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James Upchurch

School of Education

Ed.D., 2000, Loyola University Chicago
C.A.S., 1979, Northern Illinois University
M.A., 1975, Saint Xavier University
B.S., 1971, Olivet Nazarene University

In 2004, after 33 years in public education — five years teaching sixth grade science and 28 years as an administrator and leader in south suburban Chicago public schools — Dr. Upchurch joined Olivet’s faculty. He began as a professor and the director of academic services for the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Then in 2006, he accepted the position of dean for the School of Education and still serves in that position. He also chairs the community engagement component of Olivet’s “March to Meaning” faculty emphasis.

His two careers have allowed him to see two different landscapes of education. He has interviewed, hired and supervised teachers. Now, he’s helping to prepare future teachers for interviewing, hiring and the classroom.

Dr. Upchurch’s professional awards and honors include:
• The Heritage Registry of Who's Who, 2004
• Capital Directory of Who's Who, 1999
• Who's Who Among Top Executives, 1998
• nominated for the Illinois State Board of Education "Break the Mold" award, 1998
• Outstanding State of Illinois "Educator of the Year" from Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), 1990
• nominated to the National Superintendent of the Year program, 1989
• nominated to the Top Executive Educators, 1985
• awarded lifetime membership in the Illinois Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1983
• Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America Award, 1974

He is also an active contributor to the health of education locally, statewide, nationwide and globally. He has worked with Bradley’s St. Joseph Parish and School on a strategic plan for their mission and development. In 2011, he was part of a 14-member committee that developed a code of ethics for all teachers in the State of Illinois — which was approved and passed by legislators and went into effect July 1, 2011. As chair of Nazarene Educators Worldwide, he joined a group that visited Nazarene schools and networked with African educators in Kenya in summer 2011.

Dr. Upchurch is still excited about being able to serve God at his alma mater. His met his wife, Corie, who also graduated from ONU, on the tennis courts — where McHie Arena stands now. They are members of Chicago First Church of the Nazarene. Both are Chicago White Sox fans.

He and Corie have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren (two sets of twin boys and one girl). Being a grandparent is one of his greatest joys. He describes the perfect weekend as doing fun things with his grandchildren.




Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.