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The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of each of its academic programs.


Upon application for candidacy, an applicant institution demonstrates that it meets the comprehensive standard for faculty qualifications

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Off-site Committee Comments
The University of Alabama Birmingham provides definitions of full-time faculty according to their tenure status, rank and assignment category. The University’s mission is to be a research university and academic health science center that discovers, teaches and applies knowledge for the intellectual, cultural, social and economic benefit of Birmingham, the state and beyond. The number of full-time faculty is determined in each academic unit at the department or division level and is based on credit hour production, service, research productivity, state funding, and clinical demands. An annual review is completed to determine the need for additional full-time faculty. The decision to hire faculty to support the missions of the University, schools, and individual programs is made by the department chair, dean and provost. All professional programs are accredited by their discipline specific accrediting bodies, providing evidence that they meet national quality standards. Good evidence is provided regarding student satisfaction with faculty interactions and program quality.

However, it is impossible to determine from the material presented the number of full-time vs. part-time faculty in each academic program, by off-campus instruction site, and by mode of delivery. Data presented reflect the overall number of full-time and part-time faculty providing instruction to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, however, the reader is unable to determine the number of students distributed across each college to verify adequate number of faculty per program/school. Credit hour generation data were presented as a whole and not program/school specific. The mission of the University also incorporates research and service. Data presented provide evidence that full-time faculty are adequately supporting these initiatives.

Institutional Response


In response to the Off-site Committee's review of Core Requirement 2.8, additional data are presented to demonstrate adequacy of full-time faculty in instruction.


Faculty and Student Distribution by Department/Academic Program 

As of October 1, 2013, the University employed 2,176 full-time faculty serving 18,568 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Faculty appointments are made at the department level, with some faculty serving in administrative roles at the department, school/college or university level. Student enrollment is reported in academic programs, which reside in departments, with few exceptions at the school/college level (in the case of multidisciplinary programs such as African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences). Some non-degree granting student classifications, such as Liberal Arts, may reside at the school/college level.


The data provided in 2013-2014 Enrollment and Faculty Distribution demonstrate full- and part-time faculty count by department, student enrollment by academic program within department, student-to-faculty ratios at the school/college and department levels, and the number of degrees conferred. It should be noted that these numbers do not include irregular faculty (adjuncts, credentialed course instructors, and UAB staff members who also act as instructors) and graduate students who assist with recitations and laboratories. Student-to-faculty ratios are typically less that 20:1, with the Departments of Biology, Social Work, and Communication Studies being noteworthy exceptions that will be discussed below. 


Distribution by Instruction Site

In addition to the main campus, UAB has off-campus locations in Huntsville, Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama where students in the School of Medicine may receive training as a part of their degree requirements. (The Montgomery site was approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in September 2013. Ten third-year medical students began taking classes there in May 2014.)


Distribution of Faculty by Instruction Site (as of 1-Oct-2013)


Site Number of Full-Time Faculty Number of Part-Time Faculty Number of Students
Main Campus 2,146  70  18,497
Montgomery, AL 6  0
Huntsville, AL 24  1 71 
 Total 2,176 71 18,568

 * Faculty in Montgomery and Huntsville are listed in the UAB School of Medicine.

Distribution by Mode of Delivery and Instructor Type

The Course Count by Mode of Delivery and Instructor Type (Fall 2013) for each department and school/college shows that regular, full-time faculty teach the majority of courses regardless of delivery mode in the preponderance of cases. These data exclude zero-credit sections, which are primarily laboratories, recitations, and experiential courses such as co-operative education courses. These activities are typically supervised by graduate students and staff. It also should be noted that each instructor-of-record for a course is counted. For example, a course with three faculty listed as instructors would be counted three times.


Credit Hour Production by School/Academic Program

Adequacy of full-time faculty can also be demonstrated by examining credit hour production (CHP) by course level and instructor type. Overall, the majority of credit hours generated in the Fall 2013 semester were through courses taught by full-time faculty (73% of lower-level undergraduate, 86% of upper-level undergraduate, and 84% of graduate). CHP by Course Level and Instructor Type provides information for each school/college and department. UAB provides support for additional instructional personnel (irregular faculty and graduate teaching assistants), particularly at the lower level undergraduate level where numerous sections of general education/core curriculum courses are offered. Irregular faculty with expertise in areas of specialization are also utilized to supplement instruction in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. 


Departments with High Student-to-Faculty Ratios

The departments of Biology (48:1), Communication Studies (39:1), and Social Work (40:1) in the College of Arts and Sciences exhibit unusually high student-to-faculty ratios. Biology extensively utilizes graduate students to assist with laboratories and recitations. Communication Studies and Social Work use irregular faculty for lower level undergraduate courses (which are primarily general education/core curriculum). These instructors account for 61.6% and 36.8% of the CHP for Communication Studies and Social Work, respectively.


It should also be noted that new chairs from outside of UAB have recently joined the departments of Biology (Dr. Steven N. Austad), Communication Studies (Dr. Timothy Levine), and Social Work (Dr. David Pollio). It is anticipated that each will review course offerings, teaching loads, and staffing levels in concert with departmental and College of Arts and Sciences strategic planning processes.  

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