UAB has once again been recognized for its emerging leadership in undergraduate education in its selection as one of 18 institutions forming a Core Commitments Leadership Consortium for educating students in personal and social responsibility.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) selected UAB from among 128 applicants for the honor.

The AACU is an educational community strongly committed to the value of a liberal and liberating education. It calls on its members to test and adopt new ways of engaging students with core questions about their ethical responsibilities to themselves and others and their responsibilities as citizens in a diverse democracy.

UAB has embraced those tasks as part of its Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), which was formally enacted in 2004. Director of Core Curriculum Enhancement Marilyn Kurata, Ph.D., says the QEP played a central role in UAB’s selection for the honor.

“The award is a direct consequence of our QEP, a QEP based on UAB accepting the mission to educate its students for citizenship in all senses of the word, not just for a job,” she says.

The AACU says it selected the 18 participating institutions because “of the work already accomplished in the spirit of core commitments and on articulated plans to deepen and extend that work.”

The $25,000 grant that accompanies the public recognition has been earmarked for faculty- and program-development grants.

“This demonstrates the administration’s ongoing commitment to help support faculty and departments as they implement university initiatives,” Kurata says.

Kurata and Philip Way, Ph.D., associate provost for Undergraduate Programs, are the team leaders for the grant. Other team members are Thomas Alexander, David Corliss, Ph.D., Norma-May Isakow, Midge Ray and Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Rigney, Ph.D.

The five key dimensions of the AACU’s Core Commitments initiative include striving for excellence, cultivating personal and academic integrity, contributing to a larger community, taking seriously the perspective of others and developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning. These five dimensions are directly in line with UAB’s QEP, which describes a shared vision for every UAB graduate, regardless of field of study.

The QEP promotes effective communication skills, depth and breadth of knowledge, experience with problem-solving and the ability to make informed, ethical decisions and being prepared for responsible citizenship in the community, nation and world. UAB’s QEP states that each of these things is essential for success in work and life. UAB plans to achieve those goals through enhancing learning throughout the entire undergraduate curriculum.