Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University is a public university serving Northeast Alabama on a 459-acre (1.9 km2) campus with 58 buildings in Jacksonville, Alabama which is in the Appalachian foothills of northeast Alabama. Founded in 1883, as Jacksonville State Normal School, in 1930 the name changed to Jacksonville State Teachers College, and again in 1957 to Jacksonville State College. The university began operating as Jacksonville State University in 1967. In 2008, the university celebrated its 125th anniversary.
Today, the university offers programs of study leading to Bachelor's, Master's, and Education Specialist degrees in business, communication, education, family sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and nursing, in addition to continuing education programs. Jacksonville State offers many online courses with online programs in emergency management, MBA, education, and others. JSU currently has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students, with 400 faculty members (300 of whom are full-time). Jacksonville State's Business School was ranked with in the nations top ten percentile by the Princeton Review. The current University President is Dr. William A. Meehan.
With a focus on providing a quality education, Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In addition, 38 academic programs (79% of programs that can be accredited) earned specialized programmatic accreditations. These programs include business, education, engineering and technology, nursing, social work, drama, art, music, computer science, family and consumer science, and communication.
229 international students were enrolled in the 2005-06 academic year. The University has run its International House program, an international exchange program, for over 60 years. JSU is also nationally recognized for its marching band, the Marching Southerners, which performs before thousands each year at marching exhibitions, football games, and parades.
In February 2006, Jacksonville State University was named the "winner" of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Speech Code of the Month. At the time, FIRE called the University Code of Conduct “illegally overbroad.” They considered the code to be in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution which protects offensive speech. The policy has since been changed.
In August 2007, University President Dr. William Meehan was implicated in a plagiarism scandal related to his periodic column entitled "Town & Gown," which was actually written by the school's news bureau. These columns were written by the recently retired Director of JSU’s News Bureau who was working part-time to ghostwrite the weekly “Town & Gown” column. A committee appointed by the President found no wrong-doing on the part of Meehan other than a lack of administrative oversight, and it was decided that responsibility for the plagiarism was that of the writer.
In October 2007, the College of Commerce and Business Administration was named one of the 290 best business schools in the world by The Princeton Review and ranked second in providing the greatest opportunities for women.
In 2007, the school broke ground for the 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) Little River Canyon Center. The building will house National Park Service offices, an exhibit hall, meeting space, classrooms, and comfort stations and will be the site of the JSU Little River Canyon Field School - which sponsors dozens of activities, seminars and programs each year. In 1992, the canyon was designated a national preserve. During the summer months, the staff includes 15 park rangers.
In spring 2008, the website GetEducated.com ranked the Master of Science in Computer Systems and Software Design as second on its list of "best buys" among 67 online master's programs in computer science and information technology offered by regionally accredited institutions in the United States.
In April 2009, allegations surfaced that University President Dr. William Meehan plagiarized his doctoral dissertation at the University of Alabama in 1999. A plagiarism expert, hired by a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the university, concluded that “extensive portions” of Dr. Meehan’s dissertation plagiarized the work of Dr. Carl Boening. Spokespersons for the University of Alabama and Jacksonville State University stated that the matter would not be investigated. The University of Alabama conducted a review of the matter in 2007, but has not yet disclosed the findings of that inquiry, or the qualifications of its investigators. The University of Alabama has not declared that Dr. Meehan did not use plagiarized material.
Jacksonville State's athletics teams are nicknamed the Gamecocks. The school is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference in Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) in football, formerly I-AA, of the NCAA. The university's football team gained national attention in 2001 when Junior placekicker Ashley Martin became the first female football player to score a point in a Division I game tallying 3 points against Cumberland University. The school fields varsity teams in 14 sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, cross country, football, men's and women's golf, rifle, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's track and field, and volleyball. The football team plays in 25,000-seat Burgess-Snow Field. The men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play in Pete Mathews Coliseum. Prior to the 1993-94 academic year, Jacksonville State competed in NCAA Division II athletics, winning national championships in men's basketball (1985), baseball (1990 and 1991), and football (1992). Its most impressive victory was on September 4, 2010 when the Gamecocks football team knocked off Ole Miss 49-48 in Oxford.