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Office of the Dean, UAB Graduate School, 1970-

Immediate Predecessor:


Immediate Successor:


Reporting Hierarchy:

1970-1978:  Graduate School, President
1978-1982: Graduate School, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, President
1989-1989: Graduate School, Vice President for Health Affairs and Vice President for University College, President
1989-1995: Graduate School, Vice President for Health Affairs and Vice President for Academic Affairs, President
1995- Graduate School, Provost, President


Samuel B. Barker, 1970-1978

Associate Deans and Co-Directors:

Kenneth J. Roozen, 1978-1981
Blaine A. Brownell, 1978-1981

Deans and Co-Directors:

Blaine A. Brownell, 1981-1984
Kenneth J. Roozen, 1981-1988
Anthony C. L. Barnard, 1984-1991
Terry L. Hickey, 1988-1991
(Acting) John R. Durant, 1991-1994
(Acting) William A. Sibley, 1991-1994


Joan F. Lorden, 1994-2003
(Acting) Sadis Matalon, 2002-2003
(Interim) James D. McClintock, 2003-2005
Bryan D. Noe, 2005-2015
(Interim) Jeffrey A. Engler, 2015
Lori L. McMahon, 2015-2021
(Interim) Lisa Schwiebert, 2021-2022
Shadi S. Martin, 2022-


The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Graduate School was established in 1970.  Graduate studies, however, began much earlier in the university’s history. William R. Anderson received a graduate degree in pharmacology in June 1950, becoming the first person to be awarded a master’s degree through the University of Alabama Medical Center. Over the next two academic years, nine students were awarded master’s degrees, including the first woman, Anna Jane Reid, who in February 1952 received a degree in biochemistry. The 1954 Duckett Jones Report recommended the creation of an office to oversee research activities at the Birmingham-based University of Alabama Medical Center. In 1955 University officials created the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at the Medical Center and appointed Dr. Joseph F. Volker director. That same year Ruth Stillman Hare earned the first Ph.D. (in pharmacology) awarded to a student for studies at the Birmingham campus.  Throughout the next decade Dr. Volker expanded research and graduate programs, particularly in the health sciences. By 1965, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies had separated into two offices with different directors.

In 1965, Dr. Samuel B. Barker was appointed director of the Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Alabama’s Medical Center and Birmingham Extension Center. Barker had been on the Medical College of Alabama faculty from 1955 to 1962 in the Department of Pharmacology. He left the University of Alabama in 1962 to take a position at the University of Vermont, his alma mater. When he returned to take the position in 1965, the Birmingham programs were still part of the University of Alabama. The Office of Graduate Studies reported to the Vice President for Health Affairs. Barker chaired a Medical Center Committee on Graduate Instruction.

During the 1960s, the Birmingham campus was gaining more independence. In September 1966 the extension programs became the four-year College of General Studies.  At the October 19, 1966, meeting of the Medical Center Committee on Graduate Instruction members discussed the need to prepare the Birmingham graduate studies program for its future separation from the University of Alabama Graduate School. The minutes record that “at some indefinite time the graduate programs in the Medical Center will be given the autonomy already designated to the programs in the UAB. Prior to this however we will need to set forth a philosophy of our own.” The members agreed that they needed to develop their own standards for graduate education to meet accreditation requirements.

The following month, in November 1966, President Frank A. Rose announced the formation of the “University of Alabama in Birmingham,” an official branch of the University of Alabama’s main campus in Tuscaloosa. By the April 11, 1967, meeting of the University of Alabama Graduate Council, Dr. Eric Rodgers, dean of the UA Graduate School, announced that President Rose had appointed Dr. Barker associate dean of the Graduate School. Barker’s new appointment as associate dean included an ex officio membership on the UA Graduate Council. In addition, he attended Graduate Council meetings as a substitute for the deans of the Medical College and the School of Dentistry. Dr. Barker continued his duties in this capacity until 1969 when it appeared that the UAB would become autonomous with its own president. Dr. Barker initiated plans to develop a separate Graduate Council for the UAB. In February 1969 a special committee of UAB graduate faculty members drew up a petition to establish a separate graduate school and Graduate Council for the UAB. The UAB graduate faculty met on February 26, 1969, and approved the petition. On January 28, 1969, however, President Rose had announced his resignation, and the petition for a separate school was buried under more pressing matters at the UA.

On June 16, 1969, Governor Albert P. Brewer established The University of Alabama System, comprised of three autonomous campuses: Tuscaloosa (UA), Birmingham (UAB), and Huntsville (UAH). In July 1969, after the announcement of Dr. Joseph F. Volker’s appointment as the first president of the UAB, Dr. Barker sent a memo to all UAB graduate faculty stating that “although the status of graduate study at the UAB has not been clarified since the announcement of separate Presidents for the UAB and UAT, it is my opinion that we should proceed to set up a Graduate Council for the UAB.” After an election by graduate faculty in August 1969, Dr. Barker announced the members of the new UAB Graduate Council. The UAB Graduate Council consisted of the five directors of doctoral programs; eight elected graduate faculty members representing different graduate programs; six graduate faculty members appointed by Dr. Barker; and two elected representatives from the new Graduate Student Association.

The UAB Graduate Council held its first meeting on September 15, 1969. At the time of the meeting, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees had sanctioned the creation of neither a graduate council nor a graduate school. Therefore, as the minutes record, this meeting was unofficial. According to the minutes, Dr. Barker, as chairman, stated: “Rather than sitting passively awaiting an unlikely sudden action on separation of a graduate school for the UAB, this group should actively evaluate graduate studies as currently carried on and as they might be improved.” During the next several months UAB Graduate Council meetings and smaller committee meetings took place, and participants discussed a number of issues, including admissions to graduate studies, funding for the proposed graduate school, and new graduate program proposals.

In April 1970 the graduate program in Birmingham officially separated from the University of Alabama and was designated the UAB Graduate School.  On May 1, 1970, President Volker appointed Barker dean of the UAB Graduate School.  According to the June 1970 Medical Center Bulletin, President Volker said his appointment “reflects the separation of the three campuses of the University which provides for independent but cooperating graduate schools.” At the November 20, 1970, Graduate Council meeting, Dean Barker reported that graduate enrollment had increased from approximately 275 in the 1970 spring quarter to 704 in the 1970 fall quarter.  Participants discussed the need to increase staff in the Graduate School and add a full-time associate dean or part-time assistant deans, as Dean Barker was the only administrator. Barker announced at the March 1, 1971, Graduate Council meeting the appointment of associate dean Hubert H. Harper. The UAB Graduate School’s admittance into the Council of Graduate Schools of the United States was also announced at this meeting. In late 1971 the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) developed the Council of Graduate Deans, which the UAB Graduate School joined shortly afterward.

In 1977, Dean Barker announced his plans to retire. He continued as dean of the Graduate School until the following year when his successors were appointed. After Barker’s retirement in 1978 the Graduate School administrative structure changed. On November 20, 1978, President S. Richardson Hill, Jr., announced to the Graduate Council Steering Committee the appointments of Drs. Blaine Brownell and Kenneth J. Roozen as the new associate deans and co-directors of the UAB Graduate School. Dr. Hubert Harper retained his position as associate dean. These appointments were made on a trial basis, with Dr. Brownell representing University College and Dr. Roozen representing the Medical Center.  According to President Hill, Drs. Brownell and Roozen would act as the “chief academic officers” of the Graduate School. These appointments were effective December 1, 1978. The new associate deans would “work closely” with Dr. Robert P. Glaze, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies.

Drs. Brownell and Roozen served as associate deans and co-directors of the Graduate School until August 31, 1984, when Dr. Brownell resigned from the Graduate School to accept the deanship of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Anthony C. L. Barnard then took his position as associate dean and co-director with Dr. Roozen.  Drs. Barnard and Roozen administered the Graduate School until 1988 when Dr. Roozen became vice president for University Affairs.  Dr. Terry L. Hickey succeeded him.  Barnard and Hickey served as deans and co-directors of the Graduate School until 1991 when Drs. William A. Sibley and John R. Durant succeeded them as acting deans and co-directors.  Dr. Joan F. Lorden was appointed dean of the Graduate School on December 4, 1994; Dean Lorden also served UAB as an assistant university provost. In 2002 Dr. Lorden was named Dean in Residence for 2002-2003 for the Council of Graduate Schools in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.  During her absence from campus, Dr. Sadis Matalon served as acting dean.  Dr. Lorden left UAB in the spring of 2003 and Dr. James B. McClintock was named interim dean, effective August 1, 2003. McClintock had previously served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Bryan Noe, interim graduate dean at Emory University, was named dean of the UAB Graduate School on September 2, 2005, with an appointment effective November first. Noe received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Goshen College (Indiana), a master’s degree from West Virginia University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.  He joined the Emory faculty in 1972 as an assistant professor of Anatomy and served as Emory’s interim graduate dean from June 2003 until his appointment at UAB. When Dr. Noe retired in 2015 after almost a decade of service to UAB, Dr. Jeffrey Engler, associate dean, was named as Interim Dean of the Graduate School.  Following a national search, on October 1, 2015, Dr. Lori McMahon became dean of the Graduate School. Dr. McMahon was the Jarman F. Lowder Professor of Neuroscience and was a professor of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology at UAB.  When Dr. McMahon retired and left UAB, Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, from the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, became the Graduate School's interim dean effective November 1, 2021.  She served until the recruitment to UAB of Dr. Shadi Martin, who became dean of the UAB Graduate School on June 1, 2022. Dr. Martin also became the university's vice provost for Graduate and International Education.

This page created 2001 and last updated by Tim L. Pennycuff on 13 May 2024.

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

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