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The University of North Alabama

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Date: May 23 2003
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I would not take anything for my years at UNA. Coming from a strong Alabama tradition, I was gently nudged by some family members to go to UA. I planned to go to UNA for only a year before transferring to UA but quickly became hooked. It was the intimacy of UNA, coupled with a readily accessible and competent faculty that did it for me. No, UNA doesn't carry the same clout as a University of Alabama or Auburn University (where I currently work), though it is ideal for the student who lacks some personal confidence coming out of high school and who feels more comfortable with a smaller setting. My biggest criticism of UNA would be the fact that professors in my three majors—political science, Radio-Television Broadcasting and Sociology—didn't require much outside reading beyond the textbooks. Yes, the textbooks were generally gone over with a fine-toothed comb, but a more disciplined reading program would have really helped matters when I started graduate school at Alabama, though I managed quite well without this—a factor I attribute to the academic tender-loving care I received at UNA. One other thing that impressed me about UNA—and mind you, this was 20 years ago—is that all of my professors were old-fashioned liberals who tolerated legitimate dissent. They were not the the fiery, intolerant PC radicals you find on my college campuses today. One other criticism: the school is not yet ideal for someone who wants to attend a place with a lot of tradition and identity—not yet, though this appears to have undergone a drastic change within the past few years, thanks to a major campus beautification effort. As someone who has visited every college campus in Alabama, I can honestly say that UNA now is far and above the most beautiful college campus in the state. One final criticism I would offer pretty much applies to every small public university—namely, that at UNA you're going to encounter professors who are, by and large, excellent teachers but who, in many cases, are not as well-versed in cutting edge aspects of their fields as scholars at major universities. Moveover, you've got a handful of instructors—3 or 4 in some cases - teaching the entire course of study, so you're probably not exposed to the breadth of learning you would be at a major state university with 40- or 50-member faculties. Simply put, a UNA professor teaching Political Science 101 likely will also be teaching Political Theory 500. Despite this limiting factor, I found the quality of teaching far superior to that of my graduate program. UNA instructors also were far more actively engaged with their students than those I encountered at Alabama, many of whom were far more concerned with grinding out research papers than with dealing with a bunch of lowly graduate or undergraduate students.
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The University of North Alabama
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