Posted by Philip Poole on 2014-09-05

Samford University’s board of trustees affirmed the framework for a new strategic plan and approved new faculty members and expanded parking areas during their regular fall meeting Sept. 5 in Birmingham. 

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland and Chief Strategy Officer Colin Coyne presented an overview of the university’s new strategic plan, which trustees approved. 

The new plan includes four major areas of focus: emphasize student success; enhance our community; extend our reach; and ensure financial strength. Each of the four areas includes four additional “directional statements,” as Westmoreland described them. The plan, which has been in the developmental stages for several months and involved a broad representation of university constituencies, will continue to evolve through the coming year, Westmoreland told trustees. 

New faculty members include: 

Senobia Crawford, associate professor of physical therapy. She has been a physical therapist in private practice since 2001 and earned her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Erin Naugher Gilchrist, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction. Since 2013, Gilchrist has been an adjunct qualitative research instructor at the University of Alabama, where she earned her doctorate. 

Warren T. Jones, assistant professor of biological and environmental sciences. Jones has been an adjunct instructor at Samford and Jefferson State Community College. He earned his doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Trustees approved plans for 166 additional parking spaces in several locations around campus to accommodate student enrollment growth, the new Brock School of Business building and increased visitors to campus for events. New or expanded lots will be located near the west campus entrance, the baseball/softball complex, near the current maintenance facility and adjacent to the university center. 

The university also will relocate facilities and maintenance offices and shops to previously unfinished space in the north parking deck. This proposed relocation was included in the original design of the deck when it was constructed in 2007 but postponed until needs dictated, according to Harry B. Brock III, Samford’s vice president for business and financial affairs. 

Part of the current maintenance facility will be removed to provide for one of the new parking lots. The other facility will be renovated into additional studios, offices and storage for the art department. 

Total cost of the parking and construction projects will be about $7.3 million, according Brock. He noted that the process will be a “domino effect” with the facilities relocation necessary before some of the other capital projects can be completed. Some parking lot work will begin as soon as contracts are signed. All projects have been approved by the City of Homewood, Brock said. 

Trustees received a report from representatives of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers accounting firm on the financial audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The university will receive an unqualified “clean” opinion on its financial statements, the representatives said. 

Trustees also received a series of positive reports from university administrators, including a 13.9 percent return on endowment investments for the fiscal year that ended June 30 and an anticipated record when fall enrollment is finalized in a few days. 

In his report, Westmoreland noted the strong foundation on which Samford is building for the future, including planned growth, strong management and strategic thinking. “This is an exciting time to be here, and I am glad to be sharing it with you,” he said. 

The next meeting of the board is Dec. 2 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 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.