I have been asked to blog about the Degree Completion Program here at ACU. Because of my age, blogging has not even appeared on my radar. So I Googled, “What is a blog?” The answer: “A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.” (https://www.blogger.com/tour_start.g)

Of all those definitions I like “a collaborative space” the best. Over the next few entries, you will meet and read responses from adult students who will be graduating in May from ACU’s Degree Completion Program to a series of question I posed to them regarding what it means to return and complete their college education 10, 15, 20 or 25 years after they started.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jim Ellis and I serve as the Chair of the Degree Completion Program. I joined the ACU community in mid-August after moving from Memphis, TN. I must say that there is a difference between dry heat and humid heat! It was not unusual to have 95-100 degree temps and 90-100% humidity in Memphis. I directed an adult degree completion program for 5 years in Memphis at Union University’s Germantown campus. Prior to that, I served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain for 25 years and spent some time in the Coast Guard running Search and Rescue boats, which was an awesome and rewarding experience. The Lord allowed me to combine my love for Him, His people and His ocean to serve in the Navy as a Chaplain.

I was an adult student. I served 4 years in the Coast Guard and began college when I was 23. I needed to mature before I began my educational journey.

I need to stop and tell you that God has a wonderful sense of humor. I expected that I would serve in a local church when I retired from the Navy. Before I retired, I completed a Ph.D. in Leadership with the desire to help churches develop Godly leaders. I planned to teach as an adjunct. After 2 years in a local church, an opportunity opened to become a director of an adult degree completion program and to teach adult students and the Lord clearly led me to that position.

The Degree Completion Program at ACU is 3 years old. Students attend classes at 1 night a week for 3 hours over an 8 week period. We offer at least 1 different class Mon – Thur each night. We fit two 8-week sessions in a normal semester. Our program runs year round. We offer two summer sessions as well as a 1-week January term intensive class.

Students graduate with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Typically an adult student comes to us with 50-60 undergraduate credit hours completed, and by taking two classes per session, adult students can finish their degree in two years.

If you would like more info on the program call Jim Ellis, at (602) 386-4120. We would like the opportunity to meet with you.

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