Alabama Southern Community College (Alabama Southern) is an open admission, comprehensive community college with campuses in Monroeville, Monroe County; Thomasville, Clarke County; Gilbertown, Choctaw County; and Jackson, Clarke County. It serves an approximately 5,000-square-mile area of southwest Alabama. Alabama Southern was created in 1991 by the merger of two existing colleges in Monroeville and Thomasville.
Patrick Henry State Junior College in Monroeville and Hobson State Technical College in Thomasville were both created through Act No. 93 of the Alabama Legislature in 1963. The first classes were held in December 1965 on both current campuses. Patrick Henry was accredited initially by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges in December 1970, and Hobson State was accredited initially by the SACS Commission on Occupational Education Institutions in December 1972. The State Board of Education consolidated these two institutions on August 22, 1991, to create Alabama Southern, which was accredited by SACS on June 19, 1992.
Patrick Henry Junior College's founding president was Bernie E. Lee (1965-1974), followed by Cecil Murphy (1974-1981) and James R. Allen (1981-1989). The first president after the consolidation of Alabama Southern was John A. Johnson (1989-2009). William O. Blow served as interim president until July 2010, when Reginald Sykes was appointed by Freida Hill, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.
Alabama Southern's curricular offerings are based on the institution's philosophy of providing college transfer education, occupational education, continuing education, and community service. Degrees include an associate of arts, associate in science, and associate in applied science, and certificates for nondegree programs. The campuses offer programs as dictated by the area's economic, geographic, and demographic considerations, such as the nationally recognized paper and chemical technology programs on its Thomasville campus.
Alabama Southern provides university transfer programs, business and industry training, developmental studies, learning resources, technical/occupational programs, student development services, and community services. Shortterm certificates, programs equal to or less than 29 semester hours, are offered in areas such as computer applications, machine technology, and basic welding, among others. Long-term certificate programs, comprised of at least 30 semester but no more than 60 semester credit hours, include cosmetology and practical nursing. Associate degrees are available in business technology/computer applications, nursing, paper and chemical technology, and a number of different areas in Industrial Engineering Technology. The college also offers adult education programming on all campuses and continuing education courses in areas such as floral arranging, computer applications, sign language, and even ballroom dancing.
Most technical programming is offered on the Thomasville Campus; it hosts the National Center for Pulp and Paper Technology in partnership with the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Centers, which promote workforce development for the pulp and paper industry. Alabama Southern received a $2.94 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish this partnership in 2004 and received renewed funding in August 2009. Also located in Thomasville is the LifeTech Institute, an innovative noncredit parolee transition program operated in partnership with the Office of the Governor, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Alabama Southern. The LifeTech Institute teaches life skills and technical skills to help ex-offenders make the transition from prison to society.
The Jackson Campus of Alabama Southern was established in 1975 and is uniquely located in the north wing of Jackson Middle School in Jackson. This campus is primarily an evening campus, with two classrooms and a computer lab with 24 terminals, all with Internet access. The Gilbertown Campus of Alabama Southern was established in 1977 and offers a wide range of day and evening classes. This fully equipped campus features a woodland walking trail, an outdoor amphitheater, and a community theater, all of which enrich the quality of life in the area. Construction was completed in fall 2004 on a new Gilbertown library facility, which is available for the public to use as well as students.
Alabama Southern's Alabama Center for Literary Arts in Monroeville hosts the annual Alabama Writers Symposium, which awards the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Most Distinguished Writer of the Year.
The Monroeville Campus of ASCC is home to women's basketball and softball and men's basketball and baseball teams. ASCC athletic teams compete in the Alabama Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. College colors are navy, gold, and white, and the athletic teams are called the Eagles. Alabama Southern's campuses also offer students opportunities to participate in a variety of organizations and activities, including Art Scholars, Campus Ministries, the Ethnic Student Society, Exposé Musical Group, National Association of Student Nurses, Phi Beta Lambda, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Student Alabama Education Association, Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE), and Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).
Recent enrollment figures for the college list more than 1,500 students. The impact of Alabama Southern on the local economy is approximately $19.2 million, annually. The college employs approximately 197 people, including 135 full-time and 62 part-time faculty and staff.