Published on March 22, 2011 at 7 p.m. by Philip Poole  

Samford University’s trustee executive committee approved several new faculty members and a new interdisciplinary academic program during a March 22 meeting in Birmingham. 

New faculty members include: 

Jared C. Balance, assistant professor of music. Balance has degrees in cello performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the doctor of musical arts degree in performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. He currently is assistant professor of music at Oakwood University, Huntsville, Ala., and previously was on the chamber music faculty at Hochstein School of Music and Dance, Rochester, N.Y. 

Graham Arthur Cole, Beeson Professor of Divinity. Cole, a native of Australia, has degrees from the universities of Sydney (Australia) and London and earned the doctor of theology degree from the Australian College of Theology. He has been professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., since 2001. 

J. Howard Finch, professor and dean, Brock School of Business. Finch currently serves as associate dean at Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers. He has a doctor of philosophy degree in finance from the University of Alabama. 

Woodrow N. Hartzog, assistant professor of law. Hartzog earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Samford and also has a doctor of philosophy degree in journalism/mass communication from the University of North Carolina. He is Park Fellow and instructor of record at UNC and previously was an attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Allison Hepola, assistant professor of philosophy. She will complete her doctorate in philosophy at Rutgers University in May.  

Kristin E. Kenning, assistant professor of music and opera director. Kenning has a doctor of music arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. She previously taught studio voice at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. 

Brian B. Viliunas, assistant professor of music and director of the Samford Orchestra. Viliunas has two degrees in clarinet performance and is completing a doctor of musical arts degree at Arizona State University. He is a doctoral teaching assistant at ASU and director of The Sustainable Symphony in Tempe. 

A new academic program – global studies in history, language and culture – was approved as a humanities-based, interdisciplinary major. The program will provide students “the tools to study, encounter and engage with people, cultures and language through history and in the ever-changing present,” according to Samford Provost J. Bradley Creed. 

The educational specialist graduate program was changed to an Ed.S. in instructional leadership to reflect changes in the Alabama State Department of Education’s revised standards for certification. 

In other action, trustees authorized university administrators to develop plans for expanded health services on campus that would allow the university’s health center to accept student and employee insurance. All students will now be required to have health insurance coverage. In previous years, only nursing and pharmacy students and student-athletes had been required to do so. Plans are being finalized to relocate the health clinic to new facilities in F. Page Seibert Hall. 

The next full meeting of the board of trustees is April 19.

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.