» Staff Perspectives

photo of Susan Sams
Susan Sams
International Student & Scholar Services
Center for Global Education
(714) 997-6829
As an international student advisor in the International Student & Scholar Services office my entire focus centers around our diverse population of international students and professors/research scholars (exchange visitors). We have students and professors/research scholars from approximately 68 countries and they embody a wide variety of cultures.
It is my goal to educate the Chapman community regarding our amazing group of international students and exchange visitors who are present on the Chapman campus. By providing cultural sessions, inviting students to speak at a culture centered class lecture and highlighting diversity at our annual International Food Fair, I hope to get the word out that this diverse group is present on our campus and there is much we can all learn from them.
We welcome you and are excited about the wealth of knowledge and culture you bring to our campus.
photo of Nancy Brink
Nancy Brink
Director of Church Relations
Fish Interfaith Center
Ever student, faculty and staff person has a unique and special story. I have a heart for those who society has placed on the margins, particularly LGBTQIA people and our female students who are learning to navigate in patriarchy. Our world is increasingly diverse—enclaves of (assumed) homogeneity are being disrupted by globalization, the internet and intentional building of inclusive community. Students need to graduate from Chapman with a broad knowledge base for human diversity and have skills in negotiating life with a wide variety of people. We need to help all faculty and staff be fully prepared to mentor our students for this new reality. We need to model openness, trust and disagreement without being disagreeable.
I promote interfaith awareness, sometimes even teaching a workshop on this issue. I have been a Safe Space trainer and teach a Bible study each semester looking at the 6 “clobber” passages in the Bible that are used by some Christians to denigrate LGBTQIA people. I continue to do further my own education, reading books, seeing films and entering discussions on diversity topics such as race, sexism and privilege.
We are not perfect, but we are committed to working on the intersections of different identities and finding ways to support those who live without privilege. We promote training and being involved outside of the workplace.
photo of Justin Koppelman
Justin Koppelman
Assistant Director of Cross-Cultural Engagement and Civic Engagement Initiatives
Student Engagement
(714) 997-6894
If we are to fulfill our mission of providing an educational experience that leads to inquiring, ethical, and productive lives as global citizens, I believe creating spaces for ongoing reflection of who we are and aspire to be as individuals and communities is essential. The development of active and informed global citizenship requires learning about the experiences of others, developing our capacities for working and dialoging across difference, and responding to the ways in which economic, environmental, social, and political issues impact communities in different ways. In supporting the University’s efforts to prepare students for lives of civic engagement and responsibility, I see diversity and inclusion as a significant part of that goal. For me, implicit in the idea and act of civic engagement, is the need to see ourselves as part of a larger social fabric and developing the knowledge, skills, and motivations for responsible engagement in our diverse society.
I work to advance diversity and inclusion through fostering connections with our local community; overseeing programmatic efforts designed to support learning about economic, environmental, social, and political issues on local, national, and global scales; and providing direct advising and support to students as they learn more about who they are, who they aren’t, and who they want to be. We have a great deal of capacity as an institution and with that comes incredible opportunities to work with our local communities to address serious community problems and needs. This often involves intentional listening and learning about the root causes and disproportionate impact of those problems/needs and developing capacity for working with diverse communities. In our programmatic efforts, we strive to do the best we can to leave students with bits of new knowledge and new peer-to-peer relationships that can support their active inquiry into issue of diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. Direct support often includes conversing with students to process experiences of difference, think critically about the ways in which they show up as members of their communities, and further their resilience to barriers they encounter in life.
I would want our community to be mindful of the necessary connection between diversity and inclusion and our mission of global citizenship. Our mission cannot be fulfilled fully if we do not practice and model ways of engaging diversity and holding the tension that comes with it in life-affirming ways. Whether working to create a welcoming campus community, a more just national community, or a more conscious global community, the knowledge about, skills for, and value for diversity and inclusion are essential.
no photo available for Elizabeth  Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson
Counselor, Student Psychological and Counseling Services
I am the co-advisor of the Active Minds club on campus. Active Minds is an organization with a particular commitment to diversity, as it increases awareness of mental health issues in college students. A good description of this national organizations function is clearly labeled in the mission statement: “As part of our mission, we require of ourselves a commitment to work toward the recognition and elimination of prejudice and discrimination, especially those that have traditionally impinged upon culturally competent mental health services” In many ways, the Active Minds mission statement describes exactly what we represent at Student Psychological Counseling Services. Active Minds puts on events like “Furry friends for finals” in which we bring dogs on campus in order to provide stress reduction for students who are entrenched in exam-related stress. We also have an event called “Send Silence Packing” to raise awareness about suicide prevention and recognizing signs of mental health issues.
I am a full time staff member at Student Psychological Counseling Services. As a part of my work, I see a wide variety of individuals, each of whom arrives with their own particular concerns or struggles. I strive to make sure that each of my clients is treated as unique individual. In addition to offering brief individual therapy, I have also lead group therapy and workshops. Here, students are given an opportunity to express themselves, as well as learn from the similar or dissimilar experiences of their peers. We see students from every different demographic represented here at Chapman University. My consistent goal is to make myself accessible to any and every student on campus.
Certain groups of the population at Chapman underutilize our services, so my colleagues and I engage in outreach around campus in order to help let every group on campus know that we’re here…and that we’re enthusiastic about helping! The clients seen by our staff at SPCS come from all walks of life, and mental disorders do not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. We serve every group represented on campus. As a licensed therapist, I regularly engage in continuing education and conferences that keep my therapeutic knowledge current. I have also been trained through Safe Space. I have additional training and certification in working with people with PTSD or other trauma related issues. I have played a role in orientation activities and discussions with RA’s in order to bring further awareness about the fact that we at SPCS are here to assist all of the students who would benefit from our services.