UWA Online Blog

UWA Campus Events Happening in March 2017

March is here, and that means spring is on its way! As flowers and foliage come to life, so do our event calendars during the month of March. There are a number of educational, fun and exciting UWA campus events happening in March 2017 that you won’t want to miss.

Pull out your phone calendar or write them down the old fashioned way, but plan to attend one, a few or all of these UWA campus events happening in March 2017!

Check them out here:

Read Across America, March 2

  • What: The University of West Alabama will participate in “Read Across America,” a national reading initiative, by having community volunteers read to area school children.
  • Where: Livingston Junior High School
  • When: Time slots available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Contact: Dr. Esther Howard, [email protected]

Creative Writing Symposium Conference, March 2

  • What: A creative writing event sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literature, which houses programs in English, English Language Arts, Integrated Marketing, Communications, Spanish and French.
  • Where: Tutwiler Conference Center
  • When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ServSafe Food Safety Certification, March 6, 9

  • What: For $125 per person, participants will get two full days of instruction textbooks and the ServSafe certification exam. For $75 per person for retesting, participants will get two full days of instruction followed by the ServSafe certification exam.
  • Where: Land Hall
  • When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Contact: Alice Moore, 334-216-0738

Undergraduate Research Symposium and Conference, March 7

  • What: A showcase of scientific research by students who have partnered with faculty mentors. Events are open to the public and free of charge and will include a keynote speaker.
  • Where: Student Rec Center and Bell Conference Center
  • When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (symposium) and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (conference)

Alpha Phi Alpha: Lip Sync Battle, March 14

  • What: Contestants battle it out to be the best lip sync performer of the night.
  • Where: Wallace Hall Auditorium
  • When: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Chase Your Dreams: A Musical Revue, March 15-17

  • What: UWA Theatre presents songs from Broadway hits including Into the Woods, Hairspray, Spamalot, Ragtime and Les Miserables.
  • Where: Bibb Graves Auditorium
  • When: 7:30 p.m.
  • Contact: UWA Theatre Tickets, 205-652-3899, [email protected]

Book Signing & Review by Waights Taylor, March 23

  • What: Author, poet and playwright Waights Taylor will be on-hand for a book signing and discussion. Taylor is a Birmingham native, former Livingston resident and UWA alumnus.
  • Where: Julia S. Tutwiler Library
  • When: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Have you planned out your month yet? As you can see, out of all of these UWA campus events happening in March 2017, there is a little something for everyone!

To keep up with what’s happening on campus, in Livingston and the surrounding area, continue to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education blog! To see our continuing education course offerings and to register for continuing education courses, click here!

10 Computer Skills Employers Want You to Know

We live in an increasingly technological world, and even if your dream job is not rooted in computers, there are a few essential computer skills that you should have a firm grasp on regardless of what you are doing. Your competence with computers makes you more marketable as an employee and assures employers that you are in touch with technology. When making your next resume, keep in mind these 10 computer skills employers want you to know.

Word Processing

It may seem simple, but it is important to have a firm grasp on the world of word processing. This includes programs like Microsoft Word, which allow you to start a basic document, add text, use spell check, create tables, insert graphics and create and alter headers. Within Microsoft Word, you should also be familiar with formatting like bold, italic, underline, etc.


Employees who can fluidly use spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel are in high demand. If you are new to Excel, taking a beginner’s course could make a world of difference in teaching you how to use formulas, references and macros within spreadsheets.


Having a solid grasp of how to create engaging and organized digital presentations can give you a leg up when it comes to landing a job. Consider programs like PowerPoint and Prezi, which use a combination of copy, graphics and other visual elements to create a unified presentation that clearly and creatively communicates your message.

Graphics and Design

With everyone acting as a photographer in the age of the smartphone, editing photos is something that has extended to a wider demographic. Knowledge of PhotoShop and design programs like InDesign and Adobe Illustrator are valued assets in an increasing number of today’s top positions.


Not only should you be familiar with email on web-based platforms like Gmail or Yahoo!, but you should also know how to manage emails that are set up via different software programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Zoho or Thunderbird. Know the basics and explore the distinct features of each of these programs.

Social Media

While this may be more relevant to some jobs more than others, many businesses ask employees to help promote them through their own personal social media accounts. Whether you are managing your business’ social media accounts or promoting your business through your own, knowing how to use programs like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+ can make you look better to your potential employer.

Content Management Systems

Having an attractive web presence as a business is more important now than it has ever been before. Therefore, employees who can create, maintain and update websites through content management systems like WordPress, Dreamweaver and HTML are very useful to employers.

Shared Drives

Most companies require employees to exchange files via a shared drive or cloud drive like Dropbox because it is more convenient for accessing content, quicker and safer to keep documents stored. You should be familiar with how a shared drive works and know how to get information from your computer’s hard drive to a shared drive folder.

Accounting Software

Especially if you will be in an administrative or accounting role, your employer will want you to be familiar with programs like QuickBooks. In addition to accounting, QuickBooks is used for payroll, invoicing, record-keeping and more.

Privacy Protection

Demonstrating knowledge of how to keep your digital assets safe can help your employer instill faith in you as a valuable employee asset. Privacy protection can include recognizing spam and avoiding it, using password management systems knowing how to verify that a site is encrypted and so on.

So now that you know what to put on your resume, how will you go about securing all those computer skills? At UWA Online Continuing Education, we offer courses that are specific to several of these programs and skills, including “Cyber Security for Managers,” “Prezi,” “PhotoShop for Presentations,” “Mastering Microsoft Excel,” “Google+,” “Improving Email Promotions,” “Facebook for Business” and much more!

Don’t be caught without the computer skills that employers want you to know. Register for a continuing education class through UWA Online today! Visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/ to learn more.

In the News: UWA Professor Discovers Two New Species of Mint in Alabama

At the University of West Alabama, we take pride in the fact that our faculty works hard to continuously make strides and advancements in their respective fields of study. This happened recently, when one University of West Alabama professor made headlines for his discovery of two new species of mint in Alabama.

As reported by The Meridian Star, Brian R. Keener, professor of biology at UWA, along with Samford University Professor Lawrence J. Davenport, recently discovered and named two rare species of hedge nettles—a large group of plants in the mint family. The two new species were named Alabama Hedge-Nettle (Stachys alabamica) and Nelson’s Hedge-Nettle (Stachys nelsonii), after hedge-nettle expert John Nelson of the University of South Carolina.

These apparently rare species exist only in the Talladega Mountains in east central Alabama and the Talladega National Forest. The Alabama Hedge-Nettle appears in the sandy area of a half mile stretch of Cheaha Creek in Clay County, while Nelson’s Hedge-Nettle occurs in a single population on Horn Mountain in Talladega County.

The discovery of the two new species of mint in Alabama by Keener and Davenport and their research on the new species has been published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, where Keener is also a research associate. Representative specimens of the two new species of mint will be curated in the UWA Herbarium. In addition, images and data will be available on the Alabama Plant Atlas—a joint effort by the Alabama Herbarium Consortium and UWA to provide users access to searchable plant database.

“Alabama’s biodiversity is full of surprises,” Keener said. “Not just in plants, but new, never-before-named species among unrelated groups continue to be discovered. It is amazing what is still out there just waiting to be found.”

UWA Online would like to congratulate Keener and Davenport on their accomplishments in discovering two new species of mint in Alabama!

For more information on share-worthy news and happenings at UWA, continue to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education blog! If you are interested in continuing education at UWA, visit us at https://uwa.augusoft.net/!



Course Spotlight: Substitute Teacher Preparation 1155

As a substitute teacher, you typically have some big shoes to fill in the eyes of your temporary students. Securing student respect and coming prepared with a portfolio full of ideas is what you need to achieve success as a substitute, and you’ll learn how to do all of that and more in Substitute Teacher Preparation 1155—a course administered by the University of West Alabama Online Continuing Education.

Your goal as a substitute should not only be making a positive first impression, but a lasting impression that will have teachers calling you back time and time again. In Substitute Teacher Preparation 1155, you will learn tasks such as developing a sub notebook, understanding classroom management, developing innovative lesson plans and using your own portfolio to assist in teaching, among other undertakings.

This one-month course is divided into the following four sections:

Unit 1: The New Role of a Substitute

  • The job and duties of a substitute today
  • Classroom management, class rules and room layout
  • Teaching as a substitute
  • Portfolio lesson plans, standards and your sub notebook

Unit 2: Class Rules

  • Existing classroom rules and your own classroom rules
  • Dealing with discipline and behavior on your own
  • When you need to get assistance

Unit 3: Teaching as a Substitute

  • Lesson plans, standards and your sub notebook
  • Reading, understanding and writing a lesson plan
  • Strategies for ESOL and ESE

Unit 4: Developing Your Portfolio

  • Classroom rules
  • Lesson plans for various levels (elementary, middle and high school) to core standards
  • Your sub notebook and data sheet

By the end of this course, participants will know what is expected of a successful substitute teacher, have ideas about how they can benefit the schools where they work and be able to develop a portfolio containing classroom rules, bell ringers, lesson plans and a lesson plan template.

Avoid being the substitute that ends up subject to student slacking and disrespect. Be prepared for your next substitute teaching job with Substitute Teacher Preparation 1155 through UWA Online Continuing Education!

This course is being offered March 6 through 31 and June 5 through 30. To register for this class, or to see other UWA Online Continuing Education course offerings, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!

Millennials are Craving Continuing Education

Characterized as being the first born into the digital world dominated by internet and social media, millennials—those born between 1982 and 2004—are thus far the largest defined generation in American history. Also known as “Generation Y,” millennials are also the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history and are dubbed as being more progressive-minded politically than their predecessors.

A study released in June 2016 by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Penn State and Pearson revealed that millennial students are more likely now than ever to favor an educational system based on certifications and badging rather than traditional bachelor’s degrees. While bachelor’s degrees are reputable credentials, millennials are seeing the benefits that continuing education certifications now offer in terms of the diversity of course offerings, detailed specializations and abridged path from education to career.

Another benefit of continuing education over traditional degree programs that millennials are now touting is the cost. With millions of students plagued by student loan debt, continuing education programs generally offer a less expensive alternative than the four-year degree system. With a lower price tag and the opportunity for higher specialization, non-credit continuing education courses are looking better and better to millennials.

While many employers still prefer candidates who have earned degrees and boast experience, continuing education as a complement to degree programs is becoming increasingly popular among educational institutions and employers themselves. According to research from the University of North Carolina, millennials will make up nearly half (46 percent) of the workforce by 2020. From a hiring standpoint, that means major employers should be anticipating what it will take to attract millennials as an increasing number of them enter the workforce in the next decade. With studies showing that millennials are craving continuing education, companies focusing on the development and offering of these types resources within the workplace may have the advantage as the workforce evolves.

The University of West Alabama recently launched an all-new online-based continuing education program that is open to anyone with an internet connection. The program’s non-credit courses do not require any prerequisites and are accessible online!

To learn more about UWA Online’s Continuing Education offerings, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!


UWA Launches Black Belt Teacher Corps With First 10 Members

In an effort to promote quality education among rural schools, the University of West Alabama has recently taken steps toward incentivizing young teachers to start their careers in areas of the state that need it most.

Earlier this month, UWA launched its Black Belt Teacher Corps initiative—a program in which College of Education students dedicate themselves upon graduation to working as teachers in Black Belt schools for no less than three years in exchange for scholarships to pay for their own education. On Feb. 7, UWA President Dr. Ken Tucker and Dean of Education Dr. Jan Miller announced the program and recognized its first 10 participants.

The Black Belt Teacher Corps is a movement by the nationwide Rural Schools Collaborative to address and solve issues plaguing rural schools—one of those being, where their new teachers come from. With UWA’s program, the university has decided that it would rear and train its own teachers to contribute their talents to rural institutions. In addition to funding, program participants receive special training that equips them with the knowledge to deal with school and community issues unique to rural areas.

Juniors and seniors selected to participate in the program will receive $5,000 per year, plus $1,000 to execute a place-based education project.

UWA’s inaugural cohort for the Black Belt Teacher Corps includes:

  • Austin Bishop, Piedmont, Ala., Special Education
  • Macy Bush, Gilbertown, Ala., Elementary Education
  • Levi Dorsett, Odenville, Ala., Physical Education P-12
  • Paige Gandy, Coatopa, Ala., Elementary Education
  • Devante Giles, York, Ala., Special Education
  • Amanda Kirkman, Northport, Ala., Elementary Education
  • Allie Marques, Livingston, Ala., Special Education
  • Haley Richardson, Reform, Ala., Elementary Education
  • Haley Sizemore, Birmingham, Ala, Elementary Education
  • Caitlin Zirlott, Coden, Ala., Elementary Education

The Black Belt Teacher Corps is modeled after the Ozarks Teacher Corps in Missouri, a program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural Schools Partnership. The program has been recognized by entities like The Washington Post, NPR and Education Week.

UWA Online Continuing Education congratulates the inaugural members of the Black Belt Teacher Corps! To read more about the Black Belt Teacher Corps and the Rural Schools Collaborative, check out our previous blog, “Strengthening Educational Bonds With the Rural Schools Collaborative.”

To learn more about UWA Online Continuing Education, click here!


Course Spotlight: Instagram for Business 1164

Instagram may be one of your go-to apps on your smart phone’s home screen, and you may post pictures of yourself, your dog and/or what you had for lunch on a regular basis. However, using Instagram on a personal level—even very frequently—does not automatically make you an expert on all aspects of the app, such as using Instagram for business purposes.

In UWA Online Continuing Education’s course “Instagram for Business 1164,” participants will learn exactly how to use the mobile-based photography app to a business’ advantage in generating consumers. Instagram currently has more than 100 million users, and using the app to connect to even a small demographic of those users could be game-changing in terms of growing your business.

Instagram for Business 1164 will explore topics such as making hashtags work for you, keeping followers happy and even the do’s and don’ts of using Instagram. The four-week course is divided up into the following four units:

Unit 1: Setting up for Success

  • Basic functions of Instagram, including tips on shooting photos using the Instagram app
  • How to edit and enhance photos taken with Instagram
  • Forming a voice for an Instagram account in alignment with your overall marketing and business goals
  • Getting the attention of your target audience
  • Building a strong social plan to reach your goals
  • Case studies of commercial and individual Instagram accounts

Unit 2: Creative Content

  • Telling the story through pictures
  • Types of photos to post—your own and others
  • Exploring photo challenges
  • The perfect giveaway formula
  • Creative ways businesses are using Instagram

Unit 3: Engaging and Building Your Community

  • Spotlight on your community and others
  • How small input can cause exponential growth
  • How to make hashtags work for you
  • Starting your own hashtags with purpose
  • Business case studies and best practices for community engagement

Unit 4: Dos and Don’ts of Instagram and Must-Have Photo Apps

  • Insta-etiquette
  • The importance of measuring success and how to move forward based on data collected
  • Photo apps for easy and flawless mobile editing
  • Photo apps for creation and making visually-appealing images on the go

By the end of the course, students will be able to set up and perform the basic functions necessary to make an Instagram account succeed, know how to creatively build and engage and audience and be able to create and execute a content creation plan, among other achievements.

Instagram for Business 1164 is being offered April 3-28 or June 5-30! The cost for this 16-hour course is $195.

To sign up for this or other courses through UWA Online Continuing Education, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!

Valentine’s Day Feature: Flower Colors and Their Meanings

Whether it’s a day you embrace with open arms or one that you run and hide from, Valentine’s Day has arrived in 2017. For many, February 14 is a day to celebrate love and those who we love. Cliché as it may sound, one of the most popular ways people still communicate their messages of love is by gifting flowers. What you might not know, however, is how the color of your flowers may affect the message you are sending.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is a guide to flower colors and their meanings!

Red: This is the color of love and romance. Red flowers symbolize admiration, desire and passion.

Pink: Flowers showcasing pink hues symbolize gentleness, romance and innocence. They convey a bit more delicacy than their red counterparts, but they still signify love.

Yellow: If you could take one guess as to what yellow flowers represent, you would likely get it right on the first try. Yellow means happiness. These flowers convey friendship, joy and success.

White: White flowers are often used in times of bereavement to show reverence or sympathy. White has also been known to represent purity and innocence.

Purple: Historically, purple is associated with royalty. In terms of flowers, purple can signify dignity, tradition or even admiration.

Blue: Blue flowers are an indication of peacefulness and serenity. If you receive blue flowers, it may suggest that you need to relax and release some stress.

Orange: Bright and full of life, orange flowers express enthusiasm, excitement and energy.

What message are you sending to your loved ones this Valentine’s Day? As you can see, even year round flowers can speak loudly without ever making a sound.

At UWA Online Continuing Education, we hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day is a happy one (even if you prefer to refer to it simply as February 14)!

To learn more about UWA Online Continuing Education and our course offerings, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!

Best Places to Grab a Bite to Eat in Livingston

In a country divided on an excess of issues, one thing that most of us can agree on is—we like to eat. When it comes to getting a palate-pleasing meal that is unlike any other, dining at a local eatery is the way to go. In Livingston, Alabama, we are fortunate to have a host of culinary gems that give us the opportunity to grab a great bite to eat.

Whether you have just moved to the area, are passing through or are looking for a new favorite, plan to try one (or all) of one of these great places to grab a bite to eat in Livingston! (Reviews courtesy of Tripadvisor.com)

  • Touch of Home Bakery
    • What: Homemade cakes, breads, pies and pastries are just the beginning. Each day offers a featured menu item, ranging from meats and threes to Italian favorites and more.
    • Where: 90 North Street
    • Why: “Great food, wonderful deserts and fresh homemade bread. This is an excellent country kitchen eatery. Generous portions make sure you don’t leave hungry.”
  • The Coffee Shop on Monroe
    • What: A cozy café serving coffee, tea, drinks, baked goods, wraps and sandwiches.
    • Where: 309 Monroe Street
    • Why: This is a great little small town coffee shop. They have many types and flavors of coffees. They also have a wonderful milkshake. They do offer some small menu food items. It is also a great place to get Wi-Fi, sit and play games, or just sit and read a book. Wonderful atmosphere and a treasure in a small town.”
  • Diamond Jim’s & Ms. Donna’s
    • What: Seafood, steaks and barbecue featuring recipes dating back to the late 1800’s.
    • Where: 440 Highway 28 West
    • Why: If you are looking for food that will bring back memories of you as a little child sitting at the table…this is the place to be. I live less than 10 miles from there. Every chance I get, I go there and eat. Everything is seasoned right from the twice-baked potato to the hot and juicy steak. You don’t need any A1 sauce for the steak; it’s just that good.”
  • Austin’s Steakhouse
    • What: Steak and chicken dinners, sandwiches and “The Best Hot Wings in Sumter County.”
    • Where: 306 Highway 28 West
    • Why: Austin’s is a friendly place with good food and popular with local residents. Staff and customers are friendly and welcome new faces and stories. The menu is varied and diverse. They are definitely worth a visit.”
  • Taste of India
    • What: Authentic Indian cuisine featuring an extensive menu that includes various types of curry, kabobs, vegetable and lamb specialties and more.
    • Where: 651 Highway 28 West
    • Why: “The best and most authentic Indian food that I’ve EVER had! Definitely go, and take all your friends! The staff are very pleasant, it is in a very convenient location being just off the highway. My favorite dish is a Vegetarian dish called Malai Kofta, but my friends (who order there at least twice a week) say everything on the menu is outstanding.”
  • Dandy Don’s
    • What: Known for its burgers, its slogan is, “Serving the finest fast food since 1980.”
    • Where: 116 N. Washington Street
    • Why: “If you’re in Livingston and you want a good cheeseburger, this is your place. Just a classic cheeseburger with all of the toppings. Meat is the perfect size and cooked really well. The bun is also really good. Everything about it was great. Not to mention, cheeseburger, fries, and a bottle of water cost ~$5. Great choice in Livingston.”

Hungry yet? Make plans to eat at one of these appetizing local establishments!

For more insight into the culture of Livingston and the surrounding area, continue to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education blog!

To learn more about UWA Online Continuing Education, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!

Course Spotlight: Growing Your Business With Self-Publishing 1207

Self-publishing materials is an excellent way to grow your business and legitimize yourself as an expert in your respective field.

Now, you can learn exactly what you need to do to be a successful self-publisher through UWA Online Continuing Education!

“Growing Your Business With Self-Publishing 1207” is one of three courses required to earn a Certificate in Self-Publishing for Business from UWA Online Continuing Education. In this course, students will learn how to use self-publishing to their advantage as business owners, including how to develop information to which customers can relate, learning how to print small quantities of materials economically and how self-publishing can strengthen customer relations.

This four-week course is divided up into the following units:

Unit 1: Self-Publishing Overview and Today’s Marketplace

  • Models of self-published publications and books
  • Understanding formats: paperback, hardcover, spiral bound, three-ring binder
  • Statistics and facts about bestsellers lists, print runs and the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing
  • Finding your niche in the marketplace
  • Strategic planning to boost customer relations, repeat customers and gain new customers

Unit 2: Writing Your Work

  • Writing for your customers, not your boss
  • Writing concise chunked copy for business publications and books
  • The three keys to powering up your copy
  • Second draft: revising and improving your copy
  • Editing your own work

Unit 3: Producing Your Work

  • Barcodes
  • Freelance proofreaders and editors abroad
  • Include a Canadian price?
  • ISBN numbers
  • Layouts, templates and publishing info
  • Library of Congress copyright
  • Printer bids and terms of sale
  • Proofing

Unit 4: Making Your Book More Marketable

  • Smart content development and trends
  • At market/publishing trends and how to identify them
  • Publishing seasons and identifying the best possible time and placement for your book
  • What it takes to make your book marketable and how to do book store research
  • Creating a book launch calendar
  • Exploring various research tools to better understand the market for your book

By the end of the course, participants will understand the various self-publishing formats and which one(s) will benefit them, put into practice tips for writing engaging non-fiction pieces and know how to produce a publication using barcodes, ISBN numbers and printers.

The next courses are available April 3 through 28 or June 5 through 30!

To register for this or other UWA Online Continuing Education courses, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!v