University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert E. Palazzo has updated campus leaders on his plans and progress on topmost goals, which include preparing students to succeed in a new global environment, offering them an immersive, interdisciplinary educational experience, and ensuring each student obtains the tools he or she needs to succeed.Nearly two years into the college’s strategic planning process,
Every undergraduate student who enters the university will pass through the College of Arts and Sciences, Palazzo says. The college is dedicated to helping them develop ethical and moral reasoning, the scientific method, communication and cultural competence skills, and confidence in the face of complexity.
“We strive to help students grow through a rigorous curriculum grounded in formal instruction in the liberal arts and sciences. We will prepare students to operate and succeed and help them to become self-aware, culturally nimble and confident,” Palazzo said. “We are responsible for ensuring that all students develop expertise in a chosen discipline, while providing opportunities for personal maturation and character development.”
The college’s strategic planning process began two years ago and was completed in September 2013. The results of that work are now part of the university’s largest, most comprehensive, institutionwide strategic plan initiative.
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to strong academic programs, outstanding teaching and a diverse student body. With 19 departments — home to more than 300 faculty and offering more than 30 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees — it is the most diverse UAB academic enterprise. CAS is home to research centers and community outreach programs and is engaged in numerous campuswide interdisciplinary initiatives.
Top priorities for CAS are undergraduate program development with continued focus on freshman enrollment and overall student retention and graduation; improving infrastructure by building a new CAS administrative and classroom building and renovating laboratories, offices and educational facilities in Campbell Hall; and growing leadership and personnel with ongoing recruitment.
|The College of Arts and Sciences is home to strong academic programs, outstanding teaching and a diverse student body. With 19 departments — home to more than 300 faculty and offering more than 30 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees — it is the most diverse UAB academic enterprise. CAS is home to research centers and community outreach programs and is engaged in numerous campuswide interdisciplinary initiatives.|
Five new department chairs have been recruited in the past two years, and four new chairs will join the college this summer: Julian Arribas, Ph.D., in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; Patrick Evans, DMA, in the Department of Music; Timothy Levine, Ph.D., in the Department of Communication Studies; and Yuliang Zheng, Ph.D., in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. More appointments are expected by fall. More than 60 new faculty have been recruited to the college in the past two years.
The College of Arts and Sciences has developed five strategic priorities to ensure that each student graduates with the knowledge he or she needs to compete and thrive in an expanding and complex global future: globalization, undergraduate education, research and graduate education, diversity, and entrepreneurship and innovation.
The goal of globalization is to increase the college’s international profile and enhance students’ global perspective. The CAS English Language Institute is growing, from 30 students in 2009 to 81 in 2015. Scholarships to support international travel for students are being increased, as well as partnerships with international universities to boost student enrollment.
For undergraduate education, the college will strive to double the number of student applications within five years and increase student enrollment by 30 percent in seven years. That will be accomplished by collaborating with campus partners to offer novel interdisciplinary programs and course offerings, recruiting and retaining a world-class faculty and body of students, enhancing advising and mentoring, and improving technology and facilities.
|Among the college’s achievements rank Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright and Critical Language scholarship winners; nine students out of 17 total Clinton Global Initiative scholars; Guggenheim and Humboldt prizes awarded to two faculty in 2014; a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater; the launch of UABTeach to increase STEM educators in Alabama in 2014; and the SACS re-accreditation in 2015.|
Among the college’s achievements rank Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright and Critical Language scholarship winners; nine students out of 17 total Clinton Global Initiative scholars; Guggenheim and Humboldt prizes awarded to two faculty in 2014; a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater; the launch of UABTeach to increase STEM educators in Alabama in 2014; and the SACS re-accreditation in 2015. CAS developed and taught 21 honors-designated sections in fall 2014 and 18 in spring 2015. Advising last year grew from 15 to 19 advisers, for a ratio of 350:1, with more than 35,000 logged contacts with students. Instructional Technology Services has been restructured, developing online master’s programs and growing by 150 percent since 2010.
Grants awarded in research and graduate education have increased by nearly 16 percent in the last fiscal year. More than $1.7 million has been redirected to develop competitive Ph.D. programs, and UAB is one of nine universities chosen by The MITRE Corporation to serve on the Academic Affiliates Council, solely dedicated to enhancing the security of the nation’s information systems.
To foster a diverse community, CAS created an Institute for Human Rights to raise awareness and understanding of human rights issues; a search for a director is underway. UAB is nationally ranked for diversity, so recruiting and retaining a faculty that reflects society, including adding more women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions, is a priority. Scholarships available to students from underrepresented groups have been increased, and faculty from historically black colleges and universities have partnered with their CAS peers on various interdisciplinary projects. Of faculty hired since October 2012, 56 percent have been women and 26 percent from an underrepresented minority. Partnerships are in discussion with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Birmingham Area Consortium of Higher Education.
To further a culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, CAS wants to offer opportunities at every level of the college experience. That means providing faculty and students with resources and chances to explore solutions to real-world challenges; partnering with corporations, industry and other academic institutions to pursue areas of mutual interest; encouraging faculty to submit large-scale interdisciplinary grant proposals focused on forging academic-industrial partnerships; and bringing entrepreneurs and innovators to campus for inspiration. Among achievements in the realm of innovation and entrepreneurship are four CAS junior faculty NSF Early Career awards totaling $2.61 million, an NSF Partnership for Innovation Award of $600,000 and NIH Innovation Corps award of $25,000, and five graduate entrepreneurship awards of $10,000 each for students to pursue commercialization efforts with faculty and industry mentors.
“The College of Arts and Sciences continues to make tremendous progress under Dean Palazzo’s leadership,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “With a lot of positive momentum, CAS faculty, staff, students and supporters are rallying around a clear and ambitious vision that continues to build on a strong foundation.”