University of Alabama at Birmingham Article

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham seal.png
Type Public
Endowment$495.3 million [1]
President Ray L. Watts
Provost Pam Benoit
Academic staff
Location Birmingham, Alabama, United States
33°30′00″N 86°48′27″W / 33.500000°N 86.807500°W / 33.500000; -86.807500
ColorsGreen & White & Gold [2]
Nickname Blazers
Affiliations SACS, Great Cities' Universities, University of Alabama System
Sports17 Intercollegiate Sports ( NCAA Division IConference USA)
MascotBlaze the Dragon
UABirmingham logo.png

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public research university located in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Developed from an academic extension center established in 1936, the institution became a four-year campus in 1966 and a fully autonomous institution in 1969. Today, it is one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System and the only R1 research institution in the state. In the fall of 2015, 19,656 students from more than 110 countries were enrolled at UAB pursuing studies in 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees in the social and behavioral sciences, the liberal arts, business, education, engineering, and health-related fields such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, and public health. [3]

The UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, is affiliated with the university. UAB Hospital sponsors residency programs in medical specialties, including internal medicine, neurology, surgery, radiology, and anesthesiology. UAB Hospital is the only ACS verified Level I trauma center in Alabama, as rated by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Program. [4]

UAB is the state's largest employer, with more than 21,000 faculty and staff and over 53,000 jobs at the university and in the health system. An estimated 10 percent of the jobs in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area and 1 in 33 jobs in the state of Alabama are directly or indirectly related to UAB. The university's overall annual economic impact was estimated to be $4.6 billion in 2010. [5] [6]


Presidents of UAB
Dr. Joseph F. Volker 1966–1976 (titled as VP for Birmingham Affairs, 1966-1969) [7]
Dr. S. Richardson Hill Jr. 1977–1987
Dr. Charles A. McCallum 1987–1993
Dr. J. Claude Bennett 1993–1996
Mr. Paul Hardin 1997 (Interim)
Dr. W. Ann Reynolds 1997–2002
Dr. Carol Z. Garrison 2002–2012
Dr. Ray L. Watts 2013–present

In 1936, in response to the rapid growth of the Birmingham metropolitan area and the need for the population to have access to a university education, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa established the Birmingham Extension Center. [7] The center operated in an old house in downtown Birmingham at 2131 6th Avenue North and enrolled 116 students. In 1945, UA's newly established four-year School of Medicine moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and took over management of Jefferson and Hillman hospitals. In 1957 enrollment at the extension center stood at 1,856. By 1959, research grants, training grants, and fellowships exceeded $1,000,000, and ground was broken for a new Children's Hospital.

By the 1960s, it grew apparent that the extension center was becoming a university in its own right. An engineering building was built close to the medical center in 1962, and in November 1966, the Extension Center and the School of Medicine were merged into the University of Alabama in Birmingham, with Dr. Joseph Volker as "Vice President for Birmingham Affairs"–reflecting that it was still treated as an offsite department of the main campus in Tuscaloosa. An Advisory Board for UAB was created in 1967. In 1969, the legislature created the University of Alabama System. UAB became one of three four-year institutions within the new system, which also included UA and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in Huntsville. Volker became UAB's first president. [7]

In the 1970s, the university began a period of rapid growth. Enrollment at the beginning of the decade stood at 6,629, including 2,724 women. To accommodate the growing student population, UAB acquired land in the Southside. UAB Mini Park (the predecessor to The UAB Green) was dedicated in 1977.

The university created an intercollegiate athletic program, joined the NCAA and began fielding teams beginning with golf in 1970 and men's basketball in 1978. The university's name was changed to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984, simply exchanging the preposition "In" for "at."

By 1990, UAB had awarded its 50,000th degree. In 1992, U.S. News and World Report named UAB as the #1 up-and-coming university in the United States. In 1993, UAB's economic impact on the Birmingham region was estimated at more than $1.5 billion per year (the figure would be $2 billion per year by 1998). Since 1994, UAB is the first and only Alabama university to achieve "Research University I" status in the Carnegie Foundation classification.


UAB campus and downtown Birmingham

UAB is located in the Southside neighborhood of downtown Birmingham. Spanning around 83 blocks, the UAB campus blends with the urban character of the Southside. The campus is rectangular in shape with University Boulevard serving as the main axis of the rectangle and Campus Green serving as the center of the campus.

The campus can be divided into three sections. The medical center occupies most of the campus east of Campus Green. The medical center is home to health science schools and their teaching facilities, including the UAB Health System (UABHS). The medical center overlaps with the larger Birmingham Medical District where, in addition to UABHS, non-UAB affiliated hospitals such as the VA Medical Center Birmingham, Children's Hospital of Alabama and Cooper Green Mercy Hospital are located.

The part of campus from Campus Green west and University Boulevard south is the academic center of the campus, as well as the center of student life on campus. It is anchored by Campus Green, which was developed between 2000 and 2007 as the centerpiece of the move to convert the school from its previously commuter school feel into a more traditional residential campus.

Students relaxing on Campus Green

Athletics facilities, including Bartow Arena, are located on the far western side of campus.

Since 1969, UAB has undergone extensive growth and construction projects are common across campus. Projects that are in planning, recently completed, or under construction include: [8]

  • Shelby Biomedical Research Building
  • Southern Bio-Safety Lab Alabama Birmingham
  • Alumni Affairs House
  • UAB Softball Complex
  • Campus Green Project
  • Women's and Infants Center [9]
  • Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Facility [10]
  • The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts [11]

Organization and administration

Academic Divisions of UAB
College/school Year founded [12]

College of Arts and Sciences 2010
School of Business 1971
School of Dentistry 1945
School of Education 1971
School of Engineering 1971
School of Health Professions 1969
School of Medicine 1945
School of Nursing 1967
School of Optometry 1969
School of Public Health 1981
Graduate School 1970

UAB is an autonomous institution within the University of Alabama System, which is governed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama and headed by Chancellor of the University of Alabama. The board is self-nominating and composed of 15 elected members and two ex officio members. The makeup of the board is dictated by the Constitution of the State of Alabama, and requires that the board be made up of three members from the congressional district that contains the Tuscaloosa campus, and two members from every other congressional district in Alabama. Board members are elected by the board and are confirmed by the Alabama State Senate. Board members may serve three consecutive six-year terms. [13]

The President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham is the principal executive officer of the university and is appointed by the chancellor with approval of the Board of Trustees. The president reports directly to the chancellor, and is responsible for the daily operations of the university. The president also acts as chairman of the board of the UAB Health System. [14] Richard Marchase was named interim president on August 21, 2012, after the retirement of former president Carol Garrison. [15] [16] [17] [18]


UAB is composed of one college, nine schools, the Graduate School, and the Division of General Studies. Together, these divisions offer 51 bachelor's degree programs, 46 master's degree programs, and 36 doctoral programs.

Prior to 2010, the schools of Arts and Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Science and Mathematics, and Education were separate, degree-granting units within the university. The schools were merged into a single college (the first at UAB): the College of Arts and Sciences, with Education retaining its identity as a distinct unit within the new college. University leaders cited efficiency, curricula, and more opportunity for interdisciplinary research and cooperation for the restructuring. [19]


UAB's endowment stood at just over $325 million in 2009. [20]

In 1999, the university launched a capital campaign with a goal of $250 million. When it ended in 2003, the UAB Capital Campaign had raised over $388.7 million..

The current capital campaign launched publicly in October 2013 with a goal of raising $1 billion. Prior to the public launch of the campaign, UAB had already received over $420 million in donations. The campaign is expected to conclude in 2018. [21]


Average tuition for full-time students (AY 2013–2014) [22]
- Alabama resident Non-resident
Undergraduate (2 x 15cr) $8,904 $20,394
Graduate (2 x 12cr) $8,934 $20,454
Optometry (yr) $8,045 $17,140
Dentistry (yr) $11,861 $27,380
Medicine (yr) $24,510 $58,590

UAB is a large, four-year primarily non-residential research university. [23] UAB has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1970, according to the U.S. Department of Education. [24] Undergraduates comprise a majority of the total university enrollment. Part-time and transfer student comprise a sizable portion of the undergraduate student body. The undergraduate instructional program provides a balance between professional programs of study and the liberal arts (meaning the number of degrees awarded in the two areas is similar), and there is a high level of co-existence between the graduate and undergraduate programs (meaning that the majority of undergraduate program have graduate degree program counterparts). The university has a high level of research activity and has a graduate instructional program emphasizing doctorates in STEM fields as well as professional programs in the health and veterinary sciences. UAB is one of only 108 universities in the country (and one of only two in Alabama) with the "very high level" research rating. [25]

The academic calendar is based on the semester system, which divides the academic year, lasting from mid-August to early May, into two 15-week semesters (fall and spring) and the summer. The fall semester ends in early December and the spring term begins in early January. The summer, which lasts from mid-May to August, is divided into a number of sessions: a 12-week session, a 3-week "mini-semester" in May, a nine-week session in June and July, and two four-week sessions in June and July, respectively. [26] The schools of medicine and dentistry follow an academic calendar beginning in July and ending in late May/early June. [27] [28]

In academic year 2011–2012, UAB awarded a total 2,009 bachelor's degrees and post-bachelor certificates; 1,547 master's degrees, educational specialist degrees, and post-master's certificates; 286 research doctorates; and 279 professional doctorates. [29]

Student profile

Ethnic Composition of Student Body, Fall Semester 2011 [12] [30] [31]
Undergraduate Graduate Professional Alabama U.S. Census
Hispanic 2.0% 1.9% 1.5% 3.9% 14.7%
Asian 4.1% 3.3% 12.0% 1.1% 4.8%
White 60.6% 69.7% 75.1% 68.5% 72.4%
Black 26.3% 14.4% 8.9% 26.2%
Native American 0.3% 0.3% 0.6% 0.6% 0.9%
Pacific Islander 0.1% 0% 0% 0.1% 0.8%
Two or more Races 1.2% 0.8% 0.4% 1.5% 2.9%
Unidentified 3.5% 2.1% 9.8% 2.0% 6.2%
International 1.9% 7.5% 0.8% -- --

In fall semester 2012, the UAB student body consisted of 11,291 undergraduates, 5,663 graduate students and 1,045 professional doctoral students from all 67 Alabama counties, all 50 states and more than 110 foreign countries. [29] In fall semester 2011, 28.7% of students were enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences (excluding Education), 10.6% in Education, 11.5% in Business, 1.5% in Dentistry, 6.7% in Engineering, 11.0% in Health Professions, 2.4% in Joint Health Sciences, 3.5% in Medicine, 10.3% in Nursing, 1.1% in Optometry, 2.0% in Public Health, while 10.7% were undecided. [12]

Of the undergraduate student body, 43% are from Jefferson County, 17.5% are from other counties in the Birmingham metropolitan area, specifically Blount, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. 31% come from the rest of Alabama, 6.5% from the rest of the United States, while international students comprise 1.9%. The male-to-female ratio among undergraduates is 0.7:1. Reflecting one of the core reasons for UAB's founding, a large percentage of undergraduates are from non-traditional demographics. One quarter of undergraduates are part-time students, and 23% are above the age of 25. (The average undergraduate is 23 years old.) [12]

The average entering freshman ACT score for the Class of 2013 is 24.3 with a 3.5 high school GPA. Average undergraduate class size of 31 students. Since 2000, UAB has produced 7 Fulbright Scholars, 6 Phi Kappa Phi Fellows, 8 Goldwater Scholars, 5 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellows, 6 Truman Scholars, 1 Marshall Scholar, and 2 Rhodes Scholars.

In addition to the undergraduate curriculum, the Graduate School at UAB has experienced significant growth. In the past 3 years, graduate enrollment is up 19.5%. There has also been a 30-point increase in the mean GRE score of applicants with an average GRE Verbal score of 530 and Quantitative score of 690. [32]

Faculty and staff

UAB has 21,245 employees, 11,810 in the university, including 2,543 faculty, and 9,435 in the UAB Health System. [12] 91.3% of the faculty at UAB hold an academic or professional doctorate. Eight faculty members from UAB have been elected to the National Institute of Medicine. [33] The student-faculty ratio at UAB is 18:1.


UAB has two libraries: the Mervyn H. Sterne Library and Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences. Sterne Library holds 1.7 million print volumes while Lister Hill Library holds a little under 350,000. [12]


University rankings
ARWU [34] 72-98
Forbes [35] 515
U.S. News & World Report [36] 159
Washington Monthly [37] 124
ARWU [38] 201-300
QS [39] N/A
Times [40] 168
U.S. News & World Report [41] 162

In the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings, UAB was tied for the 159th best national university. [42]

UAB ranks among Top-20 nationally in federal research and development funding and 1st in the state of Alabama, receiving more funding than all other Alabama universities combined. UAB received over $446 million in external grants and contracts in fiscal 2012. [29]

As of 2009, UAB is 4th in the Southeast for NIH research funding behind only Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University. [43]

In the Taiwanese Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers in World Universities, UAB ranked 94th in the world in 2011. [44]

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is nationally ranked among top twenty in total federal research funding and key areas of health sciences receiving more than $433 million in funding. [45] The Scientist magazine recently ranked UAB No. 24 on its Top 40 "Best Places to Work as a Postdoctoral Fellow" list, up from its No. 56 ranking in 2008. [46] In the 2010 Princeton Review College Rankings, UAB is listed as one of the "Best Southeastern Colleges" and one of the top 371 colleges/universities in the US. In addition, out of the 371 Best College Rankings, UAB was ranked #3 in race/class interaction, #11 for happiest students, and #14 for best athletic facilities. [47] In the 2011 US News and World Report, UAB is listed as a "more selective" institution and 149th overall (public or private) among 572 universities in USA. [48] In 2009, the Scientist Magazine ranked UAB as 5th in the Top 15 U.S. Academic Institutions and up from 47th in 2007. [49]

In graduate science programs, UAB ranked 42nd in biological science, [50] 23rd in Biostatistics, [51] 117th in chemistry, [52] 115th in mathematics, [53] and 131st in physics. [54]

In the School of Health Professions, the Master of Science in Health Administration program is ranked 2nd, [55] the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is ranked 16th and is one of only two programs in the nation that has a surgical focus, the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is ranked 17th, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is ranked 19th. The School of Health Professions is #1 in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and holds the record for 26 consecutive years in either first or second place. The UAB Medical Scientist Training Program has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Health since 1992. According to the 2010 NRC rankings, the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics are ranked 16th and 18th, respectively, among all the Public Health departments in the nation. The School of Public Health is ranked 16th in the country by the 2013 US News & World Report. [56] The Section on Statistical Genetics (SSG) in the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health is considered to be one of the "top statistical genetics departments in the United States". [57]

The UAB School of Business was ranked 7th in metropolitan state business schools by US News and World Report in 2004 and is accredited by AACSB International. The UAB MBA program is recognized by The Princeton Review in its 2010 edition of "Best 295 Business Schools" as one of the best in the nation. [58] Bloomberg Businessweek lists UAB's Green and Gold Fund as one of the "Top Student-Run Investment Funds" in the United States. [59]

The UAB accounting program graduates first-time pass rates on the CPA exam that are 30% higher than the national average.[ citation needed] During the past 11 years, a UAB graduate has achieved the highest score in Alabama on the CPA Exam 9 times. [60] UAB School of Business finance graduates pass the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam at a rate 20% higher than the national average.[ citation needed]

The biomedical engineering program is ranked 40th in the nation by US News and is the only biomedical engineering program in the state. A UAB School of Engineering student has been named by the ASPE (Alabama Society of Professional Engineers) as the state of Alabama's Outstanding Undergraduate Student of the Year from 2004–2009 and 9 of the past 12 years. [61]

Student life

There are over 150 student organizations on the UAB campus.

The UAB Model Arab League team is among the best government model teams in the nation with over five years of expansion and award-winning achievement including multiple "outstanding delegation" awards. The UAB Mock Trial team is consistently among the nation's best as a perennial Top 25 program. The program enjoyed its greatest success in 2006, when the team won the national title in the Silver Division defeating the defending national champions of Harvard University.

Recreation Center

UAB Recreation Center

Opened in 2005, the UAB Recreation Center serves the students, faculty, and alumni of UAB as well as the Birmingham community. The 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) covers three floors: housing four basketball/volleyball courts, five racquetball courts (one of which can be converted to squash and four for wallyball), four aerobics studios, 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2) of weight and cardio-fitness areas, game room, KidsZone, aquatics center with both lap and leisure components, CenterCourt gym used for indoor soccer, floor hockey and badminton, juice bar, indoor track, and a climbing wall. The center includes free weights, court sports, swimming pools, group fitness classes, nutrition education, fitness areas, and a climbing wall.

Greek life

Twenty-two Greek Letter Organization (GLOs) are active on campus. Four governing bodies oversee the operations of university-sanctioned GLOs. These bodies act as umbrella organizations over the member GLOs. Among the differences between the governing bodies, the most important distinction are recruitment process and policies.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) governs men's GLOs (also known as fraternities). Members are ΑΤΩ, ΔΣΦ, ΛΧΑ, ΤΚΕ, ΘΧ, ΦΓΔ (FIJI), and ΠΚΦ.

The Panhellenic Council (NPC) governs women's GLOs (also known as sororities). ΑΓΔ (colonized at UAB in 1978), ΑΟΠ (1987), ΑΞΔ (1996), ΔΓ (1991), ΣΚ (2015) and ΚΔ (2017).

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) governs historically black GLOs. Member fraternities are ΑΦΑ (ΙΝ chapter, founded at UAB in 1974), ΚΑΨ (ΚΚ chapter, 1980), ΩΨΦ (ΚΔ chapter, 1972) and ΦΒΣ (HE chapter). Member sororities are ΑΚΑ (ΙΦ chapter, 1975), ΔΣΘ (ΙΛ chapter, 1972), ΣΓΡ (ΞΜ chapter, 1996) and ΖΦΒ (ΓΘ chapter, 1977).

The Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) governs multicultural GLOs. Members include ΔΦΩ, ΣΣΡ, ΒΧΘ, ΔΕΨ, and ΣΛΓ.

Student media

Aura Literary Arts Review is a twice-yearly student magazine featuring fiction, creative non-fiction, art, photography, poetry and reviews. It was awarded the highest honor in student media, the Pacemaker from ACP, in 2006.


The school has an intramural program that runs year-round. Students and staff compete for league trophies in sports such as basketball, bowling, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball, or play in tournaments in billiards, racquetball, tennis, and other sports.

Health system

The UAB Health System (UABHS) is a partnership between UAB and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UAHSF), a private not-for-profit medical practice made up of the faculty of the UAB School of Medicine. UABHS is governed by a board of directors which has representatives of UAHSF, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, and UAB administrators. The UAB president is the ex officio chairperson of the UAB Health System. The CEO of the UABHS reports directly to the UAB Health System board and is appointed by the chairman of the board.

UAB Hospital is the central institution of UABHS. It was formed as University Hospital in 1945 from the merger of Jefferson Hospital and Hillman Hospital, two private hospitals in the Southside of Birmingham acquired by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. University Hospital was created to serve as the primary teaching hospital for the School of Medicine.

The other major institutions of UABHS include:

  • The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, an outpatient clinic of UAB Hospital
  • Callahan Eye Foundation, founded independently as the Eye Foundation Hospital in 1963 and merged into UABHS in 1973, [62]
  • UAB Medicine Women and Infants Center
  • UAB Hospital-Highlands. Formerly HealthSouth's flagship medical center in the Southside, UABHS acquired it in 2006. Highlands now serves as an acute care hospital. In 2011, Highlands was merged completely into UAB Hospital.
  • Spain Rehabilitation Center
  • UAB Medicine Health Centers, clinics operated and staffed by UABHS located throughout central Alabama
  • Viva Health, a health maintenance organization (HMO) which is a subsidiary of Triton Health Systems, a limited liability corporation based in Birmingham and owned by the UABHS

In addition UABHS manages, but does not operate, Medical West in Bessemer and Baptist Health in Montgomery. UABHS also has affiliations with the Birmingham VA Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Alabama, and Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville.


UAB Blazers Men's Basketball vs. Tulsa at Bartow Arena

UAB's athletic teams are known as the Blazers. The school athletic colors are forest green and old gold. [63] The school is one of the 14 member institutions of Conference USA and participates in Division I of the NCAA. The men's basketball team, coached by Robert Ehsan, plays in 8,508-seat Bartow Arena.

The school started its intercollegiate athletic program in 1978. [12] The program was inaugurated with men's basketball by Gene Bartow, who was John Wooden's successor at UCLA. Bartow left UCLA after several exceptional seasons (52–9 over three seasons, including a berth in the Final Four in 1976) to head up the founding of the first UAB men's basketball team. He served as the school's first head basketball coach and athletic director for 18 years. Bartow led UAB to the NIT in the program's second year of existence, and followed that with seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982. Bartow retired from coaching in 1996 and, in 1997, UAB renamed its basketball venue from UAB Arena to Bartow Arena in his honor. In 30 years, UAB has made 13 NCAA appearances, three Sweet Sixteen appearances and an Elite Eight appearance, and has had 27 winning seasons, 19 of which were 20+ win seasons.

In addition to basketball, UAB has programs in men's sports for baseball, golf, soccer, and tennis. Women's sports programs include softball, basketball, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), cross country, rifle and volleyball. On November 11, 2010 UAB announced the addition of sand volleyball and bowling beginning with the 2011–2012 academic year. [64]

Professional golfer Graeme McDowell (winner of the 2010 U.S. Open) played on the UAB golf team from 1998 to 2002. [65]

In December 2014, the university announced that three sports were being eliminated at the end of the 2014–2015 academic year: football, bowling and rifle. This was the result of an external review commissioned by the university that cited the rapidly changing landscape of the NCAA and soaring operating costs [66] The football program became bowl-eligible for the first time in a decade following a win against Southern Miss just two days before the announcement. [67] On June 1, 2015, Watts announced the reversal of the decision to end UAB football due to the large public opinion against the decision and the public fundraising of more than $27 million towards the program. The Blazers football program, rifle, and bowling programs were all reinstated with the former expected to resume play as early as 2016,. [68] On June 4, 2015, Athletic Director Mark Ingram indicated that the 2017 season was a more reasonable timeline to field a football team for play. [69] The football team resumed play for the 2017 NCAA Football season achieving an 8-5 record, the program's best since 1993, and earning an invitation to the 2017 Bahamas Bowl, the team's first bowl game since 2004. [70]

Notable alumni and faculty

See also


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