At twenty, Dr. Robert Achuff, Ed.D. (’98), was working at Bradshaw’s Restaurant in Sacramento, California, and taking classes at a community college. He enjoyed getting to know the regular customers and got along well with his coworkers. Starting as a busboy, he was promoted to a server and then a host. One day a coworker invited him to attend their church. And when he did—he received Christ. His whole life began to change.
Within six months, he began studying at PCC. He majored in Bible with intentions to preach and become a pastor one day. During his time in college, he gained a clearer vision for his future. “PCC prepared me in countless ways. Having been saved for only six months when I moved on campus, PCC provided me a framework for life and ministry,” he said. He found that his most valuable training for the field was his experiences outside the classroom. “The lessons about time management and interpersonal relationships have been invaluable to me. And these are lessons that you have to experience in order to learn,” he said.
By the time he graduated, Dr. Achuff had added a major in English. “PCC showed me the value of Christian education and provided classes that gave me a true appreciation for effective teaching methods, a biblical view of communication, and an appreciation for authors.” He went on to earn an M.S. in English Education (’01), an E.D.S. in Curriculum and Instruction in English (’09), and then an Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning from Liberty University (’17).
While he earned his master’s, Dr. Achuff had the opportunity to teach freshman English. He enjoyed it so much that he continued as an English faculty member. “I never thought I would be an English teacher. I was interested in preaching and writing.”
Today, he says, “I love teaching all things English because it is both enriching and practical. I think it’s important for students to know something about the language they use every day and how they can use it better. I also love the challenge of helping students to appreciate works that communicate truth beautifully, which is part of the reason why I love teaching Shakespeare so much.”
All along the way, God provides opportunities to preach and to write; but now his greatest passion is teaching and creating resources to help others be successful. He said, “At the heart of it, I love the people I get to work with each semester, whether it’s staff or students.”
The Lord also orchestrated bringing Dr. Achuff’s wife, Rochelle (’99, Missions; ’01, Elementary Education; ’07, Educational Administration), into his life. She and her family dined at the restaurant where he worked. And they even attended the church he visited and where he found Christ. They became further acquainted there, and after they married, they ministered to many students at PCC. Beginning with their service to the 1st–3rd graders in children’s church, 11th-grade boys Sunday school, and filling in for college Sunday school teachers, they have had the opportunity to influence their students again and again—“So much so that now I have students in college that we had in children’s church back in the day,” said Dr. Achuff.
Dr. Achuff continues to teach English to both undergrad and graduate students and also serves as the Director of Academic Success, “a responsibility that I find rewarding—not only in helping get the office started and built up but also getting to work with a staff of graduate assistants and faculty members, many of whom have been my students.”
Having dedicated almost twenty years of his life to education, Dr. Achuff said, “My life definitely shows God’s hand actively and wisely; leading me—to Himself, college, my wife, and my ministry with students.”