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The University of West Albama

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The University of West Albama

The University of West Alabama is a state-supported, coeducational institution of higher learning governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor. As a regional institution, the University’s foremost commitment is to meeting the educational needs of the State and particularly of the West Alabama area. Valuing a diverse student enrollment, though, it also welcomes students from throughout the United States and from other countries. The primary purpose of the University is to provide opportunities for students to pursue a quality education through associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and education specialist degrees in liberal arts, natural sciences and mathematics, pre-professional programs, nursing, technology, business, and education. Importance is placed on providing opportunities within the curricula for the development of enhanced skills in critical thinking, communication, leadership, and computer literacy. The University also seeks to provide students opportunities for growth beyond the classroom through a wide range of extracurricular activities, programs, and services and through the maintenance of an environment of cultural and intellectual diversity. Through the total educational experience that it provides and through its encouragement of the free exchange of ideas among faculty, administration, and students, the University attempts to assist its students in developing the important qualities of independent thinking and respect for the ideas of others and in building firm foundations of personal integrity and character in order to realize their quests for a philosophy of life and for self-fulfillment. At the University of West Alabama, the emphasis is upon the traditional learner, but the institution is also committed to furthering the concept of lifelong learning and to serving the non-traditional student. It considers among its clientele are high schools, businesses and industries, governmental agencies, and professional workers. In serving these diverse publics, the institution employs not only traditional means of delivery, but it also seeks to expand its use of innovative technologies, including distance learning, and to networking with other educational institutions and agencies in order to more comprehensively address the needs of its region. In fulfilling its mission, the University seeks to employ a vibrant, talented, and diverse faculty. In the recruitment and retention of this faculty, as with all members of the University community, the institution, consistent with its academic heritage, maintains an openness to all qualified persons. Excellence in teaching and advising is paramount to the faculty, but the members are also committed to providing leadership and fostering positive growth throughout West Alabama through research and public service, with primary emphasis on that which meets the educational, social, cultural, and economic needs of the region. The University of West Alabama was chartered in 1835 as a church-related female academy and admitted its first students in 1839. After difficult times during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, the school reopened in the late 1860s or early 1870s. Although it appears that a few male students were admitted following the reopening, a resolution by the Board of Trustees in 1876 excluded boys, and this policy was followed until the beginning of the 20th century. From 1881 to 1910 the school at Livingston was under the direction of the noted educator and reformer Julia Tutwiler, who succeeded in getting a small appropriation from the State Legislature in 1883 to establish normal school training for girls at Livingston Female Academy. According to statements in the University archives, this is believed to be the first State appropriation in Alabama made exclusively for the education of women. The first normal school diplomas were granted in 1886. Livingston Female Academy and State Normal College continued as a private institution with some State support until 1907, when the State assumed full control. It remained under its own board of trustees, however, until the Legislature created a State Board of Trustees for all the normal schools in 1911. In 1919 this board was abolished and all state normal schools were placed under the supervision of the State Board of Education. During these early years the school offered both secondary education and normal school programs for the training of teachers.

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