Dr. John C. Higginbotham, who leads research efforts for the College of Community Health Sciences, was tapped by University of Alabama President Stuart Bell to serve as UA’s interim vice president for Research and Economic Development while the search for a new vice president is underway.
Higginbotham has served as UA’s associate vice president for Research and Economic Development for the past several years. He also serves as associate dean for Research and Health Policy for the College, and as chair of the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and director of its Institute for Rural Health Research (IRHR).
“We are fortunate Dr. Higginbotham is available to serve during this interim time,” says UA Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Whitaker. “His extensive academic and research background, intimate knowledge of our existing research and economic develop operations, and strong relationships with faculty and researchers across campus and around the country will serve the University well as we begin the important national search for a new vice president.”
Says Higginbotham: “Serving in this leadership capacity is an honor. I appreciate the trust Dr. Bell and Dr. Whitaker have placed in me to continue the important work of this office during this critical time.”
Meanwhile, faculty in the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and IRHR will take on additional administrative responsibilities during Higginbotham’s interim time. Dr. Martha Crowther will serve as interim associate dean of Research and Health Policy for the College, and Dr. Lea Yerby will serve as vice chair of the department.
In addition, Dr. Louanne Friend will serve as acting deputy director of IRHR. Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, deputy director of IRHR, was granted a special sabbatical this semester to work with Stillman College’s senior administration in efforts to strengthen the Tuscaloosa institution’s academic mission.