UAB: Built to last
Posted on Oct 30, 2012 in News
Last Thursday, October 25, 2012, Interim President Richard Marchase delivered his outlook for UAB over the next two years.
Although Marchase has only been at UAB for seven weeks now, he “enjoys every aspect of the UAB community.”
John Mahan and his committee are still searching for a new president, but plan to have narrowed down the search by the middle of February 2013.
Before Marchase stepped in as interim president, the numbers for this past year did not look good. In the past four years, UAB lost $100 million in First-Year Experience (FYE) aid. This resulted in a raise of tuition by about 18%, so they could cover the cost of yearly expenses. There is some slight concern about the Budget Control of 2011 cutting back some of UAB’s funding to a drastic number of $20 million.
The two ongoing problems that Marchase wants to immediately fix is UAB’s low retention rate and faculty productivity.
Before Former President Carol Garrison decided to leave, UAB initiated Graduate Planning System (GPS) and more advising counsel, which Marchase plans to continue to use to help with the retention rate.
As for the faculty productivity, there were many ideas discussed, such as inserting productivity software to analyze excellence in the workplace, but none were decided as official solutions to the problem.
In the entire speech, only about ten minutes were focused on the negative side of UAB’s growth, while about 35 minutes were talking about the great things to come.
“The most refreshing thing I heard was expanding enrollment,” said George Munchus, Professor of Management in the School of Business.
Marchase plans to bring in more in-state students, because they are the greatest market for UAB right now.
Munchus continues, “The role of an urban university is to put back into the community. UAB can solve problems in the inner city especially in health and economics.”
Marchase also plans to enhance freshman recruiting especially in the
Jefferson County area. He wants to facilitate growth in the online programs to accommodate all students.
“I think the presentation today showed great things for UAB,” said Susan Austin, Vice Provost.
According to the American Review of World Universities, UAB is currently in the top 100 schools in the world for life sciences and 93rd for research papers. UAB is also 30th in the nation for research.
With UAB’s current ranking and accomplishments, UAB leadership is still moving forward for further changes and improvements for students and faculty.
There are speculations that UAB could begin researching Parkinson’s disease as a new research opportunity.
Four new buildings are popping up around campus. A new student center is going to replace the old Hill University Center. An additional freshman dorm is going to replace the parking lot between Blazer and Denman Hall. The Visual Art Center is receiving an upgrade and should be completed by Fall 2013. Dental School received a grant of $67M and Engineering upgraded to a new machine.
“I believe that UAB has changed for the better under Carol Garrison’s hand,” said Marchase as he finished up his speech.