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Affiliate Partnership With Behavioral Health Works

BHW LogoVanguard University School for Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) is happy to announce an Affiliate Partnership with Behavioral Health Works (BHW).  This partnership allows BHS staff the opportunity to receive a discount on tuition to further their education and the opportunity for SGPS students to set up trainee and internships to work with clients who have been diagnosed with Autism.

Behavioral Health Works is a premier Autism treatment provider, headquartered in Orange County, CA.  They are a Non-Public Agency contracted with various school districts, health insurance plans, and regional centers in California.  As a multidisciplinary agency, they offer Autism Evaluations, ABA therapy, ABA parent training, Early Interventions Services, Counseling, as well as Speech and Occupational Therapy.

If you would like to learn more about completing your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology click here and if you would like to learn more about our Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology click here.

If you company is interested in establishing an Affiliate Partnership with Vanguard University School for Graduate and Professional Studies please contact the Kristi Starkey, Director of Corporate Education Programs by emailing her at or by calling at 714-668-6109.




Ordinary Repentance (Luke 3:3-14), Professor Bill Dogterom

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I grew up thinking that repentance was mostly rooted in feeling bad, maybe even guilty, about some thing I had done. I had plenty of practice! Often the threat of eternal damnation spurred the appropriate feelings for which repentance was the response and solution – and that usually meant ‘going forward’ at the end of a Sunday night sermon and spending enough time at the altar to alleviate the bad feelings.
In the last few years that I have realized that my understanding of repentance had more to do with not feeling bad any more – than with with any necessary change in behavior. It was possible for me to get good at feeling bad. And that was good enough. In fact, sometimes feeling bad produced an emotional reaction that I mistook for the assurance that God had forgiven me. So the strategy was to feel bad enough for long enough for whatever it was that I had done. And that was repentance. Implicit was the idea that, perhaps, I shouldn’t keep doing bad things – but changed behavior was less the content and more the occasional outcome of repentance.
It was a bit of a shock to discover that repentance, as it is used in the Bible, has to do with a change of behavior arising from a change of mind – and that any feelings are more about the desire for the new than they are about shame over the old. Repentance is about living a new way in the light of a new reality. Jesus called his listeners to repent – to live a new way – as an appropriate and necessary response to the fact that the Kingdom of God was now within their grasp. When John challenges his audience to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” it is interesting to notice how he responds to questions from the crowd concerning what that fruit might look like.
He begins by suggesting that radical generosity is the first demonstration of authentic repentance. “If you have two cloaks, and another has none… do the math! And the same with food…”  A repentant tax collector should only collect the amount they are authorized – and not use their position to become wealthy. The soldier under force of repentance should be content with their salary – and not use their cover of authority either to extort money from people, or to make false accusations. Nothing very revolutionary! Or is it?
Imagine what a community shaped by this ordinary repentance – a community made up of people simply doing their jobs, and not taking whatever advantage their position afforded them to get ahead at cost to others.
John thinks that is repentance – living a new way in the light of the Kingdom’s coming. I think he might be on to something.


Word, Work and Wonder as Holistic Ministry, Professor Doug Peterson

Following JesusProfessor Doug Peterson teaches in our Graduate and Professional Studies programs at Vanguard University and he was asked to write and essay for Following Jesus:  Journeys in Radical Discipleship – Essays in Honor of Ronald J Sider By Paul alexander & Al Tizon (eds).  Click Here to order today

Professor Peterson writes in his essay “Jesus’ teachings to the disciples in the Gospel of Mark provide the marching orders for holistic ministry, i.e., for discipling people to faith in Jesus Christ and demonstrating that faith through our actions and service among the needy.  The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate that the transformational experience of salvation, the ethical actions of social concern, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, as seen primarily in the Gospel of Mark, are inextricably linked together in any expression of holistic ministry.

Focusing on Mark 8:22-10:52, the core of Jesus’ teaching on discipleship, I contrast the social and ethical norms of power, authority, control, knowledge, status and wealth, which were accepted in first century culture, with the polar opposite ethical standards – the reversal of the order of things – that Jesus required of his followers under the rules of the kingdom of God.  Greatness in leadership, as God measures, is directly related to our actions on behalf of the marginalized and disenfranchised:  the poor, sick, disabled, unclean, outcasts, outsiders, the insignificant, and especially, or perhaps specifically, the children.”

For those of you who know Professor Peterson personally, you know he lives by his teachings and has a plaque hanging in his office as a constant reminder that reads:

“One hundred years from now,
It won’t matter what car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much I had in my bank account,
Nor what my clothes looked like,
But, the world may be a little better,
Because I was important in the life of a child.”


A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context, Gary Tyra, D. Min

A MissionDr. Gary Tyra, Professor of Religion in our Professional Studies program published a new book A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context 

The emerging and missional church movements have raised decisive questions about what it means to embody the Christian faith in a post-Christian and postmodern world. A common reactionary response denies the significance of the context and reasserts the supremacy of classical orthodoxy. An equally common position at the other end of the spectrum involves a rejection of orthodoxy as contextually insensitive and incapable of being inclusive and missional at all. The one asserts its orthodoxy at the expense of being missional and contextual; the other emphasizes generosity at the expense of its fidelity to “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The church today needs a theology that is both orthodox and missional–doing justice to both aspects. Gary Tyra has written just such a book. In A Missional Orthodoxy he critically engages with the works of Brian McLaren and Marcus Borg for the sake of developing a comprehensive missional theology that retains what he calls the “four Christological verities” at the heart of Christian doctrine. Tyra discusses the methodological question of contextualization, offering an incarnational model of recontextualization that unites the postmodern insights of the culture with the truths of the biblical text. On the basis of this missional foundation, he examines all the major Christian doctrines in order to overcome the false antithesis between a fighting fundamentalism and a too-accommodating liberalism. The result is a humble, modest, missionally faithful orthodoxy that provides a compelling witness within a world of competing extremes.

Vanguard University Selected As A Top Military-Friendly School In 2014

MAE'sVanguard University of Southern California has been selected as a top military-friendly school in our  2014 Guide to  Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities, a list featured annually in our December issue.  A record number of schools responded to our extensive survey, and MAE staff evaluated each submission by our strict criteria.

In this issue, we use an easy-to-read graphic presentation in the form of bar charts, which will enable our readers compare and contrast schools to find the best match for their needs. This year, we also asked for schools to provide additional details about their programs, and will make those answers available on our newly designed searchable database.

We’re excited about the new Guide, and we think our readers—the  ESOs, TOs, top-level commanders who influence educational decisions, and, of course, servicemembers—will value the format too. We think it will reflect positively on your school as well. As the first publication to do a military friendly list, MAE has been improving the process every year in order to provide our men and women in uniform information that will help them make the right choices about college.  Go to


College Fosters Early Childhood Education,by Iman Siddiqi, The Orange County Register

mqxewb-b781150018z.120130802160207000gjv1f6vp5.2Those of us who went through preschool remember little more than nursery rhymes, chocolate pudding and the swing set. But as national standards increase, preschoolers today are acquiring basic skills in writing, mathematics and social interaction.

Statistics show that students enrolled in preschool enter kindergarten with stronger academic and social skills than their peers and students having been through preschool perform better in elementary school.

“I know my daughter will improve a lot by going to preschool, but I want her to go to a preschool where she will actually learn, and not just be babysat,” said Mai Tran of Irvine, who has a 3-year-old daughter who will attend preschool this fall.

As parents search for quality preschools, preschools in turn are looking to hire more qualified educators. Schools like Vanguard University in Costa Mesa are trying to help educators meet that need.

Funded by the California Department of Education, the Child Development Training Consortium has created the Child Development Permit Matrix, outlining the requirements for six levels of educators in state preschools: teacher’s assistant, associate teacher, teacher, master teacher, site supervisor and program director. Educators at each level are authorized to care for and assist in the instruction of children and can supervise educators at lower levels.

Teachers in California’s public preschools need to have either an associate’s degree in early childhood education (ECE), or at least 24 completed units of ECE courses, 16 units of general education courses and experience.

Private preschools have three permit options: teacher’s assistant, teacher and director. Assistant teachers require six ECE units, teachers require 12 units, and directors require 12 units and an additional administration course.

Although a degree is not required for educators to be licensed, as preschool standards are shifting to a greater academic focus, and parents’ demands on preschool continue to increase, more schools, including private and faith-based, are demanding degrees of their educators. As a result, many early educators need to return to school to obtain more units or a degree in ECE.

“I’m seeking a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education so I can continue to be a lead teacher at Head Start because in the next few years every lead teacher at Head Start will be required to have a bachelor’s degree,” said Mary Schreiner, 39, of Huntington Beach, a Vanguard University student.

Schreiner and almost 200 other students from all over California and beyond selected Vanguard to complete coursework to meet licensing and ongoing professional development requirements for educators.

Vanguard, in Costa Mesa, is a private Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies that offers 21 undergraduate majors and three graduate degrees.

One of the graduate degrees is the Child Development Program that offers online associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and other online ECE courses. The online bachelor’s degree program was recently ranked No. 16 in the United States by, which ranks college and degree programs in different categories and says it is an independent organization with no ties to any other educational institution.

“Most of our students are adult learners returning to school or seeking a new career path,” said Shari Farris, faculty chair of Early Childhood Education at Vanguard. “Most are parents and work full time. They have very busy lives. The accelerated fully online format works well for them.”

In comparison to in-class courses at other universities, each of Vanguard’s online courses is based on an accelerated eight-week format rather than a traditional 16-week semester format, allowing students to complete the ECE coursework requirements within two years.

“The faculty that teaches in the program consists of highly-educated practitioners with years of teaching and leadership experience,” said Farris. “Despite the online format, our faculty works to intentionally build relationships with students through discussions, meaningful and relevant coursework, faith integration and mentoring.”

The online bachelor’s degree costs approximately $19,500 or $375 per unit, with books costing about $100 per class.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an early educator in 2012 was $25,000 a year. Early educators with a bachelor’s degree and a focus in a specific area, such as special education, earned $51,000 on average in 2012.

“I chose the field of ECE because in a career like this, money doesn’t matter,” said Kristina Olsen, 25, of Oakland and a candidate for a bachelor’s degree at Vanguard University. “The rewards are emotional rather than financial. The ultimate reward of working with children is in seeing how each child grows and becomes their own person.”

What to Remember When Your Life Feels Broken by Dr. Andrew Stenhouse Dean School of Graduate and Professional Studies

7713-sweeping broken.220w.tnWe were driving home from the Grand Canyon, trying to determine which soda belonged to whom, when my youngest daughter claimed hers by identifying the straw. She explained how she would bend and break the tips of all her straws in order to mark her drinks. If it’s broken, it must be mine.

I could relate. I felt as if everything I touched had broken. If something was broken most likely I had been there to break it. There was a trail of broken things behind me—opportunities, dreams, aspirations and people. As the girls slept in total silence, I drove on through the Arizona desert and reflected on my daughter’s mark of ownership: brokenness.

My dreams were broken. I was broken. And all my friends knew it. I shared King David’s lament from Psalm 31:11-12: “I am a dread to my friends—those who see me on the streets flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” That was exactly how I felt, like broken pottery.

Here I was on another vacation with my daughters, watching other families in their cars occupying the seats the way they do in the TV commercials; Dad, Mom, the kids in the back. It seemed that mine was the only car on the road with no one sitting in the front passenger’s seat. I felt alone. I felt sad. A dad, two daughters and a dog; something was missing. Something was broken. I slowly nodded my head and admitted, If it’s broken, it must be mine.

Were my dreams really broken though, or was I simply disappointed because things had not turned out as I had hoped they would? Perhaps my dreams were really just altered. Since that trip I have often pondered these two questions: Is it really broken? Or is it really altered?

Is it really broken?

It can be many things; a career, a relationship, a family, a dream. It, like most things, can usually break. But is it really broken? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is utterly destroyed and irreparable, and we must admit the loss, hurt a while, grieve and heal. Other times, it’s not really broken.

Occasionally when I think something is broken I later discover that I just didn’t understand it. One time I bought a treadmill and couldn’t wait to use it, so I immediately plugged it in and turned it on. Nothing. I called the store and told them they had just delivered a broken treadmill and they needed to send someone out immediately to replace it. They encouraged me to read the instructions and call them back if it was still broken. (I got the feeling I wasn’t the first person who had placed such a call.) Of course I found out that it did in fact work. I had simply failed to insert the safety key. It wasn’t broken after all. I had just failed to fully understand it.

We are often overwhelmed by the moment and fail to understand the much larger picture. We then conclude that our dreams are completely destroyed. When talking to a friend of mine about the broken life that I had ended up with rather than the life I had dreamed of, I told him that I was a family man without a family.

He tired of my self-pity and told me so. “First of all, your life isn’t over yet, so stop talking about how it has ended up. Secondly, you have a beautiful family. You have two wonderful daughters. What you don’t have is a wife, but you do have a family. Don’t get the two confused!”

He was right. While my marriage was broken, my family was only altered.

Is it really altered?

While the death of a loved one or a marriage is always tragic, I do believe that God can provide peace after the storm, and good things can emerge from tragedies. Having experienced the tragic death of a sister and a divorce within months of each other, I grew weary of the perky-chirpy advice I received from many about turning lemons into lemonade. I did, however, deeply appreciate the wise few who had experienced similar pain and patiently encouraged me to allow time to heal. One wise friend said to me, “God will make this up to you. I promise.” He was right. God has.

Occasionally when something appears to break, it isn’t totally destroyed but only altered and can actually become more useful than before. In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hank’s character, Chuck Noland, is trying to break open a coconut with a rock. The rock shatters. Moviegoers can easily see the despair on his face until he realizes he is now holding a sharp-edged blade rather than a bulky blunt rock. His broken rock had become a much more functional tool. It wasn’t broken at all but was instead altered and more useful. Sometimes it breaks enough to be more useful. And sometimes we are it. We become wiser, more sensitive, more understanding, more pliable and more willing to rely completely on God.

I have been surprised to learn how many people have experienced the same brokenness I had. I have been comforted by others before me and have been a comfort to those after me. We all share a common journey and eventually better understand the bends and turns of the paths we have been on. We know that things do break, and we must let healing happen. We learn that God will make it up to us. We read the Psalms now and better understand King David when he wrote “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again” (Psalm 71:20).

As I drove, I remembered the countless sermons about God reshaping and remolding broken vessels that He would ultimately use for His glory. I remembered all the books I had read about the importance of total submission to God, being broken and humble before Him. I remembered the verses I had memorized since childhood reminding me that Christ came to provide hope and to heal the broken.

I remembered many things during that long quiet drive as my daughters slept in the car. I particularly remember a paraphrase of Matthew 9: 12. It is not the whole who need the healer, but the broken.

Dr. Stenhouse, a professor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. has a passion for helping adults in transition.

The Center for Single Parent Family Ministry was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 2003, led by a Board of Directors and supported by an Advisory Council. Today, we humbly follow where God is leading in order to bring about hope and healing in the lives of single-parents and their children, the modern-day widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Publication date: August 1, 2013