Upchurch named director of EXCEL Program for Adults

FOR RELEASE
2008-03-07
Huntington, Ind.—Dr. Rick Upchurch has been appointed director of Huntington University’s EXCEL Program for Adults.

“One of the major factors drawing me to Huntington were comments by the entire leadership team with whom I interviewed that the culture of Huntington University and its focus on students is paramount,” Upchurch said. “This echoes my own perspective.”

Upchurch most recently served as the associate vice president for adult and online education at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, Ohio. He held this position for more than nine years and recently won the Administrator of the Year award at OCU. Since the start of the program in 1998, it has grown to 350 students.

“I have had extensive experience in strategic planning for adult programming at Ohio Christian, including adding new concentrations, new campuses and budgeting,” Upchurch said. “By God’s grace, I have the ability to see the big picture and can perceive which specifics within the organization to adjust to achieve the goal.”

Prior to his work at OCU, Upchurch was the senior pastor at Bedford Church of the Nazarene in Lambertville, Mich., for seven years. He has been the senior pastor at three other churches as well as a Christian school chief administrator and a youth pastor. He has taught college courses in leadership, teaching and preaching, Old Testament, computers in ministry, and online education.

Upchurch holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University, a Master of Arts in religion and a Bachelor of Arts in biblical literature from Olivet Nazarene University. He completed post-graduate work at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He also has training in online and adult teaching from several providers, including the College Board. Upchurch has attended an Academic Quality Improvement Program accreditation workshop provided by the Higher Learning Commission. He is scheduled to present on the topic of growing an adult program at the annual meeting of the Higher Learning Commission on April 14.

Upchurch said his goals for his new role are to “refine the processes in EXCEL to better integrate with the Huntington University campus and to remove barriers hindering growth.” His long-term goals include positioning the EXCEL program as a top provider of adult education in northern Indiana.

To achieve these goals, Upchurch says he will have to understand EXCEL’s niche market, prepare a strategic plan to address program excellence and growth, and develop sufficient adjunct faculty to meet the needs.

“I have a passion for seeing adults achieve their dream,” Upchurch said. “The ability of an adult to obtain a college education once they have entered the workplace and started a family is low. Programs like EXCEL make it possible for dreams to come true for these adults. Studies consistently show that these adult programs provide a high level of education, comparable to that from the traditional program for the 18 to 22 year-old students. This is because adults have a greater depth of experience, allowing them to better integrate their learning into their life.”

EXCEL offers evening classes tailored to the schedule of most working adults. Classes are held one night per week, one subject at a time. Classes last five to eight weeks and lead to an associate degree in organizational management or bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business administration, human resource management or organizational leadership.

EXCEL offers classes in Huntington, Columbia City and Wabash. For more information about the EXCEL program, log on to www.huntington.edu/excel, call (260) 359-4162 or (800) 600-4888, or e-mail excel@huntington.edu.

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  
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