Two girls playing piano together during a concert
Artist working in his studio
Girl writing

The Department of English is reinventing freshman composition courses for students transitioning from high school to college writing. The developmental writing program, piloted in 2017, focuses more on a learning environment that is more productive and positive for incoming freshmen.

The new course structure in the developmental writing program is based on a studio model and replaces the College’s current remedial freshman composition course. The courses include writing studio, much like a lab component of a science course, in which students meet weekly with their instructor to work on their writing assignments. Students also are required to attend the University Writing Center to work with tutors throughout the semester and get additional feedback on their writing.

The program slows down the curriculum and gives the instructor more time to mentor students through the writing process. It creates a space where students can ask questions about a piece of writing. Faculty and instructors report positive changes in the way students respond to the demands of freshman writing courses.

cover of NELLE 2018cover of Birmingham POetry Review

The department’s literary journals spotlight the best contemporary writing for a local and national audience.

Poetry first published in NELLE, formerly known as poemmemoirstory, has received honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize, one of the highest honors for works in small publications. Other submissions have appeared in prestigious compilations including Best American Essays, New Stories from the South, and Best American Poetry. Poems from Birmingham Poetry Review (BPR) have been reprinted in Best American Poetry. Two poems from BPR’s 2018 issue went on to win Pushcart Prizes, and another two were selected for Best American Poetry.

With the opportunity to help staff with two successful journals in one department, UAB students play an active role in reviewing the work of elite writers and gain a unique perspective into the world of literary publishing.

The Department of Music has distinguished itself as one of the finest centers for educating young musicians in the Southeast.

With performances by faculty, and students in Egypt, Russia, France, England, Scotland, Brazil, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Mexico, the department is sharing its talents and showcasing students’ musical training around the world. Musical series hosted every year bring the world’s finest musicians to Birmingham.

Graduates have consistently found success in graduate study at some of the nation’s most prestigious schools, and work in the music business and music technology, music education, churches, and as active performers.

Two of the department’s signature bands and choirs are thriving under new leadership, with Sean Murray, Ph.D., taking the helm of the Marching Blazers in 2017 and leading the band through the triumphant return of UAB Football, and Reginald Jackson, Ph.D., assuming leadership of the renowned UAB Gospel Choir in 2018 with expanded performances and community engagement.

The Department of Art and Art History is committed to training artists and art historians to make a mark in the classroom, across campus, and throughout the local and global community.

The department’s exceptionally talented art studio, faculty, students, and alumni are active in the global arts community with exhibitions and installations of their work. Art history faculty have been recently awarded with major prizes and fellowships, and graduates have gone on to significant careers in museum curation, program management, and academia.

The department’s creativity will soon be showcased at other system campuses via the new University of Alabama System Art Trail. The innovative education opportunity allows several students and Assistant Professor Stacey Holloway, M.F.A., to showcase their creativity by working together to design and create a public sculpture as part of the collaboration between the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The three outdoor pieces by each university will rotate every two years, then return to their originating campuses for permanent installation.

This summer, Rich Gere, M.F.A., took the helm as the new chair of the department. Gere’s background in the graphic design and print media will enhance the department’s already-strong reputation in those fields, and his experience in the private sector will ensure that the department’s notable Visiting Artist and Scholar Series will continue to provide students, faculty, and the Birmingham community with direct exposure to national and internationally known artists and scholars.

Theatre production of SavageThe Department of Theatre is developing the next generation of actors, set designers, and performers.

The department funds five fully-mounted productions each year and supports four touring companies who perform throughout Alabama. In addition, the department also produces short films, student showcases, and directing projects.

The productions often shine a light on social issues and historical figures or illuminate parts of America’s tragic history, like the original musical, Savage, based on the true story of Ota Benga, a Mbuti tribesman taken from his home in the Congo to be put on exhibition at fairs and zoos in the United States in the early 1900s.

Every production provides innumerable opportunities to students, both as performers and as crew members, to create shows from start to finish. Students can assist in directing, choreography costume design and creation, set design, dramaturgy, and as a documentarian of the entire process.