Founded in 1830 as a liberal arts institution, the University of North Alabama (UNA) has transitioned into a comprehensive university that plays a vital role in Alabama’s economy and manpower development that goes beyond U.S. borders.

“As a university that is strong on research, we listen to the needs of the region and think of how we can best serve them. We’ve just completed our new strategic plan and it sets out our goal to be a global institution with an internationalized curriculum,” UNA President Kenneth Kitts said.

“Employers in today’s market are seeking graduates with a hybrid skill set. Businesses need employees with ‘soft skills,’ while STEM fields look for people with the business acumen to sell new products and inventions. It is our mission to ensure the success of our students by maintaining the highest standards in academic achievement and relevancy in today’s job market,” Kitts added.

This new focus is echoed by UNA provost Ross Alexander: “UNA is a very progressive, entrepreneurial and innovative type of place that is developing an institutional identity locally, regionally and globally in providing career-ready education.”

UNA hosts more than 300 international students from more than 40 countries, including Japan.

Many of them, according to Senior Vice Provost for International Affairs Chunsheng Zhang, study under partnership programs that allow them to earn double degrees in less time and for less money.

“We have eight partnerships in Japan and we want to increase that number as double degrees become more popular in Japan,” Zhang said.