We look forward to seeing many of you at the luncheon and annual meeting on Monday, April 24. Please RSVP by Friday, April 14 by calling 205-348-9237 or sending an email to specialevents@ua.edu. See below for more information about the election of officers and board members and a reminder that we will be collecting books and donations for Books for the Black Belt.

TUARA Election Information

Here is the slate of nominees for open officer and member-at-large positions:

Debbie Lane

Debbie retired from UA in March 2017 after serving as Associate Vice President of University Relations since September 2006. Before joining UA, she enjoyed a long career in corporate public relations, working with multiple Fortune 100 companies. She joined TUARA in March 2017 and served as chair of the legislative committee from 2017 through 2021. She has served as the director of AERA’s District 10 (higher education institutions throughout the state) for the past two years.

Marie Robbins

Marie retired from her position as senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator in February 2020 after more than 23 years in the athletics department. She served six years as associate AD for compliance, followed by 17.5 years as associate and senior associate AD in sport administration. She is currently serving as TUARA treasurer and has been nominated for a second term.


Nominees for Three-Year Terms (2023-2026)

Rick Funk

Rick joined UA in 1996 as Associate Director of Student Life (later Associate Dean of Students) after 10 years at Penn State. He moved to Admissions in 2003, where he was part of the team that began the efforts that increased out of state enrollment from 20 percent to 60 percent. In addition to his professional work, he served as an advisor to Alpha Lambda Delta, Order of Omega, and the Men’s Lacrosse team. Rick retired in June 2021 and has been involved in the Reading Allies program with Tuscaloosa City Schools, United Way VAT chair and the Mystic Krewe of Druids while still serving as advisor to the Jason’s Honorary on Campus and is in his second year on the national council of Alpha Lambda Delta.

Janet Griffith

Janet is a UA graduate who worked in public relations and marketing throughout her 33-year career at UA. She retired in 2014 and is enjoying volunteering in the community, travel and being with her grandchildren at every opportunity.

Dan Meissner

Dan began teaching part-time in the College of Communication & Information Sciences in 1974.  After retiring from an industry position, he joined UA as a regular faculty member in 2007 and retired from UA at the end of 2020.  He has a combined 42 years of service to UA.  In the C&IS Department of Journalism and Creative Media, he taught a variety of courses, coordinated the Visual Journalism sequence and served as News Media Internship Coordinator. He has served on the Faculty Senate, as co-chair of the Senate’s Information Technology & Strategic Communications Committee, and member of the Senate Steering Committee. He has long been involved in civic and community affairs and served 12 years on the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, eight years as Chair.

Gregory L. Singleton

Greg joined UA in May 1987 as the Founding Director of the Minority Engineering Program. He served in that role until September 2001. He then became the Director of Engineering Student Services/Registrar, a position he held until he retired in May 2022. Greg also served as President of UA’s Black Faculty & Staff Association (2004–2006), a member of the university’s Undergraduate Programs & Services Committee (2012-2022), a member of the Undergraduate Admissions Appeals Committee (2010–2022), and the MLK Realizing the Dream Committee (1990–2022). In addition to his professional work, he was a University Academy Fellow for 2009-2010 and a board member of Friends of WUAL (2005–2021), serving as the Board President 2017-2019.

Nominees for One-Year Terms (2023-2024)

Bill McDonald

Bill served as Director of Sports Medicine within UA Athletics from 1987 until 2010.  He then served part-time as the football travel coordinator for nearly 10 years, 2010-2019.

Cynthia Szymanski Sunal

Cynthia joined UA in 1989 as Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction. She was named Professor in 1991 and retired in September 2020. She established and served as Director of the Office of Research on Teaching in the Disciplines 2007-2020 in the College of Education.  Cynthia further served the university as Department Chair for Curriculum and Instruction from 2013 to 2020. While Department Chair, she oversaw the development of online graduate degrees at the Master and Educational Specialist levels, and the revision of existing degrees to address the challenges faced in education by teachers and teacher educators.

Dennis Sunal

Dennis joined UA in 1989 after serving in tenured positions at the University of Maryland and West Virginia University. He was appointed to Full Professor in 1991 in science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I). He served as coordinator of science education in C&I where he worked with numerous colleagues in departments inside and outside of C&I as PI and CO-PI on over $25 million dollars in external grants for NSF, NASA, DOE and other agencies. Dennis retired in September 2020.

In addition to these positions, we are seeking nominations for Vice-President for Programs/Arrangements. If you would like to nominate someone for this position or nominate an additional candidate for one of the other positions, please reply to this email with your nominee’s name and contact information by Thursday, April 20. Nominees must agree to be nominated before names are submitted.

Books for the Black Belt

As part of the annual luncheon, we will collect books for the UA Center for Economic Development’s Books for the Black Belt project. Books for the Black Belt collects new or gently used K-12 books and distributes them to school libraries in Alabama’s Black Belt. In 2022 UACED collected and distributed more than 10,000 books to 72 schools in 13 counties. UACED strives to help children develop a love of learning and reading.

What kinds of books are appropriate to donate?

Any classic literature texts and other award-winning schoolbooks (fiction and non-fiction).  See below a reference list of appropriate books.

Special Need for Books Appropriate for Middle School Readers and ACT/College Prep Books

There is currently a specific shortage of books appropriate for middle school readers, as well as ACT/College prep books.

Can’t decide?

Sites like The Book Bundler or O3 Books offer bundles of gently used books at affordable prices. Checks made out to The University of Alabama will also be accepted if you prefer to donate funds to the project instead of bringing books.

Renew Your Membership Today

TUARA’s membership year runs from Oct. 1-Sept. 30. If you haven’t renewed your membership for 2022 yet, please go to Membership Application at www.tuara.ua.edu, print the membership form and send it with your $25 annual membership dues to Box 861493, Tuscaloosa, AL  35486-0013. If you prefer, you can pay your dues by PayPal or credit card by clicking here. Click on “Check out as guest” to pay by credit card. Not sure if you’ve renewed or not? Reply to this email and we’ll check and let you know. Invite retired friends and colleagues to join as well!