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The University of Alabama

Accolades for January 28, 2008

Children at Brewer-Porch receive Gift from the Sabans

saban_familyUA Head Football Coach Nick Saban and wife Terry Saban recently made a generous contribution to youth at UA’s Brewer-Porch Children’s Center.

Through the Nick’s Kids Fund, the Sabans donated $5,000 to the Brewer-Porch Children’s Center, which operates six mental health service programs in Tuscaloosa for children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Terry Saban recently talked with the children at the center about leadership, overcoming adversity and personal responsibility prior to presenting the donation.

“I saw these precious children who are overcoming some really adverse situations in their lives. I hope Nick’s Kids can help improve their happiness,” she said.

The Sabans’ donation is part of UA’s capital campaign, which has a goal to raise $500 million for student scholarships, faculty support, facilities and priority needs. The Sabans designated the gift for games for the children.

“The games are very therapeutic for the children, and it helps them learn about following rules, discipline, sportsmanship and team work,” said Jimmy Thompson, director of Brewer-Porch Children’s Center. “The games also will teach the children about positive reinforcement because the games will be used as rewards for the children’s good behavior.”

The games will be used in recreation areas of the new residential cottages, which are part of a recently completed $10 million expansion and renovation of the center facilities. The project added three new buildings on six acres of the former UA golf course and includes more therapy rooms and classrooms. The new buildings are state-of-the-art and will allow the staff of 300 to serve an increasing number of people with special needs who are referred to the center. The center also is a clinical teaching/learning site for undergraduate and graduate students from UA and other colleges and universities.

Leaver-Dunn recognized with McKinley Award

mckinley-photos-001Dr. Deidre Leaver-Dunn, an associate professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, recently was presented the Vergil Parks McKinley Award.

Leaver-Dunn, who serves as director of a nationally recognized athletic training program at UA, was nominated by Dr. Mike Perko, associate professor and chair of the department of health science. The nomination was supported by Dr. Milla Boschung, dean of the college.

“Rarely have I seen a single person universally respected and admired by her students and staff,” said Perko, who serves as her supervisor.

Recently, one of Leaver-Dunn’s athletic training students was killed in a car accident. “As testimony to Deidre’s character, she not only handled the UA required protocol, but also managed a memorial service, met the needs of the student’s family members, was present at each function in which the student was memorialized, and also saw to it that the needs of students, coaches, and athletes were met in terms of grief and questions. There was never any mention of whether this was her job – it was just done. I am sure all of her students would agree that the right thing was done at a time when the little things could have been overlooked.

“I use the example of how Dr. Leaver-Dunn has impressed on a generation all that UA stands for, that being a professional means much more than the job calls for; it means representing who you are by the things that you do. The University of Alabama is so fortunate to have people like Dr. Leaver-Dunn dedicate their lives in this way,” said Perko.

The McKinley Award recognizes enterprising employees who, by action or idea, contributed to the University’s mission of teaching, research and service. For more information, contact Human Resources at 348-6690.

Housing and residential Communities recognized

From left (front), Alicia Browne and Charlene Givens; (back) Carol Bersch, Cathy Morris, Judy Carter, Tonya Nail, and Charlotte Hewitt.

From left (front), Alicia Browne and Charlene Givens; (back) Carol Bersch, Cathy Morris, Judy Carter, Tonya Nail, and Charlotte Hewitt.

The housing and residential communities assignments and billing team have been distinguished as recipients of the Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award.

As “Every Student Served” became the mantra for the Division of Student Affairs, and UA moved to a freshman residential campus in fall 2006, this unit made a commitment to assist transitioning students through implementing an intentionally efficient assignment process.

This exemplary effort made UA the first institution in the state, and one of the first in the Southeast, to go to an entirely online housing application process. In addition to the online application move, a video tour of residence halls was developed for use with summer orientation and the housing and residential communities Web site, and an updated software program was installed in record time to provide better service to students and staff.

The innovation and creativity applied by this team to better serve students won them national recognition. In a recent National Benchmarking Assessment of student satisfaction, this team scored above the mean among 267 higher education institutions.

The Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award is given annually to teams providing exceptional service to customers through commitment, innovation and continuous improvement in customer relations.

UA Works with Black Belt Foundation on ‘Black Belt 100 Lenses’ Documentary

Highway signs, vintage buildings, crop rows and fishing holes are some of the images Sumter County students have captured as part of a Black Belt documentary project.

“Black Belt 100 Lenses,” a joint project of the Black Belt Community Foundation and UA, brings together students in grades 7-11 to document their communities in photographs. The Sumter County pilot program will be carried to other Black Belt counties, including Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Wilcox.

“Anyone from Alabama – especially from small towns or who just want to see how photography can have an impact on people and communities – will want to visit the exhibition,” said Whitney Greene, Black Belt Arts Initiative coordinator and co-director of the project.

“It’s amazing how well these young people have captured the culture and challenges of the Black Belt through their photography.”

Also, local artist Linda Munoz has several works on exhibit. Munoz was commissioned to create artwork using the students’ photographs as inspiration. Pieces on display include a quilt and a glass mosaic that represents many of the students’ themes.

The exhibition will be on display at the University of West Alabama’s Webb Hall Gallery in Livingston until March 1, said Christopher H. Spencer, UA adviser for the project.