About the University

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a research university and academic health center that discovers, teaches and applies knowledge for the intellectual, cultural, social and economic benefit of Birmingham, the state and beyond. UAB is internationally renowned for its intensely collaborative culture that has, for nearly five decades, produced continual breakthroughs in education, health care, research and service. With over 20,000 students, UAB provides a student‐centered, collaborative learning experience to prepare diverse students for rewarding careers and lives that benefit society and our regional and global economy. In recent years, UAB has experienced a surge in enrollment that spans every School and the Honors College. In fall 2018, UAB had another year of record‐high enrollment and one of its largest freshman classes ever. The 2018 freshman class was the most academically qualified ever.

UAB has nearly 1,000 international students enrolled who, along with over 600 international faculty, staff and visiting scholars on campus, represent more than 100 countries around the world. In addition, UAB offers exceptional graduate and professional programs that prepare diverse students to lead, teach, conduct research, provide professional services, become the prominent scholars and societal leaders of the future, and contribute to our region's and our nation’s prosperity. UAB was recently ranked as the top young university in the United States, and number 10 worldwide, in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2018 Young University Rankings. These rankings are based on 13 rigorous performance indicators across the institutions’ teaching, research, citations, international outlooks, and industry incomes of graduates.

UAB is home to Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health, Health Professions, Engineering, Business, Education and the College of Arts & Sciences. The faculty, staff, and students of UAB have generated unique ideas and groundbreaking solutions to address the issues and challenges of a changing society.

The Princeton Review for Diversity has recognized the institution, and UAB continues to be one of the most diverse universities in the nation. As of fall 2017, nearly 40% of the student body was composed of underrepresented minorities, and underrepresented minority students made almost 45% of the freshman class. The student population is just over 20% black and just over 60% female.

In the four decades since its inception, this young, dynamic university has thrived with boldness and innovation that have pushed the frontiers in science, medicine, business, education, the arts and the humanities – and has garnered national and international respect. UAB had research expenditures of more than $538 million in 2016, ranking 15th among public universities and number 31 overall in federally financed research, according to the National Science Foundation. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research also reports that UAB’s National Institutes of Health funding reached $238 million in fiscal year 2016. Many of its roughly 2,000-faculty conduct research in university‐wide interdisciplinary research centers that span more than one academic School at UAB. UAB’s interdisciplinary culture presents its faculty with an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other Schools, departments and disciplines who have comparable or complementary research interests. At the same time, UAB has reached out and collaborated with its community and state, spurring phenomenal progress over a half century. UAB’s growth as a world‐renowned research university and medical center has driven the social, cultural and economic revival of Birmingham. UAB is Alabama’s largest single employer, with an annual economic impact exceeding $7 billion, and continues collaborating to improve education, health care and quality of life throughout the community and state.

Every individual School is engaged in important service programs locally and globally, and service learning is deeply engrained across the curricula. UAB has been named for ten consecutive years to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a university can achieve for its commitment to civic engagement and service learning. The university continues to strengthen the historic partnership with Birmingham through shared strategic planning and collaboration on the development of “Innovate Birmingham” aimed at growing a robust, technology-based economy for the region.

UAB has an aggressive campus development program, with several new buildings recently completed or under construction, including for the Collat School of Business and the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and for the School of Nursing, which flanks the buildings of the School of Health Professions in a plaza facing University Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of UAB. See this video for a drone’s-eye view! Recently, ground was broken for a new $175 million stadium at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center located less than one mile from UAB’s campus, where the UAB Blazers will play home football games starting in 2021.

UAB Health System

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System is a $3.5 billion academic health system based in Birmingham with facilities and affiliations throughout the state of Alabama. The centerpiece of the system is UAB Hospital on the UAB campus in Birmingham, which is today one of the four largest academic medical centers in the United States. The hospital is also the 19th largest hospital in the nation, providing patients with a complete range of primary and specialty care services. As a university hospital, UAB Hospital is a major center for clinical research and home to some of the top medical programs in America, according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2015, UAB Hospital was recognized as Magnet-designated organization for the fourth consecutive time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition program becoming only the 12th hospital worldwide to receive this designation four consecutive times. UAB encourages collaborations between the UAB Health System and all of UAB’s professional schools, including the School of Health Professions.

The University of Alabama System

The University of Alabama System consists of three doctoral research universities: The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The System is governed by The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama as stipulated by the Alabama Constitution. The Board of Trustees created the present multi-campus structure in 1969, and each of the component institutions has a unique mission that is consistent with the broader mission of the System.

The City of Birmingham

“If diversity were a place, it would be Birmingham.” There is incredible variety in Birmingham including cuisine, museums, outdoor experiences, entertainment, festivals and events. UAB’s decades-long partnership with its community and State has led to the economic, cultural and social renaissance of Birmingham – the State’s largest metro area with a population of just over 1 million – as the city has grown from a primarily steel‐based economy to a thriving nexus of R&D, health care, information and technology, medicine, banking and other services industries.

Known as the “Magic City” for its rapid growth, Birmingham is home to more than a dozen hospitals and booming health innovation and development. The area boasts more than 700 technology‐based companies and, in life science research, hundreds of millions have been awarded regionally from the National Institutes of Health. A vibrant regional innovation ecosystem is supported by UAB (the largest employer in Alabama), Southern Research Institute (with seven FDA‐approved drugs on the market), and Innovation Depot (the nation’s third largest and recently ranked the most successful business technology incubator in the world). UAB and other entities have long established the area as a health care hub offering world‐class care. With its acclaimed Health System and Health Profession Schools, UAB brings the most advanced and promising treatments close to home.

The Birmingham area is steeped in the arts and culture. The Birmingham Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the southeast. In addition, Birmingham is home to the state’s major ballet, opera, and symphony orchestra companies including the Alabama Ballet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Ballet, Birmingham Concert Chorale and Opera Birmingham. UAB’s Alys Stephens Center serves as Birmingham’s home for the performing arts and an anchor of the burgeoning Cultural Arts District – hosting performances by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as well as diverse, top‐billed acts from Itzhak Perlman to Smokey Robinson to Kristen Chenoweth. Directly across the street from the Alys Stephens Center is the Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts (AEIVA), which provides both exhibitions and educational programming in the visual arts. It also houses the Art and Art History Department of the College of Arts and Sciences. The metro area’s vibrancy and diversity continues garnering national attention and has been hailed as a top travel destination by Zagat, National Geographic Traveler, The L.A. Times, NBC’s Today Show and Forbes. Home to nationally renowned chefs and restaurants, Zagat rated Birmingham as one of 2017’s “30 most exciting food cities in America” and the prestigious James Beard Foundation has consistently recognized the excellence of Birmingham’s culinary scene. Barron’s recently cited Birmingham as one of the nation’s “growing tech hubs” and the city has been recognized as the “Silicon Valley of the South” by multiple publications.

The Birmingham area is also home to some of the country’s best high Schools. The Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School in Irondale was ranked first in Alabama and eighth in the U.S. in the 2016 Washington Post study of America's Most Challenging High Schools. The School remains among the nation’s top five high Schools. Local Schools rated among America’s best in various publications include Mountain Brook High School, Homewood High School, Vestavia Hills High School and the Alabama School of Fine Arts. The metro area is also home to three highly regarded preparatory Schools: Saint Rose Academy, The Altamont School and Indian Springs School.

With endless river ways, 22 million acres of lush forests and diverse vistas that range from Gulf Coast beaches to Appalachian cliffs, Alabama is a paradise for those who love the great outdoors. Recreational opportunities abound and the scenery is exquisite. From the majestic mountains of North Alabama to the sugar‐white sands of the Gulf Coast beaches, outdoor lovers will find Alabama a great place. Outdoor entertainment is one of the main attractions to Birmingham. The addition of Birmingham’s Railroad Park and the Rotary Trail, both located within blocks of UAB’s campus, give the city more greenspace per capita than any other city in the country, so outdoor recreation is easily accessible. Championship golf, hiking and mountain biking are virtually year‐round sports, along with fishing in what is known as the “Bass Capital of the World.” Alabama's location at the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain provides the unique opportunity to hike in some of the most diverse and beautiful woodlands in the nation. Whether you want peaceful seclusion, an adrenaline rush or bustling nightlife, you will find it on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. For years, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach remained a hidden vacation treasure, but more and more families are discovering the 32 miles of soft sand and clear waters that lace the edges of Alabama’s southern border to the Gulf of Mexico.

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The School of Health Professions

The UAB School of Health Professions (SHP) is one of the nation’s largest Schools of health professions with more than 2,200 students enrolled in over 20 different academic programs. Together with UAB Hospital, SHP is one of the six Schools that constitute UAB’s nationally acclaimed academic health center. As a national leader, the School is dedicated to providing the best in professional education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School’s research programs are nationally renowned, especially in the areas of nutrition and obesity. Graduates are well prepared to become outstanding practitioners who provide leadership to their communities and disciplines, as well as quality care to their clients. The School is also recognized for its efforts in preparing top-level healthcare executives.

The School of Health Professions offers an array of programs designed to meet the needs of the 21st century health care environment, organized across five departments: Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Health Services Administration, Nutrition Sciences, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy.

Students in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences programs will be prepared in disciplines ranging from diagnosis of illness and disease, administration of advanced treatment therapies, to performance of vital roles in surgical suites. The first students recently graduated from the School’s undergraduate Biomedical Sciences program, and will be ready for a variety of healthcare careers and graduate studies, including medical School, as a result of coursework in areas such as physiology, pharmacology, clinical biochemistry, medical microbiology, and immunology. Students in the Master of Science in Genetics Counseling will work with patients and families who are learning about and coping with the risk genetic disease may have for themselves and their relatives. This program is an important complement to UAB’s new emphasis on genomic medicine, including the Heflin Center for Genomic Sciences. The School of Health Professions’ Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is the number 16 graduate program in the 2015 US News & World Report rankings of such programs, and responds directly to the increasing emphasis on delivering health care as cost-effectively as possible.

With more than 4,000 alumni across the country (including the CEO of UAB Health System, Will Ferniany, PhD, chair of the dean search committee), the Health Services Administration program educates both undergraduate students and graduate students, as well as executives, to be the future leaders in healthcare. The Master of Science in Health Administration program is now ranked number 2 in the nation according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, and is only one-tenth of a point behind the top ranked program in the category of Best Grad Schools in Health Care Management.

The Department of Nutrition Sciences engages in research, clinical care, and education.  Research is both basic and clinical, and is oriented towards understanding how nutrition affects health, with emphases on obesity and diabetes.  The Department offers an undergraduate minor in Nutrition Sciences, a variety of master’s degrees (both clinical and research-oriented), and a PhD degree in Nutrition Sciences.  The department houses two NIDDK-funded centers: a Nutrition Obesity Research Center (https://www.norc.uab.edu/), and a Diabetes Research Center (https://www.uab.edu/shp/drc/).  These Centers house research cores that offer numerous services, including testing of human and animal body composition and metabolism, and a full-service analytical laboratory for measures of hormones and substrates.  The Department has 24 full-time faculty, and administers 34 extramurally funded research grants and a research portfolio totaling $ 5,389,125 (annual direct costs).

SHP’s Occupational Therapy degrees prepare students to help people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do. Longer lifespans mean these services are in high demand, and the profession is among the top seven “best healthcare jobs,” according to U.S. News & World Report. The School’s occupational therapy program was tied for number 25 in the magazine’s 2017 graduate School rankings of occupational therapy programs. The School offers a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and has recently launched a new clinical doctorate degree program. The Department of Occupational Therapy also offers a Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation which remains the premier vehicle for training occupational therapists to support people with low vision.

Physical therapists help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility, and like occupational therapists are in increasing demand. The School of Health Professions Physical Therapy Department offers two PhD-level programs: a Doctor of Physical Therapy program and an interdisciplinary PhD in Rehabilitation Science program. In addition, the School provides a Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency program for physical therapists interested in specializing in the treatment of individuals with movement problems due to disease or injury of the nervous system. The School has an innovative research partnership in rehabilitative science with Lakeshore Foundation, a Birmingham-based philanthropic foundation focused on rehabilitation healthcare with over $80 million in assets. The UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative has led to the approval of more than $30 million in grants and job creation.

The School of Health Professions has over 100 full-time faculty members and over 100 staff employees. Over three-quarters of the full-time faculty have PhDs or other doctoral degrees. The School is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both its faculty and staff. Just over 60% of the faculty are women. Many faculty are active members of their professional societies, and many make significant service contributions to UAB.

SHP occupies several adjacent buildings centrally located between the academic medical center and the residential and classroom side of UAB’s campus. The School recently expanded its primary building to provide state-of-the-art technology, laboratories, and learning spaces. The new facilities include high quality meeting space for the School’s executive program, which allows health care practitioners to continue their educations while working full-time.

Position Description

UAB seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial individual to serve as the Dean of the School of Health Professions to further the school’s twin missions as a national leader in health research and education. The Dean of the School of Health Professions is the chief executive and academic officer of the School, collaborating with the faculty and staff in overseeing the quality of its academic programs; stewarding and enhancing the School’s fiscal, capital and human resources; and playing a prominent role in building partnerships. The Dean reports to the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost. The Dean provides leadership to the faculty and staff in all matters relating to curriculum and program development; accreditation, assessment and evaluation; recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students; and research and scholarship. The Dean is supported by his/her faculty, Associate and Assistant Deans, and Department Chairs. The Dean leads the School of Health Professions in a research-focused public university, thereby requiring experience with, and advocacy for, all aspects of research, knowledge of the scientific method, and understanding of federal and foundation grant processes.  The Dean will also actively pursue collaborations with other schools, corporations, industry partners, federal, state and local agencies, common resources, and other organizations to fulfill the research mission. The Dean will also actively support the School’s continuing pursuit of excellence in its teaching and service mission. Finally, establishing a strong and supportive alumni leading to meaningful endowments, scholarship opportunities and UAB capital and core infrastructure gifts is required.

Key Opportunities, Responsibilities and Challenges:

  • Provide strategic oversight and expertise for all aspects of the School, including positive representation of the School within the UAB enterprise and beyond;
  • Lead the strategic planning, growth and development of the School in a visionary, inclusive, innovative, entrepreneurial, and fiscally sustainable manner;
  • Anticipate societal changes that will create strategic opportunities for the School, including perhaps as joint ventures with the UAB Health System, and lead the School to successfully meet those opportunities;
  • As an institutional citizen, develop collaborative relationships with other units on campus to cultivate a community of mutual respect advanced by meaningful interaction;
  • Expand and enhance the strength of the research, teaching, and service programs within the School, building on existing strengths and creating new areas of excellence;
  • Ensure the financial health of the School and be proficient in business processes and entrepreneurial endeavors;
  • Lead and assist in securing extramural and philanthropic resources necessary for the growth and improvement of the School;
  • Communicate the values, mission and accomplishments of SHP and the University effectively to all major stakeholder groups including students, faculty, alumni, community leaders, and colleagues;
  • Balance the School’s twin missions of research and education, while being sensitive to each department’s different missions and needs;
  • Participate in university-wide innovative efforts to create a more efficient, effective, cohesive and high‐quality academic enterprise;
  • Build a strong network of community alliances and support and draw upon this network to shape the future of the School across its missions;
  • Develop new academic programs, including the exploration of online programs, to ensure the School is meeting the needs of students and the larger population;
  • Ensure that the School has effective programs of student recruitment, retention, advising and student success activities;
  • Demonstrate successful experience to transition to a new institution;
  • Experience in setting and communicating a vision, and the plan and pace for moving the organization forward;
  • Manage recruitment and retention of key personnel for expansion and innovation of future, research and teaching endeavors;
  • Develop a forward-looking plan for the School based upon realistic and data-based projection for the educational programs in the School;
  • Support and cooperate in a mutually beneficial relationship with alumni, professional associations and other organizations and community leaders;
  • Engage and actively support the professions represented in the School at the local, state, national and global levels;
  • Serves on the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative Executive Committee;
  • Encourage and support involvement in diverse student professional organizations;
  • Lead with integrity and transparency; i.e., with consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes;
  • Listen to internal constituencies in the School and otherwise provide and promote open communication within the School so that transparency yields improved opportunities for the School’s success; and
  • Understand the traditions and history of the School within the State of Alabama, University of Alabama System and the greater Birmingham area.

Qualifications and Characteristics

Candidates must hold a PhD or other earned doctorate in a discipline appropriate for the School, and have scholarly distinction appropriate for a tenured professor appointment in the School. The successful candidate will be a visionary leader with a distinguished senior leadership record in a school or college with health-related programs. Other qualifications that are desirable:

  • A record of successful administrative leadership in higher education or equivalent experience in government or nonprofit organizations that demonstrates strong evidence of his/her capacity to manage the School of Health Professions at UAB;
  • A strong record of extramurally funded research and scholarship, with the stature and ability to cultivate and extend the School’s research agenda;
  • Strong financial acumen with experience in managing and stewarding resources, an ability to promote an entrepreneurial yet fiscally sound environment and to thrive within a Responsibility Center Management budget model;
  • An understanding and clear commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels and experience fostering inclusive excellence and an equitable working and learning environment in pervious leadership roles;
  • The ability to make sound judgements by aligning resources with strategic priorities;
  • A proven track record and support of educational excellence and a strong commitment to students;
  • A track record of interprofessional collaboration and the ability to collaboratively work with other academic units across campus;
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff at all levels;
  • Experience with and an understanding of the diverse academic disciplines represented in the School;
  • A demonstrated ability to be an institutional citizen and commitment to advancing the quality of education;
  • An understanding of and vision for the future of the educational programs and professions represented in the School’s disciplines;
  • Experience in successfully leading and organizing a large number of separate accreditation activities at the university, school, and program levels;
  • A proven capacity to lead in the development of effective programs of student recruitment, retention, advising and student success activities to result in a competent and effective workforce;
  • A proven capacity to aid in the recruitment, retention and development of faculty members with teaching, research, and service strengths to be effective leaders within the School of Health Professions and the community;
  • A record of proven, transformative, and entrepreneurial leadership with the ability to articulate a clear, compelling vision and to engage all constituencies in support of that vision;
  • An ability to work effectively with faculty, students, staff, alumni, community stakeholders and partners to advance the School’s mission and create a positive working and learning environment;
  • Strong written, oral and interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate the vision, strengths and strategic plan effectively and transparently;
  • The ability to develop and implement a strategic plan, establish metrics and assess progress, and align with the university strategic plan; and
  • The ability to build a cohesive team within the School to develop a strong sense of community and pride for the School of Health Professions.

Applications and Nominations

The Search Committee invites nominations and applications (a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the position description, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of five or more references) to be submitted to the search firm assisting the UAB School of Health Professions. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. These materials should be sent electronically to the search firm consultant. It is preferred that all nominations and applications be submitted by December 28, 2018.

Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Jacob C. Anderson, Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900 Atlanta, GA 30328
770‐804‐1996 ext. 111
pwilliams@parkersearch.com | janderson@parkersearch.com

UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family‐friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of, race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans. A pre‐employment background check investigation is performed on candidates selected for employment.

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