Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2000-04-06

Samford University professor Dr. Mike Janas was named Forensic Educator of the Year during the Southern Forensic Association meeting in New Orleans, La., March 30-April 2.

Janas, director of debate at Samford, was cited for his work with Samford's debate program and his innovative community outreach efforts. Under his direction, six Samford debate teams have qualified for the National Debate Tournament since 1994.

He founded the Birmingham Area Debate League, which involves some 300 students from 50 area high schools and middle schools in monthly debate competition. Now in its fifth year, the program promotes development of conflict resolution skills and educational goals. It has grown into one of the nation's largest urban debate programs.

Janas also directs the Samford Summer Debate Institute, which attracts novice, intermediate and varsity high school debaters from as many as 23 states each summer.

Also, during the undergraduate honors conference accompanying the Southern Forensic Association meeting, Samford junior Melanie Dotson of Nashville, Tenn., received a first place award for her paper analyzing the use of dramatic satire of African-American drama. Her paper was entitled "An Ideological Criticism of Colored Museum."


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.