The mission of Institutional Advancement at the University of West Alabama is to provide leadership, expertise, support and implementation in the areas of fundraising, donor relations, alumni relations and communications. In accordance with our University mission, Institutional Advancement is committed to finding the appropriate resources to help UWA meet the state’s educational needs, particularly in the West Alabama region.

Meet Our Staff

Office of the Vice President

Dr. J.J. Wedgworth
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
(205) 652-5459

Lynda Harwell
Foundation Accounting Specialist
(205) 652-3552

Alumni Affairs

Banks Gordy
Director of Alumni Affairs
(205) 652-3867

Hayden McDaniel
Alumni Philanthropy Coordinator
(205) 652-3631


Amanda P. McRae
Director of Development

UWA Foundation Scholarships, Major Giving, Special Projects
(205) 652-3579

Kathleen Upchurch
Stewardship, Donor Engagement & Research Coordinator
(205) 652-3586

Strategic Communications

Betsy Compton
Director of Strategic Communications
(205) 652-3892

Savannah Williams
Web Content Coordinator
(205) 652-3769

Sponsored Programs, Research & Outreach

Rodney Granec
Director of Sponsored Programs, Research & Outreach
(205) 652-5392

Chris Theriot, CFRE
Director of Grants and Resource Development Liaison
(205) 706-0542

Hoda Hassan        
Grants Specialist           
(205) 652-3418

University Stakeholders and Goals

Board: Maintain a collaborative relationship with the Board 

Faculty: Recruit and maintain highly qualified faculty, especially from diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds 

Staff: Attract and retain highly qualified and diverse staff 

Graduates: Provide quality online and on campus programs that are accessible to qualified students, particularly those who seek to enhance their professional credentials 

Undergraduates: Raise student retention and graduation rates through enhanced quality of residential life and extracurricular experience 

Potential Students: Work toward a comprehensive recruitment plan to communicate the value of a UWA education to targeted audiences 

Alumni: Engage alumni to encourage more involvement in and support for the University 

Government: Aggressively pursue relationships that help UWA communicate the value of the institution to the region and the state and the nation 

Community: Continue to address the major enducational, social, and economic issues of the region through research and service and engage community as partner in reaching University goals 

International Partners: Develop and expand cooperative education programs with select institutions in other countries. 

Business and Industry: Continue to partner with business and industry to bolster economic development in the Black Belt as well as to improve the general quality of life through the region. 

Athletics: Continue to improve academic performance of student athletes and improve the institution’s ranking within the Gulf South Conference.

Planning and Assessment

The University of West Alabama uses WEAVEonline® for all planning and assessment documents. Follow the link below and use your UWA account information to log onto WEAVEonline®: 

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Retention has developed the UWA Planning and Assessment Guide and WEAVEonline User’s Manual that includes important information on the planning and assessment process at UWA and step-by-step instructions on how to enter data into the WEAVEonline® system. If you have questions or need help with planning and assessment, contact Bliss Adkison at 

Five Year Strategic Plan