Trustees approve academic programs

Amanda Peterson

The UA System Board of Trustees approved additional expansions for the University outside of just on-campus construction.

UA professors and administrators will help start academic programs across the state at other institutions.

The trustees on Friday approved committee recommendations, including a partnership between the University and the University of North Alabama to create an education doctoral program at UNA.

Charles Nash, vice chancellor of academic and student affairs, said UNA officials asked the University if UA professors and officials could help them start a program at the campus in Florence. There is no doctoral program like this in the area, he said.

“One of the advantages of this is that they don’t have to start a new level of degree,” Nash said. “They don’t have to worry about running into a situation where the demand is depleted in a few short years.”

It will be an extension of the UA program, so he said the University could increase classes offered or call it back as needed.

Trustees also approved submitting the proposals to start aerospace engineering master’s and doctoral-level programs at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and to change the name of a doctoral program at the UA campus from “engineering science and mechanics” to “aerospace engineering and mechanics.”

The degree name change of the UA degree would more accurately reflect the academic specialty of the faculty and what the students learned, Nash said.

Both of these changes were requested as part of the Aerospace Engineering Consortium for Alabama that UAH and the University are forming along with Auburn University.

According to board documents, the program will improve aerospace engineering research and education in the state as well as fill the demand for experienced professionals in the government and private-business aerospace industries.

Nash said discussions about this idea began in 1994, and it is finally taking shape.

Trustee Marietta Urqhart called it an “important collaboration” between the three schools.

“Things are on track. Our institutions have continued to work together with Auburn University,” Nash said.

Department officials from the University and UAH met with their Auburn counterparts in December, he said.