Making a difference

(and not just for students)

Bluffton students and alumni often cite their cross-cultural experiences as transformative. But these experiences also have an impact—personally and professionally—on the faculty members who lead them, as demonstrated by the stories of the following five faculty who have traveled with students to Latin America, Africa, the Holy Land, the Caribbean and China.

Rudi Kauffman
Rudi Kauffman,
restorative justice
Ready to go back

Last summer, Dr. Rudi Kauffman packed up several months’ worth of belongings and, along with his wife and their two daughters, boarded a plane for Guatemala to prepare for the university’s newest semester-abroad opportunity. Nearly a year later, the associate professor of restorative justice is ready to return “as many times as they let me.”
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Kate Spike
Kate Spike, English
Moved to action

Bluffton had sent two groups of students to Botswana for cross-cultural experiences, but there was no ongoing faculty leader until Kate Spike joined the faculty in 2010. When she traveled to southern Africa with students for the first time in May 2011, she was shocked by what she saw in the rural, landlocked country. After her initial visit, Spike changed the focus of her doctoral dissertation to address the problems of the country’s education system.
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Randy Keeler
Randy Keeler, religion
Gaining new perspective
Randy Keeler has been leading cross-cultural experiences at Bluffton for years - and they have changed his worldview. He has supervised eight groups of student travelers, most of them destined for the Holy Land of Israel and Palestine.
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Cyndi Bandish
Cyndi Bandish, English

Finding friendship
Cyndi Bandish's first experience as a cross-cultural leader was just two years ago, when she led a group of Bluffton students to China in May 2013. She couldn't wait to return with a new group of students in May 2015, in part to catch up with the host families.
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Paul Neufeld Weaver

Paul Neufeld Weaver, education

A 'bridge between cultures'
Paul Neufeld Weaver's history with Latin America spans decades, helping him design and implement two of Bluffton's cross-cultural expeiences in the region. Last year he led a student group to Columbia for the second time, while next year he'll lead the second semester-abroad experience in Guatemala.
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