Magic Words

Jaclyn Wells and students in the Writing in Birmingham course

Magic Words

Students Discover Birmingham by Writing About It

By Susannah Felts • Photos by Steve Wood

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.

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Garden of Ideas

Photo of UAB sustainability coordinator Julie Price

Garden of Ideas

UAB Becomes a Creative Proving Ground for Sustainability

By Charles Buchanan • Photos by Steve Wood and Julie Price • Infographic by Ron Gamble

Julie Price, Ph.D., will admit that her mind has been in the gutter lately. 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 (pictured above), appointed UAB’s inaugural sustainability coordinator in 2013. “We’re taking a different stance and treating stormwater like a resource.”
     
She also intends to maximize UAB’s other natural resources—namely, the bright ideas of its students and employees and the power of its research—to make UAB a greener, more efficient university. The results could ripple out into Birmingham as well, inspiring changes that lead to a more livable community for everyone to enjoy.

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Quiz Show

Illustrations of medical residents with mobile devices

UAB Game Turns Smartphones Into Teaching Tools for Doctors

Story and Video by Matt WindsorPhoto by Steve Wood

The day after returning home from a Key West vacation, a 25-year-old man develops malaise, fever, and a headache. The day after that, he comes down with a rash. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis: enterovirus? measles? rubella? dengue? Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

After they graduate from medical school, new doctors spend the next several years patrolling hospital wards, learning how to answer these kinds of questions as quickly as possible. (In the scenario above, the answer is dengue.) Attending physicians oversee the residents’ work, and are responsible for their continuing education; senior-level residents pass on wisdom on the art of doctoring as well. Gone are the structured exams of medical school. Apart from an occasional pop quiz during daily rounds, the accumulated lessons from one patient encounter have to be stored away in memory until they are needed, perhaps years later.

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Preserving the Past

Preserving the Past

By Meghan C. Davis

As Pamela Sterne King, M.A., 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. King, an assistant professor of history at UAB and former historic preservation officer for the city of Birmingham, wants students to learn about the city’s “often-forgotten fun personality,” she says. She also wants them to witness the revitalization of the downtown theatre and retail district and see the potential for further development.

Detailed inspections of the city’s treasures are a part of King’s Historic Preservation and Public Policy course at UAB, which includes extended walking tours of the city. “My students absolutely love to see where Birmingham’s history was made,” she says.

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