Meet the 2021-2022 cohort of Honors Faculty Fellows in the UAB Honors College

Every academic year, honors students have the opportunity to enhance their academic experience at UAB and the Honors College through unique events geared to help them navigate life and learn more about an array of riveting topics. This year’s Honors Faculty Fellows Program, set to begin this month, will allow students to broaden their horizons by thinking critically on various issues related to personal growth and global impact. Honors Faculty Fellows are full-time UAB faculty members who design and facilitate one-of-a-kind year-long projects that provide stimulating academic enrichment opportunities through experiential learning activities.

Selected by a committee of honors students, members of the 2021-2022 cohort of Honors Faculty Fellows include Joseph Barney, M.D., professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Sara Gould, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Orthopedics, Division of Sports Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration; Kevin McCain, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Philosophy; and Erika Hille Rinker, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Read below to learn more about how each faculty member plans to spend their fellowship.

Dr. Joseph Barney

Joseph Barney, M.D.
School of Medicine

’Conversations with the Living’ Seminars

Dr. Joseph Barney will lead a series of events focused on helping students understand how health care varies for individuals from different walks of life. Students will research and interview various people from organizations throughout Birmingham during each event. They will have the opportunity to gain their perspective and learn how it not only affects them but their families as well. Topics include homelessness and life expectancy, aging and cognitive decline, and the impact of sexual history related to sexual transmitted diseases.

“I hope these seminars bring students closer to people with challenges and health problems in life in a way that builds communication and relationships,” Barney says. “I think we can never heal medical or social illness without really understanding it, and that begins with seeing humans who are in the shadow of mainstream society; to reach across a divide and talk to them as our own families and neighbors.”

To learn more about “’Conversations with the Living’ Seminars,” email Dr. Barney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Sara Gould, M.D.Dr. Sara Gould
School of Medicine

Sports and Social Justice

There has been growing attention to athletes and how they use their voices for social justice. Together with Dr. Sara Gould, students will collectively attend sporting events and workshops with panels of athletes. The goal of the seminar is to spark ideas of how every individual can use their own "platforms" to advance social justice.

“Sports as a platform for social justice will be an opportunity to interact with athletes at various levels of competition to learn how they are using their platforms to advance these important issues," Gould says.

To learn more about “Sports and Social Justice,” email Dr. Gould at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Dr. Peter Jones

Peter A. Jones, Ph.D. 
College of Arts and Sciences

“Inspired to Serve: Mapping your Public Service Journey”

Dr. Peter Jones believes that today’s undergraduates will revive public institutions and shape the new era of public service. Students will meet and network with current public servants who work in different fields. Each event will serve as a resource for students to map their public service journeys.

“Everyone’s public service journey is different, so the “Inspired to Serve” series will highlight the different paths people have taken to serve the public,” Jones says. “Whether a student plans to enter the public, nonprofit, or private sector, they can serve the public in a variety of ways and at different points during their lives.” 

To learn more about the “Inspired to Serve” series, email Dr. Jones at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Kevin McCain, Ph.D. Dr. Kevin McCain
College of Arts and Sciences

Philosophy Walk and Talk

Dr. Kevin McCain poses five thought-provoking questions: “Why be just? Who am I? Can I really know anything? Is everything just a matter of taste? What does it all mean? –  Let’s find out.” Each Philosophy Walk & Talk, students will join McCain to do just that—discuss “answers” to some of the most profound questions in life while walking around Birmingham locales and enjoying snacks.

“I hope that students learn two things by participating in these events,” McCain says. “The first is that philosophical questions are fun to think and talk about with others. The second is that there are lots of really great spaces near campus that are worth exploring.” 

To learn more about “Philosophy Walk and Talk,” email Dr. McCain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  

Erika Rinker webErika Hille Rinker, Ph.D. 
College of Arts and Sciences

“Culture-bound? Culture Bound!”

Dr. Erika Hille Rinker aims to help honors students move beyond the presuppositions of their own cultures through the “Culture-bound? Culture Bound!” series. Students will participate in engaging discussions following a visit to a gallery or stage performance. Tickets and meals will be provided for students.

“Culture-bound? Culture Bound!” programming seeks to allow more time for conversation, to instill or strengthen in our honors students a life-long interest in engagement with and support of visual and performing arts, and to cultivate an ongoing discussion about the role active participation in cultural events can play in broadening one’s worldview," Hille Rinker says.

To learn more about “Culture-bound? Culture Bound!,” email Dr. Hille Rinker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

For questions or inquiries to apply for the 2022-2023 cohort, contact the Associate Dean of the Honors College, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, D.M.A., at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..