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Jessica Dykes: An Impassioned Leader Fostering Holistic Student Development


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Education plays an important role in building the lives of humans. It transforms students and is responsible for their thorough development. Involvement in students’ concerns and career achievement journeys is an important quality for a good leader in the field of education, and mentoring with creativity and innovation can lead the students to the path of success. “To me, the ideal education leader is an individual who is resilient, motivated, strategic, innovative, service-minded, caring, solution-focused, and a life-long learner,” says Jessica Dykes, a successful educational leader and Vice President and Dean of Student Development at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Inspirational Career

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies and she earned her master’s in organizational leadership from Trevecca. She has also completed her coursework for a doctoral a degree in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and is currently writing her dissertation. Jessica has been putting her professional leadership skills into practice in higher education for 13 years. She has worked at two other universities and has a diverse background in the field of student affairs.  

As a dean of student development at Trevecca, Jessica has been consistently working to meet students’ needs and aid them in developing holistically on their academic journeys. She has been mentoring students to achieve their personal and educational goals and contributing to the success and growth of the University by cultivating talented leaders of tomorrow.

An Admirable Commencement

Established in 1901,Trevecca Nazarene University was founded by Reverend J.O. McClurkan. The University’s wonderful journey from a pastor’s training class to a comprehensive liberal arts institution showcases the ideals of providing higher education to the Christian community. In 1917, it officially became the college of the Church of the Nazarene, and in 1942 the school graduated its first four-year class. Over the years, steady growth has led to the University’s current status at 3,700 students pursuing education through 129 degree and certificate programs.

Plethora of Outstanding Academic Programs

Trevecca Nazarene University offers a variety of academic programs, including more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. The school of study prepares students for STEM-designated programs along with education in arts, social sciences, music and worship, business, theology, and Christian ministry. It provides the facility of master’s and Ph.D. degrees in leadership, business, education, counseling, healthcare administration, religion, and worship arts. In addition, Trevecca offers Tennessee’s first and longest-tenured physician assistant program.

Multifaceted Leader

In her position at the helm of student development, Jessica wears many hats while serving the University. She plans strategies to fulfill the school’s mission, vision, values, and goals. As an impassioned educational leader, she has undertaken the tasks of mentoring, supporting, and developing students during the period of their academic programs. Jessica also oversees various departments such as Residence Life, Community Accountability and Concerns, Student Life, The Office of the Chaplain, Counseling, Campus Security, Student Success, Disability Services and Accommodations, New Student Programs, Leadership Development, Global Engagement, and the COVID-19 logistics committee.

To handle the roles and responsibilities entrusted by the University, teamwork and collaboration are very important. Jessica works with an excellent team dedicated to the welfare of students. She believes that each team member is crucial to the team’s objectives in making a significant positive impact on the students.

Catering to Student Engagement

The University offers numerous opportunities such as programming, leadership development, relationship-building, chances for self-discovery, and community engagement. Other initiatives like intramural programs, transitional support for new students, numerous clubs and organizations, student leadership opportunities, wellness programming, and civic engagement opportunities are provided on a weekly basis.

To ensure the engagement of students, various involvement opportunities are offered by Trevecca’s Student Life Team.  They utilize engagement software that highlights on-campus extracurricular opportunities and tracks the involvement of students. With that data, the Center for Student Development team creates future strategies for engaging students.

Fulfilling the Career Requirements

The Center for Student Development at Trevecca supports the holistic development of students by providing a wide range of experiences. The center helps the students achieve their personal and educational goals and prepares them for lives of leadership and service.

The Office of University Engagement at Trevecca provides access to free career services and support to students and graduates. Through the online platform Handshake, the office provides students access to tools and resources that help with job searches. Trevecca also offers assistance through resume writing tools, interview preparation, career opportunities and access to alumni networks and online job postings.

Striving for Global Expansion

For students worldwide, Trevecca Nazarene University has an International Student Council that represents the school’s population of international students. Through the Office of Global Engagement, international students receive specialized support and programming, as well as education regarding F-1 student visas.

Before the international students attend Trevecca’s new student orientation, they undergo a pre-orientation process that helps them adapt to the cultural and educational aspects of life on campus. The University also offers various campus-wide social events in which international students take part.

Effective Future Arrangements

“Our commitment to quality education, faith, and the community helps students grow as individuals while they find and pursue their callings,” Jessica said. Using the latest career opportunities, Trevecca offers education for career development. Alongside academic growth and career success, though, the school emphasizes emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth of students.

The commitment to quality education, faith, and community helps students grow as individuals while they find their passions and then acquire the skills and expertise to succeed in their chosen careers.

Effective Mentoring for Students

According to Jessica, it is crucial to hire individuals who embody Trevecca’s mission, which is centered in leadership, service, and community. An outstanding team at the University works every day to improve the lives of students. She trusts her team to model servant leadership each day with intentionality and care.

Note to the students:

Jessica Dykes

ALSO READ: The 10 Exceptional Educational Leaders, 2022

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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