OCU Alumni Returning to the Classroom
Alumni of Ohio Christian University are returning to the classroom, only this time as professors. More than 40 Trailblazer graduates are currently serving as instructors in the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Professional experiences coupled with their faith-based education provide opportunities for alumni to help current students reach their potential in Christ and in their careers.
Michelle Bays earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Substance Abuse Counseling in 2009. She is currently employed as a Clinical Counselor for Molina Healthcare of Ohio. During her time at Ohio Christian University, she appreciated the influence of her fellow cohort students and the transformation she experienced by being in the classroom with those individuals. After obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Liberty University, Bays was eager to return to her alma mater to impact students. Her work experiences provide validation to current students by connecting how the curriculum coincides with the counseling field.
“I am honored to have an opportunity to encourage students to grab hold of the entire experience – not only as skilled counselors but as relationship-builders and firm believers of God’s ability to change lives,” Bays said.
Bays gives one piece advice to all her students, “Remember that Psalms 139:14 declares that ‘you were fearfully and wonderfully made’ and therefore you were made by the Greatest, to be great…you can do it!”
Jude Dille’s experience in his AGS program is so fresh that he is confident that he will be able to relate to students when he starts teaching this spring. Dille graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from OCU in 2011. He then completed a Master of Accounting and Financial Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management.
“I understand the unique challenges the students face with balancing work and home life while attending classes,” Dille said.
Dille is a Financial Analyst for NiSource and started his own accounting practice this year.
“All of the time and effort does pay off; it's worth it!” Dille said. “What really inspired me to come back and teach for OCU was the opportunity to help others reach their education and career goals by playing a small part in their journey.”
In addition to serving as an instructor, Michelle Blanton is the Assistant Director of AGS Student Services at OCU. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from OCU in 2008 and a Master of Arts in Education from Capella University in 2012. Blanton is currently working towards a doctoral degree.
“While I was a student at OCU, several faculty members invested in my education and spiritual development. Seeing their devotion to God and the impact they had on my life, I was inspired to try to make the same impact on our adult students,” Blanton said.
One of the classes Blanton teaches is College Study Skills. This course introduces the students to OCU values and resources, while providing the students with tools to understand and maximize their abilities as they begin their Associate of Arts degrees.
“If I have not provided a good representation of Christ in my classroom or an opportunity for my students to have a heart transformation, I have failed,” Blanton said. “Spiritual maturity and growth played a huge role in my ability to succeed as a student.
”Jeffrey Mansell earned his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries in 1979. He also holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Ashland Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Talbot School of Theology. In addition to teaching for OCU, he has served as the District Superintendent for the Wesleyan Church and is the Executive Director for the Seven Baskets Community Development Corporation. Mansell draws from that experience in the classroom.
“I believe what’s most important for the students to take away from class is the ability to put their new knowledge into practice in their personal lives and ministerial contexts. Theory without application lacks value,” Mansell said.
He said the comparisons of his days as a Trailblazer with today’s campus and students are limited.
“The scope of the program, the size of the student body, the growth in facilities, and the expansion to University status all create distinctions between then and now,” Mansell said. “However, the emphasis on a holy walk before the Lord continues to be an OCU distinction that I appreciate and can model before my students.”