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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.”

Richmont Faculty and Staff Publish Chapter in New “Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology” Book

Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN – (April 9, 2014)

This spring, Dr. Amanda M. Blackburn (Associate Dean of Students & Richmont Faculty member), Christine Weisgerber (Richmont alumna) and Michelle Shelley (Richmont alumna and Director of the Richmont Community Counseling Center) co-wrote and published the 10th chapter in the groundbreaking “Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology” book. Published by InterVarsity Press, their chapter was titled “Behavioral Approaches to Treatment” and discussed theoretical and evidence-based approaches to working with children and adolescents through the frameworks of developmental psychopathology and a Christian worldview.

“It was exciting to be a part of such an important project and to contribute to the conversation of developmental psychopathology with a Christian voice that advocates for children as gifts, persons, and agents in their development,” said Dr. Blackburn.

As a whole, this volume offers essays that offer an integrated framework between psychopathology and the Christian faith. For the first time since developmental psychopathology’s inception in the 1980’s, Christian mental health professionals working with children and adolescents have a resource that speaks to their specific approach to clinical treatment. The web release published by InterVarsity Press states:

“Throughout the book, the authors explore three integrative themes, looking at children as divine gifts, as persons and as agents in their own development.” The release also states, “Christian insights help to prevent the scientific study of the developmental process from being reductive. At the same time, research into the biological, sociocultural and psychological dimensions of human development can serve to inform and guide Christian practices of care and hospitality toward children and families.”

Edited by Kelly S. Flanagan and Sarah E. Hall, the book is available for purchase by visiting the InterVarsity web site or any major retailer.

“I feel honored to participate in writing a chapter for Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology,” said Shelley. “As a child and adolescent therapist, I strive to not only apply techniques that have scientific validity, but to integrate my Christian faith into my worldview of children and the manner in which I apply therapy. I am humbled to have been a part of a book that clearly disseminates these concepts to the clinical world as well as represent Richmont Graduate University in this way.”

Spring Continuing Education Opportunities

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

Atlanta Opportunities:

*The following courses will be allotted 1 clock hour of NBCC approved CE credit from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

  • April 1- Jessica Richards presents her thesis on “The Impact of Process Groups on Community: A Survey of Perceived Cohesion and Implications for Church Communities.”
  • April 8- Charles Fuller (2009 alumnus) presents “Working with Traumatic Brain Injury.”
  • April 10- Kristina Tucker presents her thesis on “Working with Clients with Chronic Pain” (hosted from 1pm–2pm.)
  • April 15- Tim Elmore presents “Dynamics of Strong Leadership.”
  • April 17- Adam Young presents “Healing from Trauma Using the Allender Approach” (hosted from 1pm–2pm.
  • April 22- Dr. Keny Felix presents “The African American Male Perspective.”
  • April 24- Tracy Busse `04 presents “Working with Victims of Sex Trafficking” (hosted from 1pm-2pm.) 


*The following courses will be allotted 1 clock hour of NBCC approved CE credit from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  • April 1- Ashley Dillon presents her thesis on “Adopting Parents’ View of Grace and Report of Behavior and Mood of Biological Children Before and After the Adoption of a Sibling.”
  • April 8- Dr. Tim Sisemore presents “A Theology of Anxiety.”
  • April 22- WeCounsel Solutions, LLC presents information and a demonstration of “Telehealth Counseling.”­­­­­

Save the Date:

*Further information will be coming via Richmont’s Events page.

  • May 16 – Jeff Ashby, PhD, ABPP, will present “Making Professional Ethics Practical.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Atlanta campus from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • June 13 – Cara Cochran, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT will present “Foundations of Supervision.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Chattanooga campus from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
  • July 12 – Shaw Wendi Fortuchang, MD will present “An Overview of Psychopharmacology.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Atlanta campus from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Richmont Graduate’s Book Lands on Amazon Bestselleing Devotionals List

CLEVELAND, TN – (March 24, 2014)

On March 20, 2014, Jennifer Hand, a two-time Richmont graduate, released her first book 31 Days to Coming Alive. Since the book’s release, it has been on Amazon’s list of bestselling devotionals. The print version of the book will be available for purchase at the end of April. 

The idea for this devotional book first came to Hand while studying at Richmont. Receiving her Master of Science in Psychological Studies and Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling, Hand came to Richmont intending to learn practical counseling techniques and use them to help others find freedom.  

Her book, 31 Days to Coming Alive, helps people easily connect their hearts with Christ in order to come alive in their daily lives. Each daily devotional is written to connect scripture to reader’s hearts using life stories and topics include: coming alive in confidence, coming alive in prayer, coming alive in courage, coming alive in your common, and coming alive in community. These devotions speak to the reader’s soul and the heart at the end of each day and include a few questions or directives to practically apply the concepts.  

“I did not imagine that my time at Richmont would revolutionize my walk with the Lord,” Hand said. “Through my classes in Spiritual Direction, God developed in me a deep longing and calling to help others connect in deeper heart ways with Christ.” 

In between her years at Richmont, Hand also served for two years as a missionary in Nepal. After graduating in May 2012 she started Coming Alive Ministries to help people come alive in Christ through counseling, conferences and written resources. Today, Coming Alive Ministries provides opportunities for women to come alive in Christ through conferences and retreats, counseling, and written and multimedia resources. In particular, the conferences are designed to encourage attendees to live alive in Christ through worship, the Word, laughter, fellowship and fun. While teaching approximately 40 retreats and conferences a year across the globe, Hand also engages missionary families in counseling as a professional counselor.

Richmont student, Sylvain Panu, Presents Research at the Southeastern Psychological Association’s Annual Conference

ATLANTA, GA – (March 10, 2014)


Master’s student, Sylvain Panu, represented Richmont Graduate University at the Southeastern Psychological Association’s (SEPA) annual conference on Friday, March 7. Panu, who submitted a presentation proposal last fall, was selected to present his thesis research via a poster session at the 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Mentored by Richmont faculty members Dr. Mary Plisco and John Hughes, Panu’s thesis is titled: The Effects of Traditional Martial Arts on Mindfulness and Psychological Well-Being.

“I was excited to present my thesis research because martial arts have had a huge impact on my life,” said Panu. “I love the idea of using activities as a part of therapy. I am looking forward to combining a passion of mine with psychology and adding to a body of research that will hopefully support martial arts as an effective form of intervention in therapy.”

“In his exploration of traditional martial arts and their relationship to a person’s development of mindfulness and general psychological well-being, Sylvain has been able to take a passion of his and lay the groundwork for some potentially impactful research,” said Hughes. “His study combines a timely topic with ancient traditions, and honors the Creator and created by addressing the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. I am glad to have had the opportunity to join Sylvain in this journey and am very proud of what he has been able to accomplish thus far.”

According to SEPA’s web site, they represent the “…largest psychological organization in the southeast and one of largest in the United States.” Seeking to “…advance psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare…” SEPA’s mission is “…to stimulate the exchange of scientific and professional ideas across the diverse areas of psychological inquiry and application.”

“Richmont has, for many years, had a significant presence at the SEPA conference,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “We are proud of Sylvain’s work, thankful for two incredible faculty mentors and are pleased to contribute to initiate a new discussion on such an important research topic.”

Richmont Faculty, Staff and Students Prepare to Present at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies Annual Conference

ATLANTA, GA – (March 7, 2014)

This April 3-5, more than 20 Richmont faculty members, current students and alumni will be presenting at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, according to the CAPS web site, “…brings students, professors, clinicians, researchers, pastors and others around the integration of the behavioral sciences and Christian faith and spirituality.”

The three-day conference will offer plenary sessions and workshops that span a wide range of psychological conversations. At a number of these sessions, individuals affiliated with Richmont will offer presentations and poster sessions. Additionally, several Richmont faculty members are serving in conference leadership positions and as track coordinators.  Specifically, Dr. Dan Sartor and Dr. Mary Plisco are serving as the Assistant Conference Coordinator and the Volunteer Coordinator, respectively. Similarly, Drs. Tim Sisemore, Keny Felix, Jim Siwy, and DeAnne Terrell are serving as coordinators for the Academic/Research, Clinical Practice and Cross-Cultural/International Tracks.

“This CAPS conference is a wonderful opportunity for Richmont faculty and students to share their contributions to the fields of counseling and psychology with their peers and the community at large,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “We are incredibly grateful to have so many thought leaders at Richmont and are looking forward to a successful conference.”

This year, presentations by Richmont faculty and students include the following:


-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Overview of a Christian Translation.

-Melanie Barefield (Richmont alumna) will present: Coping Processes and Social Support as Variables that Impact Well-Being in Couples Struggling with Infertility.

-Danielle Evans (Richmont alumna) and Dr. Keny Felix (Richmont faculty) will present: Missionary Adjustment in Relationship to Traumatic Stress, Preparation, and Sense of Community.

-Nathan Sharp (Richmont student) and Dr. Dan Sartor (Richmont faculty) will present: Grace and Shame as Factors of Disclosure or Concealment of Same-Sex Attraction among Men from Christian Families of Origin.


-Dr. Marty Goehring (Richmont Clinical faculty) and Laurel Burnett will present: A Church-Based Model for Community Counseling Services: Ethical and Cultural Considerations.

-Dr. Amanda Blackburn (Richmont faculty), Kim Eckert, E. Nicole Saylor, Dr. Jana Pressley (Richmont Adjunct faculty), & Kelly Flanagan will present: Fostering Childhood Attachment and Nurturing Your Career: Stories from Psychologist Moms.

-Vanessa Snyder (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: Research on Best Practices in Treatment of Girls and Women in Sex Trafficking Shelters: A Holistic Approach.

Friday poster sessions will include:

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) and Rodger Bufford will present: Worldview Foundations for a Christian Psychology.

-Pearl Brown (Richmont student) will present: Shame Experienced from Childhood Sexual Abuse: Is Grace a Moderator?

-Ashley Dillon (Richmont student) and Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Adopting Parents’ View of Grace and Report of Behavior and Mood of Biological Children Before and After the Adoption of a Sibling.

-Jessica Richards (Richmont Student) and Dr. James Siwy (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: The Impact of Process Groups on Community: A Survey of Perceived Cohesion and Implications for Church Communities.

-Kristina Tucker (Richmont student) and Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Religious Coping and Quality of Life in Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain Conditions.

-Dr. Jama White (Richmont faculty), Dr. Evalin Rhodes-Hanshew (Richmont faculty), Dr. Mary Keeley Plisco (Richmont faculty), Dr. Keny Felix (Richmont faculty), and Dr. DeAnne Terrell(Richmont faculty) will present: Cultivating Empathy Skills: A Counselor Education Intervention.

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will also facilitate a Christian Psychology special interest group meeting on Friday evening.


-Jenna Riemersma (Richmont student) and Dr. Michael Sytsma (Richmont Clinical faculty) will present: A New Generation of Sexual Addiction: Etiology and Treatment Implication. 

-Stanley Hoover (Richmont alumnus) will present: Healing the Broken Hearted, Binding their Wounds: Religious Coping in Response to Trauma. 

-Dr. Kevin Eames (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: The Cognitive Science of Religion: The Revival of Faculty Psychology.

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty), and Dr. Amanda Blackburn (Richmont faculty), and Rodger Bufford will present: Dimensions of Grace.

Saturday poster sessions will include:

-Dr. Jana Pressley (Richmont Adjunct faculty), Rachel Smith (Richmont alumna), Laura Waters, Karisa Smith, and Ryan Abraham will present: Connections between Trauma, Survival, and Resilience in the Inner City: Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Study.

-Drs. Douglas Rosenau and Michael Sytsma (Richmont Clinical faculty) will host a post-conference workshop on: The Disciplines of Intimacy: Experiencing Passionate Lovemaking.

Master of Arts in Ministry Degree Program Approved for Online Format

On Wednesday, February 26, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approved Richmont’s proposal to offer the Master of Arts in Ministry degree in a fully online format. This will be the university’s first master’s degree program to be offered online.

“Since Richmont’s School of Ministry began in 2012, we have had prospective students from around the country asking for online course options,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “The Master of Arts in Ministry strikes a desirable balance between theological learning and practical application in the areas of discipleship, spiritual formation and leadership. Since students cannot always move to one of our campuses in order to take classes we are therefore excited to meet the clear national demand for coursework through online instructional delivery.”

The university looks forward to offering current ministry curriculum online beginning in August of this year. Typically, students complete coursework over a period of six academic semesters and, while there will be an in-person program orientation for classmates to get to know one another, coursework will be conducted remotely

“What a great encouragement it is to receive the approval by SACSCOC for the School of Ministry to move its entire Masters of Ministry degree online,” said Dr. Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry. “This two year English track degree is uniquely designed to equip those who are called into ministry whether in churches or faith based organizations or those who want to be better prepared to serve God within marketplace ministries.”

Since the beginning, feedback from faculty and students in the School of Ministry has exceeded expectations. For two years the program has successfully offered coursework via evening classes and intensive weekend class formats. The online version of the degree will broaden the School of Minstry’s reach as the curriculum that has received such enthusiastic endorsement from the students who have been enrolled in the residential program during the past two years will be offered virtually. Click here to learn more about the School of Ministry or to apply for the fall 2014 semester.

Richmont Psychologist, Dr. Jeff Eckert, Joins Bryan College to Teach on Sexual Addiction

DAYTON, TN – (February 20, 2014)

On February 14, Dr. Jeff Eckert was one of two speakers to teach during Bryan College’s “Kill Your Sexual Addiction” seminar. Speaking during the college’s Friday morning chapel session, Eckert helped students consider sexual addiction as a modern day epidemic and an age old problem, particularly in regards to male populations. His seminar was preceded on Wednesday by Marnie Ferree, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a national reputation as a leader in the field of sexual addiction, particularly as it presents in women.

“College students are at a pivotal age where they are making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives,” said Eckert. “This topic is particularly relevant as they are considering marriage and the quality of their lives going forward. It’s important to equip them with knowledge and tools so they can make wise decisions and successfully cultivate positive habits and behaviors that will build a healthy foundation in their lives for the present and the future.”

A licensed psychologist and clinical social worker, Dr. Eckert not only engages clients (ages 12 and up) in individual and group counseling settings, but oversees approximately 20 clinicians in his role as Director of the Henegar/CBI Counseling Center in Chattanooga, TN. A ministry of Richmont Graduate University, the Center serves approximately 1,400+ individuals throughout the Chattanooga area with a wide variety of counseling services on a monthly basis.

Since, 2011, Richmont has partnered with Bryan College to offer the 3+2 program which allows psychological studies students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s in five years. As of 2013, Richmont has further replicated this partnership with Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia.

“We continue to be grateful for the many ways Richmont and Bryan partner together to share knowledge and resources,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “Jeff is a skilled psychologist with years of varied experiences and it is a true privilege to have him providing counseling services to clients and eye-opening material to students throughout Tennessee.”

John Ortberg to Present Spiritual Formation Conference at Richmont

ATLANTA, GA – (February 7, 2014)

It is with great pleasure that Richmont Graduate University prepares to welcome  internationally renowned author and speaker, John Ortberg, Jr., to present: “Knowing Christ: Celebrating the Teaching of Dallas Willard for Pastors, Ministry Leaders and Christian Educators.” This two-day conference will be hosted coming May 28 and 29, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia and will be open to pastors, parachurch organization leaders, and current students.

“I am thrilled that John has agreed to partner with Richmont this spring to train local ministry leaders in such a critical area as spiritual formation,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “As cultural changes accelerate, we know a new type of leader, one who is prepared to generate ministry strategies that are contextually relevant and theologically sound, is needed more than ever. I am excited for John to join us in equipping students and local ministry leaders to think critically and act creatively to communicate the gospel in our contemporary and diverse world.”

Ortberg has written several notable books on spiritual formation including, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, The Me I Want To Be, and most recently, Who is This Man?. He also currently serves as the senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California where he lives with his wife, Nancy.

“Concerning both the process of Christian Spiritual Formation and the role the Church can play, there is not more clear or compelling voice that that of John Ortberg,” said Dr. Gary Moon, Richmont professor and Director of the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation.

“John embodies the hallmarks on the pathway to spiritual transformation such as authenticity, transparency, and centeredness in Christ,” said Richmont’s School of Ministry Dean, Dr. Leland Eliason. “His speaking and writing invite readers to incorporate profound truths from great minds like Dallas Willard, one of his mentors. These remarkable qualities, in addition to his personally transparent approach, challenge readers and listeners to grow in their relationship with Christ.”

In preparation for this exciting event, further details can be found on the conference website.

Event Host:

Richmont Graduate University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOCS) and offers master’s-level training in professional 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 Christian 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 Hope Counseling Centers throughout metro Atlanta, as well as the Henegar/CBI Counseling and Richmont Community Counseling Centers in Chattanooga, TN. These centers offer counseling and mental health services to children, adults, families and groups of all walks of life, regardless of their insurance status.

For More Information Contact:

Robert G. “Bob” Rodgers

President, Richmont Graduate University

(404) 835-6132 or