Higher Education

The University of Alabama in Huntsville
UAHuntsville is a doctoral-granting, “very high research activity” institution – one of only 73 public universities in the nation with that designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

It has about 7, 700 students. It offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs through its five colleges of business, liberal arts, nursing, science and the school of graduate studies.

The campus is among U.S. News & World Report’s Tier 1 national universities, and is the anchor tenant in Cummings Research Park.
UAHuntsville continues to receive accolades nationally. Popular Science magazine named its Propulsion Research Center as one of the top laboratories in the nation. The magazine cited its strategic location only a few miles from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Its graduate engineering program was ranked 88th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

UAHuntsville was again designated as a national center of information systems security education. First named a national center in 2007, it extends its designation to 2017.

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And Dr. Kathy Hawk was appointed UAHuntsville’s director of the school’s Global Understanding Initiative. Sigmatech gave $1 million to fund the Baba Budha Chair to promote global education and understanding and to serve all facets of the student community.

In August, UAHuntsville broke ground on a new student life center. The Charger Union will be 90, 000 square feet, will cost about $25 million and will provide space for retail, food vendors, dining and student activities. It will include a pedestrian bridge across Holmes Avenue and will be located near the campus’s greenway. It should be finished by the end of this year.

A transportation corridor at the school includes walkways, bicycle lanes, covered bicycle storage, extensive landscaping and green space. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby secured the $1.6 million federal grant to create the corridor.

Alabama A&M University
Alabama A&M University, founded in 1875, is a land-grant institution that offers its students a wide variety of degree programs ranging from the baccalaureate to the Ph.D.

AAMU, located on more than 2, 300 scenic acres, is only a five-minute commute from downtown Huntsville. Frederick Law Olmstead Sr., designer of New York’s Central Park, laid out the campus. Students come from 44 states and 11 foreign countries, and enrollment is more than 5, 000. The school has about 350 faculty members. AAMU is the top-ranked historically black university in Alabama.

Campus amenities include updated residential living, a new student wellness center and more.

According to Diverse magazine, AAMU holds national rankings in the number of African-American students who achieve degrees in agriculture, biological science, mathematics, engineering, education and more. AAMU ranks nationally in the number of African-Americans who earn advanced degrees in agriculture, psychology and computer science. AAMU is the site of Alabama’s oldest baccalaureate degree program in computer science.

Calhoun Community College (Huntsville campus)
With 11, 500 credit students enrolled in fall 2012, Calhoun is Alabama’s largest two-year college and the 6th largest higher education institution in the state.

Calhoun has campuses in Decatur, Huntsville and at Limstone Correctional Facility.

Calhoun’s Huntsville/Cummings Research Park campus is the only two-year-college campus located in a major research park. Close to 5, 000 students attend the Huntsville campus and are enrolled primarily in academic transfer courses. However, the college’s associate degree program in biotechnology (developed in partnership with the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology) also is offered at the Huntsville campus. The biotechnology program, which was launched in 2007, is the first and currently the state’s only two-year degree program in biotechnology.

The Alabama State Board of Education, in August 2012, approved a $34 million project to add classrooms and a student center, upgrade labs and provide more parking. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

The Huntsville campus also benefitted from a $1 million donation from Huntsville businessman Bill Propst and his wife, to be used to support students attending the Huntsville campus.

Last fall, the campus added a weekend-only program designed for students with job and family responsibilities.

Columbia College
This private, coeducational liberal arts and sciences college with a campus on Redstone Arsenal offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as certificate programs on campus and online. It serves nearly 25, 000 students per year nationwide. The online campus offers 23 online degrees and more than 800 classes.

ITT Technical Institute
ITT’s Madison campus offers several degree programs in information technology, electronics technology, drafting and design, business and criminal justice.

J.F. Drake State Technical College
Drake State is a historically black, public, two-year community and technical college that plays a significant role in workforce development. Open more than 50 years, Drake State has expanded services and enhanced access to its adult education and GED programs throughout the Tennessee Valley.

It uses state-of-the-art facilities and lab equipment to offer academic and technical education leading to 34 certificates and degrees in 16 technical disciplines and university-transfer general education courses.

Drake State recently earned regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its technical programs have been nationally accredited for more than 40 years, which include the automotive technology program, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Drake State is pursuing national accreditation for its machine tool, welding, culinary arts, and nursing programs.

Recently, Drake State added a Renewable Energy Lab, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, used for training and demonstrating cost-effective methods of producing electric power from solar and geothermal energy sources with zero use of power from the nation’s power grid.

Drake State students have competed and won awards in many arenas, and presented research projects at the National Science Foundation Emerging Researchers National Conference for the past three years, the only two-year college to do so – and have won first and third places for their presentations. Drake students also have won many medals at SkillsUSA state and national competitions.

Oakwood University
Oakwood is a historically black Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher learning. Open since 1896, it began as an industrial school on approximately 375 acres of property of a former plantation.

Today, Oakwood is one of Huntsville’s historical landmarks, with current land holdings of over 1, 200 acres, and a student enrollment of 2, 019 from 40 states and 20 countries.

It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees in several areas. As the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution in northern Alabama, Oakwood participates in, and benefits from, UNCF’s fund-raising campaigns, scholarships and other educational opportunities. It has the highest black male enrollment of all 39 UNCF schools.

U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Oakwood University among top-tier, private liberal arts colleges and universities in the South. It is the fifth-ranked producer of undergraduate black applicants to medical schools. Its choir program is nationally and internationally ranked.

Faulkner University
The Montgomery-based school has had a branch in Huntsville for more than 30 years. This year it will begin an additional degree program in counseling.

Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Tech has offered master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs to military personnel and civilians on Redstone Arsenal and in the Huntsville area since 1976.

Strayer University Huntsville
At the Huntsville campus, students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting, business, education, health services, information systems and public administration.

Virginia College Huntsville
Virginia College Huntsville is an Alabama career college with programs including business administration, criminal justice, medical assistant, cosmetology, medical billing, massage and more.

Text by Lori Chandler Pruitt

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