It’s a new semester, and there are quite a few new faces around campus. One of them is Jessica Dykes, Trevecca’s new associate vice president and dean of student development. Dykes leads the newly formed Center for Student Development, a new campus unit that brings all of student services into one place. Located in the Bud Robinson Building, Dykes leads a team of Trevecca employees dedicated to helping Trevecca students grow and develop in every area—spiritually, emotionally, academically, professionally and more.
But don’t let the title or the job description scare you. Dykes says she simply wants to invest in the lives of students, which she says is her vocation and her calling. Get to know her a little better with these five things you need to know!
1. She loves Trevecca.
Dykes is a two-time graduate of the University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies in 2007 and her master’s in organizational leadership in 2013. From 2009-2014, she served as a resident director at Trevecca. For her coming back to Trevecca feels a little like coming home. “This feels like a gift,” she says, “a gift to lead and serve at a place that was transformational for me in many ways.”
2. She thinks she’s “pretty boring,” but she’s not.
Dykes may describe her life as “boring,” but it’s anything but. She enjoys collecting cookbooks and cooking as well as antiques, design, flowers and “following southern taste-makers.” She loves a wide variety of music styles from Texas country and gospel to R&B, Americana, pop and hip hop. While Dykes isn’t a big TV watcher, she can’t wait to watch the next season of Stranger Things on Netflix.
3. Serving students isn’t just her job; it’s her calling.
“Working in student development is a distinct call God put on my life,” Dykes says. “Student affairs is my vocation, but it’s also my calling.” So much so that Dykes is currently working to complete a doctorate in higher education administration from The University of Alabama.
4. She’s a big fan of reading, serving and spending time with her community.
“I love to read and am a big fan of authors like Shauna Niequist, Brene Brown, James Farmer, Maya Angelou and Harper Lee,” Dykes says. Originally from Alabama—where she says everyone has to choose a side during football season—Dykes cheers for Auburn. She’s a member of the Junior League of Nashville and enjoys working with the organization’s literacy initiatives and trainings. You can also find her exploring Tennessee or visiting Radnor Lake when the weather’s nice. “Plus, I have a great community and enjoy spending time with my friends and family,” Dykes says.
5. She cares about you.
Dykes has a lot of responsibility in her new role, but what drives her passion and centers her work is her love for students. “This is a time where students have the opportunity to learn more about who they are, whose they are and the world around them,” she says. “I’m deeply passionate about the holistic development of individuals. I feel honored to walk with students as they wrestle with hard questions, identity development, vocation and calling and the emotions surrounding this time in their lives.” At the end of the day, Dykes simply wants to see students grow and mature in every area of their lives, becoming the people God has called them to be, fulfilling the University mission to create servant leaders who make a difference in the world.