The Master’s University (TMU) has produced its first-ever musical film, “The Lunch Rush.” The plot is about a young widower reuniting with his late wife who mysteriously appears every day for an hour at a diner where they had their first date.
This is the university’s fourth short film, all of them student-led. Roughly 30-40 students were involved, most of them majoring in communication with an emphasis in Cinema and Digital Arts (CDA). They also were joined by about 20 industry professionals.
“It’s a big combination,” said professor Matt Green, who supervises the CDA emphasis. “These professionals have worked on big, $10-15 million feature films. That raises [the students’] game because they don’t want to be looked at as a student. They want to be looked at as a peer.”
Green and professor Bob Dickson, the department chair, created the concept. They handed it to students Ali Rae and Kyle Shannon to write, both of whom are enrolled in the university’s screenwriting course.
The Master’s University admissions staff closed registration early for their Fall semester View Weekend—a chance for prospective students to experience life at Master’s—as all available room was filled to capacity.
About 120 students and 65 parents signed up, maxing out the available Student Leadership Staff (SLS) that prospects stay with, before the Admissions office closed registration. Master’s experienced a significant jump from last year’s numbers when only 78 people attended.
An anonymous political poll of 87 Hotchkiss Hall residents on Oct. 25-26 revealed an overwhelming amount of support from the student body of The Master’s University for Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential race, especially when compared to his rival, Hillary Clinton.
When given the choice between voting for Clinton, Trump or a third party candidate, 78 percent of students said they plan on backing Trump on Nov. 8. Twenty-one percent said they plan to vote for a third party, while a paltry 1 percent said they will be voting for Clinton.
The results grew even starker on the second question. If forced to choose exclusively between Clinton or Trump, 91% of students said they would choose the Republican nominee.
It’s that time of the semester again; finals are taking place and any scraps of extra credit for class can come in handy. For some professors at The Master’s College, the annual Course and Faculty Evaluation’s (CAFE) have their reputations to do the job.
If a student were to take five minutes to complete a CAFE report, they can gain two points for their World History class. Those two points can determine one percent of a students overall grade. While students rely on the grade difference, other students, faculty, and staff attach personal value to the CAFE reports.
CAFE reports started in the early 80’s at The Master’s College. The primary purpose was to allow students input for faculty members regarding the quality of the teaching and the course.
“No prof likes to get criticism, but a student taking any time to write something in the comment box means a lot to me. The best thing, if they are used correctly, is that they can make you a better teacher. The worst thing it can be is to penalize tough, good teaching” said Dr. John Stead, Vice President of Academic Affairs and current U.S. history professor.
CAFE reports are industry-wide. Every college has some sort of evaluating system; this is standard practice today throughout the United States.
“From my understanding we have a very sophisticated system. It is computerized and data based. I think we have an enviable system compared to a lot of other schools” history professor Jeffery Jensen said.
Not only do evaluations serve the students, but also individual faculty members for self-improvement. For the faculty as a whole, the CAFE reports are primarily used to assess areas of concern.
“My ultimate goal for all my faculty would be to help our staff to grow, mature, and be better at what they do,” Stead said.
The rating scale for a professor is between one and five. From the responses students have provided, most professors are at a four.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that the faculty is really doing that great of a job or the reality that the students really do like us,” Stead said.
However, there have been some problems within the evaluating process. Many times, great professors who are hard graders but demand a heavy work load will tend to have low CAFE rating results. On the other hand, faculty that do not require much work receive higher ratings. As the ratings can reveal more about the professors individually, the staff has had to be careful not to take the numbers and relate them personally to the professor and his/her character.
At the same time, some of the toughest TMC professors will get very high numbers because the students are respectful in knowing that their teachers and their major require hard work.
Every year, people overwhelmingly respond in ways that let professors know what to change and what not to change. The system is designed to record students’ answers and comments anonymously when the professors review them.
“To me, CAFE reports are 99% positive and 1% on the negative. The best part about them is how students will tell you what they think and I like to know what people think,” Jensen said, “In a negative sense, there is a small portion of students that may not value them and therefore don’t provide mature answers. I mean there isn’t a literal rule saying they cannot so there is an exception for the students.”
From students to the faculty, there is a variety of opinions and reliance on CAFE reports.
“They are here to stay because it gives students ability to input, and it’s very important to have student input,” Stead said.
The annual talent show at The Master’s College brought over 600 students together in Bross Gymnasium for a night of laughter and fellowship.
The Monty’s, previously known as Spring Sing, started as a small event about 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest events on campus.
“The Monty’s…has been a longstanding tradition at TMC,” said Pete Bargas, associate dean of student life. “It’s another opportunity for us to collectively relax, laugh at ourselves, and acknowledge that there is much unrecognized talent among us.”
The night consisted of 11 musical acts, broken up by comments from Dylan Grimes, Christopher Sue and Steve Ross, this year’s panel of judges. Haley Veilleux and Ryan Bennett hosted the event, creating an upbeat atmosphere that mimicked an awards show.
Students participated by texting their votes for the best act at the end of the night. First, second and third place acts received cash prizes.
Josiah Owinyo, Mike Jackson, Daniel Nakamura, Stevie Noch, Zach Wullbrandt, Michael O’Brien, Andrew Bush, Sam Hebert and Ben Emberley made up an a cappella group that took home the $300 prize for first place.
The group performed an eight-minute Disney medley, complete with choreography and costumes, which kept the audience laughing and singing along.
“It was fun because we kept having faculty and students coming up to us afterwards and telling us how much they enjoyed our act,” Owinyo said. “I think the Monty’s give people the chance to be known. There are people who have legitimate talent and haven’t had the opportunity to connect with a lot of people.”
Students in attendance echoed Owinyo’s sentiment.
“It brings the campus together. The whole TMC community comes out, so it’s a good opportunity to meet people,” said junior Stephanie Ott.
Timothy Caballero, chairman of the event, credits the Monty’s success to the unity of the campus. His goal was to bring the school together, regardless of dorms and majors, for a night of fun.
“It’s different than a typical Friday night,” said Caballero. “Students don’t have to spend any money or plan in advance. They just show up to make easy memories with their friends.”
In the future, the leadership team hopes to see a greater variety of acts participate in the event.
The smell of popcorn begged TMC students to enter the C. W. Smith lounge on the night of March 17. As they walked in, they witnessed C3 Unity’s display of the semester’s S.O.A.Pbox.
Several days before, a poster in the Lower Cafeteria featured the words “CDub going up on a Tuesday.” Another poster pinned on the student board described the meaning of these words, and provided a date and time of the event. With their artistically unique detail, they provided the students with a glimpse of what it was going to be about.
As soon as the students entered the room, a mixture of dim lighting, Christian rap, and popcorn greeted them. There were many new faces, some the students had never seen. The look of curiosity was evident as many of them walked into an unfamiliar event.
Fifteen minutes before the show, TMC student Sam Hebert quietly sat down and rehearsed his lines. Meanwhile others, like senior Paul Alkhato, awaited their turn to approach the mic. As seen on the event posters days before, some students approached the C3 Unity club with a desire to perform, while Steve Ross, the club staff advisor, asked others.
Before the first performer, C3Unity President David Mendoza explained the meaning behind the acronym S.O.A.P. Coined by TMC Alum Edward Robinson, the words stand for sophistically opinionated artistically passionate. This is exactly what C3Unity desired to put on display that evening as it provided students with a medium to express their creativity through poetic verses.
Comprised of a 20 member team, C3 Unity is a multicultural club that celebrates the diversity of the body of Christ as demonstrated in Colossians 3:11. It meets every Friday at 2 p.m., to plan and coordinate events like the S.O.A.Pbox. Stationed forever with ASB, and supported by Ross, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Advancement, it laboriously strives to promote cross cultural relationships.
“C3 Unity celebrates the barrier breaking power of the gospel… It also celebrates the unity in the body of Christ with a focus on the Christian witness,” Ross said.
This club desires to get the whole school to be a part of events in which the atmosphere might be possibly unknown to many. For example, students like Alkhato, a communication major, were able to express their creativity.
“We’re trying to get new faces to come out. It’s an open club and we want everyone to join,” said C3Unity member, Sarah Hutchinson.
Snapping after each performance, and attention were required as the students munched on their nachos, and watched the first performer approach the mic. Troy Christmas began the night by speaking about the gospel in the sense of our depravity, and was followed by Simeon Washington who shared his personal testimony.
After several acts, there was an intermission, which permitted the students to socialize, eat more free food and purchase a Smiths Smoothie.
The night ended with Nick Bravo, one of the guest speakers who Ross asked to perform. God’s greatness was the focus of the event. Bravo tied it back to the talents we do possess, and the origin of those.
“We tend to worship men that exercise His power,” said Bravo.
It was lines like these that caught Brittany Anderson’s attention that night. A faithful attendee of the S.O.A.P.boxes.
“I love S.O.A.P.boxes because I don’t get to listen to them very often,” she said. “I am always blessed by [them]. I often hear people say S.O.A.P.boxes are boring…but that kinda discourages me. All you have to do is listen to the words the speakers are saying. I wish the whole school would have been here.”
Just like Anderson, C3Unity C3 desires to integrate the student body in a creative way, through its S.O.A.Pbox.
This summer, The Master’s College will be hosting athlete delegations from The Faroe Islands, Malaysia, the Philippines and El Salvador, that will be competing in the 2015 Summer Special Olympics World Games held in Los Angeles.
The Special Olympics are an international program designed for people with mental or physical disabilities to compete in athletics. The World Games are returning to L.A. for the first time since 1972 and will be the largest humanitarian sports event in the world this year.
Over 100 host towns surrounding L.A., including Santa Clarita, have been selected by the Special Olympics to host over 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 177 countries to help acclimate them to life in the United States.
The Master’s College was originally contacted by the Special Olympics host town program to see if it was available to house athletes. After processing the information and working out their schedule, the college committed to opening campus housing to athletes from the four countries.
TMC Director of Global Outreach, Dr. Lisa LaGeorge, is handling most of the logistics involved in hosting the athletes. She formed a Global Outreach (GO) team composed of students to serve before and during the World Games.
“Because we’ve sent a disability team the last several years it seemed like a good year for us to work with Special Olympics here,” LaGeorge says. “This was one way we could not only reach into a disability community but we could also reach into our community.”
GO leaders Chris Sue and Annie Ownbey, as well as the rest of the team, are raising funds to help cover the cost of housing the athletes. Before they arrive, the team will prepare housing for the athletes, who will stay in Hotchkiss Hall. The GO team will also do everything from packing gift bags to interacting with the athletes.
Ownbey is among those looking forward to volunteering.
“People don’t really want to volunteer because they’re afraid of working with them or how they are going to interact with them,” Ownbey says. “That’s why I love it, because it’s a way for me to love on and show them that people actually care for them and ultimately God cares for them.”
Along with other activities prepared by the City of Santa Clarita, The Master’s College will organize and host a two-hour, carnival-type event for the athletes consisting of a series of stations with a game at each one. Volunteers from the college and community will help with the stations, which will feature various activities, from a shuttle run to agility games.
The 14th edition of the Summer World Games begins on July 25 and continues through Aug. 2. During this time, the GO team will do whatever the Special Olympics staff needs help with and witness some of the competitions first hand.
“There’s no doubt there’s some good athletes and pretty competitive individuals and it really is a joy to watch them enjoy what they’re doing.” says The Master’s College Athletic Director Steve Waldeck.
Waldeck, whose youngest son plays on a local Special Olympics team, was one of the earliest supporters of the college’s involvement with the World Games athletes. His belief regarding interacting with people who have disabilities is to treat them as uniquely designed individuals.
“If we look through it with the lens that God doesn’t make mistakes and He’s created each and every one of us, He’s formed us exactly how He wanted us to be.” Waldeck says. “To treat someone with that kind of focus, [that] this person was uniquely made by God and to treat them with that love and dignity and respect is paramount to go into that situation without fear of the unknown.”
Master’s College Electronic Media majors enrolled in Directing II this semester will release two short films on April 19, with the help of a hired crew of film and television industry professionals.
Directing II is a capstone course that takes Electronic Media students through the entire process of producing a film, from pitching a storyboard to directing on set. At the end of the course, students possess material they can show perspective employers in the area of video production.
Matt Green, professor of Directing II, came to TMC in the fall of 2014 with a desire to give his students real-world experience.
“The whole idea is I want the students to be able to leave here with stuff they can immediately have on their resume,” Green said.
Bob Dickson, professor and Communications Department Chair, is always looking for ways to improve his students’ classroom experience with hands-on learning opportunities.
“That’s one of the things I love about Professor Green,” Dickson said. “His commitment to connecting students to the realities of what it means to be a professional in video production. He’s always thinking of how to bring that reality into the classroom.”
Eight teams of students from Directing II pitched storyboards to Green and Dickson in February.
“We had criteria,” Green explained. “We looked at how professional the presentation was, whether or not we wanted to embrace the subject matter and … whether or not we felt the students that presented it could pull it off.”
Green and Dickson selected two films to produce. Cammy Ylo, a communication major, was among the four directors chosen.
“My co-director is Kelli Clark,” she explained. “We spent about 20 hours preparing our pitch. We had five minutes to go to Professor Dickson and Professor Green and just tell them, ‘This is our story and this is why you should pick us to direct.’”
Ylo and Clark received the scripts for “Murder of Crowe,” their short film, on Feb. 17. Green worked alongside another screenwriter to develop the story. The next steps include auditioning actors from the Screen Actors Guild and scouting locations.
Jeff Caparula and Kimberly Smither, co-directors of “Life of Death,” also received the green light from Green and Dickson. The rest of the class will take crew positions, helping the directors shoot the films over the course of two days with a hired crew. Because both projects involve professional cast and crew members, all students will receive IMBd recognition for their work, and the films will be officially registered in that database.
“Murder of Crowe,” and “Life of Death” are set to premiere in the dorms spring semester, 2015. More details to follow.
The Master’s College Plant Operations Department plans on demolishing and replacing the shattered garage next to King Hall that was smashed by a 200 year-old oak tree during a large storm that also caused a blackout across the campus on Dec. 12,
The stonework garage had already been weakened by earthquakes and tremors in preceding years and, according to TMC Plant Operations Director Ralph Barosh, the crew had already pulled some stone out of the building just prior to the tree caving in on the roof.
The garage was originally constructed in 1926 out of river rock collected from a nearby stream and it was not built with any reinforcement for the masonry.
“It was starting to come apart, so we were already making a plan to take down the stone but then the tree basically did it for us,” Barosh said.
The garage was used as a general storage shed and housed much of ASB’s equipment for school events such as dodgeballs and decorations. Now they lie outside under temporary canopies.
The supporting ridge beam and a third of the roof rafters were split underneath the oak tree and the building is now condemned. Interior lights hang from the ceiling and rubble surrounds the exterior.
“We had the shed all clean and all set up and then the tree fell . . . and [now] it looks like The Day After Tomorrow in there,” said Dylan Grimes, Hotchkiss’s Senior Dorm Representative.
The new shed’s design will likely emulate King Hall’s exterior design in contrast with the craftsman style seen in the newer buildings on campus.
King Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus, built originally as a ranch home in 1926. The Master’s College purchased the 27-acre property while it was still called Los Angeles Baptist College in 1961, and the current campus resides in what was originally grazing land for cattle. Barosh does not want the new shed to detract from the original style of its heritage.
“We want to try to keep [the new shed] in line with King Hall,” Barosh said. “[King Hall is] almost to the point where it can be a historical building.”
Plant Operations plans to begin tearing the building completely down next week and the new shed should take about two to three weeks to construct.
“We’re actually ready to do the work now, we’re ready to start,” Barosh said.
On Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., a group of nervous high school seniors gathered in the English History Center for a four-course meal as they were welcomed to the weekend that would determine their futures at The Master’s College. It was President’s Scholarship Weekend and at stake was a $14,000 scholarship awarded to the 10 most deserving students. This is the most distinguished academic scholarship awarded to incoming freshmen.
Every student attending the dinner on Thursday night had already been honored by qualifying for such a prestigious opportunity. Each had maintained at least a 3.85 GPA in their four years of high school, scored at least a 1400 on the SAT I and achieved a score of at least 32 on the ACT. However, this scholarship seeks to honor more than just academic success. Each student was now faced with perhaps an even harder test: an interview set to determine his or her merit as a leader in character.
This interview is conducted by a group of adjudicators who are selected months in advance. Judges include people such as TMC Director of Development, Luke Cherry, Associate Dean of Students, Dave Hulet, English professor, Grant Horner and Director of Commuter Life, Steve Ross among other faculty and staff. Based on these closed interviews as well as information gathered through applications and questionnaires, the adjudicators select the 10 recipients as a committee.
However, the weekend is not solely about these interviews.
“It’s a chance for the students to get to know the school as a group of individuals,” said Jordan Seehusen, Event Coordinator of TMC’s Admissions Department. “We want the students to not just see us as an interview… [and to] get a sense of The Master’s College apart from the scholarship.”
President’s Scholarship Weekend offers prospective students a better understanding of the significance of the scholarship. Another objective surrounding the event is to show that TMC offers the best education for a successful career.
Seehusen notes that The Master’s College is often most celebrated for its adherence to biblical principles. This unfortunately can overshadow TMC’s reputation for academic excellence. As part of The President’s Scholarship Weekend, students get to sit in on classes and experience firsthand that the course offerings facilitate a high quality education in their chosen area of study. The biblical foundation then serves as an asset when TMC is compared alongside other schools.
Through the testimonies of current students, along with college President, Dr. John MacArthur and Executive Vice-President, Dr. Lee Duncan, the applicants learn that the value of the college goes beyond academic excellence.
When asked why she chose The Master’s College over other reputable schools, freshman Paige Jacobsen, a former recipient of the President’s Scholarship, replied, “I knew that I wanted a college that was biblically sound … I figured that as long as [the courses] were based on the Bible … the teaching would be more true than, say, Harvard.”
Prospective students seem to be most struck with the one-on-one interaction as well as the personal interest they are given while visiting. Jacobsen also cites the sense of community and the genuine interest people took in her personally as major determining qualities.
“Both of my interviewers were very welcoming and were very conversational,” she said, “They made me feel at ease.”
The admissions department also seeks to quiet the nerves of the applicants by inviting them to a game night and giving them a welcoming gift. This year the gift was a leather-bound journal and a Master’s College t-shirt.
Each student who does not receive the President’s Scholarship will be offered the Distinguished Scholar Scholarship, which offers a renewable award of up to $11,000 per academic year.