Published on May 9, 2018 by Philip Poole  
Wylodine and William Hull during his service as Samford provost.

Samford University professors in eight distinct fields have been named recipients of faculty grants for the 2018-19 academic year from the William E. and Wylodine H. Hull Fund for Christian Scholarship. They will share a total of $47,979 to pursue projects that underscore the fund’s purpose to strengthen Samford’s Christian character and institutional purpose.

Established to honor the late Samford provost and his late wife, the fund seeks to support faculty who are interested in how the integration of faith and higher education enriches the life of the academy and the church.

Lisa Battaglia, associate professor of religion, plans to develop an Interfaith Dialogue class, open to all Samford Undergraduates, that explores the realities of a religiously plural world, the challenges of religious plurality and the tools to develop relationships and understandings that enrich and shape our own faith journeys as well as those of our peers.

Andrea Bowens, assistant professor of physical therapy, will attend a five-day research course at Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health. The course focuses on how to conduct research on religion, spirituality and health, and how to develop an academic career in this area.

Brad Busbee, chair and professor of English, is hosting an international gathering of global educators from 17 countries to discuss priest, poet and educator N.F.S. Grundtvig’s Christ-inspired model of education. Busbee is collaborating with Anders Holm from the University of Copenhagen’s School of Theology and 2016 Fulbright Fellow at Samford. The conference is Aug. 1-3 at the University of London.

Amy Hoaglund, associate professor, Karen Birkenfeld, assistant professor and chair, and Mandy Hilsmier, professor, Orlean Beeson School of Education, received a grant to continue a partnership with Terra Nova School in Kampala, Uganda. Five teachers and the school director from Kampala will travel to Birmingham for four weeks of literacy training and classroom observations. The teachers will participate in intensive training in leadership instruction with Samford faculty and observe effective teaching strategies in area classrooms.

Amanda Howard, assistant professor of psychology, will conduct research entitled “Evaluating the Quality of Service Delivery for Orphans and Vulnerable Children by International Faith-Based Non-Governmental Organizations.” Specifically, Howard explained, the research aims to provide evidence to inform implementation of programs, with a view to identifying high-quality, cost-effective practices within faith-based organizations.

Gerald McDermott, Anglican Chair of Divinity, will travel to Jos, Nigeria, in June to teach a seminar for divinity students at the invitation of Ben Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos. Samford has a long-time relationship with Kwashi and his seminary. McDermott will teach about American philosopher-theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Anthony Minnema, assistant professor of history, will use his grant to create a course that explores the relationship between the practice of faith and the study of history. Minnema said, “The regular offering of this course provides students with a desired forum on history that emphasizes Samford’s mission and gives them an opportunity to research the discipline in light of an under-examined facet of identity.”

Paul Wiget, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will attend the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Scientists June 8-10 at Catholic University of America for what he describes as “a means of furthering my professional development as a scientist and educator who is a Catholic Christian.” The conference theme is “The Human Mind and Physicalism.” Wiget plans presentations to Samford’s Catholic Student Association and other faculty based on the conference.

In addition to assisting faculty with research projects and conference sponsorship, the Hull Fund for Christian Scholarship supports distinguished visiting scholars seminars, faculty short courses, course development, and seminar development and preparation.

The faculty initiatives all encourage preparation to respond more faithfully and justly to pressing social, cultural and moral challenges of the day.

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.