Published on March 26, 2018 by Philip Poole  
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Samford University is cohosting the annual Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education April 4-6 in Birmingham. It is the first time for this regional event to be held in Birmingham and the first time for Samford to be a cohost. 

The mission of the Gulf-South Summit is to promote networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus-community partnerships, sustainable programs and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service-learning and other forms of civic engagement. 

The conference theme is “Changing the Narrative: Storytelling as Social Action.” 

Allison Nanni, director of community engagement for Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, is one of three conference cochairs. Several Samford students, employees and community partners will be participating in the summit. 

Samford faculty members Rachel Casiday and Betsy Dobbins will present “Lessons from the Field: A Residential Course in Environmental Health” based on a course they taught in summer 2017 that explored water quality issues in rural Perry County, Alabama. Casiday is associate professor of public health, and Dobbins is professor of biology and Wilton H. Bunch Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellow. They will be joined by Cyndi Lowry of the Alabama Rivers Alliance. 

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland will bring greetings at a Friday morning breakfast session. 

Nanni noted that service-learning and community engagement are central to Samford’s mission. In the most recent year for which data is available, Samford students contributed 927,291 hours of service valued at $21.4 million. 

Other summit cosponsors are Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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 2nd nationally for student engagement and US 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 1st nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.