If there is one thing that makes Rose Scripa’s heart hurt – and drives her to do more – it’s watching a student struggle with his or her studies.

Rose Scripa 

“I can relate to some of that because there were times when I was in school that I wanted to give up,” Scripa, Ph.D. says. “But I had family and mentors that had faith in me and  who encouraged me to continue.

“I hope I’ve been a mentor to my students through the years.”

Scripa’s impact on her students through 31 years at UAB is undeniable, and her years of service to students on campus have been recognized with her selection as the 2007 Ellen Gregg Ingalls/UAB National Alumni Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching.

The award is presented annually to a full-time UAB faculty member who, throughout his or her career at UAB, has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to teaching.

Scripa, Ph.D., a professor of engineering, will be presented a cash award and memento at the Alumni Leadership Recognition and Awards Luncheon Thursday, Sept. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at The Club.

“The award is special because it’s a culmination of a 31-year career here,” Scripa says. “To receive recognition from colleagues and to have students from throughout my career come forward and write letters about the impact my teaching has had on them is just awesome. It’s very special to me.”

Teaching always has been an extension of Scripa’s research and intellectual engagement in her professional discipline. Her classroom goal is to stimulate active learning. As her teaching philosophy states: “I aim to foster creative and critical thinkers who find as much personal joy and professional satisfaction as I have found.”

Scripa always has believed the student-teacher relationship is a partnership in learning based on mutual respect, honesty and hard work. Scripa says students have rewarded her through the years based on those principles and through their interaction.

“It’s fun to see the curiosity and the way students can push me to my limit to learn new things and to incorporate my research into the classroom,” she says.

“The students really do push you. They’re not just there to be filled with the knowledge I know. They’re there because they are curious, and they want to learn. That curiosity and excitement is exciting for me.”

Scripa came to UAB in September 1976 as the first woman faculty member in engineering. She has served in other capacities through the years, including as an associate dean of academic affairs in engineering, associate provost for undergraduate programs and associate provost for faculty development and faculty affairs – a position she left March 1 to return to full-time teaching.

Scripa never stopped teaching or working with students on research projects while serving in administrative roles.

“I always tried to teach one course per year, and if I didn’t I still maintained an active research program,” she says.

“I never could give up that interaction with students. Some people said I was crazy for continuing to teach, too, but that’s why I chose this profession.”