Several significant academic changes were approved by Samford University's board of trustees executive committee in their regular fall meeting Oct. 30.

Trustees gave formal approval to the names of two new schools in the College of Health Sciences: School of Public Health and School of Health Professions. A department of physical therapy was approved in the School of Health Professions, and a department of public health was approved in the School of Public Health. The creation of new doctor of physical therapy and master of public health degrees was approved in the respective schools.

Additionally, trustees approved name change for the Department of Speech-Language Pathology to Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the creation of two new degrees in the department: a bachelor of science in communication sciences and disorders and a master of science in speech language pathology.

The creation of a non-degree dietetic internship certificate program was approved in the School of Public Health.

All of the changes are part of the original plans and represent great progress in the implementation of the new college, according to Samford Provost and Executive Vice President J. Bradley Creed.

Matthew Ford was elected department chair and associate professor of physical therapy. He has a doctorate in kinesiology from Pennsylvania State University and most recently was an associate professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He also has been a research associate at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Dothan, and Lakeshore Foundation, Birmingham.

"We are not remaining stagnant at Samford, and we are changing to meet the need of the marketplace," said executive committee chair Roderic G. Steakley of Huntsville, referencing the actions related to the new college. "We are seeing the positive results of the changes that we have approved in recent years."

Two new funds for the McWhorter School of Pharmacy were approved, including The Ray R. and Peggie L. Wood Endowed Scholarship Fund. The fund, resulting from an estate gift, will provide scholarships. Other funds from the Wood estate and a gift from Samford alumnus Clayton McWhorter were used to establish an International Pharmacy Education and Development Fund to "encourage pharmacy student and faculty participation in global learning about healthcare and pharmacy outside the U.S.," according to W. Randy Pittman, Samford's vice president for advancement.

The next meeting of the board of trustees is Dec. 3.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.