Published on January 13, 2007 by Philip Poole  
Posted by Philip Poole on 2007-05-10

New degrees, new academic programs, new faculty and a restructured academic school were among actions approved by Samford University's board of trustees at their regular spring meeting.

Trustees approved a recommendation that the art department be moved from the college of arts and sciences and combined with the current school of performing arts to become the school of the arts. The 2007-08 academic year will serve as a transition period for the new school with full implementation by the 2008-09 academic year.

"This restructuring represents a natural progression in Samford's long-term plan to provide the best environment for promoting the arts," Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said in making the recommendation.

An approved reorganization of the school of business created three academic departments: accounting and management information systems; economics, finance and quantitative analysis; and management and marketing. Three new bachelor's degrees in management with concentrations in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and international business also were approved.

Other new programs approved by trustees include a secondary collaborative graduate degree and a gifted education certification program in the school of education and professional studies, a master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy and a dance minor in the school of performing arts.

Trustees also authorized Westmoreland and administrators to conduct feasibility studies and negotiate contracts for additional renovations to Beeson University Center and potential new facilities for academic programs such as exercise science and sports medicine, as well as for football and baseball. The projects would not move forward until funding is available, Westmoreland emphasized to trustees.

The university center project would continue a process begun in 2001. Facilities for football and exercise science have become possibilities with the anticipated move of other athletics department offices and facilities to the new Pete Hanna Center later this year. The baseball project includes enclosure of the open-air press box at Joe Lee Griffin Field.

New faculty members elected by trustees for the 2007-08 academic year include:

  • LaJuana S. Davis, assistant professor of law. Davis currently is visiting assistant professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville and received her law degree from Harvard School of Law.
  • Malia Fincher, assistant professor of biology. Fincher is scheduled to receive a doctorate in ecology in May from Tulane University, where she has been a teaching assistant.
  • Doris E. Greene, assistant professor of law. Greene, a graduate of Tulane University Law School, most recently has been an instructor in the Summer Discovery Program at Georgetown University;
  • Jannifer Rahn, assistant professor of geography. Rahn, a visiting assistant professor at Old Dominion University, earned a doctorate from the University of Florida.
  • James R. Strange, visiting assistant professor of religion. Strange expects to complete a doctorate in New Testament studies this summer at Emory University. He has been involved with archaeological work in Israel with the University of South Florida.
  • William B. Womack, assistant professor of history. Womack received a doctorate in history from the University of London and has been a visiting assistant professor at Auburn University.
  • Geoffrey A. Wright, assistant professor of English. Wright earned a doctorate in English literature from Tulsa University, where he has been a teaching assistant.

Three retired faculty members were granted emeritus status: Marian K. Baur, dean emeritus, nursing; Sigurd F. Bryan, emeritus professor, religion; and Thomas Hines, emeritus professor, world languages.

Trustees also approved an updated statement on academic freedom, recommendations for faculty promotions and tenure, and the list of candidates for graduation on May 26, pending completion of all requirements by the students.

In a series of routine reports, trustees learned that the university's endowment is now about $286 million. The university also has received a record 720 paid deposits by new students for fall 2007.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.