UA Preview


Due to the extraordinary need for social distancing, The University of Alabama is operating under limited business operations, which includes essential staffing and remote work assignments. Our goal is to promote social distancing and limit on campus work to the fullest extent possible.

While employees in the department of communications are working remotely, they are available to assist members of the media. Reporters are encouraged to contact the sources below or to use our experts directory to find contact information for other subject matter experts.


UA RESEARCHERS TO DEVELOP MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING FOR POLICE – Law enforcement officers throughout Tuscaloosa County will soon be better equipped to interact with citizens with serious mental illness and substance abuse. Dr. Hee Yun Lee, professor in The University of Alabama School of Social Work, was awarded a $375,000 grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop a web-app training course to help police officers respond appropriately to these situations. The web app training titled, mobile Mental Health Education, Awareness, and Learning, or mHEAL, will increase officers’ mental health awareness and efficacy and include de-escalation techniques and mental health first aid program, while decreasing stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse. For more information, contact David Miller, UA School of Social Work, at 205-348-3942 or

UA OLLI PROVIDES FREE ONLINE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADULTS In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is offering free online educational opportunities for adults throughout May. Upcoming online course topics range from coronavirus, cybersecurity, nature and history, among others. A complete list of online courses and registration instructions can be found at For more information, contact Jennifer Anderson, OLLI director, at

FOUR UA PROFESSORS SELECTED FOR EARLY CAREER AWARDS  Four professors at The University of Alabama this academic year received national recognition early in their careers for leading-edge research that will advance knowledge and enhance the educational experience. Three professors were selected by the National Science Foundation for a CAREER Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious recognition of top-performing young scientists, while another was awarded the Planetary Science Early Career Award from NASA, which supports outstanding early-career planetary scientists. The grants allow each researcher to train and motivate a new generation of scientists and engineers not only at UA through instruction and hands-on lab work, but also through outreach efforts to schools and community. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

THREE UA STUDENTS EARN HOLLINGS SCHOLARSHIPS University of Alabama students, Elizabeth Batts, of Kingsport, Tennessee; Max Hawkins, of Renner, South Dakota; and Nicholas Hayes, of Memphis, Tennessee, will receive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship for 2020-2022. The scholarship provides a two-year academic award of $9,500 per year, and a 10-week, full-time, paid summer internship opportunity at any NOAA facility nationwide. Scholars also receive funding to present their NOAA research projects at two national scientific conferences. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at

UA LAW SCHOOL ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR THE 2020 HARPER LEE PRIZE  The University of Alabama School of Law named the finalists for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The three books chosen to compete for the prize are: “The Satapur Moonstone” by Sujata Massey, “The Hallows” by Victor Methos and “An Equal Justice” by Chad Zunker. For more information, contact Monique Fields, manager of communications, School of Law, 205-348-5195,


GIANT MURDER HORNETS ARE DEADLY, BUT NOT WIDESPREADA man near Washington was found dead. Honey bee hives were found decimated with the corpses of decapitated bees littered everywhere. Some might think this is the scene of a horror movie or a sick joke, but it’s the work of a deadly new invasive species, Vespa mandarinia, also known as giant Asian “murder hornets.” Dr. John Abbott, chief curator and director of museum research and collections at The University of Alabama, said as deadly as these hornets are, they’re not widespread. Reports of them have only been verified in the Washington area in December and in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the fall. So it is unclear whether they really are established or not. For more information contact Abbott at

UA EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC  – Faculty at UA are available to discuss aspects of the coronavirus pandemic including topics related to health care, education and the economy. This list will be updated, so check back often for new sources. For assistance with reaching any of these sources or for topics not highlighted, contact Shane Dorrill at

NEED A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT ON TOPICS MAKING NEWS? – See our frequently updated experts directory here.