The University Fellows Experience is a community of elite scholars from diverse disciplines who share a similar passion to become change agents through commitment to leadership and service.
Following the classical purpose of education, the production of good citizens, the University Fellows Experience strives to prepare the most able and dedicated students at The University of Alabama for remarkable lives of leadership in and service to their community, state, nation, and world.
Defining Qualities of a Fellow
University Fellows Experience Chief Components
The University Fellows Experience seeks students with a true passion for service and leadership. Those selected will pursue knowledge and action in the classroom, on the campus, in the community, and in the world. Mentored by top professors, supported by their UFE peers, and stimulated by world-class experts in many disciplines, University Fellows will enjoy the richest of college educations, create enduring personal cultures of learning, and embrace service to others as a guiding priority.
The University Fellows Experience provides unique opportunities for leadership development, meaningful civic engagement, service to the community, and interaction in a variety of academic enterprises. Throughout the college experience, Fellows enjoy a close knit community of mutual support and interclass exchange of ideas through Dinner Discussions with community leaders and academic experts, Community Immersion Experiences, cultural exposure opportunities, and project development and implementation. With topical one-hour seminars offered for interclass discussion and exploration of ideas, Fellows enjoy a sense of community throughout their time at The University.
Seminars to explore issues of servant leadership, personal development, project development and implementation, and civic engagement
Black Belt Experience in May, wherein Fellows partner with local initiatives, programs, and individuals in Perry County, Alabama and implement projects that address challenges of systemic poverty
Seminar to explore issues of leadership in the community, including a series of exposures to the practical and multi-faceted aspects of being a good citizen
Participate in significant contributions both individually and collaboratively in an effort to connect idea development with the creation of positive action
Receive individualized assistance and support for career options and post-undergraduate opportunities
Active and ongoing research and correspondence with key figures in their field of interest, including pertinent professional conferences
Peer Mentors and committee chairs for UFE Committees in the planning and implementation of key events, programs and initiatives
Distinguish themselves in their fields of study through published or presented articles, research, or related productive materials
Reflect their work in a four-year culminating Portfolio
Teach one-hour Honors College seminar courses on a topic of their choosing
“The great end of life is not knowledge but action.” The words of Thomas Henry Huxley embody the belief of the University Fellows, those individuals who strive to see knowledge turned to action for the good of our communities. Black Belt Experience, the signature Fellows project, creates an opportunity for students to explore the various issues affecting poverty in the Black Belt and to partner with individuals in Marion, Perry County, Alabama to create systemic change. Students are servant leaders and change agents who create projects that both respond to the needs of the community and capitalize on the students’ particular interests, gifts, and abilities in preparation for lifelong civic action.
The University Fellows’ inaugural Black Belt Experience was May 2009. Since that time, the Honors College has developed significant community partnerships and seen these grow into integral relationships that both provide ongoing opportunity for meaningful service learning for our students and provide fresh energy and perspective to many challenges expressed by member of the Marion community. The continued work with specific partners such as the local public elementary, middle and high schools, the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, the Marion-Perry County Library, and the local nonprofit Sowing Seeds of Hope enable a more promising future: sustainable projects that see educational growth, economic development, health and nutrition improvement, and greater community interaction.
Eligibility and Application
A student with an ACT score of 32 or an SAT score of 1450 (evidence-based reading and writing plus math) and a high school GPA of 3.8 is eligible to apply for the University Fellows Experience. Once accepted to the University, a student can access both the Honors College and the UFE online applications. Students in UFE must be members of the Honors College; they may apply to the Honors College before applying to UFE or at the same time. UFE applications must be submitted online by the deadline of December 15; students will be notified of their application status by early February. Semifinalists will receive phone interviews and finalists will be invited to on-campus interviews in late February. Please note, beginning in 2019, a student with an ACT score of 32 or an SAT score of 1420 (evidence-based reading and writing plus math) and a high school GPA of 3.8 is eligible to apply for the University Fellows Experience.
A student with a 28 ACT/1320 SAT or higher and HS GPA of 3.5 or higher may be nominated for consideration by a high school representative or a UA faculty member is he/she does not meet the general requirements for UFE consideration. The online nomination form (including the student’s full contact information and letter of recommendation) must be completed by December 9. Please note that the nomination form is only for students who do not meet the automatic eligibility requirements.
The UFE selection committee will consider the candidate’s record of impact in the community, leadership achievements, extracurricular activities, and candidate’s essays much more heavily than grades and test scores. We seek students who ultimately will make a difference throughout their lives; therefore, creativity, productivity, community engagement, leadership, and personal growth are points to highlight on your resume and in your essays.
A required letter of recommendation must be submitted for applicants through the online system by January 7, 2019 (limit to one letter per applicant). Recommenders will be notified by email when an applicant selects them as a recommender.
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