by Olivia Williams
Whether in another country or in metropolitan Birmingham, Samford University students broadened their academic and professional horizons in a myriad of learning experiences during the university’s annual Jan Term.
In addition to students taking classes on the main campus, more than 200 students traveled around world in courses led by Samford faculty and others. Nearly 80 students traveled to Italy with Department of Classics, University Fellows and School of the Arts programs. Sixty students visited London, and 42 Beeson Divinity School and undergraduate students went to Israel.
Joel Davis, assistant professor of music in the School of the Arts, led nine students from various majors through The Sixteen Centuries of Italian Music course. This course and tour focused on the rich history of music in Italy, including visits to important cultural sites.
“Over the course of our travels, we visited museums, palaces, churches and concert halls in our study of the rich history of music and art in Italy,” Davis said. “Some noteworthy highlights were seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s David, Pietà and the frescoes throughout the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, touring the Ducal Palace in Mantua, visiting the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, and attending live concert performances by professional ensembles in Venice and Rome. We even managed to connect with Samford faculty and students from Howard College of Arts and Sciences during our visit.”
London is always a beloved destination for the Samford community, and this year, students took advantage of the following courses: Coffee Talk, Appreciation with a British Accent, English Reformation, Intercultural Communications and Nursing in the British Isles. While there are many aspects of Jan Term in London that students enjoy, staying at Daniel House tends to top the list.
“Living in Daniel House is such a special experience because you are a part of unique Samford history,” said senior human development and family science major Julia Jackson. “There have been many students who lived in the house before me, and I’m sure there will be many after me. But, we all share a common opportunity of living and learning in London. The house truly becomes a home to its residents, and it facilitates community among students like no other. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.”
Dana Basinger, assistant dean of Howard College of Arts and Sciences, started the Coffee Talk course 10 years ago. The course studies the history and background of London’s first coffee houses, their communities, and the history and culture of London. A highlight of this year’s trip was a unique collaboration with Samford alumna Liz Simmons ’06. Simmons is director of Kahaila Women’s Projects, a church and community ministry in East London.
“My class partnered with Luminary Bakery and Kahaila Café this Jan Term to participate in a cooking class at the bakery where Liz is engaged and to visit Kahaila for a discussion with Liz,” said Basinger. “We followed the day with an ice skating trip to the rink at Somerset House. Liz invited several of the women that she worked with at the bakery, as well as a few of their children.”
Senior history major Keely Smith greatly enjoyed the Coffee Talk course. “In my opinion, Coffee Talk is one of the best classes I have ever taken because of the community we experienced both inside and outside of class,” said Smith. “Mrs. Basinger not only wanted us to learn about the community that arose in 17th-century coffee houses, but she also helped us create a community as a class. While we explored London—and drank plenty of coffee—we formed lifelong friendships for which I will always be thankful.”
Meanwhile, 10 students and recent graduates of Beeson Divinity School completed their Cross-Cultural Ministry Practicums overseas as well as stateside. They worked with mentors in Czech Republic, Germany, Memphis and Chicago. The CCMP gives all M.Div. students an opportunity to reside and minister in a culture different from their own while being supervised by on-site mentors.
At home, nursing students participated in a monthlong internship at Baptist Princeton Hospital. Samford students and faculty are present at the hospital for three 12-hour shifts per week.
“They are employed by the hospital for the month of January, while learning to care for patients,” said Rebecca Warr, assistant professor in Ida Moffett School of Nursing. “They work closely with their RN preceptor and faculty as they gain more knowledge and independence in caring for patients on the hospital unit. At the beginning of the internship, they need more direction and assistance than at the conclusion. As the internship progresses, the students become more independent in providing care and making sound nursing judgment, while supported by their preceptor and faculty as needed.”
Students who are selected for the internship say that their confidence in their nursing skills increase, Warr added. “Being able to see so many different patients during this concentrated time helps them learn more about various diseases, conditions and treatments as well as what it means to be a nurse in charge of that patient and care for them during that 12-hour period.”
Olivia Williams is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.