Samford University's New College of Health Sciences Gets Trustee Endorsement

Mar 01, 2013, 15:22 ET from Samford University

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Samford University's board of trustees has given preliminary approval to a new College of Health Sciences, effective with the 2013-14 academic year.


The new college, when fully developed, will include the existing Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing and McWhorter School of Pharmacy, as well as two new units: a School of Health-Related Professions and a School of Community and Public Health. The existing department of kinesiology and nutrition science also will move to the new college.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland noted the proposal brings together three of the university's strongest, most popular academic programs and opens new doors to expand professional training in other health-related fields. Almost one-third of Samford's undergraduate and graduate/professional students already study in health-related programs, including pre-professional programs for medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Westmoreland said trustee endorsement is the "first step toward placing the proposed programs within our regular framework for review and approval," including work with appropriate accreditation bodies. The university is exploring collaborative opportunities within existing programs, as well as emerging opportunities in the rapidly changing health-care field. Implementation will be a multi-year process.

"Given Samford's longstanding commitment to prepare students for meaningful lives of service to God and humankind, a College of Health Sciences fits easily within our mission," he added. The proposed college will result in "a comprehensive academic unit that combines the resources, talents and energy of [Samford's] existing health-related programs in a manner that will best serve the university in the future."

Samford Provost and Executive Vice President J. Bradley Creed also announced that Nena F. Sanders, current nursing dean, will assume a new role as vice provost to oversee planning for and implementation of the new College. Sanders will continue as nursing dean, at least during the time of planning and implementation.

"Without [Sanders'] vast knowledge of the anticipated needs in health care over the next two decades, her contacts in the field, and her detailed understanding of curricular and staffing needs, it would be impossible for us to consider this undertaking," Westmoreland said.

Sanders noted that the trend in higher education is to establish a College of Health Sciences to meet market demand for health-care professionals and to maximize shared resources across schools and programs. Many health-care organizations are promoting interprofessional and interdisciplinary training, and the new College of Health Sciences provides that framework for Samford.

A new Center for Faith and Health also is proposed, providing a model for "interprofessional practice, scholarship and service that focuses on faith, health, end of life and ethics," Sanders said. The center would provide a framework for faith and health initiatives already in existence at Samford and new opportunities globally.

Creed said that Charles Sands III will continue to serve as pharmacy dean. Additional administrative leadership and faculty needs will be determined in the months ahead.

Samford has a long history of providing health-related degree programs. The pharmacy program began in 1927, and nursing was added in 1973. Graduates from the two programs consistently score at or near 100 percent on required certification programs.

About Samford University:
With more than 4,700 students enrolled annually, Samford University is located in suburban Birmingham, Alabama. Consistently ranked in the top tier of its peer group by U.S. News & World Report, Samford has been nationally recognized for academics and affordability by Kiplinger's, Forbes and The Princeton Review. The university offers undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees in eight academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, law, nursing and pharmacy.

SOURCE Samford University