Classes begin at MACU
By Reggie Ponder
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
All the attention being paid to the sky Monday afternoon couldn’t eclipse the excitement Mid-Atlantic Christian University administrators had about an uptick in enrollment.
While none of the MACU faculty would admit to including any eclipse puns in their presentations to students on the first day of classes at the private Christian school, some of them did review the procedures for viewing the eclipse safely.
Aside from the partial solar eclipse, the buzz on campus Monday concerned the school’s new biology major and the accompanying growth in enrollment.
John Maurice, interim president at MACU, said the university’s full-time equivalency is now 182 after dropping to 142 during the second semester last year. An FTE of 182 represents about 200 total students enrolled this semester, he said.
MACU’s brand new biology major accounts for about 15 of the new students, which Maurice said squares with the school’s projections for the first semester of that new program.
Maurice said orientation weekend for MACU freshmen and new students went well, with students enjoying laser tag and other games and activities.
He also said viewing and discussing the partial solar eclipse was a fun back-to-school activity for students.
“It’s good to see how these kids are gelling and forming relationships here at the beginning of the year,” Maurice said as he stood among a group of students and faculty gathered near Poindexter Street Monday afternoon to view the eclipse.
Kevin Larsen, MACU’s vice president for academic affaris and professor of New Testament, said at least one professor incorporated the partial solar eclipse directly into her first class session. Cheryl Luton, who teaches elementary education, had the class view the eclipse together and reportedly used the opportunity to talk about ways classroom teachers can build lessons around those kinds of first-hand experiences.
Outside the classroom, students took turns looking through eclipse-safety glasses while other students used makeshift pinhole cameras to project the eclipse image on the sidewalk.
Leah Maclin, 20, a junior from South Mills who is majoring in elementary education and Biblical studies, said watching the partial solar eclipse with other students added to the fun of the first day back.
“It definitely makes the day more interesting,” Maclin said.
Maclin said she was excited about the first day of classes. “I’m more excited than nervous,” she said.
She said she was looking forward to more in-depth studies in her major this year and also meeting and getting to know new people.
“It’s good to see new faces and old faces,” Maclin said.
Brealle White, 18, a sophomore from Kill Devil Hills majoring in youth and family ministry, said she was excited about leadership opportunities she will have this year, including being the leader of one of the campus’s chapel worship teams, serving as a resident assistant on campus and being a member of the MACU volleyball team.
“The biggest challenge is probably just going to be balancing everything in a way that I can still give myself fully to every single thing that I’m doing,” White said. “But I’m excited for that challenge. It’s a great challenge to have.”
Zac Davis, 23, a junior from Beckley, West Virginia, who is majoring in youth and family ministry, said he was “super excited to be back” on campus.
Davis said he had grown mentally, physically and emotionally during his first two years at MACU but that his most important growth has been spiritual.
“Being here I have been able to grow and strengthen what I believe and what I’m going to teach in the future,” Davis said.
Davis added that he spent the summer visiting both his family and his girlfriend’s family. He noted he will have a ministry internship next summer and won’t be able to spend time with family. He said he plans to work in full-time youth ministry after he graduates from MACU.
Davis said it was fun to watch the partial solar eclipse on the first day of classes.
“It’s just neat,” he said.
“It’s exciting to share it with everybody,” White said of viewing the eclipse.