross, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Vision Sciences, Neurobiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics and Cell, Developmental & Integrative Biology. Upon completion of her PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, Dr. Gross completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Gross has been at UAB since 2006, teaches Ocular Biochemistry to Optometry students and signal transduction & phototransduction to medical, graduate and science & technology honor undergraduate students.
Dr. Gross has served on the UAB Faculty Senate and on the Senate Research Committee since 2011.
Michael Kightley joined the faculty at UAB in 2009 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English. He holds a B.Sc. in Human Biology (the University of Toronto), as well as an M.A. in English (Queen's University, Kingston) and a Ph.D. in English (the University of Western Ontario). His research has two main focuses: medieval English and Norse literatures, as well as medievalism, the study of modern re-imaginings of the medieval period. He is particularly interested in representations of racial and familial communities within these various literatures.
Dr. Kightley teaches a range of students, from freshman through to graduates, offering a variety of courses on medieval literature, including seminars on Old English literature and on the Old Icelandic sagas and myths. He also teaches the History of the English Language, introductions to early British literature, and composition.
Dr. Kightley serves on the Faculty Senate's Curriculum Committee and has chaired the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum and Educational Policies Committee.