FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The outdoor plaza
adjacent to the new Elton B. Stephens Science Center on the
campus of Birmingham-Southern will become the Dr. H. Irvin
Penfield Plaza following ceremonies Tuesday, April 20, to
honor the college's retiring longtime provost.
The 11:30 a.m. ceremony in front of the
Stephens Science Center will pay tribute to Penfield, who
will retire May 31 after nearly 19 years as provost and dean
of the college. He preceded that by about the same number
of years in the classroom as a professor of political science.
The college also has established the Penfield
Scholarship in Political Science.
A Birmingham native, Penfield began his
BSC career in 1967 as an assistant professor of political
science, rising to the rank of full professor by 1980. He
became dean of the college and vice president for academic
affairs in 1985. His title was changed to provost in 1996.
As the first chair
of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, he established
majors in political science
and sociology. As director of the Master of Public and Private
Management Program, he led a group of faculty in establishing
the college's graduate program in business.
As provost, he helped write the first grant
for seed money to start the Leadership Studies program. He oversaw
the completion of such initiatives as the Honors
Program, Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum, Latin American Studies
program, and the recently implemented Foundations curriculum.
The faculty has grown in numbers—from 84 members in 1985 to 104 members
today—and in diversity of academic backgrounds. Under Penfield's
guidance, computers were secured for all faculty offices, while fewer
than five faculty members had computers on their desks in 1985. He helped
for faculty development and was instrumental in recently establishing
a new faculty scholarship award.
Penfield also was instrumental in the founding
of the Associated Colleges of the South, a consortium of 16 liberal
arts colleges of which Birmingham-Southern
is a member.
Following a sabbatical next fall, Penfield will
return to part-time classroom teaching in spring 2005.
He completed his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from
the University of Alabama.