UAHuntsville's Sundar Christopher publishes academic, career guide for graduate students


Plotting the course for graduate school and beyond will be much smoother for students with the publication of a new book written by University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) professor of atmospheric science, Dr. Sundar A. Christopher.


Conviction of the innocent — Lessons from psychological research

More than 280 U.S. citizens have been convicted of serious crimes and have spent years in prison before being exonerated.


System membership cited as strength UAH’s S&P bond rating upgraded to A+

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (December 7, 2011) — Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) has raised its bond rating on The University of Alabama in Huntsville to ‘A+’ from ‘A’.

The rating letter was cited in a Standard & Poor’s report, which was released today. The report also projected a stable outlook for the university.

“We’re pleased with the confidence that Standard & Poor’s has demonstrated in our operations as a result of their improved bond rating of our institution,” said UAHuntsville President Robert Altenkirch. “This upgrade to A+ clearly points to solid financial practices for our campus and a healthy outlook for the future.”

“The raised rating reflects our view of the university’s strong financial resources, consistent positive operations on a full accrual basis, and stable enrollment,” said S&P credit analyst Bianca Gaytan-Burrell.

The S&P report cited five primary reasons for the improved rating. The first strength is UAHuntsville’s membership in the three-campus University of Alabama flagship system.

Stable enrollment, the university’s niche in technical studies, our history of balanced operations on a full accrual basis, and healthy financial resources were noted as primary factors for the upgrade.

In terms of governance, S&P pointed to the role of the Board of Trustees in determining campus policy, approving operating budgets, educational programs, facilities and capital financing for each campus as well as setting tuition and fees.

The higher credit rating is a major factor in lowering the cost of funds for the university in its future debt issuance

For more information,
contact Ray Garner

UAHuntsville hosts POL regional competition


The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) recently hosted the Region V Poetry Out Loud recitation competition.


UAHuntsville President Robert Altenkirch will provide fall commencement address

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (December 5, 2011) - Robert A. Altenkirch, the sixth president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, will give the keynote address during the fall commencement ceremony on Friday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m., in Spragins Hall.

UAHuntsville will confer 863 degrees during the ceremonies. The university will award 585 bachelor's degrees, 240 master's degrees, and 38 Ph.D. and DNP degrees.

During the ceremonies on Friday night, Ph.D.'s, DNP's and masters' degrees will be presented. Undergraduate degrees will be conferred during two Saturday ceremonies. At 10 a.m., the colleges of Liberal Arts, Nursing and Science will award bachelor's degrees, and, at 1:30 p.m., the colleges of Business Administration and Engineering will confer bachelor's degrees.

Robert A. Altenkirch assumed the duties of the president of UAHuntsville on October 31. Prior to this appointment, he served as president of New Jersey Institute of Technology for nine years.

Dr. Altenkirch earned his B.S. from Purdue University, an M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD. from Purdue, all in mechanical engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has an extensive record of economic development and public service.

Previously, Dr. Altenkirch was vice president for research at Mississippi State University (MSU) from 1998 to 2002. He also served as Dean of the College of Engineering at MSU (1988-1995). Additionally, Dr. Altenkirch served as faculty member and department chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky (1975-1988). He and his wife Beth have two adult children, Allison and Erich.

For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples
(256) 824-2101

Students gather at UAHuntsville to compete for design of landing vehicle on Saturn moon

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Nov. 30, 2011) - How many high school students get a chance to design a landing vehicle that will conceptually float on the lakes of Saturn's moon Titan? The answer is 200.

Students from across North Alabama will be on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville today to compete in the development of a scientific payload for a mission to Titan.

The students will be participating in a competition that brings together multi-disciplinary teams of engineering students to design, fabricate, and test a scientific payload to be integrated onto a UAHuntsville-designed spacecraft for a NASA mission-of-interest.

In this case, students are expected to confront the challenge of designing a lander that will float on the surface of Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Titan's surface is populated with lakes that contain methane and ethane. Also, the surface temperature of Titan is 90 degrees Kelvin, or almost minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Officials said the event, sponsored by NASA's Discovery/New Frontiers program, provides hands-on, real-world experience similar to careers at Redstone Arsenal.

Among the high schools taking part in the IPT program this fall are Grissom, Lee, Bob Jones, Guntersville, Decatur, Austin, Hartselle, Holly Pond and Vinemont. A similar competition is planned in the spring 2012 semester involving a Mercury lander.

The teams will gather today at the University Center Exhibit Hall from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information,
contact Ray Garner

UAHuntsville CON receives education nursing traineeship grant from HHS


Huntsville, Ala. (August 29, 2011) — The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) College of Nursing has received a $44,427 grant award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support registered nurses enrolled in advanced education nursing programs.



Dr. C. Fay Raines, Dean UAHuntsville College of Nursing  


            U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced more than $71 million in grants to expand nursing education, training and diversity in American universities.


            “These funds are a major asset in the education of advanced practice nurses in our master’s and doctoral programs. A well educated, highly skilled advanced practice nursing workforce is critical to meet the current and future healthcare needs in the state and nation,” said Dr. C. Fay Raines, dean of the UAHuntsville College of Nursing.


            Nursing workforce development programs, reauthorized by the health care reform law and administered by HHS’ Resources and Services Administration, are the primary source of federal funding for nursing education and workforce development.  These programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry-level preparation through the development of advanced practice nurses.  They also prepare faculty to teach the nation’s future nursing workforce.


“These awards reflect the critical role of nurses in our healthcare system, and our ongoing commitment to attract and retain highly-skilled nurses in the profession,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

            The Advanced Nursing Education Program (ANEP) grant awarded to the UAHuntsville College of Nursing funds traineeships for registered nurses enrolled in advanced education nursing programs. Advanced nursing education programs offered at UAHuntsville prepare acute care nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse administrators. 


For more information

Joyce Anderson-Maples 256.824.2101


$4.15 million Durkee gift is among largest cash donations in UAHuntsville giving history

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Nov. 4, 2011) - The University of Alabama in Huntsville has received one of the largest cash gifts in its history that will be used for a variety of programs for the campus.

The MaryLou Durkee Management Trust has provided a generous gift and property to the university valued at $4.15 million. MaryLou and her husband, Larry, established several remainder annuity trusts during the 1990s listing The University of Alabama in Huntsville as the beneficiary.

" It's gratifying for us to receive such a generous gift from friends of the university," said UAHuntsville President Robert A. Altenkirch. "The size of their gift matched the tremendous affinity that Mr. and Mrs. Durkee obviously had for UAH, our academic programs and athletics.

"While I did not have the honor of meeting Larry and MaryLou Durkee, the generosity they have demonstrated will be of significant benefit to our students and this campus for many, many years into the future."

MaryLou Durkee supported UAHuntsville as an active member of the President's Council by providing annual donations, and generously provided gifts to support the College of Business Administration. MaryLou, to honor the memory of her late husband, served as an honorary board member of the College of Business Administration's Capital Management Group Advisory Council.

She believed and genuinely respected the nursing profession and actively supported the College of Nursing and its students, stating that "You never know when you might need a nurse."

MaryLou was also a dedicated benefactor to UAHuntsville's athletic program and was a sports enthusiast by attending sporting events regularly.

The Durkees had previously established the Larry and MaryLou Durkee Scholarships in 1995 to benefit a business student and student athletes. The following year, they created a library endowment fund to benefit the M. Louis Salmon Library. The MaryLou Durkee Management Trust established the Larry and MaryLou UAH Endowed Scholar in 2009 along with the Larry and MaryLou Durkee Endowed Business Scholarship.

Mrs. Durkee passed away in 2009 and was preceded in death by Larry, who died in 2003. The MaryLou Durkee Management Trust stated that they wanted the gift to be accepted and maintained by UAHuntsville for the following endowments:

$1,587,300 to the College of Business Administration
$1,587,300 to the university's general scholarship fund
$427,350 to establish the Durkee Engineering Endowment in the College of Engineering through a cash gift and property
$305,250 to the College of Nursing
$244,200 to the university's athletic department

For more information,
contact Ray Garner

UAHuntsville’s Propulsion Research Center gains national acclaim, again – Popular Science

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (August 28, 2011) — The Propulsion Research Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville has again gained national acclaim by being named the third "Most Awesome Lab in 2011" by Popular Science magazine as part of its "Best Places to Pursue Science" feature.


It was the second straight year UAHuntsville had received this honor from the national science magazine. The thrust of the university receiving this commendation revolves around UAHuntsville's University Student Launch Initiative.


UAHuntsville laboratory should improve reliability of aerospace and defense systems

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (November 9, 2011) - The Reliability and Failure Analysis Laboratory (RFAL) marked its grand opening today and will enable research to reduce the cost of ownership of defense and aerospace systems.


RFAL focuses on expanding the body of knowledge in the reliability engineering discipline, according to lab director Chris Sautter. The lab investigates possible failure mechanisms through math modeling and physical testing.