Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-04-29

Samford University's board of trustees approved a new degree program and several other academic and administrative changes in their annual spring meeting April 28 in Birmingham.

A new bachelor's degree in sports administration was approved in the department of exercise science and sports medicine. Samford Provost J. Bradley Creed said this degree was especially appealing to students who want to coach. The new degree will be implemented with the fall 2009 semester.

Charles D. Sands III was approved as dean of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy effective May 1. Sands had been serving as interim dean since August 2008. Sands also was promoted to full professor.

The Brock Family Chair in Entrepreneurship was approved in Samford's Brock School of Business. Compass Bank co-founder Harry B. Brock Jr., a life trustee at Samford, and other Brock family members have contributed "significant financial resources" to support the university's entrepreneurship program, according to W. Randall Pittman, Samford's vice president for advancement.

Tuition for the McWhorter School of Pharmacy was set at $13,330 per semester for the 2009-10 school year. This is a 4 percent increase over 2008-09. Trustees earlier had approved other graduate and undergraduate tuition rates and fees for 2009-10.

Trustees approved a new policy related to academic grants. "Our faculty members are doing more and more in seeking grants for research," Creed said, "and this new policy will give us guidelines to follow."

Also approved were routine changes in university policies to reflect recent administrative reorganization, with new vice presidents for operations and planning and enrollment management and student affairs, and policies related to web services, parking, vacation and other employment issues. Trustees also approved conferring degrees for a prospective list of 847 spring graduates.

Two new faculty members were elected:

Cameron "Chip" Crotts, associate professor of music. Crotts has been assistant professor of trumpet and director of jazz studies at Jacksonville (Ala.) State University. He received his doctor of musical arts degree in trumpet performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He also has degrees from East Carolina and Pennsylvania State universities.

Maryam Iranikhah, assistant professor of pharmacy. She has been a pharmacy resident at Samford since 2008. From 2002-08, she held various positions as a pharmacist in the Birmingham area. Iranikhah received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her doctor of pharmacy degree from Samford University.

Trustees approved a resolution of appreciation for Richard H. Franklin, who is retiring as vice president and dean of students at the end of the current academic year.

Pittman reported gifts to the university of more than $21.3 million through mid-April. This represents the largest single year in annual giving in this decade and is an 11 percent increase over fiscal year 2008.

R. Phil Kimrey, dean of admission, told trustees that paid deposits from students in the fall 2009 freshman class are "trending at about the same level as last year." Kimrey said that May 1 is a critical deadline for student deposits for housing and financial aid priority. He noted the special efforts of university faculty and staff in working to secure student commitment to Samford for fall.

In his report to trustees, Westmoreland focused on three main areas – the university's fiscal, missional and spiritual health. He said that despite the challenges of a difficult year, Samford employees had displayed "grace, competence and courage."

Student Nathan Troost told trustees about receiving the sportscaster of the year award from the Alabama Broadcasters Association. "Next to working in residence life, working for Samford's radio station has been the greatest experience of my time here," he said. "So many people have helped me at Samford. My experiences will help me regardless of what I end up doing."

Troost is a senior journalism major from Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

At a luncheon earlier in the day, trustees had heard from two other students, senior Stephanie Elliott of Birmingham and sophomore Marshall Pollard of Homosassa, Fla., about the importance of scholarships that allowed them to attend Samford. Brian Gregory, assistant professor of chemistry, presented research he is doing with undergraduate students in chemistry. Trustees also toured the new clinical simulation laboratory in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.

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.