UWA named safest campus in Alabama

YourLocalSecurity announced Monday that the University of West Alabama is the safest campus in Alabama for students.

“Our safety experts analyzed crime data from the FBI and U.S. Department of Education to determine which campuses in each state were the safest for students. We also took into account on-campus safety initiatives and local crime stats to ensure our rankings paint a full picture,” Jonathan Johnson, crime and safety analyst with YourLocalSecurity, said via press release.

The University of West Alabama started out as the Livingston Female Academy in 1835. Since then, it’s blossomed into a state university that enrolls around 5,000 students per semester. UWA sees low instances of violent crime, property crime, and violence against women. The campus police department also employs a strict visitor policy—infrequent visitors must see the campus station for a card permit, and frequent visitors must apply for a hang tag that explains their reason for visiting campus and lists their vehicle’s make and model plus proof of liability insurance.

Runners up for the distinction were Faulkner University, Montgomery and Samford University, Birmingham.


UWA introduces first cohort of Tutwiler Scholars

The first cohort of the Tutwiler Scholars Program at the University of West Alabama was introduced at the September Board of Trustees meeting. Pictured from left to right, UWA Board of Trustees President Jerry Smith, Sarah Miles, Destiny Langford, Kiersten Schellhammer, Sophia Thompson, Stephanie Metzler, UWA President Ken Tucker, Jade Montgomery, Emylee Tull, Caitlyn Muncher, Anna Holycross, and UWA Provost Tim Edwards. Not pictured: Jack Shiels. (WAW | Contributed)

The first cohort of the Tutwiler Scholars Program at the University of West Alabama was introduced at the September Board of Trustees meeting. Pictured from left to right, UWA Board of Trustees President Jerry Smith, Sarah Miles, Destiny Langford, Kiersten Schellhammer, Sophia Thompson, Stephanie Metzler, UWA President Ken Tucker, Jade Montgomery, Emylee Tull, Caitlyn Muncher, Anna Holycross, and UWA Provost Tim Edwards. Not pictured: Jack Shiels. (WAW | Contributed)

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama has announced the first cohort of its Tutwiler Scholars Program, the newest prestige scholarship program at UWA.

The first cohort of Tutwiler Scholars includes six sophomores and five freshmen.

“This program was created to attract, reward, and cultivate truly exceptional undergraduates”, said Dr. Lesa C. Shaul, director of the UWA Honors Program and professor of English. “This program features a 10 member cohort of high-achieving, high-potential students who have demonstrated initiative, creativity, intellectual passion and curiosity, and a commitment to making positive contributions to society.”

The benefits of the program include supplemental scholarships, renewable each fall semester with the maintenance of a 3.5 GPA; a travel stipend for study-abroad semesters; a technology allowance for computers; participation in enriching social, cultural, artistic, and scientific enterprises; and targeted mentoring by UWA professors.

Anna Holycross of Livingston, Ala., is a Tutwiler Scholar. A sophomore biology comprehensive major, Holycross plans to become a veterinarian.

Destiny Langford of Hamilton, Ala., is a Tutwiler Scholar. A sophomore general science education major, Langford plans to teach high school science and eventually become a college professor.

Stephanie Metzler of Oneonta, Ala., is a sophomore Tutwiler Scholar. Metzler, an elementary education major, plans to combine teaching with global outreach and mission work.

Sarah Miles of Irvine, Calif., is a Tutwiler Scholar. A sophomore integrated marketing communications major, Miles plans on using her degree to become a sportswriter.

Jade Montgomery of Livingston, Ala., is a Tutwiler Scholar. Montgomery, a junior majoring in biology comprehensive, plans to become a biomedical engineer.

Caitlyn Muncher of Jasper, Ala., is a freshman Tutwiler Scholar. Muncher, a biology comprehensive major, plans to go into pediatric dentistry.

Kiersten Schellhammmer of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is a sophomore Tutwiler Scholar. Majoring in biology comprehensive, Schellhammer plans to pursue a doctrine in molecular biology or genetics, with the ultimate goal of becoming an animal geneticist.

Jack Shiels of Cheshire, England, is a freshman Tutwiler Scholar. Shiels, interested in the social sciences and business, plans to become a sports psychologist or work in the corporate sector of sports management.

Sophia Thompson of Greenville, S.C., is a Tutwiler Scholar. Thompson, a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary arts, plans to become a children’s book illustrator.

Emylee Tull of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is a freshman majoring in athletic training. Tull plans to use her degree to become a physical therapist.

Photo of the Day

DHS Signing Day 2016

Several DHS athletes signed letters of intent to play various sports in college during a ceremony at the Demopolis High School library. Seated are (L-R) Jamarcus Ezell (football – Tuskegee University), Rahmeel Cook (football – Army) and Jay Craig (football – Tuskegee). Standing are (L-R) Athletic Director and head football coach Stacy Luker, Mark Joseph Johnson (golf – University of West Alabama), Adam Brooker (soccer – UAB), Jacob Rodrigues (football/baseball – Huntingdon College), Luke Yelverton (baseball – Spring Hill College) and DHS Principal Chris Tangle.

UWA’s incoming freshman class the largest in 20 years

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama’s Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management has announced its fall 2015 undergraduate enrollment, with increases in its top three areas, on-campus, transfer, and the first-time freshman incoming class, which is at a longtime high.

The school has its highest increase for the first-time freshman incoming class, with a 19.7 percent hike. The count is up from 350 in 2014 to 419 in 2015, the highest number UWA has seen for this class in 20 years.

The University of West Alabama has just welcomed its largest class of first-time freshman students in 20 years, as well as an increase in its number of transfer students. (Contributed Photo)

The University of West Alabama has just welcomed its largest class of first-time freshman students in 20 years, as well as an increase in its number of transfer students. (Contributed Photo)

UWA has also attracted a heightened number of transfer students for 2015, showing a 6.4 percent increase in transfer enrollment.

The overall on-campus undergraduate enrollment is up one percent, with freshman to senior classes totaling 1,742.

UWA President Ken Tucker, who took office on January 1 of this year, attributes these increases to enhanced efforts in recruiting.

“UWA’s increase in undergraduate enrollment, with all of the individual increases, is a result of a dedicated and focused effort across campus, “ Tucker explained. “We have shown a unified effort to actively recruit and to be progressive and accommodating in our endeavors. We are collectively working to expand our educational products, to enhance every aspect of the student experience, and to provide all of these at the most affordable rates that we can offer.”

In 2014, the UWA Board of Trustees approved up to $300,000 in matching funds for a scholarship initiative, highlighting three categories: distinguished student leaders, legacy scholarships, and the jobship program.

The average ACT score of admitted students is up in both unconditional and conditional admissions for the second consecutive year. The average ACT average for the 2015 academic year for UWA’s unconditional admissions is 22.28, and the average for conditional admissions is 20.84. Unconditional admission requires an ACT composite score of 19 or higher, while conditional admission can be granted to students with a ACT composite score of 17-18.

Administrators say that attracting higher quality students will lead to higher retention and graduation rates, as students are better-prepared for the coursework and academic rigor of college and are more likely to be encouraged by their own success as they enter college and continue through class years.

Vice President for Student Affairs Danny Buckalew reports that some 60 more students are returning to residence halls than in 2014. UWA has a freshman residency requirement, but an increase in students remaining in campus housing shows potential increases in retention rates.

In the fall of 2012, UWA opened its freshman residence, Gilbert Hall, which stands four-stories, is 116,000-square-foot , and houses 444 freshmen. Along with the opening of the building accompanied the reinstated freshman residency requirement, which was established to help guide students through the first year of college.

National studies and UWA’s own data show that living on campus for the first year and participating in academic and social activities has a direct positive impact on the freshman experience and will likely give students reason to return to a residence hall for the sophomore year.

“We’ve seen over the last couple of years the positive effects of freshman residency on our campus,” Buckalew said. “There is a direct correlation between participation and retention shown through measurements of programs led by our Housing staff. The highest retention is in the group of students who involved themselves in academic, cultural, and social activities on campus throughout their freshman year.”

Founded in 1835, the University of West Alabama holds within its mission a commitment to serve its region through education, service, and development. A four-year university offering the traditional campus experience, UWA also offers an array of degrees online. For more information, visit www.uwa.edu.

Demopolis Middle closes out Gear Up Week with pep rally

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With all the fanfare, excitement, and cheering that go along with a pep rally, 7th and 8th graders at Demopolis Middle School Friday ended the inaugural week of Gear Up, a seven-year program to prepare them for college and careers.

Dressed in bright green t-shirts, the students released hundreds of Demopolis Tiger blue and white balloons that sailed into the sky. Each balloon carried a card on which they had written their goals for life, whether a skill to be learned or a career to follow.

The event kicked off with both DMS and Demopolis High School cheerleaders getting the crowd excited. The Tiger mascot performed a dance, and senior DHS football players gave advice for those who will soon follow them.

Leaving the gym, the students passed through the tunnel to the football field and were handed a balloon under darkening skies. On a signal by principal Blaine Hathcock, they let go and watched as the balloons soared to the southwest.

Gear Up Site Coordinator Brooke Luker the said week had been very successful. It began with a college fair on Monday, with 13 colleges and businesses taking part. Tuesday had students wearing their favorite college colors. That was also Parent Night, and Luker said the turnout was better than expected.

Wednesday featured a talk by the first paraplegic to receive an athletic scholarship to the University of West Alabama, and Thursday had students using an education theme to decorate classroom doors.

Students release balloons with their career goals attached. (Photos by Jan McDonald)

Students release balloons with their career goals attached. (Photos by Jan McDonald)

Students who successfully complete the requirements of the Gear Up program are eligible for college scholarships.

As they waited for the signal to release their balloons, several students shared what they had written on their cards.

Jackie Reed, 8th grade, said he wanted to “get good at basketball.” Honey Boston’s goal is to become a nurse, while Alexis Speed, also an 8th grader, wants to be “a baby doctor.” Caleb Parten hopes to be a football player as well as earn a master’s degree in history.

UWA to offer MBA degree online beginning fall 2015

LIVINGSTON, Ala. –The University of West Alabama has expanded its online offerings to include the master of business administration degree. The new online degree program will be offered this fall
UWA’s online MBA is a 33 credit hour program, designed to accommodate those who would like to further their careers while balancing a busy schedule. Students can complete the program in just over one year.
UWA’s flexible online MBA is expected to be especially appealing to those who have already begun their careers and are looking to specialize their skills and qualify for promotions or pay raises.
The curriculum includes eight core classes in accounting, business administration, computer information systems, economics, management, and marketing.
The requirements for the general business emphasis and the finance emphasis offer flexibility with a student’s current position of employment, allowing two of three classes within each emphasis to be replaced by an advisor-approved independent project. The benefit of this option is that it could be possible for a student to use an approved project from their workplace for academic credit.
“Students typically gain more from an educational experience when they have the chance to apply theory to a real-life setting,” explained Dr. Wayne Bedford, dean of the College of Business. “Using a project from work to fulfill an academic requirement is a unique opportunity to implement what the student has learned at UWA and immediately see the impact of this program on his or her career.”
“An independent project can have the greatest learning impact, yet it can feel like less work because the student is doing much of the ‘learning’ while at work,” Bedford explained. “The independent project is a great way to enhance the educational experience by combining academics with real-life.”
UWA’s online MBA is not only flexible and convenient, but it is also affordable. Tuition is $429 per credit hour or $14,157 for the entire degree. UWA does not impose out-of-state tuition for online programs.
UWA offers five online terms per year – two in the fall, two in the spring, and one in the summer. Students can start the MBA program with any of the five terms. The deadline to apply for the first fall term is July 30, with classes beginning August 17. Minimum admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited college or university and an acceptable Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) test score. Further details, requirements, and resources are available at www.uwa.edu/Online_Education.

An important advantage of UWA’s online program is that each student is assigned an online advisor. The advisor will help students through every step of their program from admission to graduation. This is particularly helpful to students who are new to online classes.

Robert T. Floyd, a recent MBA graduate, serves as business analyst and regional sales manager for Harvest Select. He is a member of the first MBA graduating class at UWA, and he earned the degree in the middle of a busy working schedule.

“The program was flexible enough to allow me to earn my MBA while working a full-time job that required a great deal of travel,” Floyd said. “I enjoyed the valuable interaction between students and professors and found that faculty and staff were always eager to help every student excel.”

Floyd is on the path to furthering his career, and he attributes much of his success to his UWA MBA degree, saying that he’s been able to apply many of the principles learned in the program to his work environment.

In addition to the MBA, UWA currently offers over 30 graduate programs in education, five undergraduate business degrees, and a bachelor of science in psychology, all completely online.
For its education programs, UWA Online has Teacher Connect, a program that allows scholarship opportunities for teachers within partnering school systems. With the coming launch of a Business Connect program similar scholarship opportunities will be available to partnering businesses and employers.
In addition to the forthcoming Business Connect opportunity, UWA Online will also offer to all UWA alumni a $500 tuition voucher at the beginning of their MBA program.
UWA has special programs for military members and their immediate families.
To learn more about UWA’s online MBA or a Business Connect partnership for your business, contact an online recruiter at 1-877-892-1835 or via email at uwaonline@uwa.edu<mailto:uwaonline@uwa.edu>.
For more than 180 years, the University of West Alabama has served the west central Alabama area and beyond through educational opportunity, academic research and public outreach. A four-year university offering the traditional campus experiences and online programs. For more information on UWA, visit www.uwa.edu.

Photo of the Day: September 22, 2014

POTD Jackson and James-0267

Even though they play for different teams now, former DHS teammates Martaze Jackson (left) and DaMarcus James (right) show that friendship transcends sports rivalries as they stop for a photo after James’ Jacksonville State University Gamecocks defeated Jackson’s University of West Alabama Tigers Saturday.

Photo of the Day: February 13, 2014


Several Marengo County football players recently signed Letters of Intent to play football

at various colleges. On the front row are (L-R) Chris Rogers/Linden HS (Miles

College), Hollis Bright/Demopolis HS (West Alabama),  Peyton Pearson/Demopolis HS

(Mississippi College) and Jakoby Aldridge/Sweet Water (Jacksonville State).

On the back row are (L-R) Tyler Merriweather/Demopolis HS (Georgia Tech),

Demetrius Kemp/Demopolis HS (Wake Forest), Cortez Lewis/Demopolis HS (Wake Forest),

Kynard Craig/Linden HS (Miles College) and Demarcus Gamble/Sweet Water HS (Tuskeegee).

Tigers Claim Second Straight GSC Title With 63-17 Win Over Shorter

20131109 UWA vs Shorter-3981LIVINGSTON, Ala. – Kyle Caldwell passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns and Javae Swindle ran for 182 and scored three times to lead West Alabama to a 63-17 Gulf South Conference victory over Shorter Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

The win earns West Alabama at share of the GSC championship, giving the Tigers back-to-back conference titles for the first time in school history.

“After last year we wanted to show everyone that this program is not just a flash in the pan and to win two conference championships in a row helps prove that,” UWA head coach Will Hall said. “This was a big win for our university and our fans.”

West Alabama is 7-3 overall and finishes conference play with a 5-1 record. North Alabama is also 5-1 in league play. Delta State could make it a three-way tie with a victory over West Georgia next week. Shorter dropped to 1-9 and 0-6.

West Alabama rolled up 582 yards total offense, while limiting Shorter to just 178. The Tigers limited the Hawks to just five total yards in the third quarter and 82 in the final three quarters.

20131109 UWA vs Shorter-3998“We had to adjust some at first, but Coach (Robert) Henry told us it would take a couple of series for us to get used to what they were doing,” safety Robert Jones said. “After that, we felt like we knew what they were doing. There wasn’t too much they could do that we hadn’t prepared for.”

Twenty-four different UWA defenders made a tackle, led by Jones, Mario Gainer and DeQuante Shockley with five each. Gainer had a sack, a tackle for loss and recovered a fumble. Shockley also recovered a fumble.

Swindle’s 182 yards gives him 1,016 for the season, making him just the third back in West Alabama history to run for more than a 1,000 in a season. The last was Matt Willis with 1,606 yards on 2011. The sophomore from Thorsby, Ala., has rushed for 412 yards in the last two games.

“I’m feeling like I have my mojo back, like the offensive line and I are on the same page,” Swindle said. “It’s a great feeling. I don’t really know how to explain it.”

Caldwell completed 18-of-24 passing attempts and was not intercepted. He now has 5,074 career passing yards, moving him past Marty Washington (92-93) into third place on the UWA all-time list.

“We wanted to get some more yards in the air tonight and had been planning that all week,” Caldwell said. “We knew they couldn’t guard Chad (Toocheck) and Seth (Roberts), that it was a mismatch on the corners.”

Roberts caught seven passes for 140 yards and his 10th touchdown of the season. Toocheck had six receptions for 121 yards and two scores, giving him 10 TD catches as well.

Shorter drew first blood on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Dodson, capping a seven-play, 80-yard drive at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter.

20131109 UWA vs Shorter-4044West Alabama took three plays to strike back, with Caldwell connecting with Roberts for a 48-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 with 9:54 left in the first period.

Swindle ripped off a 43-run for a UWA touchdown on the Tigers’ next possession to give UWA a 14-7 lead with 4:25 left in the first period. West Alabama’s first two scoring drives were three and six plays respectively.

Caldwell connected with Toocheck on a 38-yard scoring pass on the last play of the first quarter, capping a seven-play, 95-yard drive and giving the Tigers a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Bradley Moon returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the West Alabama 4-yard line. Four plays later B.J. McCoy scored from 2-yards out to cut the West Alabama lead to 21-14 early in second quarter.

Josh White recovered a Caldwell fumble on UWA’s next possession at the Tiger 12 yard line, which eventually led to a 48-yard field goal by Guy Hunt, cutting the UWA lead to 21-17 with 9:46 to play in the first half.

An errant punt snap gave Shorter the ball on the UWA 15 yard line one possession later. The Hawks were forced into a 25-yard field attempt that Malcolm Butler blocked to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard.

20131109 UWA vs Shorter-4161“There are things that you have to fix, but we were up 35-17 at the half without playing perfect,” Hall said. “Our kickoff coverage was not good, but I think part of that was us not kicking it to the right spot. Our passing game picked up though and that was good to see.”

Swindle ripped off a 64-yard run on the next play following the blocked field goal, which led to a 2-yard touchdown run byGary Johnston to increase the West Alabama lead to 28-17 with 4:36 left in the first half.

Caldwell and Toocheck hooked up again for a West Alabama touchdown with 23 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers a 35-17 lead at the break.

West Alabama went 69 yards on seven plays on its first possession of the second half to go up 42-17. The drive was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Swindle.

A Shorter fumble on its first possession of the second half was recovered by Gainer on the Hawks 19 yard line. Caldwell covered the 19 yards on the next play to put UWA up 49-17 with 11:34 left in the third period.

Swindle added his third TD run of the game midway through the third quarter, a 14-yarder that gave UWA a 56-17 lead. Johnston’s 4-yard touchdown run made it 63-17 with just over 10 minutes left.

West Alabama closes the regular season Saturday by hosting Central State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Shorter wraps up it season by traveling to Point.

10-26-2013 UWA vs West Georgia (gallery)