Goal I: Transforming Undergraduate Learning
We will provide a student-centered, collaborative learning experience to prepare diverse students for rewarding careers and lives that benefit society and our regional and global economy.
Rationale and Readiness
- In 15 years, the
. has dropped from 1st to 14th worldwide in percentage of young adults with college degrees...In annual growth of college degrees, we rank 24th globally with 3% growth, trailing such emerging economies as the United States Slovak Republic(5.7%) and (4.4%). Mexico
, just 31% of young adults are college graduates, and only 22% of the adult workforce has earned college credit. The state ranks 45th in adults with a bachelor’s degree. Alabama
UAB is equipping an increasing number of undergraduates with high-quality degrees and, in so doing, helping our state and region keep pace in today’s global, knowledge economy. The university has achieved record overall enrollment for two consecutive years, at 17,543 in fall 2010.The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded has increased by 31% since 2003, and was 1,921 in 2009-10. These students also are coming to campus better prepared than ever, as the average ACT for the entering class has risen from 22.0 to 24.4 since 2002.
- The World Economic Forum ranks the
. 48th in math and science education, and we rank 27th among developed nations in proportion of college students with undergraduate degrees in those fields. United States
- U.S. high school students rank 17th in science and 24th in math, near the bottom of the developed world, and 78% do not meet readiness benchmarks for entry-level college courses in those subjects....69% of 5th through 8th graders are taught math by a teacher without a degree or certificate; in the physical sciences, the number rises to 93%.
- President Obama recently announced “Race to the Top,” a $4 billion competitive grant program to reward states that best advance education innovation and reform, and to train 10,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers over two years.
Accompanying UAB’s upward enrollment trend is a growing number of undergraduates in STEM programs. Since 2002 engineering, math and computer sciences have seen a combined increase of more than 77% (to1,143 majors); biology increased by 39% (to 983 majors); and chemistry more than doubled (to 293 majors). We have
UAB is also expanding those opportunities in partnership with K-12. CORD (UAB’s Center for Outreach and Community Development) has provided 59,500 preK-12 students and 1,334 teachers statewide with inquiry-based science experiences, and “Blazer Best” robotics competitions prepare and host students from 25 area schools, including all seven
- “In an economy fueled by innovation, the capabilities developed through a liberal education have become
’s most valuable economic asset: [R]ich knowledge, higher-level skills and creativity, social responsibility, examined values, and the ability to apply learning to complex and unscripted problems.” (Liberal Education & America’s Promise) America
- In a recent survey, top U.S executives said what they looked for most in job candidates was "critical thinking and analytic reasoning skills," and "oral/written communication."...George Nolen, Siemens CEO: “A solid foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is necessary for corporate leaders.”
- Just 10% of college seniors are “proficient” at level 3 (highest level) writing, and 76% are “not proficient” in critical thinking.
- Less than 34 % of
college students earn credit for an international studies class... Less than 13% achieve basic competence in a language other than English...Less than 10 % participate in study abroad... U.S.
Pursuant to UAB’s Quality Enhancement Plan implemented in 2003, the undergraduate core curriculum was revised to focus more effectively on communication and problem-solving skills, the ability to make informed and ethical decisions necessary for responsible citizenship, and service-learning in the local and global community. With its
The effectiveness of these enhanced curricula is evidenced by prestigious student awards: In 2010 alone, UAB has already produced three Goldwater Scholars (eight in the past three years); two Fulbright Scholars (seven in the past three years); a Truman Scholar (UAB’s fifth); a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, UAB’s seventh in as many years; four participants in the highly competitive “Teach for America” program; an NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship, one of only 15 in the nation; and a national championship Ethics Bowl Team.
- More than 30% of white adults have at least four years of college, but only 18% of African-Americans and 12% of Hispanics....Public research universities serve as the primary route by which minority students (800,000 per year) receive undergraduate degrees.
- Just 22% of full-time students in community colleges graduate within three years. For Hispanic and black students, the rate is 17% and 14%, respectively.
- Of the predicted
population growth of 56 million between 2000 and 2020, 46 million will be members of minority groups. The U.S. is projected to become a “majority minority” country by 2050. United States
- The number of international students on
college campuses has grown by nearly 19% in the past five years, currently at more than 671,000. U.S.
UAB’s African-American freshman enrollment grew from 363 in fall 2009 (23.9% of class) to 407 (25.9% of class), and over two years black freshman male enrollment has increased by 71%. Hispanic enrollment has increased 72% in five years. The number of undergraduate degrees awarded to African-Americans increased by 31% since 2003, and the UAB Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) has supported more than 12,500
Strengthening Our Impact
- Increase enrollment of diverse, well-prepared students from
and beyond. Alabama
- Increase retention and graduation rates.
- Encourage/support seamless transition from community colleges.
- Expand or create programs aligned with the region’s targeted business sectors* and tomorrow’s careers.
- Expand opportunities for research and honors experiences, study abroad, learning communities, internships, and service-learning.
- Provide academic programs acclaimed for pioneering content, engaging pedagogies, and interdisciplinary problem-solving, incorporating the use, measurement and analysis of technology to enhance learning.
* As defined by, but not limited to, those business sectors targeted in the Birmingham Business Alliance “Blueprint Birmingham”—biological and medical technology; health care services; metal and steel manufacturing; finance and insurance; diverse manufacturing; trade and distribution; arts, entertainment and tourism.
See the Undergraduate Education Scorecard.