THE OPPORTUNITY

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a comprehensive urban university with a nationally recognized academic health center. UAB is the only public, four-year degree-granting university in the state’s largest metropolitan area. UAB is the largest research institution in the state of Alabama and the University is the largest employer in Birmingham. UAB attracts the best and brightest students from Alabama, the nation, and more than 100 countries around the world. In 2018, the University had its ninth year of overall record enrollment, with over 22,000 undergraduate, graduate, pre-professional, and post-doctoral students. Nearly 70 percent of the student body attends the University full-time, and more than 73 percent of the freshmen live on campus. UAB is among 51 public and private universities classified by the Carnegie Foundation for both “very high research activity” and “community engagement.” UAB receives more than $400 million annually in research grants and contracts and ranks 10th among all public universities in funding from the National Institutes of Health. UAB ranked as the top young university in the United States and 10th worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2018 Young University Rankings.

The Position

ROLE OF THE ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT HEALTH & WELLBEING

Reporting to the vice president for student affairs, the assistant vice president (AVP) provides senior leadership, direction, and management oversight to the departments of Student Health Services, Counseling Services, University Recreation, Disability Support Services, and Veterans’ Services. In contributing to the University mission and the goals of Student Affairs, the assistant vice president plans, organizes, and coordinates health, wellness, and student support services that promote student development, retention, and success; administers programs and capital projects which provide financial support to the growth of the University; oversees the financial security, fiscal management, and sound business practices of reporting departments; manages and supervises policy and guideline interpretation; implements long-range goals, planning, and systems; collaborates and partners with administrators, faculty, staff, and students across the University; and works in a fast-paced and evolving environment with emerging knowledge and technologies, competing priorities, and changing politics.

The assistant vice president oversees the development and implementation of short- and long-range strategic plans for departments and provides an organizational framework that supports a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to developmental and wellness opportunities across the various areas of oversight. The AVP leads and administers departmental fiscal operations, including facilities, equipment, and other pertinent resources; develops and promotes a qualified, professional, and well-trained staff to adequately support the departmental and division mission, scope of services provided, and volume of students served; and ensures compliance with all policies, regulations, accreditation standards, and laws. Additionally, the AVP partners and collaborates with key administrators and other colleagues across campus to provide student development, wellness, and other health-related consultation services and public health functions; maintains current knowledge of best practices and trends in the provision of related programs and services, including referral resources available to serve students in the local community; maintains direct student contact through such opportunities as student advisory boards and Student Government Association meetings, as well as attending student programs and events; promotes a culture of assessment and a learning environment that supports improved retention, academic success, and student development and learning; fosters personal and professional development of staff and students; and consistently models and ensures service excellence for internal and external customers in the work of the Division of Student Affairs. The assistant vice president directly supervises six professional staff, leads a total team of 85, and manages a budget of $9.6 million.

HISTORY OF THE POSITION

Jake Baggott came to UAB in 2013 for a rare and challenging opportunity to lead the establishment of a comprehensive health, counseling, and wellness initiative by bringing together existing departments and developing them into a best-practices model program to meet the substantially growing wellness needs of UAB’s students. That same opportunity was magnified when UAB committed to re-establishing a division of student affairs. Jake recently accepted the opportunity to serve as the leader of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s comprehensive and integrated health and wellness program and his position is the one currently being filled.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The new assistant vice president must possess a broad and deep understanding of national best practices and innovations with regard to student health, counseling, wellness, recreation, disability services, veterans’ affairs, and the large state institutional setting. The AVP should be an experienced or aspiring leader who has had success building and advancing a progressive program at another institution, be capable of managing multiple priorities, and be equipped to contribute at both a strategic and tactical level to a vibrant and fast-paced Division of Student Affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

During stakeholder discussions, the following priorities, opportunities, and challenges emerged:

  • The new AVP must commit to a comprehensive culture of collaboration and partnering across campus for maximum effectiveness; UAB is committed to building relationships as a foundation of the campus culture and strong collaboration is an absolute necessity in all endeavors to ensure success. Student health & wellbeing is both broad and deep, touching a number of campus entities both internally and external to student affairs, so it will be crucial that the new AVP quickly reach out across campus to build strong relationships and partnerships to foster ongoing positive interactions and be a “connector” in all instances. These connections are essential in order to assess real needs, promote lasting partnerships, and provide high-end service to all constituencies. The new AVP should, at their earliest convenience, conduct both internal and external “listening tours” in an effort to connect to campus stakeholders and understand their needs.
  • The ability to grow, develop, and mentor a large and diverse professional staff, while building a strong and dedicated team, will be critical for success. The staff across student health & wellbeing is both large and diverse, with a dedicated group of more seasoned staff in leadership roles, so the new assistant vice president must be a strong motivator with high level supervisory and staff development skills. The current staff reporting to the AVP are extremely committed to the vision of a strong and supportive team, and they are dedicated to providing the best possible experience to the UAB community. The staff works very hard and the new AVP should make it a priority to quickly get to know the staff as individuals, learn their particular needs, develop trust and confidence across the board, ascertain and understand the various responsibilities they perform and roles they play, empower them to continue the good work they are doing, and be prepared to provide comprehensive professional support for all staff and oversee the ongoing development of a strong team.
  • The scope of responsibilities of this department is wide, and the new AVP will need to quickly become familiar with all aspects under their purview in order to develop a comprehensive list of priorities. On a rapidly growing campus such as UAB, the new assistant vice president will need to prioritize a great deal of time upon arrival for learning the nuances and priorities of the campus, discovering the internal needs of the staff and the department, and beginning the process of reaching out across the University and establishing themselves in this position.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential parts of the UAB community, and the AVP should be a leader in supporting, understanding, embracing, and nurturing these concepts. There are a large number of underrepresented populations within the institution, and the areas within Student Health & Wellbeing needs to be a model for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased environment at all times. The new AVP should be a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms and should strive to nurture and embrace these concepts throughout the organization.
  • The Division of Student Affairs has a number of relatively new leaders in upper-level management, so there is a fresh and vibrant environment in which to work at UAB. Subsequently, the division is also operating at an extremely fast pace, with change and growth occurring rather quickly both internally and across the university, so the new AVP should expect to learn the position, develop a plan, and begin implementation just as quickly. There will be a great opportunity to be creative, with a measure of autonomy to put their professional mark on the program and establish new benchmarks for many years to come. Because the foundation of the student health & wellbeing area is solid on all fronts, there is an opportunity to immediately begin building on the current successes and create buy-in with the staff on the new ideas and vision they bring to the table.
  • With the recent hiring of a Director of Assessment and Planning, developing data-driven analyses and solutions will be critical for success. The Director of Assessment and Planning is tasked with compiling and analyzing a great amount of data and then presenting that data to various constituencies with recommendations for utilization of the findings (particularly the other Student Affairs units).  The new assistant vice president should be prepared to collaborate extensively with this individual, understand the importance of data-driven decision-making, promote a culture of assessment, further develop a comprehensive assessment plan for the departments within student health & wellbeing, and determine methods for implementing findings to push all departments forward. Devising solutions based on hard data can also undoubtedly lend a great deal of credibility to new initiatives and, with a rapidly growing student population, the search for new resources.
  • Wait times for appointments in both the Student Health Center and the Counseling Center are decreasing, but there is still room for improvement through expanded facilities, new technology, and additional professional staff. The Counseling Center recently moved into a new facility, which created more room for improvements and expansion of the Student Health Center, and this should provide additional space for more appointments, specialists, and other various upgrades. With other physical projects in development, the new assistant vice president should be prepared to “hit the ground running” on these plans and be prepared to devote a degree of dedicated time to these endeavors, which are priorities for the UAB student body.
  • One of the primary roles of the assistant vice president is connecting, interacting, and building bridges with the medical side of campus and incorporating wellbeing into this process. Partnerships must be continued between student affairs, UAB Medical, and the city of Birmingham to promote cooperative initiatives that improve students’ lives and experiences.
  • The Counseling Center and Student Health Services are in the midst of reaccreditation procedures, so the new AVP should be familiar with best practices in accreditation within these two areas and provide support for these efforts moving forward. Similarly, with the growth of the student population, demand for mental health and wellness resources are at a premium, so the new AVP should be prepared to use creative best practices to ensure resources are allocated and distributed appropriately.
  • The Division of Student Affairs is currently piloting some exciting and far-reaching programs, many of which are located within the purview of student health & wellbeing. One such program is an autism transition program, with a task force currently being set up with the intent that the assistant vice president will lead this project. A non-smoking medical health district, a health wellbeing initiative, service animals in training, and a suicide prevention taskforce are just a few examples of new and beneficial initiatives in-process across campus that are touched by student health & wellbeing. Additionally, a new student health insurance plan was recently adopted, as well as new student immunization requirements and new involuntary withdrawal policies, so the AVP should be prepared to support these new initiatives and bring other innovative and cost-saving ideas to the student health and wellbeing department.
  • Across the board, stakeholders reiterated that they liked working at UAB, are very supportive of each other, enjoy the vibrancy and fast pace of the university, feel much camaraderie, and believe that there are many opportunities to make a big difference in this role. Enrollment is growing, construction is at a premium, and the University is a growing influence in the Southeast. Birmingham is also a rapidly growing and developing city, and UAB is, in large part fueling this growth, so the new AVP can expect all the amenities that come along with a large metropolitan city as well as the great atmosphere and hospitality of the South. With a nationally renowned children’s medical center and UAB Medical, the only crisis hospital in the Southeast, exceptional healthcare is only one of the many benefits that are available in Birmingham.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the items listed below will initially define success for the new assistant vice president for student health & wellbeing.

  • The Student Affairs culture of excellence is thriving within student health & wellbeing, and the AVP promotes this culture at all times.
  • Student success initiatives are enhanced and thriving.
  • The Student Affairs culture of assessment is embraced and utilized to ensure data-driven and strategic decision-making.
  • There is a strong team of three assistant vice presidents that provides robust support to Dr. Jones and they work collectively to promote a strong sense of collegiality.
  • There is a bond of trust formed between the AVP and the senior directors in student health & wellbeing and the entire team is moving forward together to enact strategic initiatives.
  • The student health & wellbeing area is student-centered, students recognize this person and understand their role on campus, and they are proactively involved in the student culture on campus.
  • Access, cost, quality, and experience metrics are high and improving.
  • Cessation of smoking (health district) initiative is continuing and is reinforced and the new AVP is a champion for this endeavor.
  • Morale in the departments of student health & wellbeing is high and the whole area is in a period of growth and improvement.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will possess a master’s degree in Business Administration, Healthcare Administration, or a related field with at least seven years of progressively responsible experience in a higher education, health care management, or related setting. Strong leadership; interpersonal and communication skills; dynamic presentation and training abilities; expertise in problem-solving and conflict-resolution; strong financial management and contract negotiation acumen; current knowledge of best practices and accreditation requirements; and sophisticated project management, organizational, prioritization, and analytical skills will also be important considerations in the selection of the new assistant vice president. Demonstrated success in and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, providing equitable and respectful treatment to all individuals, and fostering positive relationships with diverse constituencies are essential for success.

Other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and/or abilities noted from the stakeholder discussions are the following:

  • a strong background in one of the areas over which this position supervises and at least general knowledge of the other functional areas;
  • an ardent supporter of students; the ability to relate to, engage, and connect with students; an understanding of the changing needs of today’s student body; someone who values the opinions of students; and someone who possesses solid student development skills;
  • strong and inspirational leadership skills, charisma, a passion for the job, and a strategic vision;
  • an excellent and professional communicator who is comfortable reaching all levels of the University and whose communication is consistent, transparent, and frequent among colleagues and externally;
  • a great collaborator across Student Affairs, internal departments, faculty, and external colleagues;
  • an innovator with a futuristic orientation and someone willing to try new opportunities, remain informed on new trends and best practices, and lead significant change processes as necessary;
  • organizational development skills, a team approach that can be applied to a large and diverse organization, and a willingness to advocate for staff;
  • a familiarity with healthcare billing, records, and delivery, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals is highly desirable;
  • strong budgeting and finance skills, with the ability to be strategic in all budgetary decisions, advocate for departmental needs, and recognize at all times the limits of the state budgeting system;
  • demonstrated experience in improving departments under their purview;
  • problem solving skills;
  • a strategic and data-informed decision-maker with strong assessment skills;
  • emotional intelligence;
  • a mindset that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusivity, and social justice in all walks of the job;
  • the ability to multitask, change directions when necessary, and adapt to a rapidly growing, changing, and fast-paced environment;
  • a commitment to professional development in both themselves and the staff, as well as demonstrated involvement and leadership in a professional organization is highly desired;
  • appreciation and promotion of a culture of mental health and wellness;
  • the ability to make difficult decisions when necessary, to conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, to listen to all sides of an issue, to build consensus, and to remain “cool under pressure” no matter the situation;
  • experience in crisis and in working under pressure;
  • ability to take a “gray” message and make it more concrete and then quickly articulate it in deliverables;
  • a comprehensive commitment to excellence in all aspects of the position;
  • a willingness to be visible on campus, to participate in the life of the campus, and to engage students and staff on all levels;
  • political savvy and tact;
  • strong negotiation skills;
  • resiliency and the ability to handle scrutiny and criticism;
  • ability to listen carefully, ask knowledgeable questions, learn the departments and their intricacies, accept input from staff, and then make well-informed decisions; and
  • a positive, optimistic, energetic, and enthusiastic attitude.

THE INSTITUTION DIVISION/DEPARTMENT: AN OVERVIEW

An Overview of the division of Student Affairs

Our student affairs professionals are committed to enhancing the student experience and advancing student success by providing those activities, leadership opportunities, services, and guidance necessary to support the rigorous academic learning environment at UAB. We have a responsibility to contribute to students’ educational achievement while equipping them to serve as leaders in a global society. Additionally, the services we provide help remove barriers that inhibit students from performing well academically.

By engaging students in learning and self-discovery beyond the classroom, we intend to help students develop values and ethical standards, foster an environment of cultural humility, establish educational partnerships that enhance student learning, and build safe and inclusive communities necessary for student success.

Some of our important services include campus recreation, counseling, career development services, health services, housing, leadership, dining services and student advocacy. Our expertise centers around the highest standards, high impact practices, reducing barriers to student success, and promoting safety and wellness across departments, divisions, and the community.

As we embark in preparing the future generations of employees, caregivers, leaders, and researchers for life beyond graduation, the co-curricular opportunities provided by student affairs are both necessary and valuable. Current research and trends suggest that the effort placed on establishing and encouraging student learning in and out of the classroom – in some cases over instruction – is the best way to ensure students’ passion for lifelong learning.

Underlying the practice of student affairs are a number of core values centered on the students’ holistic development and maturation. These values include student centeredness, student advocacy, empowering students to create positive change, collaboration, accountability, and integrity. In carrying out our values, we will improve student engagement, retention, and persistence to graduation.

Leadership of the Division

John R. Jones, PhD – Vice President for Student Affairs

Dr. John Jones was named vice president for student affairs in June 2015. Dr. Jones provides leadership and direction to the Division of Student Affairs, which consists of Campus Dining, Campus Recreation, Career and Professional Development, Disability Support Services, Hill Student Center, Housing & Residence Life, Marketing & Communications, Parent & Family Services, Student Conduct, Student Counseling Services, Student Health Services, Student Involvement & Leadership, Student Media, Student Multicultural & Diversity Programs, Student Outreach, Title IX, Veteran Services, and Wellness Promotions.

Dr. Jones earned his PhD in higher education administration from the University of Iowa and joined University of North Carolina-Pembroke (UNCP) in 2013 as vice chancellor for Student Affairs, promoting student learning and personal growth by providing strategic leadership and vision for programs, services, and opportunities that encourage student success.

Prior to UNCP, Dr. Jones worked in college administration at Purdue University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Northern Illinois University. He has served on the board of directors for the Association for Student Conduct Administration, the Madame Walker Urban Life Center in Indianapolis, and the Center for Academic Integrity. Dr. Jones also served in the Army National Guard for 18 years.

Organizational Chart for the division of Student Affairs

Institution & Location

Institutional background/History

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) traces its roots to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama and the 1936 opening of the Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama. In 1945 the Medical College of Alabama was moved from Tuscaloosa and the University’s Medical Center was founded in Birmingham. In 1954 the Extension Center was moved to a newly constructed facility adjacent to the Medical Center, bringing together for the first time the University’s two academic components in Birmingham. Later, in November of 1966, the Extension Center and the Medical Center were administratively merged to form the “University of Alabama in Birmingham,” an organizational component of the University of Alabama (in Tuscaloosa). In 1969 UAB became an independent institution, one of the autonomous universities within the newly created three-campus University of Alabama System.

Today, UAB is a comprehensive urban university with a nationally recognized academic health center. UAB is the only public, four-year degree granting university in the state’s largest metropolitan area. UAB is the largest research institution in the state of Alabama and is the largest single employer in the state.

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.

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:

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

About Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham is a city located in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama’s most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK’s second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could be employed in the city’s steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.

From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as “The Magic City” and “The Pittsburgh of the South”. Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the “Deep South” have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.

In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. In 1969 it gained the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College. The Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. The city has three of the state’s five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Southeastern Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferences.

Mission, Vision and Shared Values

At UAB, we have never settled on merely finding what’s next—we have helped build the future through new ideas and initiatives in the classroom, the laboratory, the studio, and the clinic. UAB’s vision, mission, and shared values provide a foundation for the strategic plan, Forging the Future.

Vision

One university inspiring and empowering the creation of knowledge that changes the world.

Mission

UAB serves students, patients, the community and the global need for discovery, knowledge dissemination, education, creativity and the application of groundbreaking solutions. We are a leader among comprehensive public urban research universities with academic medical centers.

Shared Values

  • Integrity – We act ethically and do what is right.
  • Respect – We treat others with courtesy and civility.
  • Diversity and inclusiveness – Everybody counts every day. We actively seek varied perspectives in our decision-making.
  • Collaboration – We trust each other and work cooperatively across disciplinary boundaries in the spirit of shared governance.
  • Excellence and achievement – We constantly innovate, solve problems, and improve ourselves and others through learning.
  • Stewardship – Fiscal and environmental sustainability guide our decisions.
  • Accountability – We are answerable to each other and act with the best interests of the university in mind.

Strategic Plan

At UAB, we have never settled for merely finding what’s next — we have helped build the future through new ideas and initiatives in the classroom, the laboratory, the studio and the clinic.

The coming decade presents us with opportunities and challenges. How should we build on our strong foundation in order to meet them? Forging the Future, UAB’s strategic plan for the next five years of growth, offers a blueprint.

Strategic Goal:

Offer a world-class, socially conscious education to diverse students to prepare the next generation of citizens and leaders.

Education

Strategic Objective 1: Strengthen and expand innovative academic programs to enhance UAB’s national and global reputation.

  • Activity 1: Deliver world-class, interdisciplinary academic programs.
  • Activity 2: Promote innovative instructional practices and provide multiple educational delivery options.
  • Activity 3: Retain, recruit and develop world-class faculty members to lead these programs.

Strategic Objective 2: Ensure student success through holistic development that addresses diverse needs.

  • Activity 1: Improve retention and four- and six-year graduation rates significantly within the next five years.
  • Activity 2: Remove barriers and provide access and relevant academic and social support structures in order for students to attend and be successful at UAB.
  • Activity 3: Retain, recruit and develop outstanding student-centered faculty and staff to support student success.

Strategic Objective 3: Create a signature core curriculum focused on modeling and developing socially conscious global citizens and leaders.

  • Activity 1: Identify competencies that are critical for a core curriculum that addresses 21st century needs (e.g., critical thinking, global perspectives, leadership, communication).
  • Activity 2: Strengthen and renew the core curriculum to provide a coherent, intellectually stimulating and transformative education.
  • Activity 3: Model successful engagement opportunities by students, faculty and staff around issues related to social consciousness, global citizenship and leadership.

Strategic Objective 4: Engage students, faculty, staff and community members in experiential learning.

  • Activity 1: Remove barriers to participation in experiential learning opportunities.
  • Activity 2: Encourage participation in experiential learning opportunities throughout campus and beyond.
  • Activity 3: Promote the unique culture of experiential learning opportunities at UAB.

Strategic Objective 5: Foster access, inclusive excellence and equity in teaching, learning and mentorship development programs.

  • Activity 1: Increase participation in current teaching, learning and mentorship programs.
  • Activity 2: Align teaching, learning and mentorship development programs across the UAB enterprise.
  • Activity 3: Foster a culture of learning that supports and encourages academic, professional and personal development for students, faculty and staff.

Research, Innovation & Economic Development

Strategic Goal:

Empower innovative research, scholarship and creative activities that drive knowledge creation focused on improving society.

Strategic Objective 1: Enhance UAB’s institutional culture of collaboration and innovation.

  • Activity 1: Create an environment and opportunities that facilitate collaboration and foster innovation.
  • Activity 2: Promote successful interdisciplinary research collaborations internally and externally.
  • Activity 3: Expand and strengthen collaborations with external partners.

Strategic Objective 2: Drive research and innovation across the enterprise.

  • Activity 1: Grow and diversify research, scholarship and creative activities.
  • Activity 2: Retain, recruit and develop outstanding, innovation-focused faculty, staff and students.

Strategic Objective 3: Implement a campus wide effort to select and meet “grand challenges.”

  • Activity 1: Establish inclusive processes for identification of priorities.
  • Activity 2: Align resources to enable action.
  • Activity 3: Implement competitive processes to select research teams.

Strategic Objective 4: Improve society through processes and products.

  • Activity 1: Facilitate intellectual property development.
  • Activity 2: Streamline internal processes to lower barriers to realizing innovative ideas.
  • Activity 3: Support economic development in the city of Birmingham to transform and sustain a thriving local hub for innovation and creativity.

Community Engagement

Strategic Goal:

Engage with the community in meaningful and mutually beneficial collaborations that contribute to the public good.

Strategic Objective 1: Expand access to community engagement resources.

  • Activity 1: Coordinate community engagement efforts among faculty, staff and students.
  • Activity 2: Collaborate with area partners in planning, assessment and evaluation of efforts.
  • Activity 3: Enhance student development as engaged learners, researchers and citizens by fostering community-based opportunities.

Strategic Objective 2: Develop mutually beneficial partnerships.

  • Activity 1: Identify, develop and maintain strategic community partners.
  • Activity 2: Intentionally connect community partners with UAB faculty, staff and student initiatives wherever appropriate.

 Strategic Objective 3: Broaden scholarship in the field of community engagement.

  • Activity 1: Develop and sustain an adequate internal infrastructure to support and coordinate academic community engagement research among faculty, students and staff.
  • Activity 2: Identify new research opportunities that add value to people and communities served.
  • Activity 3: Create and support a community of scholars interested in studying community engagement topics and impacts.

Strategic Objective 4: Integrate engagement throughout the university.

  • Activity 1: Support and promote community engagement activities in their areas.
  • Activity 2: Increase participation of a wider set of academic and administrative units to achieve community engagement strategic goals and outcomes.
  • Activity 3: Reinforce value of engagement through performance review process.

Patient Care

Strategic Goal:

Lead in the delivery of the highest-quality patient-centered integrative care that reflects our ability to translate discoveries into revolutionary therapies in one of the nation’s premier academic health care centers.

Strategic Objective 1: Improve patient access and satisfaction through integration of clinical services across UAB’s healthcare delivery entities.

  • Activity 1: Develop a phased process of integrating care.
  • Activity 2: Enhance patient experience, from appointment process to wayfinding to post-care communication.
  • Activity 3: Achieve national recognition as a place where patients experience highly satisfying healthcare services.

Strategic Objective 2: Invest in signature treatments that will be delivered through recognized flagship programs.

  • Activity 1: Identify distinctive areas of expertise that generate prestige and set UAB apart from competitors.
  • Activity 2: Retain and recruit world-class faculty and staff to develop and provide these treatments.

Strategic Objective 3: Develop infrastructure to ensure statewide access to telehealth services.

  • Activity 1:Create a centralized system to support existing and new telehealth programs at UAB.
  • Activity 2:Develop a network of partnerships across the state to enhance patient access.

Leadership

Ray L. Watts, MD – President

Ray L. Watts, MD, UAB’s seventh president, has demonstrated visionary leadership in education, research and patient care throughout his career.

A Birmingham native and graduate of West End High School, Dr. Watts earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering at UAB in 1976. The collaborations he had with biomedical engineering students as an undergraduate sparked an interest in medicine and, four years later, he graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as valedictorian of his class.

Dr. Watts completed a neurology residency, medical internship, and clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a two-year medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Thereafter he joined the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was part of a team that created an internationally renowned research and clinical center for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

Dr. Watts returned to UAB in 2003 as the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. There he led the development of an interdisciplinary research program aimed at translating scientific breakthroughs into promising new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and played a key role in the establishment of the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. He also was named president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation.

In 2010, Dr. Watts accepted the position of Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB, and later was named to the James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair. As dean, Dr. Watts – in partnership with UAB Health System and Health Services Foundation leaders – initiated the AMC21 strategic plan to make UAB “the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century,” which has led to the recruitment of outstanding faculty, the launch of programs to accelerate research and drug discovery, and establishment of a third regional medical campus in Montgomery, among other successes.

Dr. Watts was named president of UAB in February 2013 by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. He initiated and is leading UAB’s most comprehensive-ever strategic planning process with campus- and community-wide partnership. During his tenure, UAB has made tremendous strides in all areas of its mission, including record enrollment and development of novel academic programs, record research funding and the university’s international competitiveness, impactful service to the local and global community, and construction of new state-of-the-art facilities and campus beautification as part of the UAB Campus Master Plan.

Dr. Watts and his wife Nancy, who worked at UAB as a nurse before retiring, have five grown children.

Organizational Charts for the Campus/Cabinet

Academic Divisions of UAB

College/school                                       Year founded

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

Honors College                                            2012

Graduate School                                          1970

The Student Body

Benefits Overview

  • Traditional medical plans
  • Consumer driven health plans
  • Dental plans
  • Vision plans
  • Retirement programs
  • Educational assistance for employees and families
  • Life, accidental death & dismemberment and disability insurance
  • Vacation and sick leave

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled; position review date is Wednesday, April 24, 2019. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at jsd@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the UAB website at http://www.uab.edu

UAB is committed to equal opportunity in education, and employment, and the maintenance and promotion of nondiscrimination and prevention of discriminatory harassment in all aspects of education, recruitment, and employment of individuals throughout the university.