Competition for national rankings is a huge topic among college administrators, Samford president Thomas E. Corts said at a campus-wide staff meeting Aug. 24.
"We can be proud that for the 15th year, Samford is listed in U.S. News and World Report ranking," said Corts, adding that it is gratifying to have "justly earned that position," without having devoted special personnel or a specific effort to acquire the honor.
Samford was recently ranked fifth in the South in the magazine's Best University-Masters category. The school has been ranked in the top seven schools in its category for 15 consecutive years.
Corts addressed the staff following a similar speech to faculty earlier in the week. His comments also covered enrollment and future overseas endeavors.
Samford expects about 680 freshmen with an average ACT score of about 24.8. The mix of men and women remains a concern, Corts said, noting that more than 60 percent of this year's freshman class is expected to be female.
"I would like this to be a more diverse campus," in terms of both men and minority students, he said.
He also hopes to increase the number of students having academic experiences overseas. The Middle East offers possibilities. "Beirut may be the place" for Samford to have a presence in the Middle East, he said, citing a highly successful summer trip there by School of Education and Professional Studies faculty.
Samford has received a $500,000 foundation grant to acquire property for a study center near Berlin, Germany. Additional funds are being sought to make the project a reality, said Corts.
Corts said he hopes employees feel a part of the institution and realize the contributions they make in people's lives.
Helping persons achieve their potential should be a hallmark of a Christian institution, he said.
"We can never forget we're dealing with students, who are at a delicate place at this time in their lives. It is our responsibility to reach out to them."
"We want Samford to be a different kind of place. We should be proud, not ashamed of that, and articulate that in the marketplace."
The session also included updates from other Samford officials on such topics as the tuition exchange program for children of employees, the status of the new Banner administrative software project, and parking.
Employees were encouraged to find innovative ways to relieve parking congestion. Carpooling and use of the shuttle system will help greatly, said Don Mott, vice president for facilities.