UA Preview — May 15-21, 2023


UA-LED ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROJECT WINS INITIAL NATIONAL AWARD — A proposal led by The University of Alabama to strengthen the Deep South’s role in production and support of electric vehicles was selected by the National Science Foundation to be developed further. The $1 million planning grant from the NSF Regional Innovation Engines program positions UA and its partners, the University of Georgia and Mississippi State University, to compete alongside 40 other teams for up to $160 million over 10 years in the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which aim to help partners collaborate to create economic, societal and technological opportunities for their regions. The NSF Engines program is a transformational investment for the nation, ensuring the U.S. remains in the vanguard of competitiveness for decades to come. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at  

EMERITUS PROFESSOR ELECTED TO NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES — Dr. William Dressler, professor emeritus at UA, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious honors in science. Dressler retired in 2020 as a professor of anthropology after 42 years at the University where he had also been a tenured professor in the College of Community Health Sciences and the School of Social Work. He is one of 120 new members and 23 international members elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Dressler is now part of 2,565 members and 526 international members of the NAS, which was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

BREWBAKER NAMED DEAN OF UA SCHOOL OF LAW — William S. Brewbaker III has been named the next dean of the UA School of Law and will begin his tenure July 10. Brewbaker currently serves as the William Alfred Rose Professor of Law with the School of Law. “Our goal will be to continue and improve upon our rich tradition of excellence in research, teaching and service to our profession, the state of Alabama and our nation,” said Brewbaker. “We want to provide an outstanding educational experience for every one of our students while they are in law school and great professional opportunities when they graduate. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.” For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at

UA NAMES SANFORD DEAN OF CAPSTONE COLLEGE OF NURSING — Dr. Julie Sanford has been named the next dean of the UA Capstone College of Nursing and will begin her tenure Aug. 1. Sanford comes to UA after serving four years as dean and professor with the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Under her leadership, research funding quadrupled, enrollment increased by 35% and $55 million was obtained for a new building. “I am thrilled to return to The University of Alabama as dean of the Capstone College of Nursing,” said Sanford. “Our world is changing, and we have the opportunity in academic nursing to shape our future and prepare nurses who are patient-centered and practice-ready. The next three to five years will be a time of transformation in nursing education with the transition to competency-based education.” For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at


INCREASING ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE  Licensed independent clinical social workers in Alabama will soon have the authority to make clinical mental health diagnoses for patients, just as they can in every other state in the country. “This will significantly expand the availability of and access to mental health care services in Alabama,” said Dr. Bob McKinney, associate professor of social work with The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and director of the Office of Case Management and Social Services at University Medical Center, which the college operates. McKinney said increasing the scope of practice for the state’s more than 2,500 LICWs will allow them to help address Alabama’s shortage of mental health providers. McKinney also serves on the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners, which was tasked with providing definitions and guidelines for increasing the scope of practice for LICSWs. To schedule an interview, contact McKinney at  


UA OLLI HOSTS OPEN HOUSES ACROSS STATE — The UA Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will host open house events in three locations across the state in May. Locations include Birmingham at the Riverchase United Methodist Church May 15 from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuscaloosa at the Bryant Conference Center May 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Gadsden at the Holy Church of the Comforter May 18 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. OLLI at UA’s lifelong learning program is designed for adults, age 50 and over, who are interested in exploring new ideas, identifying new hobbies and interests, and socializing with others in both an in-person and online space. 

SATURDAY IN THE PARK: TOOLS AND WEAPONS — The UA Moundville Archaeological Park’s Saturday in the Park series will feature tools and weapons demonstrations May 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bill Skinner will demonstrate the use of several types of tool and weapon technologies as well as ancient toolmaking traditions. Participants can take turns practicing with ancient tools and toolmaking technologies. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult guardian to participate. All are welcome to observe. Registration information is available on the park’s website. Participation is free with paid admission to the park. 

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The University of Alabama strives to remain neutral on public policy issues. Strategic Communications may facilitate interviews or share opinions expressed by faculty, staff, students, or other individuals regarding policy matters. However, those opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the University or its leadership, and do not constitute a statement on behalf of the University unless explicitly designated.