School and Staff Changes

Written by Alfredo Martinez

State and federal regulations, personal aspirations, and faculty additions have resulted in a number of changes at JPCatholic.

Former Chair of the Theology, Dr. Michael Barber, joined the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. His new position as Associate Professor of Scripture and Theology allows more time for writing and public speaking.

Dr. Barber said,”…I have a lighter teaching load, but this enables me to be a better teacher, which is quite exciting to me. This also means I have more time to improve as a teacher via research, speaking engagements, and writing books… Most importantly, this helps me have more time to be the husband and father I think God wants me to be.”

Dr. Thomas Harmon, Professor of Theology and Culture, is the new Chair of Theology, while continuing to be in charge of the Humanities program. He commented, “I am hopeful that we will be able to build up an excellent, distinctive humanities program here at JPCatholic, which will include the tighter integration of the university’s core curriculum in itself and with the various majors and emphases.”

Vlad Bolsakov, Vice President of Finance, CFO, and adjunct Professor of Accounting, has left for a similar position at the University of San Diego, and will continue to teach at JP Catholic. Trinity O’Neill, Director of Academic Transfer & Articulation will begin her MA in Philosophy at Franciscan University with the ultimate goal of getting a PhD. Duties are being shifted to remaining staff while new faculty members are currently being decided on.

Dr. Julie Anne Stevens will join the new Creative Writing Department as a full-time professor. According to JP Catholic President Dr. Connolly, the university is also in the process of restructuring the curriculum to expand its involvement in certain disciplines within the Creative Arts, making up for the loss in theology.

The business department added adjunct Professor Dale Davidson, current President and General Manager of KNBX-TV in Las Vegas. Professor Davidson has almost 20 years of experience in Multimedia and Broadcast and Marketing. He is scheduled to teach Negotiation Skills and Public & Media Relations next quarter.

The online MA in Biblical Theology program is being revamped as JP Catholic President Dr. Derry Connolly said that the pressures caused by State and Federal levels statutes have made it economically difficult for JP Catholic to make online theology a viable option for students across state lines. A bill to add California to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) was denied, the estimated funding for the program was stalled. The bill would have provided “cost-effective methods for institutions to be authorized to offer distance education in other states.” The school is no longer accepting students for the online MA Theology program to those living outside of California.


Photo courtesy of Kristen Lavan.