Over the last five years, two departments in particular saw incredible growth in their student headcount. Since the fall quarter of 2009, the number of students declaring a major in religion or theology grew by more than a third, while the education department saw a significant increase in the number of students seeking teaching credentials and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education.
While many of the students in these departments choose more than one major, it is very encouraging to the religion and education faculty, as well as the administration at large, to see so many students committing themselves to these majors. “Providing pastors and teachers to the Adventist church has always been central to the mission of PUC,” said Nancy Lecourt, academic dean. “This scholarship has made it possible for more students to follow God’s call into these vital areas.”
The Adventist Mission Scholarship, previously offered to students of religion, became available to the department of education three years ago. This scholarship granted incoming freshmen $1000 per quarter if they declared education as their field of study. Eventually, this scholarship expanded to include students switching to an education major after arriving on campus, drawing even more interest to the program. This sustained department growth has been heartily welcomed by the education faculty.
“Our second year courses have doubled in size,” said Tom Lee, chair of the department of education. “We’re thinking that this is not just a flash in the pan. People think about teaching, and they’ll look, then look away—but with $1000 they might look back!”
The Adventist Mission Scholarship has also resulted in sustained interest from potential religion and theology majors. “The $3000 scholarship for theology majors is having a wonderful impact upon the religion department,” said Leo Ranzolin, professor of biblical studies. “The scholarship has led to the increase in the number of students taking the theology major and has made their education more affordable. The department is deeply appreciative of the administration’s initiative in creating this scholarship for it is playing a role in preparing future ministers to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”