External Governance and Oversight
2.1.1 Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama is the legal entity which governs and manages The University of Alabama System. The Governor of the State of Alabama is the ex officio President of the Board of Trustees, and the State Superintendent of Education is an ex officio member of the Board. The remaining members are elected by the Board itself, subject to confirmation by the Alabama Senate. By law two members of the Board are to be elected from each of the seven congressional districts, except that the seventh district, which is the legal home of the University of Alabama System, is to have one additional member. Members other than those who are ex officio are elected for six-year terms and may serve up to three consecutive terms.
The Board of Trustees operates three constituent institutions located at Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville. Each institution has a president appointed by the Board to serve as its chief executive officer. The Board has ultimate approval authority for the policies and goals of the university; academic plans, including new programs and new units; admissions policies; legislative requests for appropriations; annual budgets and other financial matters; compensation policy for faculty and staff; campus master plans and facilities development programs; auditing policies; and architects, engineers, and award of construction contracts. It administers campus programs and affairs through the chancellor and the campus presidents.
The chancellor is the chief executive officer of The University of Alabama System and is the principal link between the Board's responsibility for policy and each president's responsibility for operations. The chancellor's responsibilities include implementation of Board policies; external relationships with state and federal agencies; recommendations to the Board concerning the mission, role, and scope of the University System and the three campuses; and coordination of University System functions to assure an integrated institution of related and cooperating campuses. The primary staff officers in the chancellor's office are the secretary to the Board of Trustees, the vice chancellor for academic affairs, the vice chancellor for finance, the vice chancellor for external affairs, the general auditor, and the general counsel.
The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) endeavors to facilitate coordination among four-year institutions of public higher education in Alabama. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education approves "new programs and units of instruction"; regulates off-campus course offerings; and conducts studies having to do with the classification of institutions of higher education and the development of standards for such classifications. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education also develops a unified budget report each year containing recommendations for appropriations for each public institution of higher education. This report is presented to the governor and legislature. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education policy manual, available in the university library and in the Office of the Provost, contains all commission policies and procedures.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.
The University of Alabama Huntsville Foundation evolved from the establishment in 1956 of the Huntsville Industrial Sites, Incorporated, a business corporation formed by a group of community leaders for the acquisition of land. In 1962 when Wernher von Braun proposed a research park complex that could be located on the land that had been acquired, the city council approved zoning of the land for the development of a research park. Huntsville Industrial Sites, Incorporated was dissolved and replaced by a new incorporated group, Research Sites Foundation, Incorporated as an IRS 501(c) (6) Corporation. The current name was acquired in 1964. The purposes of the Foundation are to promote educational, scientific, research, and charitable objectives for the benefit of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
The trustees, who are industrial and community leaders, comprise the governing group of the Foundation. The chancellor, the president, the vice-president for finance and administration, the vice president for advancement, and two members of the Board of Trustees from the fifth congressional district serve as ex officio members.
The Foundation supports both current operations and capital needs of the university. Among the activities funded by the Foundation are student scholarships, annual faculty research and teaching awards, staff appreciation awards, supplemental expense allowances for university events and functions for which other resources are not available; acquisition of property for the university; assistance with seeking contributions for matching state funds for the Eminent Scholars program; and special support to the president to meet unexpected and unbudgeted needs to sustain the teaching, research, and public service missions of the university.
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