Husband/Wife Ed.D. Graduates Proving Versatility of Leadership Doctorate in Varied Career Fields
Drs. Scott and Shannon Gordon both graduated from Trevecca with Doctor of Education in leadership degrees (Ed.D) in 2019. Since then, each has been implementing that knowledge in the workplace, advancing in two distinct careers and making plans for the future.
Why did you choose Trevecca?
Scott: Growing up, I was a bible quizzer for seven years and made my district team every year. We would come to Trevecca for regional quizzing. In 2010, I lost my job due to the recession and I needed to finish my bachelor’s degree. I knew that Trevecca had what was then called the management and human relations degree.* So I decided I would go back and finish. The next step for me was a master’s in leadership. Then I met Shannon. She came to my master’s graduation and that was her first introduction to Trevecca. A year and a half after we were married she said, “I want to get my doctorate, and I think Trevecca is a good option.” I said, “OK honey, you just enjoy yourself,” and she said, “no, I want you to do it with me.”
Shannon: That’s his version of the story. My version is that we were on vacation at the ocean and at this point, I had spent 25 years with work and kids' activities and church and I was wondering what I was going to do when I didn’t have all of the kids’ activities anymore. I told Scott I wanted to get my doctorate and he said “that sounds like fun, why don’t we do it together?” We were on vacation in Florida and we applied to the doctoral program, I mean who does that on vacation?
How did you know Trevecca would be a good fit for you?
Shannon: I had heard Scott speak so highly of the bachelor’s and master’s program. I am a two-time graduate of a state university where there was no attention paid to spiritual life, and I wanted that to change for my doctorate. Trevecca’s ease of completing the degree while you’re employed, the fact that our books were included and delivered to our house and the cost also made it the right choice. At a state school, we would’ve paid more than twice what we paid at Trevecca.
What are you doing now?
Shannon: I run River Edge Behavioral Health and River Edge Foundation. Our regional communal health center serves 8 counties in Georgia, including the most populated county, and the foundation helps to support that work.
Scott: I am going to brag on her just a bit. I may not get the numbers just right but they’re close. River Edge is an 800-employee company that helps between 10,000 and 15,000 people a year. So when I said she’s the real deal and she does it as a ministry, that is true. I am a regional manager for Merrick Engineering, a multinational engineering firm with offices in Canada, Mexico and England. I’m the southeast regional manager and a land surveyor by trade.
How has your degree helped you?
Shannon: One of the things I really appreciated, in addition to the spiritual aspects, was that everything we learned was immediately applicable to the workplace. I pull out my textbooks and reference them regularly. I really liked digging into how to do research. I read peer-reviewed studies differently because now I understand what is junk science and what is real.
Scott: What Shannon said about being able to use the information was true in my bachelor’s program and my master’s program, and it continued right into the doctorate. I’m writing a leadership development program for our church, and most of the sources I’m using are textbooks from the doctoral program. The curriculum has helped me in a way where I can lead up above me, I can lead below me and lateral to me. It also helped me fall in love with mentoring and team building.
What was it like to be in the program together?
Shannon: When we first started I was excited to do this together, but we have different styles when it comes to getting assignments done. My mindset is “if I’m not early I’m late,” but Scott says, “Why do I need to start now? I have three hours.” That was the stressful part because we are so different as students, but we both got the degree so different methods worked for us. What was fun was over dinner saying “remember that part in the book, I didn’t understand that” or “can we talk about that” or “that was really cool.” It was also incredibly special to go through graduation together.
What future career goals have you set for yourself?
Shannon: In our doctoral program we did the Clifton Strengths Finder, and one of my driving forces is ‘achiever’ so I will be on my deathbed saying “and the next goal is…” I just want to have a greater impact to bring healing. I am a healer, that’s how God wired me. I was put here to relieve suffering and make the world a better place and so I just want to reach more people. Both of us have books in us to write. I’ll be releasing a book called “You Can Recover Too.”
Scott: I am in the middle of finishing a book on the armor of God and I am also in the early stages of writing a rite of passage program for high school juniors and seniors. Only 30 percent of kids who grow up in the church and leave home stay in the church. So I would like to change that in some small way. I want to leave a legacy. I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid to have lived and not have made a difference. I want to finish strong.
Shannon: Both of us want to live until we die, we want to make the rest of our lives really count.
*now the bachelor’s in management and leadership (BML) degree