The Blackburn Institute was created by the Division of Student Affairs of The University of Alabama and operates as a department under its oversight. Named in honor of Dr. John L. Blackburn, the Institute is his legacy and a testament to his lifetime commitment to student learning and leadership development, civic engagement, and the state of Alabama. The staff members, including the director and other support staff, of the Blackburn Institute are employed by the university, responsible for the institute’s daily operations, and accountable to the university. These individuals coordinate the curriculum, events, and programs for the benefit of the three constituent groups of the Blackburn Institute:
- The Advisory Board of the Blackburn Institute, which, acting through its officers and committees, advises the institute’s director on all issues regarding the institute.
- Alumni of the Blackburn Institute, called Blackburn Fellows, which are represented by the Fellows Involvement Network (FIN). The FIN promotes active participation in Blackburn Institute events and advances the mission of the institute by serving as a mechanism to connect fellows to each other, students, and the Advisory Board.
- Students of the Blackburn Institute are selected through a competitive application process each spring semester and participate in a one-year curriculum that introduces them to the state of Alabama, the institute’s values, the Blackburn community, and the skills necessary to create positive change. Students continue their involvement in this role until completion of their degree requirements and graduate with recognition as Blackburn Fellows.