Posted by Philip Poole on 2008-09-05

One of the most far-reaching strategic plans in Samford University history was affirmed by the university's board of trustees during their regular fall meeting Sept. 5 in Birmingham.

The plan, two years in formulation, includes more than 60 proposed action steps supporting six major goals and about 30 objectives. The planning process involved all major university constituencies, including trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni. The plan will serve as a framework for the university's program and budget planning over the next five years, according to Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.

The plan focuses on student experiences, teaching excellence, global experiences, scholarship and research, professional development, and fund raising. Implementation already is underway, Westmoreland said, and the full plan will be rolled out during the 2008-09 academic year.

"You will receive an annual report card from us assessing how we are accomplishing these goals," Westmoreland told trustees. "But, we also need the freedom to realize that plans may need to change. Adopting this plan does not mean our circumstances may not change. We'll engage you in that process."

Trustees also approved preliminary plans for a multi-million dollar capital campaign to provide funding for the strategic plan initiatives. University officials expect to publicly announce the campaign in late October.

Trustees authorized the naming of the field at Samford's Seibert Stadium for Bobby Bowden, pending completion of a $1 million campaign to provide an endowment fund for Samford athletics. Bowden, currently head football coach at Florida State University, is a 1953 Samford graduate and served as Samford's head coach from 1959-62. W. Randall Pittman, Samford's vice president for university relations, said a group of Bowden's former teammates and players, and other friends of the university, are interested in providing leadership for the campaign.

Trustees approved seven new faculty members:

Tzu-Ling Sarana Chou, assistant professor of music. Chou is a graduate of The Julliard School and has a doctor of musical arts degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where she most recently was an instructor in composition.

Sonya Booth Davis, instructor in the core curriculum. Booth has an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Alabama and a master's degree in English literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Davis has been an adjunct instructor at Samford since 1997.

Eva A. Hardy, instructor in nursing. Hardy has bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an adult health nurse practitioner. She has been practicing part-time with local physicians.

Erin A. Killingsworth, instructor in nursing. Killingsworth earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Auburn University and a master's degree from Samford, where she has been a part-time clinical associate since 2007. She also has staff experience at two hospitals.

John D. Lundeen, instructor in nursing. Lundeen earned a master's degree from Samford and has been teaching at Jefferson State Community College for the last two years. He also has experience at two Birmingham-area hospitals.

Jillyn N. Pence, assistant professor of nursing. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Pence also earned a master's degree from Samford. She has taught in the University of Alabama's school of nursing for the past six years and also has served as an adjunct instructor for both Samford and Wallace State College.

Terri M. Wensel, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Wensel earned the doctor of pharmacy degree from Auburn. For the past two years, she has been assistant professor and director of continuing professional education at Wingate (N.C.) University.

Trustees approved the new Harwell G. Davis Chair in Samford's Cumberland School of Law. Named in memory of Samford's president from 1939-1958, the chair was funded with an endowment gift from the estate of Davis' daughter, Elizabeth Davis Eshelman. Eshelman was a 1964 Cumberland graduate.

David M. Smolin, professor of law, was appointed to the new chair.

J. Maurice Persall, professor of education, was appointed as the Orlean Bullard Beeson Professor in the school of education and professional studies.

More than 300 members of college and school advisory boards for 2008-09 were approved. The university's administration was authorized to develop a rate plan and annual review process for use of university facilities by external groups.

Trustees received a preliminary audit report on the fiscal year that ended June 30 and heard reports that the university raised $20.4 million in annual gifts during the recent fiscal year. Pittman noted that this was the third best giving year in university history. The university's endowment was about $306 million at the end of the fiscal year. Total assets delivered an investment return of 5.68 percent for the year, outperforming the Standard & Poor's benchmarks by a wide margin, reported Lisa Aday, Samford's investment officer.

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.