Bio, pictures and other information of Speakers






Dr. James Brink.

Dr. James Brink, a humanist by education, training, and inclination, began teaching honors courses at Texas Tech University over thirtyfive years ago. His interest is in the affect of historical phenomena on individuals and groups and the effect individuals and groups have on history. Dr. Brink holds undergraduate degrees in French and History
from the University of Kansas and graduate degrees in Early Modern European History from the University of Washington. He has won twelve teaching awards from TTU and national recognition for the Freshman Seminar
program he originated in 1991. After a twelve year stint in the office of the Provost, Dr. Brink now concentrates his efforts in the Honors College. One of his favorite duties is
to coordinate study in Paris each summer. His passion is to “light the light” of lifelong learning on a foundation of critical thinking.


Rev. Malcom Neyland

Rev. Malcolm Neyland, M.Div., M.C.L., J.C.L. is an ordained Catholic priest of 35 years, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in Ralls, Texas and St. Joseph’s in Crosbyton, Texas, and the Associate Chaplain of University Medical Center Pastoral Care Department. Rev. Neyland serves on the board of the International Cultural Center at Texas Tech University and is the founder of the Vatican Exhibit Foundation. He is also Acting Director of Life Time Patron of the Arts for the Vatican Museums, and is a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. He has served in various positions during his ministry as a priest:  Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Lubbock for fourteen years, College of Consulters, Personnel Board and Vocations Director for the Diocese of Lubbock. He has traveled worldwide to some 72 countries on expeditions for scientific studies.



Dr. Amma K. Akrofi

Dr. Amma K. Akrofi is an Associate Professor of Language & Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, TTU. In addition to her work in the U.S., she has worked in the field of language and literacy as a classroom teacher and teacher educator in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Her specific focus is on ESL literacy in American mainstream classrooms, reader response to children’s literature, English as a lingua franca within learners’ native linguistic and sociocultural contexts, diversity and cultural issues in children’s fiction and nonfiction books, and minority and immigrant parents’ involvement in children’s English literacy acquisition. Her research efforts are currently influenced by one of UNESCO’s 21st century Education for All goals, namely, to maximize the use of mobile technologies to support literacy development and increase reading opportunities for children, adolescents, and adults with limited educational opportunities. To that end, she has been involved in national and international transdisciplinary collaborations that explore funding opportunities for the inclusion of electronic and mobile learning in literacy research projects in Africa.  She is also co-chair of  the  International Innovative Community Group of the Literacy Research Association.







Rabbi Hillel Katzir

Rabbi Hillel Katzir is a former attorney and a former spiritual leader of
 Temple Shalom Synagogue in Auburn, Maine. He has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and a J.D. from the University of La Verne, CA. He lived in Israel in his 20s and early 30s, then practiced law for fifteen years before he was ordained as a Rabbi by the Rabbinical Seminary International in New York in 2004.  He was also Director of the Hate Crimes Response Project of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine and an adjunct faculty member at the Bangor Theological Seminary. Rabbi Katzir has spent much of his time promoting interfaith relations. He was a founder of Maine Faith Acting Response, a network for organizing quick responses of Maine’s interfaith community to human rights abuses, and he served on the Board of the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center and Maine’s State Advisory Committee on Multicultural Affairs.