Explore UAB

In 2022, a $5 million investment by UAB alumnus J. Frank Barefield, Jr. provided the Department of Criminal Justice with resources to facilitate transformative contributions to both UAB’s Strategic Plan centering on improving communities throughout Alabama and the College of Arts and Sciences’ commitment to meaningful and mutually beneficial collaborations that foster the public good.

The department recognizes that violence is an urgent social problem that continues to compromise the safety and well-being of people and communities throughout Alabama. The J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Department of Criminal Justice is equipped to serve Alabama communities by focusing on the causes, consequences, reduction, and prevention of violence. Alongside the establishment of the J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Endowed Chair in Communities and Crime, the department is introducing this academic year (2023-2024) the new SEED Funding for Alabama Communities. Funds will be designated for use by department faculty for activities consistent with the following overarching objectives:

Support, enhance, engage, and develop Alabama communities.

Projects may address a broad classification of violence, which includes violence directed at self and others (e.g., adverse childhood experiences), firearm violence, intimate partner violence, suicide, youth violence, hate crimes, and animal abuse. Applicants should seek to:

  • Support researcher-stakeholder partnerships,
  • Enhance existing research,
  • Engage students with participatory research, and/or
  • Develop programs and practices to reduce violence.

Research, teaching, or service activities with the potential to have a transformative impact on those affected by violence in Alabama communities are eligible for Barefield SEED funding.


The department is pleased to announce recipients for the inaugural SEED Funding for Alabama Communities:

“Tracking Mentorship of At-Risk Youth in Birmingham City Schools: Researcher/Practitioner Partnership”

Martha Earwood and Tara Warner

Growing Kings has consistently obtained program assessment data from participants at the beginning and end of each school year, using a paper and pencil program-specific inventory that also includes the following scales: sense of belonging, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and conflict resolution. Funding will support a team of undergraduate and graduate students to undertake the conversion of paper surveys from program participants (n ≈ 2040 files) into digital formats. The resulting data set will serve as a foundational step toward comprehensive data analysis, offering a quantifiable framework for assessing program outcomes, goals, and efficacy.

“Improving Wellbeing through Reflective Journaling”

Lindsay Leban and Heith Copes

This project will involve an 8-week reflective journaling course with weekly focus groups among women at The Lovelady Center (TLC) who experienced violence. TLC is a halfway house for women in Birmingham, Alabama. Our aim is to develop a working journal group for women who have experienced violence. This journal group will be designed to foster self-reflection, enhance self-efficacy, and promote positive self-concepts. Although we will publish from the resulting data, our primary goal is to improve the wellbeing of participants through reflective journaling.

“Understanding the Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors and their Pets”

Shelly McGrath

This project aims to collect data about the extent of the need for sheltering pets when escaping abusive situations in central Alabama and to build relationships among the existing agencies to implement a strategic plan for incorporating pet friendly housing for DV victims. Another goal of this project is to build relationships among the different IPV and animal welfare agencies in central Alabama. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) has a program called “Project Pet Safe,” which includes emergency boarding and obtaining foster families to place pets who are in emergency situations such as those who are victims of IPV. GBHS currently uses short-term boarding for these cases but aims to network with other agencies to come up with alternatives. Educating their staff and volunteers as well as advertising the program for victims as well as for the general public to become emergency foster families.