College of Arts and Sciences News

Academic Updates

Academic Updates

by Dr. Sara Lynn Baird, Associate Dean

The College of Arts and Sciences faculty have been actively engaged in curricular innovations, online course development, graduate degrees, unique collaborations, international connections, and experiential learning, which all offer exciting opportunities for our current and future students. 


This fall COAS welcomed the faculty in the culinary, fashion merchandising, hospitality management, and interior design areas who have been working diligently to develop new curricula which will result in full majors in each area. Fall 2018 will witness the first graduates in the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology curriculum, and the department has recently recorded 100% employment prior to graduation for the first graduates. The newly available option in Chemical-Engineering is being led by new faculty member Dr. Jonathan Sullivan. The major in Geographic Information Services (GIS) major has been granted STEM designation, and a restructured curriculum in this major incorporates current trends in the academy and industry.


Online education is growing at UNA with an undergraduate online degree in Spanish. Online courses are available in nearly every curriculum and Geospatial Science, Math, History, Criminal Justice, Writing and others also have graduate degrees available fully online.


In collaboration with the Department of Counselor Education, the Department of Psychology is now offering an Accelerated Master’s Program which should attract a new cohort of graduate students to UNA. The new MS in Mathematics offers an innovative approach to graduate level mathematics which provides an excellent option for math majors working in industry or education who desire a stronger background in math and related.


The School of the Arts has recently initiated several partnerships with other institutions, including: CREATE scholarship with Franklin County Chamber of Commerce; Arts Day with Russellville City Schools; an arts Articulation Agreement with Columbia State Community College; and will launch a local arts, equity, and diversity conference called I2E2 (Ignite. Inspire. Educate. Engage). A new interdisciplinary course in Mathematics is CODE, an initiative of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville where students explore and simulate gene mutations and their relations to diseases.


With increased interest in attracting students from China, UNA offers the 1+2+1 program which allows students to enroll at their home institution for their first and last years and enroll at UNA for sophomore and junior years, resulting in diplomas from both institutions. Geography and Psychology faculty are actively engaged in the implementation of these collaborations.


Psychology offers the Bridge Scholars program that connects high school students, college students, and UNA faculty through research. A number of units offer study abroad programs for students to experience other cultures. There are opportunities for study abroad this summer in Jamaica, London, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, New Zealand, France, Spain, and Peru, as well as a Music Department concert tour in Costa Rica. All geography students are required to participate in some kind of experiential learning, and many curricula offer such options. The Department of Visual Arts and Design has recently traveled with students to lectures, exhibits, and conferences in the southeast, as well as,  New York City. Our culinary faculty hosted a master class by Natalie Dupree and the University Art Gallery collaborated with the History Department and the Shoals Heritage Association to present a show and lecture on "Hidden Spaces."


The commitment of our faculty, staff, and administration to provide UNA students with extraordinary opportunities and learning experiences that will equip them to excel in today’s job markets is impressive. We are continuing to work to increase the relevancy of our curricula to enhance the experience of our students as they strive to become productive and well-educated citizens.