Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) will present Dr. Chris Dula, an associate professor of psychology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), with the 2017 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award at its spring commencement ceremony, on May 18, at Bojangles' Coliseum. The award recognizes a former CPCC student who has benefited significantly from experiences at CPCC and whose efforts have helped the community.
Dula describes his work/life situation prior to starting CPCC in 1992 as "chaotic," when the majority of his days were filled with random construction jobs, such as carpentry, performing sheetrock installation and metal/stud framing, and installing floors.
Wanting to change the direction his life was taking, Dula enrolled at CPCC when he was 23 years old with the support of his parents, and began taking psychology courses. Dula found the subject matter contagious, and his instructors' teaching styles infectious so much so that he has modeled his current teaching style after those he learned from in the past. "I credit my CPCC instructors with helping me get grounded and inspired in academia," said Dula. "Everything I've done as a professional is the direct result of being a CPCC student. I'm profoundly grateful for the opportunities the institution gave me."
Dula graduated from CPCC in 1994 with an Associate in Arts degree and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree from UNC Charlotte, his Master of Arts degree from Appalachian State University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Virginia Tech.
Today, Dula holds multiple positions at East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, Tenn. Not only is he a full professor in the Department of Psychology, but he is also an adjunct faculty member in the ETSU Department of Family Medicine, an assistant director of Clinical Training and the director of ETSU's Applied Psychology Laboratory.
When not teaching at the university, he can be found writing he has written almost 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and five book chapters; speaking he has given 15 professional presentations and a number of community group talks; playing music he performs at charity events for FREE to raise money for a variety of causes, such as the March of Dimes, Down Syndrome Awareness, and Second Harvest Food Bank; mentoring he helps guide undergraduate and graduate students on their college journeys and advises them on how to manage anxiety/stress; career planning, etc.; and more.
"I frequently mention CPCC in my talks to students," said Dula. "I note how the college helped me turn my life around and do what I now love for a living."
A scholarship will be granted to a CPCC student enrolled in the college's Associate in Arts program the area of study that most closely reflects Dula's background.
The Hagemeyer Award takes its name from Dr. Richard H. Hagemeyer, CPCC president for 23 years, who led the college from its beginnings as a trade school with 1,200 students to one of the largest N.C. community colleges. Previous award winners include Elaine Lyerly, Gary Mims, Ronald Caldwell, Sheriff Jim Pendegraph, Dr. Margaret Stanley Hagan, Paul Griffin, James White, Joe Weatherford, Chief Luther Fincher, Dr. Kenny Welch, Frances Queen, Richard Zollinger, Stanley Law, Cindy Castano, Fabi Preslar, James Taylor Jr., James E. Rogers, David L. Howard, Alain S. Miatudila Sr., Paula Vincent, Joe Vagnone and Larry Klutz.