New College Professor is UA’s SEC Achievement Award Winner

  • March 22nd, 2021
A portrait of a woman in a suit outside.
Dr. Catherine Roach

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference announced that Dr. Catherine Roach, professor of gender and cultural studies in New College, is the 2021 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner for The University of Alabama.

Now in its 10th year, the program honors one individual from each SEC university for their teaching accomplishments, scholarly contributions and discoveries.

“Dr. Roach’s willingness to explore new research frontiers, experiment with different writing mediums, seek different reading audiences, and regularly create exciting and enticing courses for our students demonstrates why she has been so successful in creating a perennially vigorous research program,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “As her publication record illustrates, she is a superior scholar who has brought distinctive credit to The University of Alabama over her 22-year career.”

Since joining UA’s faculty in 1998, Roach’s research interests have centered on the role of gender and sexuality in contemporary American popular culture. As an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, she has a track record of ambitious work focused on social justice around America’s changing norms of gender, sex, love and romance.

Through her three academic books; 25 articles and essays; and over 70 conference presentations, invited talks and keynote addresses, she studies equity and diversity at the intersection of gender, racial and sexual justice. She serves as an inaugural faculty fellow in UA’s new Collaborative Arts Research Initiative and has published two romance novels as part of an experimental project of engaged community-based research. Her sixth book is scheduled to publish next year.

Not only is she an internationally renowned scholar, Roach is also considered an excellent teacher who seamlessly integrates her research into her courses. Along with teaching in New College, she developed a popular course for the universitywide core curriculum that impacts campus conversations about sexual consent, healthy relationship and cultural competency around diversity.

Roach is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the 2017 Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, one of the University’s highest honors for a faculty member, awarded to one recipient annually to recognize and promote excellence in research, scholarship and teaching.

She was also a Fulbright Distinguished Chair to the United Kingdom and a Fulbright Specialist award winner. She has held visiting appointments at Carleton University in Canada, University of Leeds in the U.K. and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

There are approximately 14,000 full-time, tenured faculty members in the SEC, and to be eligible for an achievement award the individual must have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching, and have a record of research that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

Each SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the SEC and will become that university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are both selected by the SEC provosts, and they are two foundational programs designed by the SEC to support and promote the academic endeavors and achievements of its students, faculty and administrators.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.