The Professional Studies Program

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Need a Student ID?

Do you need a student ID card? It can be useful for discounts, even if you take classes at another campus. The process is simple – complete this form, upload a photo, then be sure to check your student email. When you get notified that it is ready for you, provide an address where you would like it mailed.

30 Year Anniversary of NDNU’s Professional Studies Program

Michelle Di Pilla presents to a full house of potential new PSP students

2019 is the 30 year anniversary of NDNU’s Professional Studies Program. Last night was one celebration, hosted by Admissions Evening Program Director Michelle Di Pilla. It was a lovely reception for current students, faculty, community members, and staff and was followed – appropriately – by a festive and well-attended information forum of new students interested in completing degree programs.

It was great to see so many near-alumni there, plus an honor to welcome Ralph Barsi and Dyanne Ladine, who have been sharing their passion and expertise in the classroom since 1990 and 1985, respectively. Dr. Brad Washington from the Provost’s office and Rey Penate, Director of NDNU Admissions, were also there.

Well-done, Michelle! Lovely event celebrating so many past, current, and future students and the faculty/staff who work so hard. Next week is a continuation of this celebration at the annual Alumni reunion. PSP Co-founder Dr. Don Stannard-Friel will be there, as well as Dr. Lillian Barden, Dyanne Ladine, Ralph Barsi, and Judy King. RSVP at this link!

Brighter Life Project

And now, “Brighter Christmas” has a new division, “Brighter Life,” which provides year-round support to those in need.

Planning to be in the Tracy area on Saturday? If so, consider stopping by the Community Yard Sale at Tracy City Hall from 8-12 on Saturday, March 30.

This is part of a capstone project serving families in the Tracy area. For years, the Tracy community has supported “Brighter Christmas,” an organization that provides needed support for families and individuals during the holidays. This is a new division, organized and conceived by Human Services student Savannah Abercrombie in partnership with Tracy D.A.R.E, to support local families in need throughout the year. We love the way that Savannah took an existing idea and built upon it in ways that will be incredibly meaningful for those she is serving.

Ask An Advisor

Why does my advisor always ask if I have submitted my transcripts?  I sent over my official ones when I started.  Can’t I wait until I finish all of my community college classes and send them over then?”  

~ Submitted by Rhonda, a Human Services student

Good question!  I worked with two students last week who had not been consistent about sending their transcripts over.  Sorting through what we had talked about in our last advising meeting and what was still needed for graduation was complicated because instead of having marks in each student’s file where she had completed appropriate classes, I had just penciled notes to work with.  Intentions.  Plans too often gone awry.

Being able to chart your course to graduation accurately is our goal.  Being able to do so depends on having a complete picture of where you are.  We have your NDNU progress, but most students are also working to complete community college classes.  We do not have knowledge of anything outside of NDNU until you give it to us.  Waiting several semesters can make your adviser’s job more challenging and the confusion can complicate your road to graduation.

Please help us work together by requesting official transcripts as soon as you finish each course.  This can be important for Financial Aid reasons, too!

Do you have a question?  Please feel free to submit it and have your question and the answer published here.  

Now is the time for registration for summer and fall classes.


“Take A Seat, Make A Difference”

Silicon Valley’s Can’t-Miss Networking Events:
Matching Nonprofits with Board Members

If you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” she advises taking a seat at the table. THRIVE, the San Mateo-based Consortium of NonProfits, takes it a step further, reminding us that when you take a seat, you make a difference.

From THRIVE: “Local nonprofits need your skills and expertise. They are looking for potential board members like YOU to help them move mountains and improve the quality of life in our community. Register to attend OnBoard Match Event to find a nonprofit where you can:

  • Contribute to a cause you are passionate about
  • Use your professional skills and connections to help others
  • Work with a group of committed, visionary leaders
  • Give back to where you live or work
  • Have fun and make a difference!”

For more information about these events, see the sign up page at this link.

Ask An Advisor

It’s mid March and summer/fall registration is about to begin. During this period, we will be hosting an “ASK AN ADVISOR” column, hosting your questions and soliciting expert advisor help to answer them.  Please submit any questions via email to Dr. Therese Madden at We are all looking forward to this conversation so that you always know exactly where you stand with regards to your graduation progress.

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION, submitted by Human Services student:

Why is my friend taking Religious Studies at a Community College, but I was advised to take it at NDNU? 

NDNU’s tuition is more expensive, you know….”

ANSWER:  Yes, we do know.  We also know that most students want to finish their studies with 1) the least cost and 2) the least number of required classes.  Many of you took lots of community college classes before you realized that you weren’t following a particular track to graduation and found NDNU because you were ready for a plan that would result in your graduation.  Advising confusion always lies in the individual nature of each student’s graduation plan.  The classes you took before you came to NDNU are different from those that your friend sitting next to you took, so your path to the 1) least expensive and 2) quickest route to graduation will likewise vary.  Ask, ask, ASK and we can always clarify the “whys” behind our advice in constructing your graduation plan.

First, be assured that we never advise students to take more than the minimum number of classes needed to graduate and we won’t advise you to take an NDNU class if one for less cost at a community college will work.  But sometimes that NDNU class fulfills a requirement AND at the same time counts toward the Upper Division units you need for graduation.  If so, we recommend an NDNU class for this requirement; if not, we’ll help you find one at a community college.

More detail:  Everyone is required to take six units of Religious Studies.  These classes can be taken either Lower Division (community college) or Upper Division (NDNU).  Either way, they will satisfy the requirement, as long as the community college classes are listed on the Transfer Credit Agreement with the appropriate school.

So, what’s the difference?  Well, for some people, taking the class as an Upper Division class (at NDNU) satisfies both Upper Division miscellaneous units AND the General Education requirement.  Remember, you are working toward both a unit count and the completion of specific courses.  Others will complete their Upper Division unit count (46) with other requirements and taking Religious Studies as an Upper Division course would put them over the required 46 units.  In that case, you are welcome to spend the additional dollars, but our advice is based on the premise that less is better in terms of tuition and so in that case we will recommend a community college (cheaper) option (unless you tell us you’ve just won the lottery; in which case, we are happy to celebrate with you!  

WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WANT ANSWERED NEXT TIME?  Send me an email at and I’ll make sure that you get answers!

Alum Geeta Singh wins Emerging Scientist Award

Congratulations, Geeta!