Department of Political Science and Public Administration

  • Krutul is the first to graduate from the public administration ABM Program

    Ania Krutul, the first graduate of the public administration ABM program, concluded her UAB journey with honors, awards and discovery of a lifelong passion for public policy.

    Read more...
  • Kyle Adams and Ummu Bah are the 2022-2023 Mr. and Ms. UAB

    The Mr. and Ms. UAB Scholarship Competition is one of UAB’s longest-standing Homecoming traditions. Each winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship and serve as an ambassador of UAB.

    Read more...
  • I am Arts and Sciences: Elizabeth Hendrix

    Elizabeth Hendrix earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration in 2016.

    Elizabeth Hendrix earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration in 2016. She went on to a successful career with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and she was recently selected for the prestigious Commissioner’s Award for Values in May 2022. The College of Arts and Sciences interviewed Hendrix to learn more about her time at UAB, her current career, and her award.


    ARTS AND SCIENCES: Why did you choose your UAB major(s)?

    HENDRIX: After earning my PhD in Instructional Leadership at the University of Alabama in 2007, I became an assistant professor in Missouri. After four years of outstanding evaluations in every area on my yearly evaluations and a work schedule that did not leave me with work/life balance at all, I decided that I had to do something else that paid more and gave me a much better quality of life. I was accepted into law school, but soon I discovered that my law school peers who were passing the bar exam were struggling to find good jobs with good pay too.

    As I shadowed my second cousin, Cynthia Lee Almond, in Tuscaloosa City Council meetings to decide whether I wanted to run for elected office in Alabama and to determine how I might use my law degree, I met Walt Maddox, the Mayor of Tuscaloosa. I discussed the career issues facing students who complete their PhDs and/or JDs with him and Cynthia. Walt recommended the MPA program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He said that degree and skillset really helped him. He also noted that it was nationally ranked and accredited too (unlike some other MPA programs in the state). After that, I started studying jobs available for people with administration degrees, and there seemed to be more of those jobs available and with higher pay too. Afterwards, I chose to apply for the UAB MPA program and stop my law classes. I am so happy that I did! I made the right decision then. I am truly grateful for that advice I received from Walt and Cynthia and for my UAB MPA. That decision, based on their advice, led me to a much better career and life.

    ARTS AND SCIENCES: What does being a UAB alumna mean to you?

    HENDRIX: My MPA degree increased the quality of my life dramatically. One of the UAB taglines (when I was in school there) was, “Knowledge that will change your world.” My experiences at UAB and with my MPA changed my entire world and helped me create a far better future than I could have even imagined. As a small child, teen, or even young adult, if you asked me what my dream was, I never would have responded with working for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. However, it really is my dream job and career. I love it! It is the best job that I have ever had. Being a UAB alumna makes me feel honored and humbled simultaneously to be a part of a remarkable group that truly is making a difference and who are change catalysts creating a better world (whether it is through improving health care services, creating better policies, or leading where others would only follow).

    ARTS AND SCIENCES: How has the knowledge and skills you attained at UAB/CAS helped you in your career?

    HENDRIX: Before the MPA program, I had never heard of the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program. My UAB thesis chair, Dr. Akhlaque Haque, encouraged me to apply for it. Without his encouragement, I never would have become a PMF. The knowledge and skills that I attained at UAB/CAS helped me make the cut from over 6,000 Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) applicants to approximately one of 200 who became a PMF alumna in the Class of 2016. My MPA and my work experience serving as the program manager of UAB Health Services Administration’s Doctoral Programs helped me start my dream job, improve my work/life balance, and almost double my salary in less than four years. It gave me the skills I needed to succeed in my new career. After my first year in the PMF program, I earned a promotion. Then just two years later, I earned a competitive promotion as well. Without the MPA classes at UAB, I would not have been able to get my federal job as a PMF nor succeed in it. My life would be far worse without a good work/life balance and financial struggles. UAB/CAS helped me find my dream job, better financial stability, and even my bliss.

    ARTS AND SCIENCES: Is there a professional accomplishment you would like to highlight/share?

    HENDRIX: In May 2022, I earned the prestigious Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Commissioner’s Award for Values. This award is only offered once a year, and many lifelong federal employees never earn an award like it. Winners must be nominated for it by their peers and/or senior leaders, and there is a cash prize for it. Thus, it is highly competitive. This special act award is intended to recognize employees who consistently exceed expectations and have made a significant contribution towards achieving/supporting the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (FS) strategic goals or values, ultimately improving the functions, operations, and services.

    I won the Commissioner’s Award for outstanding support of the FS values for creating a more equitable and safer FS.

    ARTS AND SCIENCES: Is there any advice that you would like to offer to students as they plan for life after graduating from UAB?

    HENDRIX: My advice as students plan for life after UAB graduation is to get out of their comfort zones. This may include leaving their hometowns or developing entirely new skillsets. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, to listen to the UAB professors and advisors, and to be honest about needs and weaknesses. This is how one can truly obtain the necessary help to shoot for the stars and launch their journey towards their dreams. Also, study job descriptions carefully to ensure that you develop the necessary skills and experiences to set yourself up successfully in your career. Practice saying “yes” to as many opportunities as possible while you are a student. Find a problem to fix in the community, culture, processes, operations, or policies. Take advantage of the UAB Career Center too. They can help you find a job or internship as well as help coach you through that process. They helped me practice mock interviews and polish my resume. Each day as you work on developing yourself, remain hopeful and grateful. When you are really struggling, find one thing each day that you are grateful for, one thing that you are hopeful for, and strive to find joy in your storms. You can conquer any challenge, and you can find a career that is fulfilling for you and your family. Stay tenacious in your pursuit of your dreams!

    Read more...
  • Faculty, student interest drives expansion of sustainability curriculum

    This summer, more faculty than ever took part in the Red Mountain Project, a UAB Sustainability initiative demonstrating how to incorporate the topic into new or existing courses. Students want to know more about sustainability, participants say, and their cohort offered “a base of people to connect with and brainstorm ideas.”

    Read more...
  • Alabama Power Foundation supports new program for Central Alabama nonprofits

    The Alabama Power Foundation and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration are teaming up to promote capacity building and credential attainment within Central Alabama’s nonprofit community.

    The Alabama Power Foundation and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration are teaming up to promote capacity building and credential attainment within Central Alabama’s nonprofit community.

    Beginning in Fall 2022, the department will begin offering scholarships to eligible students who pursue a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. The Alabama Power Foundation provided a generous gift to fund these scholarships, aiming to remove financial barriers for current and future nonprofit leaders who want to build competencies vital to nonprofit organizations.

    UAB’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is the only certificate of its kind in the state of Alabama and the classes taken in the program can be used towards further graduate work. Through the program, students can take an array of courses on topics ranging from data management to grant writing. Many notable nonprofit leaders have taken courses in the program and went on to earn their MPA degrees, including Katrina Watson, executive director of the Literacy Council of Central Alabama.

    “We are very happy to be collaborating with the Alabama Power Foundation,” said Rob Blanton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. “We are excited about the ways in which we can further develop the considerable talent in this sector and provide a foundation for increased collaboration among these organizations.”

    The new partnership, also known as the UAB Nonprofit Certificate Management Scholars Program, will strive to nurture a cohort model with scholarship recipients. By catalyzing these new connections, both the Alabama Power Foundation and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration aim to prompt new strategic alliances and partnerships across the nonprofit community.

    “We’re excited to support this unique initiative that will open the door for more nonprofit leaders in Alabama to attain and share valuable information,” said Hallie Bradley, manager of Strategic Initiatives for the Alabama Power Foundation. “The knowledge and training they gain through this program can help these leaders become even more effective in serving their clients.”

    Visit the department's website to learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. You can also learn more about scholarship opportunities.

    Read more...
  • UAB serves as a global classroom

    Almost 90 members of the Bangladesh Senior Civil Service came to UAB during the spring 2022 semester to receive training in various public administration topics.

    Read more...
  • Five UAB students selected for prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program

    Five Blazers will work, live with and learn from people in their host countries during their time in the Fulbright program.

    Read more...
  • MPA alumnus wins award for nonprofit work

    Trey Gordon is passionate about his community and aims to do everything in his power to serve the people within it.

    Trey Gordon, co-founder of Adjacent SpaceTrey Gordon is passionate about his community and aims to do everything in his power to serve the people within it. So much so, he co-founded Adjacent Space, a nonprofit that is committed to advancing public spaces into more visual-tactile accessible and equitable places for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deafblind communities. 

    Now, Gordon—an Alabama native who self-identifies as fully Deaf—is receiving public recognition for his impactful work with Adjacent Space. In February, the Birmingham Business Journal honored him as a 2022 Leader in Diversity, an achievement that further elevates his work and leadership.

    Gordon is an alumnus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Master of Public Administration program, and he views the skills and knowledge he developed in the program as vital to his growth as a nonprofit leader.

    “My professors loved and cultivated the idea of Adjacent Space, and the support was incredible and propelled me and my team to go for it,” said Gordon. “Their understanding and advice created a path I could walk through.”

    Gordon discovered the MPA program while living in New Delhi, India. “I was… working for a Deaf-led nonprofit organization focusing on empowering Deaf Indians in learning basic English and job skills, connecting with Deaf leaders, and teaching Deaf culture,” he said. That passion prompted him to research MPA programs with course offerings on nonprofit management, which led him to UAB’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

    “I saw that UAB had a great fit for my interest,” said Gordon. “And UAB is such a lovely university located in a vibrant, growing city in Birmingham.”

    Gordon excelled in the program, and he remains proud of his experience at UAB.

    “I feel like I'm an ambassador for UAB when working with people, and a lot of lessons I learned in classes really came through during my work around the community, so I'm a grateful Blazer,” said Gordon.

    Gordon often sought advice from his faculty mentors while at UAB, so, now, he finds opportunities to share his wisdom with students who are currently preparing for the future. In Gordon’s opinion, it’s important to be present and focus on the moment at hand.

    “[I]t’s really important for me to not think too much about what I should be doing,” said Gordon. “Just be—you’re more than enough…things will come.”

    Read more...
  • Celebrate 15 books authored by CAS faculty in 2021

    Writing a book isn’t easy, but faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences produced more than a dozen in 2021. Thirteen faculty from eight departments wrote books on rhetoric and the Dead Sea Scrolls, pandemic bioethics, medical epigenetics, world politics and more.

    Read more...
  • 2022 Padma Award recipients named

    The Padma Award recognizes UAB faculty, staff and students who go the extra mile in support of underrepresented populations.

    Read more...
  • Stamp named finalist for national graduate scholarship

    UAB junior, Banks Stamp, was named a finalist for a 2022 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

    Read more...
  • Five Blazers accepted to Clinton Global Initiative University

    Clinton Global Initiative University engages student leaders in developing innovative solutions to campus, community or global challenges.

    Read more...
  • Ten UAB students, one alum named Fulbright semifinalists

    Eleven Blazers have been named semifinalists for an international exchange program.

    Read more...
  • I am Arts and Sciences: Charles Scribner

    Charles Scribner exemplifies school pride when he reflects on his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    Charles Scribner addresses the crowd at a Black Warrior Riverkeeper event.Charles Scribner exemplifies school pride when he reflects on his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    “UAB is very important to me and my family,” said Scribner. “I’m proud that UAB is such an engine for the state [of Alabama].”

    Scribner, born and raised in New York City, credits his wife and his career for bringing him to Birmingham. While earning his Bachelor of Arts in History and a Certificate in Environmental Studies at Princeton University, Scribner met his future wife Elizabeth Yates—a native of Birmingham and UAB Mathematics Ph.D. now named Dr. Elizabeth Scribner—who envisioned returning home after Princeton. As their relationship flourished, Scribner was also developing a passion for the international Waterkeeper movement and authoring a 100-page senior thesis about the history and effectiveness of Waterkeeper Alliance. Through his research, he met the team at the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that is “dedicated to promoting clean water for the sake of public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout [its] patrol area, the Black Warrior River watershed.”

    “I interviewed the staff, and, in the process, they offered me the job of director of development,” said Scribner.

    So, after graduating in 2005, Scribner—and Elizabeth—moved to Birmingham, and he began his journey with the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. According to Scribner, it is especially exciting and important to support the waterkeeper effort in Alabama.

    “We’re number one in freshwater biodiversity,” said Scribner. “And, beyond that, we have a very… outdoorsy population that loves to cool off in our rivers and lakes and go fishing—it’s a great American tradition, particularly a great Alabama tradition.”

    After working in his role as director of development for a few years, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors promoted Scribner to executive director. Scribner was determined to build new skills and knowledge so he could further support the mission of the organization. He researched programs that focused on nonprofit leadership and management and found a graduate certificate program available through UAB’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. When he reviewed the course offerings, he discovered that every course was applicable to his work at the Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

    “I realized a background in environmental studies and a great passion for protecting the environment are not the same as being trained to run an organization,” said Scribner. “I knew what I wanted to do, and I wanted to do it better.”

    Scribner enrolled in UAB’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management program in 2010, and, soon after completing it, he decided to pursue his Master of Public Administration.

    During Scribner’s time in graduate school, he uncovered opportunities to apply his new knowledge at Black Warrior Riverkeeper. As the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Scribner acknowledges the numerous legal and advocacy victories his team has achieved along the way. That said, he is particularly energized about an emerging volunteer cleanup program. The program is prompting meaningful, hands-on participation from the public, and, to top it off, the outreach coordinator who is facilitating the effort, Katie Fagan, is an alumna of UAB’s Department of Anthropology. This enduring UAB connection—and many others—is particularly important to Scribner (Learn more about Fagan and her journey at UAB).

    “The networking that takes place [at UAB] creates incredible connections that have been as valuable to my career as the classes I took in the MPA program,” said Scribner.

    Although he finished his graduate degree in 2015, Scribner still finds plenty of opportunities to stay connected to UAB and the MPA program. In 2017, he won the College’s Alumni Service Award, and, in 2018, he became president of the UAB National Alumni Society’s MPA Chapter.

    “I really enjoyed the process of working with other board members to turn the alumni society into something really organized and impactful,” said Scribner. “That’s easy to do when you’re working with other MPAs.”

    As he looks to the future, it’s clear that he will continue to find ways to collaborate with his fellow UAB alumni and give back to the MPA program. Also, if you attend a UAB football game at Protective Stadium, you’re likely to see Scribner with his wife and four children cheering on his beloved Blazers.

    Read more...
  • College of Arts and Sciences offering two new minors

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The Department of Political Science and Public Administration recently launched the Public Management and Policy Minor. According to Rob Blanton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration (PSPA), “The department’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program has a long history of providing graduate and professional students some of the necessary skills to succeed in the management of public and nonprofit organizations, two large and vibrant sectors within our economy.” PSPA faculty reflected on the MPA program’s successes and established a clear goal for the new minor: to build some of the same key skills and competencies for undergraduate students. The minor can thus provide a strong foundation for future graduate work in public management or give students valuable skills to help them in their career journeys.

    The College is also excited to announce the new Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor. This minor is focused on material, intellectual, sociopolitical, literary, and linguistic approaches to the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance periods. According to Walter Ward, Ph.D., professor in the Department of History, “Students will learn current theories and methods for working with a range of source materials and objects, from archaeological finds and architecture to historical documents and poetry.” The interdisciplinary program combines the fields of history, literature, archaeology, anthropology, art history, philosophy, cultural studies, economics, and more to understand the premodern world. All courses are taught by faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    You can learn more about both programs by visiting the Undergraduate Course Catalog Addenda. Also, for more information about the Public Management and Policy Minor, you can email Dr. Blanton at rgblanton@uab.edu. For more information about the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor, you can contact Dr. Ward (wdward@uab.edu) or Dr. Clements (jclements@uab.edu).

    Read more...
  • UAB panel dives into the Ukraine crisis

    A panel including experts from across UAB will discuss the Ukraine crisis and its implications for geopolitics and human rights.

    Read more...
  • Navigating life after prison is ‘nearly impossible.’ These faculty are challenging civilians to try.

    Humanities and social sciences unite to build an app that brings to life the struggles faced by former offenders in order to make the case for change. The project was made possible by funding from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Team Proposal program.

    Read more...
  • MPA graduates participate in prestigious Presidential Management Fellows Program

    The U.S. Office of Personnel Management facilitates a valuable leadership development experience known as the Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF).

    The U.S. Office of Personnel Management facilitates a valuable leadership development experience known as the Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF).

    Through the prestigious and competitive PMF program, graduate students who aim to pursue careers in government participate in a two-year appointment with a government agency. During the appointment, participants receive leadership training, full salary and benefits, and active mentorship.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration (PSPA) has an impressive record with the PMF program. As of January 2022, eight of the department’s MPA alumni have served (or will serve) as PMFs:

    • Mason Beale
    • Rachel Hicks Shabani
    • Tiffany Brown
    • Misha Manzy
    • Elizabeth Hendrix
    • Amy O’Dell
    • Kaia Greene
    • Ollie Davison

    In December 2021, Davison received a notification from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management letting him know that he was selected for the program. It proved to be a life-changing moment.

    “As a boy from Prichard, Alabama, I never would have imagined my journey would include becoming a Presidential Management Fellow,” said Davison. “I am so grateful to represent UAB and the MPA program during this prestigious fellowship. I cannot wait to show Washington D.C. what a boy from Prichard, Alabama can do to make a tangible difference for all Americans."

    According to Rob Blanton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, the PMF program is a substantial achievement worthy of celebration.

    “The Presidential Management Fellowship provides an invaluable experience to students in that it includes employment at a federal agency as well as multiple opportunities for future professional development and growth. It is a very prestigious and competitive program, the number of applicants is generally over 10,000 and only five percent are accepted,” said Blanton. “We are very proud to have such a high number of Presidential Management Fellows, as it attests to the ability of our students, as well as to the quality of the educational experience and mentoring that our students receive.”

    You can learn more about the department’s MPA program by visiting the Master of Public Administration webpage.

    Read more...
  • What does the 2020 Census data and remapping of districts mean for Alabama?

    With new population data on record for Alabama, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences explains how redistricting of electoral boundaries will impact the state moving forward.

    Read more...
  • I am Arts and Sciences: Lisa Higginbotham

    Many Blazers donate to and engage with the Benevolent Fund, a charitable giving campaign that supports health and human service agencies, selected health-related charities, and University of Alabama at Birmingham employees through the Employee Emergency Assistance Program.

    Lisa HigginbothamMany Blazers donate to and engage with the Benevolent Fund, a charitable giving campaign that supports health and human service agencies, selected health-related charities, and University of Alabama at Birmingham employees through the Employee Emergency Assistance Program. Through the Benevolent Fund, UAB has distributed over $43 million to local nonprofit organizations and to UAB employees. The work changes lives, and it is a model of charitable excellence.

    One of the key people behind the Benevolent Fund is Lisa Higginbotham, a two-time graduate of UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences. Higginbotham earned both her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Public Administration in the early 1990s, and, afterwards, she navigated a prolific career in nonprofit management across Alabama.

    “I fondly reflect on my time in CAS,” said Higginbotham. “From the friends I made who are now colleagues to working alongside Dr. Norm Eggleston researching discrimination in the workplace against people living with HIV or exploring ethical decision making with Dr. Mary Guy, it was all instrumental in me becoming the person I am today.”

    During her time in the nonprofit sector, Higginbotham worked for Childcare Resources; Girls, Inc.; and the Children’s Trust Fund. Often, she improved processes and structures to ensure the organizations and institutions could do their best work and maximize impact—a skillset she gleaned from her time in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

    When it came time to expand her family, Higginbotham decided to seek a part-time position, so she could achieve her desired work-life balance. Thankfully, at that time, UAB needed a new team member to support the Employee Emergency Assistance program—a perfect fit for Higginbotham.

    Higginbotham accepted the role, and, eventually, she became the fund manager for the Benevolent Fund. She deployed a systems leadership approach to her work and uncovered opportunities to do more than provide funding to local nonprofits. For example, under Higginbotham’s leadership, the Benevolent Fund expanded service-learning opportunities for UAB students, developed new systems for Employee Emergency Assistance, and launched Blazer Kitchen (UAB’s campus food pantry which has provided 400,000 meals in just over four years).

    “I launched Blazer Kitchen with a lot of help and support from our council and the UAB administration,” said Higginbotham. “We knew there were employees who needed help through our Employee Emergency Assistance program… and they could [also] benefit from access to healthy food.”

    Every step of the way, Higginbotham has leveraged data, best practices, and her past experiences and knowledge to ensure her work is people-focused and impact-driven.

    Over the past two years, the pandemic created numerous challenges for the Benevolent Fund, including limitations on grant-making and a pause on house builds with Habitat for Humanity, a long-standing nonprofit partner. That said, Higginbotham still encounters individual stories that illustrate the impact of her work—even during the pandemic. Recently, she worked closely with a UAB employee who experienced trauma and loss due to COVID-19. By highlighting UAB’s sick leave bank and counseling services offered by local nonprofits, Higginbotham was able to support the employee and help them navigate a heart wrenching moment.

    As Higginbotham reflects on her experiences during her 18 years at UAB, she notes her passion for connecting employees to resources in the community.

    “When I listen to nonprofits talk about the programs they have in the community, I think, ‘How can this help our UAB employees,’” said Higginbotham.

    Now that she is back on campus (and in a new building), she sees endless opportunities to continue pursuing that passion and to deepen partnerships with nonprofit organizations. She also aims to expand Blazer Kitchen’s operating hours and further engage with the Department of Social Work and its students. Moving forward, the horizon is bright as the Benevolent Fund steers through the pandemic and continues its life-changing work.

    “I encourage everyone—students, alumni, and employees—to reflect on where you are today, thank those who have helped you achieve your success, offer mentorship to the next generation of leaders, engage with your community to contribute to the public good, and stay connected to UAB,” said Higginbotham.

    Read more...