2017 TUARA Spring Summer Newsletter
ROBERT E. WITT FIRST GENERATION BOOK SCHOLARSHIP
TUARA is happy to report that the Robert E. Witt First Generation Book Scholarship Fund is continuing to help and assist eligible and worthy students. It is always heartwarming to receive thanks and hear the touching stories from recipients. For the 2017 Fall semester two outstanding sophomores, were awarded $400 scholarships. Congratulations to these students:
Ashley McCarley, from Florence, AL, is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Business. Most definitely Ashley is a serious student as demonstrated by her 4.0 grade point average. It was inspiring to learn that Ashley’s interest extends beyond the classroom. Active participation in the campus organization “Deaf Hands Speak” motivated Ashley to learn sign language. Her newly gained skill was put to use when she was recently given the opportunity to visit the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega.
Victoria Spratlin is majoring in elementary education. UA stole Victoria right out from under AU’s nose as she hails from Opelika, AL. Maintaining a 4.0 grade point average is nothing new for Victoria. Her academic prowess is well documented by the fact Victoria graduated from Beauregard High School as the valedictorian of her class.
Please help continue providing this assistance for UA students by making a contribution to the Robert E. Witt First Generation Book Scholarship Fund. Make your check payable to The University of Alabama with “Robert E. Witt Book Scholarship” in the memo line. Mail your donation to: TUARA, Box 861493, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0013. You will receive a tax-deductible statement from the University. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated by TUARA
2017 PRESIDENT’S LUNCHEON
Dr. David Grady, Vice President for Student Life, addressed an excellent crowd at our annual spring meeting. He provided an overview on recent campus hallmarks including:
• 7,559 Freshmen were enrolled for Fall, 2016. Of those, more than forty percent scored a 30 or higher on the ACT
• The total enrollment last fall was 37, 665 students. With more than 30,000 applications for the coming academic year, enrollment is predicted to increase again.
• The UA Law school has been ranked 10th in national rankings and the School of Library Information and Sciences is currently ranked 15th.
• Faculty ranks continue to grow, with 91 searches currently underway.
• Campus improvements and construction continues at a very healthy pace.
Following the luncheon, President Mildred Switzer was delighted to present our first annual Judy Bonner award to Martha Rogers for her invaluable contributions to the founding and success of TUARA. Martha continues to set the pace for personalized membership recruitment and service to our organization and Alabama colleagues.
Additionally, annual reports were provided in the areas of Membership, Programming, and Service/Volunteer reporting. Dr. Betsy Graham announced the 2016-2017 student recipients of TUARA ‘s Robert E. Witt scholarships. Special recognition was given to Larry Murphy, Director of Marketing with Capstone Village for their support of our endeavors by hosting countless meetings and special programs in their lovely facility.
Kathleen Cramer presented a gift of appreciation to outgoing President Mildred Switzer for her outstanding leadership of TUARA. The roster of newly elected officers appears within this newsletter.
JUDY BONNER AWARD
Established in recognition of the outstanding service, character and leadership qualities set forth by UA President Judy Bonner, 2012-2015, TUARA presented the first JUDY BONNER AWARD at the 2017 President’s Luncheon held on April 26th at Capstone Hotel. TUARA member, Martha Rogers, received this honor in acknowledgement of her outstanding service to TUARA, to The University of Alabama, and to the Tuscaloosa community. In all good works Martha Rogers has done, and continues to do, she personifies the qualities exhibited by Dr. Bonner’s example. Martha Rogers played a major role in the successful organization of TUARA in her role as CoChairman of the Steering Committee. She helped to build TUARA to meet an organizational goal of 1000 membership strong during her tenure as Vice President of Membership and several terms as President. Martha continues to be a strong recruiter of TUARA members and contributor to TUARA projects and activities. Within the community, Martha actively participates with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), League of Women Voters (LWV), as well as being an outspoken advocate for Tuscaloosa Citizens Against Predatory Practices (T-CAPP) To be presented annually, it is time to identify another exceptional individual to be honored as the 2018 Just Bonner Award Recipient.
NOMINATION FOR JUDY BONNER AWARD
The JUDY BONNER AWARD is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the leadership and service characteristics set forth during Dr. Bonner’s tenure at The University of Alabama. The completed nomination form accompanied by a letter of support must be submitted no later than March 1st of each year to be considered by the Awards Committee. The letter of support should explain why the nominee merits the award and specifically relate the nominee’s background to the award criteria. Leadership attributes could include style of management,
guidance demonstrated in a leadership position or other leadership qualities. Service experience would demonstrate assistance provided to The University, to TUARA, and to the community. The of support also should provide a summarizing statement why this person is being nominated for the JUDY BONNER AWARD.
Nominations should be sent to:
P.O. Box 861493
Tuscaloosa, AL 35486
Nominations will be confirmed by email or phone.
Name of Proposed Recipient:
Current TUARA membership plus past 5 years is required and will be confirmed by Database Secretary
Name of Person Submitting Nomination:
NEW AND IMPROVED
Your electronic football ticket order this year was a bit more helpful and informative thanks to the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee action at TUARA’s request. The electronic football ticket form included two accessible seating options: low medical and wheelchair. Another addition was the Ticket Resale Policy. This policy states that “Employees found to have profited from the sale (or trade) of tickets are subject to being reported to the State Ethics Commission, which can levy fines and criminal charges. Additionally, all faculty/staff members (including retirees) who violate this policy are subject to penalties from The Athletics Department. Those penalties include revocation of current season tickets and bans on purchasing faculty/staff tickets in the future.” Roll Tide!
CAMPUS PARKING NEWS
Anyone who enters the University of AL campus will agree, the view is transforming at a rapid pace. There are many more students resulting in more faculty and staff, new and larger
buildings, and even new and different roadways. While it is exciting to participate in growth, it is the subsequent changes to which we must adapt that are the problem. For many retirees, the
issue of parking is of paramount importance – where to park and more importantly how far must we walk to that meeting, event, or class that we teach. Retired faculty and staff are sincerely grateful to be eligible to receive a Retired University parking permit free of charge. These two-year permits, which expire bi-annually in October, are issued when a registration form is completed and retirement is verified. Registration forms are available in the Parking Services office located at 451 Campus Drive East. License plate information is required when completing the registration form. Retired faculty and staff permits are valid in any surface lot on campus except reserve lots. These permits are not valid in any state-designated space, area coordinator spaces, handicap spaces (unless a state issued plate or placard is displayed on the vehicle), or in parking decks. As retired faculty/staff permits are issued as a privilege they should only be used by the retiree. Abuse of this privilege may result in the deactivation of the permit. TUARA is appreciative to the Parking Services Committee for their effort to keep retirees updated, for listening to our request, and for their willingness to provide assistance when there is a justifiable need. The following activity is reported by this active and hard-working committees:
• At TUARA’s request, access to information on parking for retirees on the UA campus has been improved on the Parking Services website. Information on parking regulations on campus for retirees and for obtaining hangtags is prominently located at the top of the Parking Services web page. (http://bamaparking.ua.edu/regulations/#Retired) or (http://bamaparking.ua.edu/permits/)
• Pay hubs at the Bus Parking hub and at the Recreation Center seem to be working. The first 30 minutes are free; 1 hour is $1; over 1 hour is $2. Parking Services is considering placing them in other locations.
• Two new parking decks are being planned for areas along Bryant Drive: Tutwiler Parking Deck: The Tutwiler Parking Deck began construction January 2017 with some initial utility work. This parking deck will be constructed directly behind Tutwiler Residential Hall. Construction will take between 14-18 months. During this period of construction persons that have this
residential parking designation will be asked to utilize the large Tutwiler Parking lot to the west of the construction site or an alternate Orange Residential parking area.
Capstone Parking Deck: The Capstone Parking Deck will be constructed in the area which currently is referred to as the Moody East Surface Lot. Construction will take between 12-14 months. During this period of construction persons that had the Moody East Surface Lot designation will be asked to utilize an alternative Southeast Commuter Parking area. This would either
be the large Coleman Coliseum Surface Lot or the newer Coleman Expansion Surface lot. The Coleman Expansion Surface Lot is the parking area directly East of Sewell- Thomas Baseball Stadium.
A LETTER FROM YOUR AERA DISTRICT 10 DIRECTOR
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your vote of confidence in electing me as your AERA District 10 Director. I appreciate your support and look forward to being your representative.
As an optimist, I prefer to look toward a bright future for AERA District 10. As a realist, I expect there will be challenges and pitfalls yet to be revealed. As your AERA District 10 Director you have my commitment to work for relevant and significant improvements and changes. A few matters which I am certain require our continued attention:
• As AERA members we need to continue to support our organization and our lobbyist in dealing with the Alabama legislature and the effect of their acts on our financial well-being. This includes both defensive action protecting our needs and interest, and active engagement building partnerships with legislators who have endorsed and aided efforts on behalf of education retirees.
• We also must continue to monitor the PEEHIP Board and assure their agenda is in the best interest of AERA members.
• Finally, the activity to which I most look forward is working with active individual higher education units to support and strengthen their operations as well as seeking to establish or reestablish resident units where needed.
As your new Director for District 10, it is my goal to listen carefully and be responsive to assist where and when needed in order to assure higher education retirees strengthen their presence within the AERA organization. Higher education is one cog in the AERA wheel. There is much knowledge, experience and wisdom within the ranks of higher education retirees. These treasures need to be pulled to the surface and put to good use. Science tells us that involvement is the secret to longevity. As retirees, we seek to slow down and relax, but now is the time to share our individual talents and expertise on our own terms. Let us take the opportunity to uncover new capabilities or unknown gifts, to kindle a fresh spirit and place renewed enthusiasm behind a purposeful cause. AERA and District 10 need and encourage every higher education retiree to step-up and help in your own way. It rests upon our shoulders to build a stronger more secure future for all education retirees. It is my hope that two years from now we can look back to see a trail of progress and accomplishments for AERA and District 10 that will arouse pride in our hearts and bring a smile to our faces.
It is my goal to continue my support for TUARA and our local unit. I hope that each of you will continue to keep me informed of your concerns, questions, and interest. In return, I will share TUARA’s expertise, knowledge and growth with other higher education units throughout the state. My communication links are always open:
2656 Meadowlark Lane, Northport AL 35476
Again, I thank you for the opportunity to serve.
DR. ROBERT WITT: LET’S STAND TOGETHER TO PROTECT EDUCATION FUNDING
I have been blessed to call Alabama home for more than 13 years, first as a campus president and then as chancellor of The University of Alabama System. The growth and success of The University of Alabama (UA), UAB, and UAH prove to me that we can achieve unprecedented heights when we invest in solutions.
Research by some of the most respected minds in the country into problems that plague both our great state and our nation – poverty, poor health, incarceration, substance abuse, and many others – reveals one consistent truth: education has the greatest potential to address these societal ills.
Unfortunately, education is now under attack in Alabama. As a result, although my time as chancellor of the UA System ended on September 1, my efforts to support education in our state at all levels – from Pre-K to Ph.D. – are ramping up to the next level. I am now dedicating a large portion of my time and energy to the work of Alabama Unites for Education. Alabama Unites is the grassroots advocacy group that was launched last winter with a single, critical objective: to protect the Education Trust Fund (ETF). Alabama Unites is a unique coalition involving The University of Alabama System, the state’s other universities, the K-12 System under the leadership of Superintendent Michael Sentence, and the Community College System under the leadership of Interim Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
Created in the mid-1920s and approved by a statewide vote of the people, the Education Trust Fund was established to ensure there would be a dedicated stream of tax revenues used solely for the support of public education. Likewise, dollars in the General Fund would pay for prisons, social services, roads, government operations and the like.
As we all know, the Great Recession took a heavy toll on the state’s ability to adequately fund both education and social services. In fact, since 2008, state funding for higher education in Alabama has dropped more than every other state in the country except for Louisiana – meaning that an increasing percentage of the costs of educating students in our colleges and universities are borne by students and their families, driving up student debt. Our K-12 classrooms have suffered greatly as well, as those of us with children and grandchildren are made aware when we purchase and equip them with basic necessities because their schools cannot afford to provide them.
However, rather than attempting to raise the state’s investment in our children to pre-recession levels, some politicians have attempted to raid the ETF and take already scarce dollars. In 2015, the Education Trust Fund came under serious attack. First, $80 million in education funding was taken from the ETF and diverted to the General Fund. Emboldened, some elected officials threatened to raid education funding further – and even eliminate the Education Trust Fund altogether by collapsing it into the General Fund. We knew the impact on students, teachers, families and the economy would be catastrophic for generations to come, which led to the creation of Alabama Unites for Education.
As we approach its first anniversary, Alabama Unites is proving its value. The voices of our members have been heard loud and clear in Montgomery with a persuasive and unified message about the need to protect the Education Trust Fund from further raids. Subsequently, we were pleased with passage of the education budget for fiscal 2017, which contains the biggest increase since 2008. We are grateful to elected officials who stood tall in support of Alabama’s young people and we believe this signals a positive shift in momentum.
Our mission is to continue growing the grassroots network of supporters who share a commitment to protect education funding. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career and invite you to join me in this effort by visiting the Alabama Unites for Education website for more information: www.alabamaunites.org.
WHY YOUR TUARA MEMBERSHIP IS IMPORTANT!
Have you asked the questions? “Why am I a member of TUARA?” – “What’s in it for me?”
The NUMBER 1 reason to belong to TUARA is: TUARA works to maintain, protect, and enrich retiree benefits and programs for its members both on campus and with the State Legislature.
• TUARA advocates on behalf of retirees by maintaining a presence on campus committees to monitor proposed policy changes and provide advice on how such changes impact retirees
• TUARA fosters a strong working relationship with The University of Alabama & The UA Office of the President as an officially recognized campus affiliate
With the State Legislature:
• TUARA partners with the Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA) to represent and protect retiree fiscal and well-being benefits controlled by the AL legislature
• TUARA communicates retiree benefit updates such as health and prescription plan changes, income adjustments and more on a regular basis
Then there are convivial reasons for being a member of TUARA:
• TUARA offers a variety of informational, educational, and social programs for awareness, understanding and sometimes just for fun
• TUARA provides networking with colleagues and friends to maintain, refresh, and develop professional relationships and personal friendships
• TUARA publishes an informative newsletter semi-annually at www.hr.ua.edu/tuara that recaps and projects news and activities
• TUARA promotes and monitors member services contributed within the community.
• Beginning this year, TUARA will annually honor an outstanding retiree for their service with the Judy Bonner Award
TUARA needs your membership and TUARA needs your friends and colleague to join as well. TUARA membership categories include:
• Retired University of Alabama employees and their spouses, widows, and widowers
• Persons presently employed by The University of Alabama retiring in five years or less, and their spouses
• Associate membership is also available to non-education state retirees
If you have not already done so, return the membership application today. Not sure about your membership status; email firstname.lastname@example.org for confirmation.