UM faculty making county better

Published 11:54 am Tuesday, November 6, 2012

By SUZANNE OZMENT / Guest Columnist

Three months ago, I began serving as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Montevallo. Prior to my first day at work, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few professors when I was on campus for interviews.

I already knew that an impressive 96 percent of full-time faculty hold terminal degrees in their disciplines, but what I couldn’t appreciate until I had the opportunity to spend more time with them and learn more about their work is the level of their achievements and dedication and the extent of their impact.

Montevallo faculty members connect not only with students through the classes they teach but also with members of the larger community by sharing their talent and expertise. Here are a few recent examples from the dozens I could have included.

Several UM programs assist low-income families. Under the direction of Dr. Bill Hamer and the Center for Professional Practice, students in the Stephens College of Business provided tax assistance at the Parnell Library in Montevallo during the spring tax season.

The Department of Communication and Speech Disorders offers low-cost screenings in the speech and hearing clinic at UM year-round.

Montevallo Connection is the name given to a dynamic collaboration among UM faculty and educators at the elementary, middle and high schools in town. While the initiative is organized and led by faculty in the College of Education, faculty from departments including math, English, history and biology actively participate.

At the end of September, faculty in the social work program — in partnership with campus counseling services, the UM graduate program in counseling and the Montevallo chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education — organized an advocacy conference focused on “Serving Veterans and Military Families.” University of Montevallo professor Dr. Jason Newell delivered the keynote presentation at the conference based on his research and his applied experiences as a social worker at VA Medical Centers in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

On Oct. 9, UM music faculty members were featured at a program in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music series at Samford University. Called “Concertmaster and Friends,” the concert featured three compositions by Dr. Joseph Landers, and the guest pianist for the concert was Dr. Anthony Pattin, a distinguished professor emeritus of UM.

I am proud to work alongside this accomplished group of faculty and look forward to exploring with them additional ways the University of Montevallo can serve the citizens of Shelby County and surrounding areas.

Dr. Suzanne Ozment is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Montevallo.