Laura Tull One of UAB’s biggest cheerleaders has moved to Collat’s recruiting frontlines.

Laura Tull, who has spent more than a decade in advising and 15 years in various other roles at UAB, has taken on a newly created position as Director of Transfer Student Success. As director, Tull now works with students transferring to Collat from other institutions to help them acclimate to UAB life and feel at home in the Collat School of Business.

Pushing Students Towards Success

Transitioning from one school to another can be daunting for students. Sometimes credit hours don’t transfer and potentially push a student further away from an anticipated graduation date. The Hechinger Report found that transfer students can lose 13 credit hours upon transfer to a university – nearly 40% receive no credit at all.

Other times students may not be fully prepared to navigate the complexities of a four-year university like UAB.

As the new Director of Transfer Student Success, Tull created the Bridge to Business (B2B) program to provide transfer students with critical support through transcript review, advising support and regular curriculum updates.

Students in the program receive a personalized tour of UAB campus and the Collat School of Business as well as meetings with current business students, faculty and advisors within the student’s major.

“Ultimately, the goal of the Bridge to Business Program is to catch these [transfer] students early so they have every chance of success when they enroll at UAB,” Tull says. “We want them to feel comfortable with the school and comfortable with the resources we offer them as new students at UAB.”

But identifying potential transfer students isn’t as easy as it sounds.

“It’s actually one of our biggest challenges, identifying and building connections with these students,” Tull says. “We want to have touchpoints with the student two years before they enroll at UAB, and that can be difficult at times.”

Tull regularly visits community colleges in Birmingham and beyond to build relationships with school leaders, so they feel confident connecting Tull to students interested in next steps with UAB.

The B2B program has seen tremendous success, Tull says, with colleges already pledging buy-in for the program. Even though she hasn’t been able to personally visit community colleges during the pandemic, she has continued to build connections with online video meetings and regular phone calls.

Bridging Personal with Professional

Laura Tull Before taking on the new role, Tull served as an academic advisor at Collat. She has advised for five of the school’s majors during her 10 years at Collat, including accounting, finance, information systems, marketing and economics. In her new position, she also advises business students majoring in Collat’s newest undergraduate program – entrepreneurship.

Her background in advising has proven invaluable in helping non-traditional students regain footing on their path to a degree. If a transfer student is denied admission to UAB, Tull steps in to provide an individualized plan of action.

“I tell students, ‘take this class and get this grade,’” she says.

These students, Tull says, are often older students or parents who feel they can’t go back to school. A 2005 alumna of UAB, Tull is determined to get students back on track and ready for education– no matter their background.

“When they follow my plan, get re-admitted, and they see that glimmer of hope, it’s really rewarding for me,” she says.

Getting to that point isn’t easy. Tull works with each student, asking questions like What are you doing outside of academia? Are you taking care of a family member or parent?

From there, Tull recommends resources that allow students to regain their confidence moving forward with academia. This holistic approach ensures that students are prepared for the classes they need to succeed – and aren’t sidetracked by life outside the classroom.

Doing It All – And Then Some

In addition to managing the B2B program and advising entrepreneurship students, Tull teaches UASC 150 Career Planning and Management, a twice-weekly class for transfer students that teaches the skills they need to be successful at UAB, she says. The class offers these students critical support in building resumes, time management skills and preparing for life on campus.

When Tull isn’t at work, she’s usually at home with her children, six-year-old Avery and two-year old Griffin, and husband Bryan. She finds joy in staying busy, whether that involves chauffeuring her daughter to dance class, working on crafting projects or simply spending time with her growing family.