Published on December 6, 2017 by Philip Poole  

Jean A. Box, dean of Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education, will step down from her administrative role effective Dec. 31. Provost J. Michael Hardin will serve as interim dean while a national search is conducted for a new dean.

Box, who has served as dean for 12 years, will be on sabbatical in the spring semester before resuming her fulltime position as professor of early childhood education. Box has served on the Samford faculty for 28 years.

“Although my tenure as dean has included countless joys, stepping aside from that position in 2018 will enable me to pursue a time-sensitive endeavor – the opportunity to contribute to Alabama’s proposed preschool program expansions,” Box said in a message to education school faculty and staff. “Such state initiatives will require both highly qualified professionals and developmentally-appropriate curriculum. I therefore feel called to rejoin our excellent early childhood faculty as our school seeks to contribute to those efforts.”

Hardin praised Box’s service as dean, which included program expansions and additions and a successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education in 2013. 

“At Samford we often speak of an individual’s ‘calling’,” Hardin said. “Through her service as an educator and administrator, Dr. Box has developed curriculum, programs and policies that prepared countless individuals to fulfill their call. Now Dr. Box is answering a new personal call. We can be certain that the work she will do in that role will be instrumental in Alabama’s efforts to positively impact next-generation learners.” 

Before coming to Samford in 1989, Box taught in the Birmingham City School System from 1977 until 1987. She also taught in primary schools in England and France, where she conducted research in comparative education. An Auburn University graduate, she earned her graduate degrees at the University of Alabama at 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. 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.