Covenant University hosts Fulbright Scholar, Prof. C. Nana Derby
Professor C. Nana Derby is one of the Fulbright Scholars currently hosted by Covenant University. An Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, she teaches Criminal Justice at her home University, Virginia State University, USA.
Since her arrival at the Covenant University, she has fully integrated herself into the system and bought into the Vision.
Her research interest in “human trafficking” with special focus on “child domestic servitude” partly led her to apply for the Fulbright Scholar Award with the intention of understanding child domestic servitude, as it exists in Nigeria.
According to her, Nigeria is ranked “Tier 1” by the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which according to this ranking, means that the government is implementing policies that protect children and make sure that trafficking is not an easy crime. She said her goal “is to determine what Nigeria is doing that is different from other West African Countries,” which earned this country that ranking.
Professor Nana Derby shared her experience so far in Covenant University.
“I am privileged to have the opportunity to experience spirituality in the academia. You don’t get that in so many environments. Although there are many religious based universities in the US, the intensity of spirituality here is on a different scale.
She scored the University “A” in many areas including: integration, security, and mentoring, among others. “Integration: for me, I will score the University an ‘A’ because you can see conformity to the University culture. You see students so professionally dressed. I haven’t been to any university where you see students so professionally dressed. It’s impressive.
“The University is secure. The University is in a world of its own. You get out of Canaan Land (the University Campus) and you see real African traditions, but in here, it’s a whole different ball game.
“The first week, my observation was awesome, where at the end of the Semester, faculty at the Department level met and looked at the exam scores to see who was not doing well, questioned what efforts were made in the course of the semester to assist the students, and to make arrangements to contact the students to advise them. This information goes to the college and university levels. You do not get this institutional tradition of mentoring and advising in a lot of institutions. Once the student is failing, it’s up to them to sit up. On that scale, Covenant University earns my ‘A’.”
On what she hoped to have achieved before August 2015, when she would have completed her fellowship, Professor Nana said she hopes to impact Covenant University at both personal and academic levels and expected the University to do the same on her. She would also work toward establishing a long-term relationship between her University and Covenant University.
“I hope to make an impact on the University and the University on me. For instance, on Spirituality, maybe I will be more open to charismatic worshipping.
“Academically, I hope to have accomplished more research than before. I am collaborating with so many of the faculty on different projects. I’m impressed with various Research Clusters at the Covenant University and particularly commend the leader and other group members of the Cluster on Breast Cancer for the awesome work they are doing on breast and cervical cancer.
“Beyond that, I anticipate that my stay here is not going to end in August when I leave, but I will be able to work with the George H. Bennett Office of International Education at VSU to establish a long-term linkage with Covenant University.
“For instance, prior to my coming here, I spoke informally with the Dean of the College of Engineering at VSU and he was so excited about the probability of coming here to see what he could do with CU. So, in the short-term, I want to see what I can do to complete a lot of projects and in the long-term, I want to see CU become a part of the institutions the VSU has long-term relationships with,” she explained.
Originally from Ghana, Nana Derby obtained her First degree (B.A. Hons.) in Sociology at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and her Masters as well as Ph.D. in Comparative Sociology at Florida International University, USA. In 2005, she joined Virginia State University where she rose to the level of Associate Professor in 2010.
Professor Nana Derby is a member of many professional associations, which include the Virginia Social Science Association, where she served as the President, Vice President, Local Arrangements Committee Chair; and Newsletter Editor. She is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research and Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She is an author and award winner.