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Articles By: Richmont Graduate University

Dr. Mike Stewart Named Dean of the School of Ministry

CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA – (July 9, 2014)

It is with great pleasure that Dr. Michael (Mike) Stewart is officially announced as the new Dean of the School of Ministry. The Founding Dean of Richmont’s School of Ministry, Dr. Leland Eliason, graciously took a sabbatical from retirement to commit five years to establishing the School and the certificate programs. In his tenure, the School was incepted, fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), began offering coursework online, hosted internationally renowned author and pastor, John Ortberg, Jr. for a two-day conference, and launched the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program.

“At the end of the final integrative seminar for the School of Ministry’s first graduating class, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude,” said Eliason. “Every one of the graduates spoke of how the degree program had been used of God to transform their lives. They referred to the outstanding quality of the teachers, the power of community, and to the threefold emphasis of knowing, being, and doing. The curriculum we have worked so hard to create – works! It has been an extraordinary privilege to be part of creating and implementing this degree program.”

“We could not be more grateful to Leland for all he has given to lay a foundation for the School of Ministry,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “We are thrilled that he will continue training future ministers and that someone as capable and qualified as Dr. Stewart will take up the reigns of leadership. This is an incredibly exciting time in the life of the university and we look forward to seeing many more students receive training to serve God and others.”

Dr. Stewart will begin leading the School of Ministry in a full time capacity on August 1, 2014 from the university’s Atlanta, Georgia campus. This will allow Eliason to transition to a teaching and advising capacity within the School.

Previously the President of Emmanuel College, Stewart led an unprecedented nine-year season of growth which included more than $20 million raised in funds. He also oversaw the building of new student housing, the addition of nine new athletic programs, an athletic center, seven new academic programs, as well as full membership into the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Interestingly, Stewart was not only the President of Emmanuel, but he completed his Bachelor’s degree there prior to completing his Master’s degree at Liberty University and Doctor of Ministry degree at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

“Dr. Mike Stewart’s presidency of Emmanuel College has been characterized by courage, authenticity and breakthroughs,” said Eliason. “Those are the qualities that are needed for leading the School of Ministry to its next levels of growth. He lives by the values imbedded in the School of Ministry – the integration of faith and learning, integrity, and innovation. I am very excited about his capacities to enable the School of Ministry to fulfill its purposes to advance God’s kingdom, to enrich the body of Christ, and to equip Christians to offer transformational ministry.”

“I am very much looking forward to joining the team at Richmont,” said Stewart. “The School of Ministry fills an incredibly important niche in serving today’s churches and Christian ministries. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow in Dr. Eliason’s footsteps as the School only grows in influence.”

The university looks forward to welcoming Stewart and his wife, Pam, to campus this summer.

Dr. Amanda Blackburn to Serve as Dean of Students

CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA - (June 17, 2014)

On Friday, June 13, Dr. Amanda Blackburn accepted the position of Dean of Students at Richmont Graduate University. After joining the faculty in 2010, Amanda has served as the Assistant Dean of Students on Richmont’s Chattanooga campus since 2011. She will begin her new position on July 1, 2014. A licensed clinical psychologist, Blackburn also serves as an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Richmont. While she and her family will soon transition to Atlanta, she will continue to teach classes and connect with students on the Chattanooga campus at least once a week.

“I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve Richmont students in this new capacity,” said Blackburn. “My time as Assistant Dean of Students in Chattanooga, walking alongside students during their time at Richmont and beyond, has been such an enriching and life-changing experience for me. I am honored to be asked to continue in this role in a new capacity.”

By July 1, Blackburn will assume her new role as Dr. DeAnne Terrell, Richmont’s immediate past Dean of Students, begins her new role as a private clinician and faculty member at John Brown University.

“I am grateful to DeAnne Terrell in her demonstration of humble service in students to Richmont during her time here,” said Blackburn. “She has been a selfless professional and personal mentor.”

“Amanda is the perfect person to be named the Dean of Students,” said Terrell who was instrumental in bringing Blackburn to the Richmont community. “She is wise, kind, supportive and encouraging. She has served the students in Chattanooga with grace and love for all these years and I know that she will continue to offer her loving support to all RGU students with excellence.”

“Amanda is an incredibly gifted teacher and committed friend of students,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “She is a remarkably capable professor and gives the best of herself to helping students have a full and meaningful experience at Richmont.”

Richmont to Move Atlanta Campus to New Location

ATLANTA, GA – (June 13, 2014)

By the end of this calendar year, Richmont Graduate University’s Atlanta campus will be moving to a new location on Windy Hill Road just off Interstate 75 North. After considering approximately 90 potential properties, university administrators identified a new 17,800 square foot space which will eventually provide 3,800 square feet more than what Richmont currently enjoys. As of June 4, 2014, thanks to a private lead gift of $1.2 million, Richmont’s Board of Trustees made an offer of $1.2 million and put the new building under contract. The building appraised at $1.4 million and was listed for $1.35 million.

“We are incredibly excited about this timely transition in the life of the university,” said President, Bob Rodgers. “This new building will offer a strategic location to both train students as professional counselors and ministers to continue partnering with local nonprofit organizations in order to serve metro Atlanta residents. We look forward to seeing what the Lord does in this next season.”

Formerly a Piedmont Hospital Sleep Center, Richmont plans to utilize this new building to grow the institution’s capacity through larger classrooms and also through technology and audio visual improvements and upgrades. The student lounge will be designed as a comfortable, accessible, attractive gathering space for individual and group meetings and study time, eating meals, accessing the library, and building friendships. The faculty and administrative offices are being designed to create even more interaction between the professors, staff and students. In time, the building will likely house one of the university’s Hope Counseling Centers.

In order to make this space become a reality architectural plans are in the second round of revisions, the environmental and engineering studies have all been initiated and the closing will likely occur during the first week of July. In order to successfully serve Richmont’s constituents, approximately 80 percent of the interior will need to be renovated. To be as efficient as possible in the renovations, much of the existing electrical equipment, lighting, plumbing, doors, and ceiling will be re-purposed. To this end, the university’s advancement team is working diligently to raise $850,000 funds to support this upcoming transition.

“Overall, the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council and I are incredibly excited about all that this new building has to offer,” said Rodgers. “It will provide a strategic location to both train students as professional counselors and ministers and to continue partnering with local nonprofit organizations in order to serve metro Atlanta residents. Thank you in advance for praying with us as we begin the process of planning and preparing to move by the end of the year.”

Richmont Students Garner 98% Passing Rate on National Counselor Examination for Second Year

ATLANTA, GA and CHATTANOOGA, TN – (June 11, 2014)

This spring, 50 of Richmont’s graduating students took the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and achieved an exceptionally high passing rate of 98 percent for the second year in a row. Richmont’s mean scores on the NCE for the Atlanta and Chattanooga campuses surpassed the mean scores of CACREP accredited and Non-CACREP accredited institutions in every CACREP and Counselor Work Behavior subject area.

“The Board of Trustees and I are extremely proud of the quality of Richmont’s faculty and the performance of each of our students once again this year,” said President Bob Rodgers. “This year’s passing rate and individual scores are nationally impressive and they continue a well-established legacy of students scoring in the 90th percentile on the NCE.”

According to the National Board of Certified Counselors, the NCE is used to “…assess knowledge, skills, and abilities viewed as important for providing effective counseling services…It is intended to assess cognitive knowledge which should be known by all counselors regardless of their individual professional specialties.” After completing the four hour, 200 multiple choice question exam, students who satisfactorily perform on the NCE are eligible to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC). A passing score on the NCE is required for licensure as a professional counselor in most states, including Georgia and Tennessee.

“We are tremendously proud of our students once again,” said Dr. Keny Felix, Dean of the School of Counseling. “Their outstanding performance on the NCE reflects the exceptional quality of the counseling program at Richmont.”

As an academic institution, Richmont currently hosts campuses in Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Richmont offers master’s-level training in counseling to help individuals, families and groups successfully confront life’s challenges. Presently, students have the opportunity to pursue master’s degrees in: Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Ministry, and Psychological Studies as well as specializations in addictions, child and adolescent therapy, sex therapy, spirituality and counseling, and trauma counseling.

Additionally, in order to serve Richmont’s campus communities, the university hosts a network of Community Counseling Centers that offer reduced-fee counseling/mental health services to children, adults, families and groups of all walks of life, regardless of their insurance status. Through this network, Richmont offers subsidized services such as: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), child and adolescent therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), depression/anxiety counseling, grief/loss counseling, marital counseling, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counseling, and self-esteem/body image counseling. The university is thankful for an avenue to offer access to counseling services that help client’s better understand their personal histories and how their thoughts, beliefs, feelings and physical responses have been affected as a result.

Currently, several of Richmont’s counselors are accepting new clients. Open five days a week, scheduling information can be obtained by calling 423-756-2894 or by visiting: the CBI web site.

Richmont Trustee Emeritus, Hugh Huffaker, Jr., Passes Away at 84

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (June 10, 2014)

On Friday, June 6, 2014, Hugh Dayton Huffaker, Jr., a trustee emeritus of Richmont Graduate University passed away in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A well respected business man and civic leader, Huffaker was born and raised in Chattanooga before meeting his wife, Marion Henderson, at the University of Chattanooga. The two were married for 62 years and had three children.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Hugh joined his father, Hugh Huffaker, Sr., in business at Ferger Brothers and Huffaker Insurance Agency. Alongside his brother, Bob, he eventually started Huffaker and Associates Inc., where he served as president and later chairman of the board. In 1982 he also started Huffaker Realtors which developed portions of Signal Mountain and Hixson. Upon selling Huffaker Realtors in 1997 it was the largest independent real estate company in Chattanooga.

A very active member of the Chattanooga community, Hugh served on the board of the Chattanooga Bible Institute (CBI). In 2000 he was instrumental in the merger of CBI and the Psychological Studies Institute (PSI) in Atlanta, GA. In 2008, PSI was renamed Richmont Graduate University. A friend of CBI and Richmont for more than 30 years, the university was pleased to acknowledge Hugh’s investments of time, talent and treasure with an honorary doctorate in 2013.

“Hugh was an incredible voice at Richmont during several of our most formative years,” said Richmont President, Bob Rodgers. “He was a person of integrity who gave the best of himself in service to others. There are countless individuals and families who have benefitted from his insights and service. We are grateful for the sacrificial legacy he left on campus and throughout Chattanooga.”

In addition to his faithful service at Richmont, Hugh was a charter member of Rivermont Presbyterian Church, a Rotarian, a past president of the Insurers of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Board of Realtors, as well as a McCallie School board member and former board chair. He was one of the original organizers of CARTA and also served on the boards of the Maclellan Foundation, Lay Renewal Ministries and the Electric Power Board.

The memorial service will be held Saturday, June 21, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Rivermont. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the church on Friday, June 20, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 21, from 2:00 -3:30 p.m. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made in Hugh’s honor to Richmont Graduate University or the Rivermont Presbyterian Church Missions Program.

Richmont to Offer a Certificate in Spiritual Direction

ATLANTA, GA – (June 4, 2014)

This fall, Richmont Graduate University’s School of Ministry will begin offering a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Through this 15 month, 4 consecutive semester program students will learn to help others discern the active presence of the Triune God and perceive the Holy Spirit’s movement in ordinary life. Throughout the curriculum of five 3-credit hour courses, spiritual directors will journey with directees, assisting as they deepen their lived intimacy with Christ, the One True Director.

“In the fast paced, ‘get things done now’ culture in which we live, the art of listening to God and the capacity to discern his voice are in serious disrepair. To sit with a trained Spiritual Director provides a powerful corrective,” said Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry. “The benefits are life changing – with Christians discovering anew their center in the Presence of the Living God. The Scriptures say, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ and Spiritual Directors help us to do just that!”

Coursework is intentionally structured to help students apply the classroom material in “real life.” Therefore, two-thirds of class time will be focused on content and one-third on putting content into practice. The practical component will include supervision while giving spiritual direction one-on-one and in triads or groups. In order to facilitate student convenience while preserving a sense of community, coursework will be offered predominantly online, through a week-long orientation, and through two three-day courses. This program is designed to be completed in 15 months.

“This program will be hugely important for anyone who has ever felt God’s leading to help people further their lived intimacy with Christ,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “Richmont has a long-standing history of offering excellent graduate level training and we are very excited to offer this certificate program which will help students practice effectiveness within ministry, church settings, and their daily lives.”

For more information on prerequisites, application procedures and costs visit the Certificate in Spiritual Direction page on Richmont’s web site or contact the School of Ministry at 404-835-6124.

Summer 2014 CE Opportunities

We hope to see you at one of the many continuing education opportunities we have planned!

Atlanta Opportunities:

 Psychopharmacology

 When: Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 Where: Room 303 in the McCarty Building – Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

 Presenter: Shaw Wendi Fortuchang, MD

 Topic: This workshop is designed as an introduction to psychopharmacology. Major emphasis will be on understanding neurologic substrates that are targeted with medications, recognizing the major classes of medication, understanding how medications are chosen, major side effects and how to assess and refer for medication.

As a result of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the neurologic theory behind the use of medications.

  • Utilize a working knowledge of the major classes of medication and individual medications in each class.

  • Describe medical conditions, which may mimic or complicate mental disorders.

CE Credit: 3 NBCC-Approved Clock Hours Awarded. 3 CE Approved Clock Hours for Psychologists.

Cost: $50

*Register HERE

*Info Link: http://richmont.edu/events

 *Note: Richmont is opening a portion of this course to Richmont alumni and the surrounding community for Continuing Education Credit. This event is not sponsored by the alumni association and does not fall under the benefits of founding membership status. Also, meals will not be provided for this event. Refunds available upon request through July 10, 2014.

 

Prepare-Enrich Certification Workshop

When: Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: McCarty Building – Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Presenter: Todd Sandel, LMFT

CE Credit: 7 CE credits

Cost: $150 (RGU Discount), $175 (Guests). Price includes all training materials and DVD kit.

*Register HERE

* For more information or to register by August 9, 2014, email info@lifegatecenter.org or call 404-842-3150

*Note: Richmont only serves as host for this event. A continental breakfast will be provided with lunch on your own.

 

Chattanooga Opportunities:

Foundations of Supervision

When: Friday, June 13, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Finley Hall – Richmont Graduate University, 1815 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404

Presenter: Cara Cochran, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT

Topic: Supervisory relationships are among the most important foundational aspects of a counselor’s career. An encouraging, challenging supervisor can help a student intern or a graduate seeking licensure find his or her strengths, and develop as a professional. Supervision that encourages growth requires intentional investment into the lives of these individuals on the path to independent practice.  During this workshop, participants will discuss the basic requirements for supervision, the legal and ethical aspects of supervision, and the practical aspects of supervision.

 Within the context of this 5 hour workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the motivation and basic requirements of the supervisory relationship.

  • Describe the legal and ethical aspects of supervision.

  • Discuss the practical aspects of supervision, including the supervisor contract.

CE Credit: Five NBCC-approved clock hours awarded. Five CE Clock Hours Awarded to Psychologists.

Cost: Richmont Legacy & Founding Alumni members, Clinical Supervisors, Faculty, Staff, and Students are Free. Basic Alumni Association members are $30. Non-members and friends of alumni are $75.

*Register HERE

*Info Link:  www.richmont.edu/events

*Note: Lunch will be on your own. Also, refunds are available if requested by June 11, 2014.

 

Questions about these CE events? Contact Autumn Stephenson at astephenson@richmont.edu or 423-648-2679.

 Richmont Graduate University is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. Richmont Graduate University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Richmont Graduate University maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

 

 

Richmont Hosts May Graduation with 75 Students

ATLANTA, GA – (May 16, 2014)

On Saturday, May 10, 75 students participated in the university’s spring graduation ceremony. The university awarded degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy, Christian Psychological Studies and Professional Counseling. Of special note, this year also marked the first class to graduate from Richmont’s School of Ministry.

“Graduation is always such a special time to celebrate each of Richmont’s graduates and their years of diligent work,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “It was also a wonderful time of acknowledging the Lord’s faithfulness and hand of provision at work in Richmont and in the lives of each student.”

In addition to honoring this year’s graduates, Richmont named Kenyon Knapp as 2014’s Distinguished Alumnus. A 2005 Richmont graduate, Knapp serves as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and is a tenured Associate Professor of Counseling at Mercer University in Atlanta, where he teaches master’s and doctoral level courses.  Kenyon founded and is the chairman of the Mercer Atlanta Research Conference; represents Counselor Education research with selective membership on the Institutional Review Board; and is a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Evaluator and CACREP Site Team Chair. Apart from the academic world, Knapp loves to serve the Lord through international missions work and crisis counseling.

Similarly, Ronald Bunger, Richmont’s Chattanooga campus librarian, received this year’s Peterson Award for the commitment and service he has shown to the university that has consistently exceeded his job demands and institutional expectations. Bunger has faithfully served the university for 10 years and is well regarded by students, faculty and staff.

As the first graduates from Richmont’s School of Ministry assembled on stage to receive their diplomas, Dr. Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry said flashes of individual student responses to the Ministry degree program passed through his mind, several of which included:

  • “I gained a vision to reach out to those who have given up on church through a course that at first I thought would be unhelpful!”
  • “For the first time in my life I have an understanding of the Trinity – it has renewed my understanding of God.”
  • “I’ve released and been freed from a load of hurt and resentment. I am ready and anxious to give my life in service to the Lord.”

Reflecting on graduation and on the past two years, Eliason said, “What a privilege it has been to be part of the launch of this program! These are graduates that I am very proud of and I believe they will be effective in transformational ministry for the rest of their lives!”

This year’s graduation also honored Dr. DeAnne Terrell for 15 years of service as the Dean of Students at Richmont. At the end of May, she will be transitioning to extend her talents and leadership capabilities as a professor at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

“DeAnne has expertly and steadfastly served at Richmont,” said Rodgers. “She is a thought leader in the field and is exceptionally beloved by students and staff both past and present. She is irreplaceable member on this team and has been a true gift to us.”

While students, faculty and staff know Richmont will not be the same without Dr. Terrell everyone is excited to rejoice with her in this next season. Thankfully, she will remain an adjunct professor at Richmont and will return to Atlanta in order to occasionally teach counseling courses.

*Photo Credit: Josh Booth Photography

Richmont Graduate University Selected as one of Charisma Magazine’s “Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education” Providers

ATLANTA, GA and CHATTANOOGA, TN – (May 9, 2014)

This spring, Richmont Graduate University was listed by Charisma Magazine as one of the “Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education” providers. This marks the university’s first time being featured on this list as well as marks a growing relationship with the magazine.

“We are thrilled to be recognized on Charisma Magazine’s list of best graduate schools this year,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “It is a privilege to participate with the magazine in sharing about Richmont’s academic programs that provide Christ-centered education and research that advances God’s work of healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches, and communities.”

Starting with a list of 205 schools that offer master’s degree and Ph.D. degrees, Charisma Magazine created a comprehensive list to aid potential graduate students in their search for the best advanced degree program in their area of interest. This year’s list featured Richmont alongside institutions such as Liberty University, Asbury Theological Seminary, Oral Roberts University and Fuller Theological Seminary.

According to Charisma Magazine, the Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education is intended to provide readers with a guide “…that is informative, authoritative and helps prospective students make a wise decision – including looking at schools and advanced-degree programs they may not have known existed.”

Additionally, Richmont’s President was asked by Charisma to compose an article called: A Wisdom-Based Formula for Success: Why advancing your education isn’t just about traditional ROI. In the article, Rodgers offers four key elements to going “…beyond the traditional money-in, money-out thinking” and factoring in “…the Spirit’s discernment, unique skills and support you need to answer God’s call for your life.” The full article was featured online and in print this spring.

Richmont Receives Continuing Education Provider Status from the American Psychological Association

Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN – (May 7, 2014)

This spring, Richmont was awarded Continuing Education (CE) Provider status by the American Psychological Association (APA). This status denotes Richmont as an approved provider offering continuing education courses to psychologists. The university’s application was not only approved, but received a five year status which is the highest level awarded to an academic institution.

“We are thrilled to have our application for CE Provider status receive such incredible validation from the American Psychological Association,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “Our current CE events have a high level of participation and we look forward to leveraging our networks and providing more resources for local counselors, therapists and psychologist in the future.”

Presently, Richmont hosts continuing education events throughout the year with the next event occurring on the university’s Atlanta campus on May 16, 2014.

“It is an honor for our Continuing Education program to be recognized in this way by the American Psychological Association,” said Autumn Stephens, Director of Career Services. “It demonstrates the standard of excellence we strive to maintain as an institution within our Continuing Education program. It also shows our commitment to advancing the education of our alumni beyond their time as a student.”