Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-03-16

A new degree program and two new faculty members were approved March 10 by the executive committee of Samford University's board of trustees. The executive committee acts on behalf of the full board between board meetings.

The bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre is a new interdisciplinary degree in the department of theatre. The degree, designed for students interested in careers in musical theatre, combines two existing programs that had been taught separately by the departments of music and theatre.

Trustees also approved a name change for the department of theatre and dance to incorporate the dance curriculum into the department name. The new degree and name change are effective with the fall 2009 semester.

Two new faculty members were approved to begin with the fall 2009 semester:

Lee K. Farquhar, assistant professor of journalism. In May, Farquhar will complete his doctorate in mass communications from the University of Iowa, where he is an instructor in the school of journalism and mass communication. His area of specialty is online media.

Sara E. Helms, assistant professor of economics. Helms has a doctor of philosophy degree in economics from the University of Maryland-College Park and specializes in economics of education, volunteer behavior, labor economics, and applied microeconomics . She currently is assistant professor of economics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Trustees approved several academic and administrative policy changes to reflect recent administrative reorganization at Samford.

University administrators reported on budget adjustments being implemented to offset projected downturns in endowment earnings.

Dean of Admission R. Phil Kimrey reported that applications for fall 2009 had set a record of 2,209 as of March 9, with the 291 paid deposits running about 15 percent ahead of the same period in 2008.

W. Randall Pittman, Samford's vice president for university relations, reported annual gifts totaling $17.9 million through the end of February, on pace to match the near-record annual gifts of $20.4 million in fiscal year 2008.

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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.