Graduate School News

Discoveries: The sweet science behind mending muscle

IMG 0174Rylie Hightower, a third-year graduate student in the Graduate Biomedial Sciences neuroscience program, studies proteins and other factors that contribute to the progression of muscular dystrophy. 

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Link to Leadership: Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

GRAD logo without taglineEmbarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This new series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.
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Graduate Student Organization Spotlight: Graduate Student Government

Grad Student Organization Spotlight graphicThe University of Alabama at Birmingham offers numerous ways for graduate students to enhance their leadership skills, one of which is joining a student organization. But how do you decide which organization is the right fit for you? This Spotlight series will highlight all of UAB's graduate student organizations, as well as the benefits of joining each one.  Read more ...

Upcoming Events

Blazer Spotlights

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Jacqueline Vo

Jacqueline Vo

Kendra Royston

Kendra Royston

Samir Rana

Samir Rana


Call for Nominations: Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentorship

Each spring, the Graduate Dean's Mentorship Awards are given to those mentors who inspire and motivate, promote ethical and professional values, create a collaborative and constructive atmosphere for training, and serve as outstanding role models for students and fellows in their performance of scholarly activities and service.

Full-time regular UAB faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments as mentors of graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows are eligible for the award.

The deadline to receive nominations is December 15, 2009.

Industry Roundtable: A Closer Look

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Industry Roundtable (IR) has been in existence for nearly 15 years and prides itself on being the first organization of its kind in the nation. IR is a student-directed organization, funded by various entities within UAB, which is dedicated to fostering a greater awareness of career opportunities that exist in science, technology, and engineering fields for current graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The IR pursues its’ mission by hosting a monthly seminar series as well as an annual Career Development Workshop in April.

IR events are open to both graduate students and post-docs, and feature speakers ranging from various government departments (for example, FBI, NSF, NIH, and USAMRID) to an assortment of ground-breaking companies (Geovax, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, and Seahorse Bioscience). IR also hosts informational lectures designed to help students develop communication skills, networking ability, and prepare for interviews. Ultimately, IR relies on feedback from students to choose speakers and provide lectures that are beneficial and engaging for everyone.

The next seminar is in McCauley conference room 263 in Bevill Biological Research Building Nov. 13th from 10am to 11am. This event will be an interactive, open forum with a panel of speakers who will answer the audience’s questions about differences between careers in industry verses academia.


hooding pic

Graduation News

The graduates of UAB's Graduate School take part in two ceremonies: The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and the Commencement are held each May and December. August graduates may attend the December commencement. The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is the commencement for doctoral candidates receiving PhD, DrPH, EdD, and DPT degrees. Both ceremonies will take place on Saturday, December 12.

If you are a doctoral candidate that graduated in August 2009 or will be graduating in December 2009, you must fill out the commencement form by November 30 in order to participate in this ceremony. Simply showing up for the ceremony is not an option.

Because we expect a record number of doctoral candidates in December, the Hooding Ceremony will be held in the Alys Stephens Centre at 10:00 a.m.

The commencement ceremony for master's and undergraduate students will be held in Bartow Arena at 2:00 p.m. All master's graduates who would like to attend commencement should look at the graduation information online at

When a candidate is near graduation, she or he must pay close attention to Graduate School deadlines, which are posted online at Important dates include the following Spring and Summer semester deadlines:

Spring 2010 Deadlines

  • Application for Degree              January 22, 2010
  • Defense Deadline                      March 26, 2010
  • Admission to Candidacy          January 5, 2010
  • Change of Residencey             January 5, 2010  

Summer 2010 deadlines

  • Application for Degree              June 4, 2010
  • Defense Deadline                      July 9, 2010
  • Admission to Candidacy           May 7/May 28
  • Change of Residency                May 7, 2010 

Completing all paper work and final payments by the posted deadlines will ensure that a candidate will graduate by the expected date.


UAB Graduate Programs Fair Provides Overall View of Graduate Studies

The UAB Graduate School hosted its third annual graduate programs fair, the Opportunity Zone, Oct. 22, 2009, to encourage potential students to explore advanced degrees. The fair attracted more than 100 people.

This year’s event provided more information regarding the admissions process. Ms. Kellie Carter, the event organizer, explains: “We recognized a need to explain the admissions process more thoroughly. To meet this need, we added presentations regarding financial aid and preparing a personal for your admissions application to our Hot Topics session. Both of these talks were heavily attended.” The presenters of the Hot Topics included representatives from the Graduate School, Career Services, Financial Aid, Industry Roundtable, and the Graduate Student Association.

The purpose of the event is to provide the opportunity for those interested to speak one-on-one with UAB graduate program representatives as well as to find out what graduate school is really like. At the end of the Hot Topics was the Q&A session. This provided an opportunity for attendees to ask any question about graduate school. Graduate School staff and current graduate students offered answers from their perspectives. Ms. Carter says, “Being able to ask a graduate student about financial issues, workload, family and academic rigor helps people realize that graduate school is doable.”

Not only did the event attract undergraduates from UAB, but people from other state colleges and universities attended, including: Samford, ASU, Auburn, Alabama, Miles College, and Talladega College.

For more information about the event and to view this year’s presentations, visit


GSRD 2010

Graduate Student Research Days 2010

Mark your calendar! Dates have been chosen for the 2010 Graduate Student Research Days (GSRD) competition.

January 29, 2010, 12:00 Noon: Deadline for Abstracts

February 24, 25 & 26, 2010: GSRD Competition

March 5, 2010: Awards Luncheon

Look for the Call for Abstracts beginning in January 2010. To ensure a diverse judging panel, graduate students are asked to encourage the faculty from their departments to serve as judges in the competition.

For more information, visit


Academic and Career Support for Graduate Students: UAB Professional Development Program

Today’s academics, researchers, and scientists face increasing competition not only in their fields of study, but in the areas of professional communication. In a tight market, it is the polished and the well-presented candidate who has an edge.

UAB’s Professional Development Program offers ongoing support for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars who want to gain that edge:

Courses and workshops that train participants to make effective presentations, write productive papers, grants, and dissertations, and prepare for faculty teaching responsibilities.

Those who wish to polish their professional speech can participate in courses and workshops on presentations skills or pronunciation and accent training, while writers can hone their research and publishing skills. Any who plan to seek faculty positions can get pedagogical background and career leadership in GRD 705 Teaching at the College Level, or develop the Teaching Philosophy most academic positions require in GRD 716 Preparing a Teaching Portfolio.

Additional support is available for those who come from other cultures or speak other languages. A series of Oral Communication courses offers speaking, listening, and cross-cultural skills for any who want to sharpen their ability to follow lectures, get ideas across, or just interact on and off campus. The Mission of the professional Development Program is to provide those skills that transcend disciplinary boundaries. A schedule of spring semester courses is located below. 

 Professional Development Courses Spring 2010


GRD 701 Presentation & Discussion Skills

Wednesdays, Jan. 6 to May 5, 5:30 to 8pm                                                              Location: BBRB 263

3 credit hours;  Contact Alan Corbin at

This course is designed to develop professional communication skills through individual presentations and group evaluations. Topics include the basics of oral presentation, content, organization, and delivery of formal presentations; use of voice and nonverbal communication; and speaking to different audiences. Students’ presentations are videotaped and critiqued by their classmates and the instructor.

GRD 705 Teaching at the College Level and Beyond

Mondays, Jan. 11 to May 3, 5:30 to 8pm                                                                 Location: TBA

2 or 3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at or Nancy Abney at

This course provides an overview of many important aspects of teaching at the college level and beyond. Topics include designing a course and writing an effective syllabus, writing learning objectives, enhancing lectures, testing and grading, dealing with challenging students and difficult situations, learning and the brain, and accessing appropriate active learning strategies.

GRD 708 Writing Successfully

Saturday, Feb.6, 9am to 5pm                                                                                   Meets in CH 205

1 credit hour; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at

This workshop provides an introduction to various aspects of writing in a variety of professional settings. Topics include strategies for efficient composing, overcoming writer’s block, avoiding plagiarism, adjusting for audience, writing for PowerPoint, and editing your own writing.

GRD 709 Fellowship Writing

Fridays, 2 to 4pm – Jan. 8, Jan. 29, Feb. 19, Apr. 2                                                  Location: TBA

3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at

This hand-on workshop takes students through the fellowship or grant writing process from finding funding sources to writing a successful narrative. Topics also include finding the right funding source to match your research topic, the fellowship or grant writing process, the writing and editing process, and effective revisions. Students will prepare a fellowship or grant proposal during the semester.

GRD 710 Career Workshop for Graduate Students

Friday, April 16, 3 to 5pm and Saturday, April 17, 8am to 4pm                                  Location: TBA

1 credit hour; Contact Dr. Jeff Engler at

This workshop provides participants with insights into a variety of career fields, inside and outside of academia. Discussion panels are made up of invited speakers from business, government, industry, and academia from across the United States.

GRD 716 Developing a Teaching Portfolio                                                           Location: TBA

Two class meetings (1/22 & 3/5) 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and weekly online assignments                               

2 credit hours; Contact Nancy Abney at

This hybrid course guides participants in developing a Teaching Portfolio for improving teaching practices and enhancing job search potential.  The web-based curriculum introduces essential elements of the portfolio, provides tools for gathering necessary documentation, and through individual feedback from the instructor, assists participants in drafting a personal Philosophy of Teaching, upon which the Portfolio is built. 

GRD 717 Principles of Scientific Integrity.
Tuesdays, Jan. 12 to May 4, 1:30 to 4pm                                                                 Meets in BBRB 170

3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Harold Kincaid at

This course surveys ethical issues and principles in the practice of science. Among the topics discussed are the nature, extent, and causes of fraud in the sciences; UAB policies on fraud; ideals of good science; the responsibilities of authorship and peer review; potential problems raised by the commercialization of research; scientists as public policy advisors; and ethical issues involved in animal experimentation and in clinical trials.

GRD 727 Writing & Reviewing Research

Jan. 26 to Apr. 8                                                                                                         Location: TBA

Two Sections: VT—Tu/Th 4 to 5:30 p.m. and VTB Online

3 credit hours; Contact Jennifer L. Greer at

For individuals constructing research papers, preparing literature reviews, writing summary articles and critiques, GRD 727 offers essential strategies and techniques for working more effectively and efficiently; assignments include practice, feedback, peer review, and self-editing. Instructor approval required for second-language writers.

GRD 728 Advanced Writing & Publishing

Jan. 26 to Apr. 6                                                                                                         Location: TBA

One Section:  VT—Tuesdays 6 to 9 p.m.

3 credit hours; Contact Jennifer L. Greer at

Created for students who seek to publish professionally, GRD 728 reviews academic writing genres, standards, and conventions. Fast-paced with text analysis and guided practice, this course covers the writing of biographic statements, conference abstracts & posters, review articles, critiques, and empirical research articles. Embedded language instruction addresses key grammatical issues for second language writers. (Pre-requisite for second language English writers: Writing Assessment Level 3 or GRD 727).

GRD 737 Successful Dissertation Process

(Prerequisite: GRD 736)            

One Section:  Wednesdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.                                                                              Location: TBA

3 credit hours  Contact Dr. Susan Olmstead at

The second in a series of seminars for graduate students who are preparing to start a dissertation within the next year; seminar topics include creating a dissertation committee, crafting the proposal, outlining the text, and managing the writing and reviewing process.  (first class meeting is Jan. 13) 


Academic English for Internationals Spring 2010: Tentative Schedule

Jan. 25 to Apr. 8 (unless otherwise indicated)

**Check Spring Schedule on BlazerNET for changes**


Oral Communication

 *GRD 720 Oral Communication I                                                                           

Jan. 26 to Apr. 8

One Section: Tu/Th 5:30 to 7pm                                                                                Location: TBA

(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2—Low or Mid)  3 credit hours

Contact Alan Corbin at

Learn strategies for clearly and accurately expressing your ideas while building your confidence. On-line lectures allow students to practice listening to presentations and interviews on current topics. In-class discussions build fluency, grammar, and pronunciation. This interactive speaking and listening course prepares students to participate actively in discussions with Americans in both academic and social settings. (First class in a 2-part sequence)

*GRD 721 Oral Communication II

Jan. 26 to Apr. 8

One Section: Tu/Th 3:30 to 5pm                                                                                Location: TBA

(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2 High or GRD 720)  3 credit hours

Contact Nancy Abney at

Build academic vocabulary and knowledge of American culture. Improve listening and speaking accuracy, and practice effective language learning strategies. Students in this dynamic, web-enhanced course discuss ethical and global issues while learning to speak and listen effectively in small groups. Class size is limited to ensure maximum participation.

*GRD 730 Advanced Oral Communication

Jan. 25 to Apr. 7                                                                                                        Location: TBA

One Section: M/W 12noon to 1:30pm

(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2 High or GRD 721)  3 credit hours

Contact Alan Corbin at

Build communication skills and learning strategies while exploring cultural values. Through small-group interaction, students learn to effectively discuss their opinions, organize effective talks, and analyze complex problems. This Level 3 course prepares students for the kinds of communication expected in graduate school —participating in academic discussions; debating scholarly projects with colleagues; and delivering formal talks at professional meetings.


Pronunciation and Accent Improvement


*GRD 714: Individualized Pronunciation Instruction                                                    

Jan. 6 to May 5

(Prerequisite: GRD 724 or permission of instructor) 3 to 5 credit hours per semester  

Contact Jonghee Shadix at

Students in Individualized Instruction have acquired basic speaking skills in group instruction and are now ready for fine-tuning their language abilities with an experienced instructor, who tailors lessons to their particular pronunciation needs. The course includes a thorough diagnostic and goal-setting session, followed by one-to-one instruction in the sounds and rhythms of English, including computer-assisted language mapping and techniques used by professional actors.

*GRD 725 Advanced Pron/Accent Workshop                                                     

Wednesdays, Jan. 6 to May 5, 5:30 to 8pm                                                               Location: TBA

(Prerequisite: permission of instructor required) 3 credit hours

Contact Jonghee Shadix at

This course is for those students who have completed the individualized instruction or who have the equivalent proficiency of those who have completed. By applying the voice and speech works of actor training, the students will practice speaking in longer stretches of the speech without losing the clarity of the message. This course helps students prepare for thesis and dissertation defenses, lecturing, and talks given at professional conferences and interviews.


Academic Writing

 *GRD 726 Academic Writing for Internationals                                                                           

Jan. 26 to Apr. 8                                                                                                        Location: TBA

One Section: VTTu/Th 8 to 9:30am  

(Prerequisite: Writing Assessment Level 2)  3 credit hours

Contact Jennifer L. Greer at

This hands-on course introduces international students to the writing process, the elements of effective writing, common academic texts, ethics, peer review, and techniques for efficient editing. Based on guided activities, independent practice, and small-group work with instructor feedback, it is the first of two courses on writing academic journal-style articles. *Instruction also addresses key grammatical issues for second language writers.

GRD 727 Writing & Reviewing Research

Jan. 26 to Apr. 8                                                                                                         Location: TBA

Two Sections: VT—Tu/Th 4 to 5:30 p.m. and VTB Online

(Prerequisite for multilingual writers: permission of instructor)  3 credit hours

Contact Jennifer L. Greer at

For individuals constructing research papers, preparing literature reviews, writing summary articles and critiques, GRD 727 offers essential strategies and techniques for working more effectively and efficiently; assignments include practice, feedback, peer review, and self-editing. Instructor approval required for second-language writers.

GRD 728 Academic Writing & Publishing

Jan. 26 to Apr. 6                                                                                                         Location: TBA

One Section:  VT—Tuesdays 6 to 9pm

(Prerequisite for multilingual writers: permission of instructor)   3 credit hours

Contact Jennifer L. Greer at

Created for students who seek to publish professionally, GRD 728 reviews academic writing genres, standards, and conventions. Fast-paced with text analysis and guided practice, this course covers the writing of biographic statements, conference abstracts & posters, review articles, critiques, and empirical research articles. Embedded language instruction addresses key grammatical issues for second language writers.

Preparing Tomorrow’s Professionals