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School of Ministry Adds New Faculty

Richmont Graduate University is proud to announce the addition of three new professors to the School of Ministry faculty.  Dr. Wesley Scott Biddy, Dr. Chris Green, and Dr. Jeff Horner will be joining the Richmont faculty this fall. These new hires are in response to the growth of the School of Ministry both in the number of new students and the new programs that are in development.

Dr. Wesley Scott Biddy

Wesley Scott Biddy earned a B.A. and an M.A. at Lee University, a Th.M. at Duke Divinity School, and a Ph.D. at Marquette University. Dr. Biddy has presented papers at conferences organized by the American Academy of Religion, the Conference on Christianity and Literature, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies, among others. His articles have appeared in Pneuma and Ars Disputandi. He joins Richmont having most recently taught at Mount Paran Christian School.

Dr. Chris Green

Chris Green earned a B.S. and an M.M. at Southwestern Christian University, an M.S.T.S at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, a D.Min. at Oral Roberts University, and a Ph.D. at Bangor University. Dr. Green has served as faculty at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Southwestern Christian University, Mid-American University, and Oral Roberts University. His research and writing focus on the relationship of vocation, holiness, and scriptural hermeneutics.

Dr. Jeff Horner

Jeff Horner earned a B.A. at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), an M.A. and an Ed.D. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an M.Litt. degree at the University of Bristol in England. Dr. Horner has spent 17 years working in independent Christian schools in North Carolina, California, and Georgia.  He has worked as a contractor for the College Board and served on SAIS Accreditation and SAIS Reading teams. Dr. Horner has served as adjunct faculty at Southern Baptist Theological University and Point University. He has published articles in The Journal of Church and State, Religious Education, Christian Education Journal, and has a forthcoming article in Perichoresis.

 

Richmont Achieves Gold Standard in Counseling Education

Richmont Graduate University, a leader in training counselors, has again proven its excellence by extending its accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered by Richmont is now accredited through 2024. CACREP is the highest form of accreditation to counseling programs, denoting excellence in academic and clinical performance.

I am immensely proud of our faculty and staff. Clearly, it was a sustained, collective effort which led to this success. When you couple this news with a very positive accreditation site visit by SACSOC earlier this spring, it strongly suggests Richmont will continue to grow and thrive well into the future.”

– Dr. Timothy Quinnan, President of Richmont Graduate University

CACREP is specialized within the world of accreditation to assess graduate programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, signaling that the program’s content and quality have been evaluated to meet strict standards set by the profession. Choosing a CACREP-accredited program assures students they will gain the knowledge and experience necessary for licensure and clinical success in most states. Degrees granted by universities with CACREP accreditation lead to a smoother path toward licensure for new therapists all over the country.

Richmont Graduate University is a private, Christian institution committed to preparing graduates to function at the highest levels of professional clinical counseling or vocational ministry. The University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers graduate-level Master’s degree programs from its School of Counseling and School of Ministry. The University operates two physical campuses in Atlanta and Chattanooga, and a virtual campus online. Richmont is renowned for its distinguished faculty as well as its unparalleled field training, which guarantees all students on-site internships. Through Richmont’s ten University-operated counseling centers near its campuses, over 25,000 clients are served annually.

Richmont is the oldest faith-integrated counseling program in the eastern United States, and its graduates consistently score above the average for other CACREP accredited programs. Established in 1933, Richmont enjoys a rich heritage and has over 1,400 distinguished alumni making a profound and positive difference in the lives of others. Richmont alumni serve their communities through careers at mental health clinics, non-profits, private practices, and churches, and more.

New RGU Commons at the Atlanta Campus

Dr. Quinnan builds the RGU Commons at the Atlanta Campus for students, faculty, and staff.

The RGU Commons is an outdoor seating area that was made possible through a gift from the President and the Student Annual Fund. The RGU Commons is located on the west side of the Atlanta Campus and is ready and open for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy.  It features a permanent weatherproof outdoor table and seating. The new RGU Commons is in response to student requests for outdoor seating areas.

There is plenty of room for expansion of the RGU Commons. If you would like to donate to help expand the RGU Commons, you can do so by going to richmont.edu/give and making a tax-deductible donation.

Alumni Profile: Liz Norris

Richmont Alumni are making a positive impact in our local communities and throughout the world. The average Richmont graduate will impact some 10,000 lives during the course of their career. At Richmont we take the responsibility of that impact to heart as we prepare students and support alumni in their careers.

Meet Liz Norris, she is a Richmont alum, Licensed Professional Counselor (as of June 2018 – congratulations!) and also works as an Admissions Counselor at Richmont. Liz has the unique perspective of guiding counselors who are starting their careers, managing her own clinical practice, and serving as part of the Richmont Trauma Team. Listen to her thoughts on why she chose Richmont and the impact the University is making throughout the world.

Thank you, Liz, for the impact you are making on the world.

We would love to hear updates from Richmont alumni and from people impacted by our alumni. Contact us with your stories and updates:

Scottie Blackburn, Director of Communications, sblackburn@richmont.edu

Martha Busby, Director of Alumni and Career Services, mbusby@richmont.edu

Latest Edition of Connecting Magazine Available Online

Connecting Spring 2018

Connecting Magazine is a publication for Richmont alumni and constituents. The latest issue features an interview with President Timothy Quinnan, campus updates, information on the new Richmont app, alumni profiles, and a recap of the 2017 Alumni Reunion. Enjoy the latest edition by clicking below. In an effort to be good stewards of our resources, Richmont will be printing less hard copies and will be making publications available online through our website and monthly newsletters. Connecting will also be available under the Alumni section of the Richmont website.

 

Choosing the Right School

Maybe choosing a graduate school is a no-brainer for you. Maybe the ordeal of choosing your undergraduate school taught you what to look for. Perhaps you know exactly what you want, or you at least have an idea or two. Or maybe you don’t. And that’s okay because there are a lot of factors that go into choosing not just the right school, but the school that is best for you and your specific needs.

But before you dive into research, the best first step is to perform a personal inventory: take time to think about who you are and why you have decided to pursue a graduate degree. You might not reach definitive answers, but evaluating your personal reasons for graduate school will better help you navigate decision making. Here are four key elements to get you started thinking through graduate school options.

Faith and Integration

How much do you want your faith to coalesce with your learning experience? There are varying models of how Christians approach counseling: some view psychology apart from a biblical critique, and some strongly critique modern psychological insights. And still, other schools have “integrated” programs of Christian theology and psychology, such as Richmont Graduate University. Dr. Dan Sartor, Richmont’s Vice President of Integration, says,  “. . . while many other institutions teach from a Christian worldview, very few actually incorporate integrative studies in Christian theology and spiritual formation,” which is precisely Richmont’s nuanced model. More than teach from a Christian perspective, Richmont integrates theology with science in the classroom. When choosing a school, reflect on its approach to counseling in relation to your understanding of faith and learning.                        

Training Opportunities 

Most if not all graduate schools will require practicum experience or internships upon graduating. At Richmont, however, students are guaranteed internship experience from the very beginning of their educational experience. Richmont’s clinical training sequence was designed for students to build their set of specialized counseling skills, culminating with an internship in their final year. Beyond simply offering internships, determine how strong the school’s connections are to the surrounding community. Does the school, like Richmont, have strong relationships and positive reputations with local hospitals and counseling centers? Is the school likely to help you secure an internship placement if it is not guaranteed? Lastly, what is the school’s view on the relationship between biblical knowledge and scientific data, and how does it affect its training model?                             

Faculty

Because graduate school is a smaller, more concentrated and specialized experience than undergrad, it is important to evaluate the school’s faculty. How many professors are there to students? How experienced are they in their fields, and do they still practice? Depending on the availability of the faculty, the amount of time you spend with them will vary. In graduate school, it is important to find a faculty that has the time and passion and experience to properly mentor you in your field. One-on-one time with professors is priceless. Do your research into the school’s faculty and try to find professors who not only specialize in your preferred study but who also will know and care for you individually. 

Accreditation

A school’s most recent accreditation is like a dental hygiene report card: it gives you a good idea of the institution’s current health. Accreditations are either institutional or specialized. Specialized accreditation, such as CACREP, reviews a professional preparation program within institutions, which is important for graduate schools. It gives you insights into a program’s fulfillment of its “institutional settings, mission and objectives, content, practicum experiences, student selection and advising, faculty qualifications and workload, program governance, instructional support, and self-evaluation,” according to CACREP’s website. A specialized accreditation score goes beyond spotlighted and flashy factors like school rankings, ratings, and brands—they prove the financial and professional stability of a specific program. Richmont currently holds a CACREP specialized accreditation, which is the highest form of accreditation given to counseling degree-specific programs in the U.S.

After you have done the research, the most important next step is to talk to people on the ground. Once you have narrowed down a few schools, ask the admissions office for the contact information of a few current students or alumni. Talk to the students about their experience, ask them questions and learn from their stories. And remember you do not have to be alone in choosing a school—ask for advice and prayer from trusted friends and family.

ACA of Georgia Ethics Event at Richmont

June 22nd the American Counseling Association of Georgia will host an event at Richmont’s Atlanta campus titled: “Raising the Bar: Critical Concepts in the ACA Code of Ethics.”

Knowing the ACA Code of Ethics inside and out is more important than ever. Recent events in Tennessee have shown that we must all be prepared to define, protect, and defend it at a moment’s notice. Moving forward as one strong, unified community is by far the best way to preserve the integrity of the counseling profession. We must speak with one clear voice.

Event Details:

June 22, 2018
9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta Campus

Discussion points will include:
  • Securing a strong foundation of general knowledge around content areas in the ACA Code of Ethics
  • Understanding critical ethical updates in such areas as professional values; social media; the imposition of counselor personal values; defining the moment ethical responsibilities begin; and fee splitting
  • Protecting against malpractice lawsuits by keeping up with new ethical imperatives
Presenter:

David Kaplan, Ph.D.David M. Kaplan, Ph.D., NCC
ACA Cheif Professional Officer

Regarding this event, Richmont Faculty and ACA of Georgia Executive Board Member, Keith Myers, Ph.D. commented:

“We are honored to have David Kaplan join us at Richmont Graduate University as we go for a deep dive into the ethical issues that are specific to our profession. Being ethical is about doing what is best for our clients and communities, and I’m glad that he will be here to facilitate that discussion.”

Richmont is honored to host this event and proud to support the great work of the ACA of Georgia.  Concerning the ACA of Georgia Dr. Myers added:

“Being a member of the ACA of Georgia Executive Board and this work of revitalizing the state branch has been a great privilege of mine during the past couple of years. We look forward to offering education and networking events in the coming months and years to all counselors of various disciplines within our profession. Those events will be free to those who reside and practice in our great state and are already an ACA member.”

Registration:

Registration is free for ACA of Georgia members.  Click here to register.  5 ethics CE hours available.

 

How do I pay for my education?

How do I pay for my education? You’ve likely asked yourself this question if you are applying for graduate school. The answer can seem elusive at times.

As someone who works as a Director of Admissions, I wish paying for graduate school was an easy and obvious process. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every student’s situation is unique. However, I do know that we are ready to help—you don’t have to figure out the finances on your own.

For many people, the idea of taking out (or taking on more) student loans can be crippling. I have seen the fear of loans keep people from pursuing the career they have felt called to for decades. That fear is normal. The fear of being responsible for debt is often a fairly healthy thing. We are a culture reacting against a recession we witnessed that exhibited the effects of unjustified or irresponsible debt.

However, we also have a responsibility to be good stewards of not just our financial resources, but also our talents and skills. Your talents are worth the investment. There’s a proven return on investment for those who complete graduate school.

How are we to feel if we neglect our skill or ability to be of service to others who are hurting just because we are fearful of student loans? Student loans are not monsters waiting to devour us. If we are responsible enough to research and understand our loans, then we may be able to use them as tools and resources to fulfill our own careers and callings.

At Richmont, our Admissions and Enrollment team works to inform you about all the resources available to you before you start your graduate school education. We offer three forms of financial aids for students:

With these three forms of aid, we have been able to help thousands of counselors and ministers fulfill their calling to do God’s work of healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches, and communities.

We feel very fortunate to be able to provide private scholarships to our students. We recognize that not many graduate programs are able to offer their own scholarships or even help their students qualify for financial aid. Occasionally, we hear of students from other programs who were awarded their graduate or terminal degree on a “full ride.”

However, awards known as “full rides” are rarely fully explained or understood. Typically, the recipient of a full ride will have a job or two on campus as part of their “fellowship award.” Richmont departs from these types of awards. Instead, we offer our students scholarships that do not require them to work or serve any purpose other than being a student. This is not typical of graduate universities. We want our students to be able to have time with their families and friends, to even pursue a part-time job.

The Graduate Assistant (GA) jobs that Richmont offers are part-time positions for students to help the school serve other students by operating the Atlanta and the Chattanooga campuses. The positions range from 5 hours to 20 hours per week, and the student receives a competitive hourly wage. Work schedules for GA jobs automatically fit students’ class schedules—they are logistically more convenient than working off-campus jobs.

Applying for GA jobs on each campus is competitive, and pursuing one of these positions is similar to applying for a real job. Prospective students should inquire with their Admissions Counselors early in the process if they’re interested in GA jobs. The more counselors know incoming students, the better the counselor can recommend them for certain jobs, like the records office, the library, or assisting faculty.

Unfortunately, most of the public grants, foundations, lottery scholarships, or “free money” that assisted you in your undergraduate education are not available for your graduate education. Instead, we seek to provide federal financial aid resources and services to all of our students, especially those who may not be familiar with FAFSA or Federal Student Aid.

The Admissions and Finance staff works to create open and transparent conversations about how to use and plan for student loans and to not default on them. Richmont is ranked first overall with a 0.00% default rate, listed on The Student Loan Report’s 2017 Default Rates. And for students who want to pay for their education independently, we help them create realistic payment plans.

Talk to someone. That’s the first step in understanding the financial aid resources available to you. I always recommend that you meet with school staff, current students, or alumni who have experienced what you are about to experience. Talking to them can help you normalize the anxiety you have about new financial responsibilities. You are not alone in what you are feeling, and it is fine to feel that way!

And more than just talking to people, try to learn from them. Chat with people who have been able to pay off their student loans, listen to their experiences, and learn how you can achieve your goals. There is no one universal solution to paying for graduate school or student loans. But don’t forget you have people around you with stories and experiences that can speak into your own understanding and preparation for graduate school.

 

Students and Faculty Present at CAPS Conference

CAPS Conference 2018

The Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) encourages in-depth consideration of therapeutic, research, theoretical, and theological issues. The association is a forum for creative new ideas.  CAPS members serve as psychologists, counselors, educators, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, professional and lay counselors, researchers, pastoral counselors, and students.   https://www.caps.net/about/

Each year at the CAPS Annual Conference, hundreds of professionals gather to share ideas, present research, and learn from each other.  This year’s conference was held in Norfolk, Virginia April 12th – 14th.

Richmont was proud to be well represented by faculty members and students at this year’s conference.  The following is a list of Richmont presenters along with their research topics:

Kelsie Bowman McGlothin (student)

Promoting Healthy Spiritual Development in Children Through Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Sonja Sutherland, Ph.D. (faculty)

Cultural Competence Development in Christian Counselors-In-Training

Daimi Shirck (student) *3rd Place Winner, Student Category

Clergy’s Perceptions of Their Training and Competence in Regards to Pastoral Counseling Compared to Professional Counselors

Amy Kenney (student) and Amanda Blackburn, Psy.D. (faculty)

Perception, Value, & Practice of Wellness in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

Amanda Hindson (student) and Mary Plisco, Ph.D. (faculty)

Mental Health Treatment for Refugees: Exploring Ways to Address Barriers and Enhance Therapeutic Care

Dan Sartor, Ph.D. (faculty) and Jama White, Psy.D. (faculty)

Beyond Bracketing: Exploring Alternative Paradigms in Values Conflicts

Amanda Blackburn, Psy.D. (faculty), Jama White, Psy.D. (faculty), and Mary Plisco, Ph.D. (faculty)

Promoting Wellness in Graduate Students: Evidence-Based Interactive Activities to Engage Students

The New Richmont App

The new Richmont App is available today on both Apple and Andriod app stores (search for Richmont).
You can also text “rgu app” to 77977 to download.

The new Richmont App has the following capabilities:
  • Sections for Admissions, Alumni, Current Students and Continuing Education
  • Make a donation to Richmont Graduate University
  • Prospective students can complete the application process and register for Preview Day
  • Current students can access forms, current schedules, and the student portal
  • Alumni and Professionals can register for continuing education courses (discount rates available)

Download the Richmont App today to stay connected with all of the great things going on at Richmont Graduate University.