• August 31st, 2022

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Dana Patton, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at The University of Alabama’s College of Arts & Sciences, has been chosen as the new director of University Fellows Experience. The University Fellows Experience is a community of elite scholars from diverse disciplines who share a similar passion to become change agents through a commitment to leadership and service.

Patton earned a doctorate in political science from The University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from The University of Tulsa. She has been with The University of Alabama since 2011. She served as Director of Graduate Studies and Director of the Master of Public Administration program in the Department of Political Science before assuming her new position in the Honors College. She previously had academic positions in the College of Public Health at The University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University.

Her research interests lie in the areas of health policy and gender politics. Recent published work includes an examination of the effect of women’s descriptive representation in state legislatures on premature mortality in the American states, understanding why some states sought to institute work requirements for certain Medicaid beneficiaries, explaining the effect of Medicaid expansion on gubernatorial approval ratings, and investigating the effects of gender and ideology in verbal interactions between lawyers and Supreme Court Justices during oral arguments. She is currently focused on women’s leadership, co-authoring a paper about gender and leadership styles in international non-profits and is part of a small team at UA mentoring women professors in Pakistan through a USAID grant aimed at strengthening their higher education system.

“I have been fortunate to work with Fellows for almost a decade serving as a faculty mentor for junior-year research projects, guest lecturing in classes, providing guidance to seniors completing their Magnum Opus, and having Fellows on my study abroad trips,” said Patton. “The opportunity to devote more of my time working with this special group of students is very exciting.”

The University Fellows Experience was founded fifteen years ago by Dean Robert Halli and Dr. Jacqueline Morgan, with the support of President Witt and Provost Bonner. “I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Morgan for many years and was always impressed with her professionalism and commitment to the Fellows, as scholars in a community but also as individuals,” said Patton. “As only the second Director of UFE, I am grateful to Jacqueline for her positive response to my appointment, as well as the support of President Witt who teaches in the Honors College, and am especially thankful to have the opportunity to work with David Bolus, Assistant Director of UFE, and a Fellow from the first cohort.”

When asked about changes Patton might bring to the University Fellows Experience, she responded, “We anticipate there will be changes to some parts of UFE, but those changes will be consensus-driven and all Fellows will have an opportunity to provide input. David and I are in the process of creating surveys for alumni and current Fellows, as well as doing a thorough curriculum assessment. I especially look forward to working with the recently-formed UFE Alumni Board and have already met with several members,” said Patton. “Based on my years of experience working with Fellows, I am confident that some parts of the program, such as the Black Belt Experience and the Magnum Opus, will remain staples of the University Fellows Experience. I would like to increase international opportunities for Fellows, as one example of change I am interested in making, and am looking forward to hearing input from others so we can begin writing the next chapter of the University Fellows Experience together.”

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