A look at how UAB maintains award-winning inclusivity

UAB diversity programs and initiatives create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

Written by: Challis Wells

Media contact: Alicia Rohan

diversity champion streamThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has been hailed as one of the most diverse campuses in the country.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine honored UAB with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award. UAB is one of a limited number of colleges and universities across the nation selected for the Diversity Champion award.

“UAB is a visionary leader among institutions of higher education striving for inclusive excellence throughout their campus,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “It exceeds everyday expectations by developing successful strategies and programs that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.”

This award recognizes UAB for exemplifying an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels. UAB will be featured in the November 2018 issue of INSIGHT magazine for its efforts in recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“UAB has a longtime commitment to diversity. It is among the core values that drive our policies, strategic planning and ongoing success and UAB is pleased to be recognized as a national model for these efforts,” said UAB President Ray Watts. “Earning this award is a testament to the outstanding work of our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

The annual President’s Diversity Champion Award is presented by Watts to faculty, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements.

Additionally, readers of Birmingham magazine have voted UAB the Best Workplace for Diversity, according to the 2018 Best of Birmingham awards. UAB’s unified effort for diversity and inclusion stretches from one side of campus to the other. The evidence is everywhere.  

“Our mission is to champion equity and inclusive excellence so that UAB students, faculty, staff, community partners and friends can flourish and excel,” said ODEI Vice President Paulette Patterson Dilworth, Ph.D. “We actively seek to engage the UAB community in advancing campus and community engagement, institutional equity and diversity education.” 

diversity champion logoStudents at UAB soon discover that the university views disability as an essential component of diversity and values those unique experiences. Molly Clay, an undergraduate student with dyslexia, found help through UAB Disability Support Services.

“DSS is great for students who feel like college is not going to be easy for them,” Clay said. In addition to academic and campus accommodations, activities like disability and career readiness workshops help relieve students whose disability hangs like a dark cloud over their path to success.

“They’ve been amazing in helping students understand and accept their disability while preparing them for amazing careers,” Clay said.

UAB Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs like Blazer Male Excellence Network help enhance the relationship between the university and its students. BMEN is a mentor program that provides academic and social support to black males entering UAB, who as a group have the lowest retention rate on college campuses across the country. BMEN helps these students navigate college life and guides them toward completion of their degrees and a healthy college experience.

This year, 1,049 international students enrolled for the fall semester. They, along with 442 international faculty and staff, represent more than 100 countries, coloring campus with new perspectives and ideas. As an internationally renowned research university, UAB values this principle and programs like INTO UAB and International Student and Scholar Services that prioritize making international residents feel at home. The programs access international mentors for undergraduate students, English language training and help with matters of immigration, and many other services that combat the stress and uncertainty of navigating a new country.

“UAB’s diversity is the result of its commitment to take care of people,” Dilworth said. “The school’s recognition stems from its ability to maintain an inclusive environment where social conversation is encouraged and an abundance of programs, services and resources are dedicated to serving human needs.”