Every week at Trevecca, a devotional goes out to the community, focused on scripture and an encouraging message. For recent graduate Doneva Chavis, these weekly devotionals were crucial to her experience in the Doctor of Education in leadership (Ed.D.) program. As she navigated the extensive requirements of a doctorate, she found hope and peace in what was written.
“Working on a doctoral degree can be overwhelming,” Chavis said. “The weekly devotionals allowed me to stay focused on the power of God and reminded me weekly that all things are possible. I might not have the wisdom or power, but God does.”
The devotions are often written by Chaplain Erik Gernand and began as a way to keep all Trevecca students in touch with the community and their faith.
“It started five or six years ago as a touch point for our non-traditional, graduate and adult students because they don’t get the opportunity to be on campus and come to chapels,” Gernand said. “It’s a part of our educational mission that we serve the spiritual needs of our students, whether they are traditional undergraduates or nontraditional.”
Spiritual support for nontraditional students will be expanding this year with the addition of Dr. Terrence Schofield to the chaplain’s office. Schofield is Trevecca’s associate provost for mission excellence and reconciliation. He will be writing devotionals, answering prayer requests and even planning worship experiences specifically for nontraditional students.
Chavis knew she wanted her dissertation to deal with discrimination and racial bias, and when choosing a school she looked for a university that reflected her belief that all people are children of God.
“I needed a school with a Christian foundation and one that respected the idea that love for fellow human beings is essential,” Chavis said. “I compared Trevecca with 11 other schools, and once I saw that the devotionals were a part of weekly class assignments and there was also a devotional reflection emailed weekly, I was sure I had made the right choice.”