November 28, 2012 - A Nov. 27 forum at Samford University focused on transition and assimilation challenges faced by international students. Sponsored by Samford's Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Courageous Conversations event brought together a diverse crowd of American and international students to "Culture Shock: The Life of a Chinese Student in the South."
"This is not a presentation. It's a conversation," said John Knapp, Mann Center director.
A panel of students led the conversation by asking for the audience's reaction to certain questions like, "Are you comfortable talking to someone that has difficulty speaking English?" Over time, the conversation naturally progressed as audience members directed questions to each other, and students stood up to give their replies.
The four student moderators were junior history major Darren Gray, senior graphic arts major Monica Longoria, freshman undeclared major Rebecca Liang and senior accounting major Kirby Xu. Both Liang and Xu are from China.
Angela Ferguson, Samford's director for international initiatives, was also helped with the discussion. She explained the demographics of the international students on Samford's campus.
With 67 graduate students, 51 undergraduates and 77 students enrolled in the English Language Learner Institute, Samford's international students represent 22 countries, and 85 percent of these students come from China.
As the conversation focused around culture shock, one American student posed the question, "What can I do for Chinese students to feel more comfortable around me and my friends? I am so worried that I am going to accidently offend them by doing something wrong."
The Chinese students present gave a variety of answers. One student said it would help if people would just smile and be warmhearted. Another explained her dilemma with American jokes, saying she wished people would simply explain them to her.
"When we are talking, sometimes people start to laugh, and I don't understand. I translate the conversation word-for-word, but I don't find it funny. Instead of saying, 'oh, it's nothing,' it would make me feel more included if someone would just explain it to me," she said.
November 20, 2012 - Students in Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing participated Nov. 19 in the most recent edition of Better World Theatre as a class project designed to help them better understand ethics in the nursing profession.
The students, all in their first semester of nursing school, produced three short plays highlighting a variety of ethical dilemmas in the nursing profession, including conflicts of interest, interpersonal relationships, and the use of social media. Following each play, the students led the audience in a discussion of the issues.
The project was coordinated by Donald Sandley, chair of Samford's theatre and dance department, and John Knapp, director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. The Better World Theatre initiative encourages students to think critically about ethical issues in their field of study by acting out scenarios they are likely to encounter in the professional world.
Actors were Rachel Brown, Midfield, Ala.; Anna Davis, Russellville, Ala.; Julia Ferrell, Jacksonville, Fla.; Martha Kate Goforth, Birmingham; Alex Ludvik, Montevallo, Ala.; Lindsay Plan, Hoover, Ala.; Stedman Poe, Odenville, Ala.; Sonya Ponder, Sylacauga, Ala.; and Mary Kathryn Price, Pleasant Grove, Ala.
Facilitators included Lauren Churey, Boynton Beach, Fla.; Lindsay Corbin, Columbia, Ky.; Helen Degree, Birmingham; Lenni Enslein, Overland Park, Kan.; Noor Hussain, Carrollton, Texas; Jennifer Lackey, Helena, Ala.; Libby McCully, Hoover, Ala.; Wesley Nails, Vinemont, Ala.; Ify Osisioma, Houston, Texas; Chinonso Osuagwu, Houston, Texas; Ashley Staarman, Chester, Ohio; Zach Thomas, Oneonta, Ala.; Janet Washington, Bessemer, Ala.; and Alexandra Younger, Independence, Ore.
November 8, 2012 - Anglican Bishop Laurent Mbanda told a Samford University audience the church is using small business techniques to help people out of the "the circle of poverty" in his African homeland of Rwanda.
"The church is in the business of trying to uplift the conditions of people," said Mbanda, speaking to a gathering of students, Brock School of Business faculty and others. The Nov. 8 program was sponsored by Samford's Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.
"Rwanda pushes the idea of entrepreneurship," Mbanda said, and is known as Africa's least corrupt nation. He said the nation wishes to be known as "the Singapore of Africa" because it seeks to export knowledge.
"The church plays an educational development role in the economic progress of the country," Mbanda said.
He described how church members would attend study groups that discussed the Bible and then talked about small business opportunities. These ranged from growing mushrooms for hotels and raising small animals such as pigs for profit to renting building space for small businesses.
"There are so many groups like that," he said. "The church helps people learn how to make money and this helps transform communities," he said.
Mbanda was born in Rwanda but fled with his family at the age of four to neighboring Burundi to escape an ethnic war, and spent much of his youth in a refugee settlement. "My goal growing up was to get out of that refugee camp," he said.
He was eventually able to do so, and made his way to the U.S. for his college education. He earned a master's degree form Denver Seminary and Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Seminary. He returned to Rwanda, "believing God had done wonders in my life," in order to "give back" to his country.
He worked for Compassion International ministry in Africa for 17 years before being consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Rwanda in 2010.