Samford University’s board of trustees took several significant actions around academics and facilities during its regular winter meeting Dec. 1 in Birmingham.
Trustees approved 247 candidates for Dec. 12 graduation, pending fulfillment of degree requirements. “It always is an honor to get to make this recommendation,” said Samford Provost J. Michael Hardin. “This is why we are here, to graduate these students so they can change the world.” Following their tradition of each semester, trustees had a special prayer for the graduates.
Three new academic departments were approved in the College of Health Sciences: Department of Health Administration, and Department of Health Informatics and Information Management in the School of Public Health, and Department of Cardiopulmonary Sciences in the School of Health Professions. The departments are part of the university’s growth plan to meet market demands for health-related professions.
In Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education, two new departments were created from the former Department of Curriculum and Instruction: Department of Teacher Education (undergraduate) and Department of Curriculum and Instruction (graduate). The Division of Professional and Continuing Studies and the Office of Professional Studies in the education school were renamed to better reflect current program initiatives, Hardin said.
A new Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing was approved to provide “quality nursing education” to military veterans interested in nursing careers, according to university officials. The university recently received a grant to help fund the new program.
Also approved in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing were three new Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) to D.N.P. and an RN to D.N.P. with concentrations in family nurse practitioner, leadership across the continuum of care and leadership in legal and ethical health care, and a B.S.N. to D.N.P. in nurse anesthesia.
Andrea Bowens was approved as assistant professor of physical therapy. She currently is a physical therapist with Encore Rehabilitation in Birmingham and earned her doctorate from the University of Florida.
Names for five spaces in the university’s new Art Lofts were approved by trustees, including Hazel Boren Faculty Office, Rickie and MaryAnn Moon Glazing Room, Trevelyn Grace Campbell Student Lounge, Eschol and Sarah Taylor Senior Studio, and Forstall Art Center Senior Studio. The Art Lofts opened for the fall semester, and provide classroom, studio and offices for several of the art department areas.
Trustees heard reports from several university administrators. Samford’s endowment value as of Oct. 31 was $267 million. Gifts to the university through the end of October totaled $13 million and are ahead of the same period in 2014. As of Nov. 30, admissions and deposits are ahead of the same date in fall 2014.
“Students across the U.S. are finding us in a variety of ways and continue to be interested in the kind of institution that Samford is,” said R. Phil Kimrey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
Drew Cundiff, a financial services executive from Birmingham, was attending his first meeting as a new trustee. Retiring trustees who were recognized include Birmingham physician Lev Bragg, Trussville pastor Buddy Champion and attorney Clark Watson. Bragg and Champion had served the maximum term as trustees, and Watson recently joined the university's administration as general counsel.
New officers elected by the trustees are Birmingham business executive Tim Vines, chair; educator and community volunteer Beth Thorne Stokes, vice chair and executive committee chair; Birmingham banking executive Vic Nichol, secretary; and Birmingham businessman Warren Bailey, assistant secretary.