Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-09-02

New faculty, new programs and new residence facilities highlighted actions of Samford University’s board of trustees in their regular fall meeting Sept. 2 in Birmingham.

Three new faculty members were approved, effective with the fall semester:

Jill Butler, instructor in nursing. Butler has two degrees from Samford and had been an adjunct clinical instructor at Samford since 2009. She had worked in the cardiac intensive care unit at Birmingham’s Princeton Baptist Hospital since 2006.

F. Jane Cobia, associate professor of education. Cobia comes to Samford from Shorter University, Rome, Ga., where she had been chair of the education department. Cobia earned a doctor of education degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Alabama. She has 25 years of experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

Hilary E. Senter, instructor in nursing. She recently completed her master’s degree in nursing education at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. She has worked as an emergency and medical intensive care nurse and an adjunct clinical instructor at Bevill State Community College.

Two academic departments were renamed. The department of exercise science and sports medicine became the department of kinesiology and nutrition science to better represent all the majors within the department, according to university officials.

The department of interior design was changed to the department of interior architecture to better align with accepted professional nomenclature and programs being offered. The department also is being relocated to the school of the arts from the school of education and professional studies.

The board authorized the university administration to proceed with planning for a new residential village on the southwest corner of the campus. The project will add about 300 beds to the university’s available housing inventory in the initial phase and an additional 100 beds in phase two.

Trustees also received and approved the final audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The university ended the year with a positive net operating margin of about $2.1 million and net assets totaling about $320 million, according to the audit.

Trustee Rod Steakley of Huntsville said the auditing firm was “very complimentary” of the university’s financial management. “We have the necessary people in place and they have the level of expertise to make this happen,” he said.

In a series of reports, trustees heard that the university’s fall enrollment is on track to be a record. Final enrollment figures will be released in mid-September.

The university’s endowment was valued at more than $246 million at the close of the fiscal year on June 30. Gifts and pledges to “A Campaign for Samford” totaled about $125.3 million as of August 1.

In his report, President Andrew Westmoreland stressed the importance of the university’s academic programs. “We’re making great progress, keeping the needs of our students at the forefront,” he said.

He also noted the important gains in all other areas of university life, particularly in residence life with improvements to facilities and other student areas that were completed in time for the fall semester. 

Citing the university’s marketing tagline “the world is better for it,” Westmoreland said he would take that one step further. “There has never been a time when the world has needed Samford more."




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.