Dr. Mindy Burch, associate professor of education, is a well-known member of Trevecca’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) faculty. Burch teaches the (sometimes much-dreaded) statistics class required for all doctoral candidates. “She is dearly respected, admired and loved by all students,” said Dr. Alice Patterson, Ed.D. on-campus program director. Burch, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Trevecca, a master’s from Austin Peay State University and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, recently shared a few thoughts with us about her work, her love of Scripture and why she’s passionate about her work.
1. What is it like to teach at the university where you were also an undergraduate student?
I love it. When I was hired at Trevecca it felt like coming home. I had gone through the School of Education’s K-8 teacher education program, so I knew what a great program it was and how prepared I was to go into any teaching situation. That preparation really paid off when I got my first teaching job in seventh grade math.
2. What are your areas of expertise? Why are you passionate about them?
These days I mostly only teach doctoral statistics (Ed.D. and Ph.D.), both on campus and online. I love to welcome students into class who have had a negative experience with statistics previously or are just nervous because of the stereotype of statistics and transform them into confident students who feel empowered to be able to analyze the data they collect for their dissertations. I get so much satisfaction when students tell me their stories (usually after the course is over) of how anxious they were coming into the course and how confident they feel when they leave. Some are really surprised at how they ended up really enjoying the course.
3. Why is statistics such an important course for doctoral students?
It’s a very important course for doctoral students because they need to be able to analyze their dissertation data, so they have to be able to use the skills learned in my course. This is one course that directly impacts their ability to graduate, more than just passing the course. I love that embedded incentive, because it helps students come into the course knowing they need the information, so they have extra motivation to give their best effort. I tell them analyzing their data is the most exciting part of the dissertation because they finally get to see what all the hard work and data will show.
4. What’s something you’ve been reading, listening to or researching lately that has challenged or changed you?
Lately I’ve been going through my Bible, reading all the parts I’ve underlined. It’s like reading all the highlights of the Bible; the well-known verses and the ones that really spoke to me as I read through them previously. It’s amazing how God uses those verses to speak right to what’s going on in my life at that time. I’ve even seen new interpretations of passages I’ve read a hundred times because of current situations. This week I had a friend text me a verse with the same new interpretation I had just thought of the night before. Neither of us had ever looked at the passage in that light, but within 12 hours of each other, we both independently came across it and thought the same new thought because of a situation in our lives. When God wants to speak to us through His Word or through a friend, He will find a way. And He confirms it.
5. What’s something about you that might surprise students?
Throughout my career I wanted to [teach] kindergarten because I was really nervous about teaching anyone older than that. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher but was very shy and hated talking in front of a group. I was the kid who never raised her hand in class. So, when I got to Trevecca as an undergraduate and had to be observed by my professors as I taught in various field placements in public schools, I was pretty terrified. It’s pretty humorous that God put me in seventh grade math as my first teaching job and that progressed to teaching undergraduates and master’s students and then to doctoral students. I tell my students that I’m living proof that although we might think we have a great plan for our lives, God might have something else in mind for us and His plan will be better than their own plan. He can open any door, and He will provide the path to get you there.
You have what it takes
Thinking about earning your doctorate? With faculty like Dr. Burch in Trevecca's doctorate in leadership program, you'll have the support and mentorship you need to thrive. Learn more about the program on our website.