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USGA hosts Student Forum with faculty
Students, faculty, and administration met at the Alumni House on March 12th, discussing UAB’s progress, change, and developments during the Spring Student Forum.
The president, vice president, athletic department, student and faculty services, administration and quality improvement, academics and advising were all present.
The forum was organized as an informal Q&A session. The topics discussed were divided into four categories
• Academics and Advising
• Library Services, Student Life, and Disability Support Services
• The New Student Center, Dining, and Campus Planning
• Housing and Athletics
President Watts announced the recently approved undergraduate majors that include public health, biomedical science and neuroscience.
“The bachelor of science in neuroscience is expanding from an honors and thesis-only program to a bachelor’s degree. We hope to see the program grow from 20-30 to 80-100 students a year,” said Watts.
The College of Arts and Sciences can expect the additional majors in musical theater, film, and a bachelor of music with a new specialty in music technology. The college is also looking at a PhD in forensic sciences.
The Board of Trustees has approved the Institution for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Most changes in the School of Engineering will focus on changes in the professional master’s degree.
“This means the university is moving forward on economic development. The business school wants to offer every student a certificate in entrepreneurship regardless of major,” said Eric Jack, Interim Dean of Business.
If the new student center timeline is as planned, the HUC will be completely shut down by the beginning of June. The new student center’s completion is targeted for fall 2015.
One question pertained to dining options during the new student center construction. Harlan Sands, Vice Provost for Administration & Quality Improvement, commented that two new food venues will be implemented in the fall.
World of Wings will be placed behind Snoozy’s and another dining facility to be announced will be located in the Lister Hill Library. The Administration and Quality Improvement is working on placing Chick-fil-A, Mexican, and Asian cuisine mobile sites across campus. There will also be modifications to the Commons Grill.
“I ask that you all patronize these food sites because it’s up to the students to decide which food sites are implemented in the new student center. We are trying our best to not increase food prices. We have a slight increase for next year, but we’ve tried really hard to keep costs down,” said Sands.
In addition to the new student center, the new residence hall is planned to be complete by spring 2015 and will serve as a freshman facility with over 600 beds.
Traveling around campus will become more convenient as the bus transportation system begins to be implemented in the fall. The transit system is on schedule, according to the Office of Parking and Transportation Services. A trial run with the buses will begin in the fall with four routes. The final transit system will be presented to the Board of Trustees in April.
Another question pertained to the future endeavors of UAB athletics. President Watts encouraged students to attend athletic events, emphasizing that there is zero cost to attend. Until a higher attendance rate is achieved, there will not be considerations of an on-campus stadium.
“Does it make sense for UAB to borrow a $60-70 million to purchase with the current challenge that we have? We are going to work really hard to get good attendance at our games this year. I want our alumni and students to support us in this. You can be rest assured of our full commitment to athletics, but we have some work to do before we deserve to ask for that amount of money to put into an on-campus football stadium,” said Watts.
Additionally, Suzanne Austin, Vice Provost of Student and Faculty Success, debunked rumors of combining honors programs and confirmed the expansion of UAB’s diverse honors programs.
USGA Student Advocate, Deborah Craddock, is in charge of organizing student forums. “I think the Spring Forum was definitely a bigger success than fall. A lot of great questions came from students…a lot will contribute to the progress going on campus in the coming weeks. Go Blazers!” said Craddock.