Published on May 7, 2014 by Philip Poole  

New graduates, new programs and new faculty were among the items approved by Samford University's board of trustees in their spring meeting May 6.

Trustees gave preliminary approval to about 900 candidates for graduation in May commencement ceremonies, pending final completion of degree requirements. Samford Provost J. Bradley Creed reminded trustees that approving candidates for graduation is "one of the most important things" that trustees do.

Several of the approved new programs are related to Samford's new College of Health Sciences.

A full-time, three-year doctorate in physical therapy will be housed in the School of Health Professions.  The program will admit one class of students each year in June, beginning in 2015, and will include both course work and clinical experiences.

The master of public health degree in the new School of Public Health is a five-semester online program for health professionals to expand skills, knowledge and expertise or for students who want to build a career in public health.

A master of science in speech language pathology in the new School of Health Professions is a hybrid program with an on-campus traditional component and an online/distance learning component. Candidates who complete this program will be eligible for state licensure and national certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

A new bachelor of science in communication sciences and disorders in the School of Health Professions allows students to learn the basics of speech-language pathology and audiology and could potentially lead to students continuing their studies at the graduate level.

In the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education, a new bachelor of science in education degree with a Christian education and missions concentration is designed to prepare students for any aspect of Christian education, including missions outreach and children's and youth ministries.

Trustees also approved three new minors: medical ethics in the Department of Philosophy; an interdisciplinary minor in the western intellectual tradition for the University Fellows program; and a sports and recreation ministry minor that allows students from other majors to participate in this program.

And, trustees approved a name change for the Ministry Training Institute, formerly known as the Samford Extension Program. The institute provides non-degree certificate programs for ministers and lay leaders through 32 teaching locations in Alabama.

New faculty members are:

Joseph A. Cory, associate professor of art. Cory is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Chicago. Since 2008, he has been an associate professor at Judson College, Marion, Ala.

Cheryl M. Miller, instructor and senior laboratory manager, pharmacy. She currently is a senior lab manager for McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Miller has three degrees, including education specialist, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Stephen E. Watson, assistant professor of art. Watson currently is an instructor at Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa, Ala. He has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

J. Clayton Winters, assistant professor of theatre. Winters is completing his master of fine arts degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and is music, media and student ministry coordinator at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Richmond.

Trustees also gave formal approval to the appointment of Henry C. Strickland as dean of Cumberland School of Law. Strickland was named dean-elect in December and will replace retiring dean John L. Carroll on July 1.

Nine retirees were granted emeritus faculty status: Myralyn Allgood, world languages; Paul Aucoin, administrative dean; Ken Brazil, art; Jon Clemmensen, journalism and mass communication; Charlotte Coleman, world languages; Penny Marler, religion; Leonard Nelson, law; Robert Schrimscher, pharmacy; and Billy Strickland, music.

Trustees approved PriceWaterhouseCoopers to conduct the independent financial audit for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

In addition to action items, trustees heard updates from university administrators.

Harry B. Brock III, vice president for business and financial affairs, reported that the university administration anticipates ending the fiscal year June 30 with a positive operating margin.

Lisa Imbragulio, associate vice president and general counsel, reported that the university's endowment was valued at $273 million as of March 31, an increase of about $18 million since the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2013.

R. Phil Kimrey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, reported that admitted student numbers for fall 2014 are up slightly from the same point in 2013, and he anticipates that the number of paid deposits will equal or slightly exceed the previous year.

W. Randy Pittman, vice president for university advancement, reported that $193 million in gifts and pledges has been received toward the $200 million "Campaign for Samford" that is scheduled for completion by Dec. 31.

The next meeting of the board is Sept. 4-5 in Birmingham.

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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 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.