Faculty & Staff

Progress | February 2009

February 2009

By Lainey S. Cronk, Public Relations

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What it stands for is staying local, evening classes, and parking lot prayers.

If you asked nicely, Anna Nickolatos and Carol Johnson would probably tell you that DCP stands for Degree Completion Program, which is this pretty neat arm of PUC that they represent.

It's a two-year program that started in 1996, for working people to finish bachelor's degrees in early childhood education or business management. Anna is the BSM program representative (she's been here about two years), and Carol is the ECE program representative (she worked for Gary Gifford, who started the program; graduated from the program herself; and then became a rep).

The point of DCP is to complement PUC and community college programs - to reach people who wouldn't come to our regular campus and who want something beyond a community college program. Plus, Anna explains, many people in the area are "really into supporting local, staying local, shopping local - so to have an opportunity for them to get their bachelor's degree without having to drive to a city or do it online, a lot of them really appreciate that.".

Life in the "cohorts" (the groups that go through a program) is very different from on-campus life, since most students are older, working, and have families. "The first night of class you see everybody together," Anna smiles, "and you look around and think 'they're never going to make it together!'" But come back in two years, she says, and you'll find a family. "They're all going through the same thing. They all have work, all have families, go through divorces, marriages, births and deaths." When students from the Travis group get deployed for six months, their kids stay with classmates. "God knows who those people are who need to be in the program. So many times we just have to have the faith that it's going to go."

For Anna and Carol, whose job includes everything from advising to advertising, this work is also very personal. "We get to know our students really, really well," Anna says. These relationships last through the program, and often after.

Carol tells how one student vehemently objected to taking a religious course. "She let us know every night of that class. She would call and complain and bellyache." But one day she drove to PUC and found Carol and the other rep at the time, leaving for lunch. "We thought, 'We're going to get it again! Why didn't we go out the other door?!'" But the woman said, "I have to talk to you, I don't know anybody else to talk to. My son was in an accident last night and is not expected to live, and I need somebody to pray with me." Carol recounts, "We stood there in the parking lot and had our arms around her praying and comforting her, feeling so ashamed that we wanted to avoid her" We've had similar experiences over and over again, where this has been their only connection to somebody they felt they could ask to pray with them."

Carol and Anna are also a PUC connection to the Valley. Anna's emphasis is the chambers of commerce. "We feel like that's a really strong opportunity for us to be out there in the community." She is most intensely involved with the St. Helena Chamber - she's an ambassador for them and chairs the committee that launched a young professionals networking group in January.

Carol's focus is the community colleges and high schools, including monthly visits to the Napa Valley College transfer center to advise potential transfer students to DCP or other PUC programs. "The more we're out in the community," Anna says, "the better they know our school and what resources are available." Most DCP students come in through referrals, so connections are crucial.

DCP has another direct benefit for the main campus: a half-off tuition rate for employees (prices are about half of regular tuition to begin with). A number of our staff have graduated from DCP, including Dale Withers (and his wife, Pat), Carol Belleau, Craig Philpott, Lila Cervantes, and, currently enrolled, Daniel Vasquez.

Department Happenings

Visual Arts
Thomas Morphis had an exhibition of artworks open on January 15 at the Horton Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. Seventeen of Morphis's mixed media works will be on view through February 11.

Modern Languages
Charo Caballero-Chambers and Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti joined more than 8,500 participants in the 124th Annual Modern Language Association Convention held December 27-30 in San Francisco. Both enjoyed workshops and sessions such as "Manage - Trois in the Foreign Language Classroom: Function, Content, Accuracy" and "The Word and the Mind's Eye: Approaches to Radio Drama Performance and Reception."

Lynn Wheeler attended the annual meetings of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in Seattle in November. More than 700 colleges, universities and conservatories sent a representative to discuss and vote on accreditation standards. Lynn moderated a meeting concerning issues at schools with under 50 majors. Representatives from other member Adventist colleges also met informally to compare notes.

Mei Ann Teo brought a group from the Theatre of Yugen, as well as Erik Ehn (dean of theatre at CalArts) and Dijana Milosevic (Dah Theatre of Belgrade), to PUC for a one-week residency in January to rehearse their new play Dogsbody and workshop with DAS students. Find out more at News & Events. Mei Ann also directed staged readings of Bryonn Bain's one-man show "LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN: We Are and So I Am" in San Francisco and New York in January. The first staged reading of this play happened at PUC in March 2008.