Success Stories, Doctor of Education

A degree with no borders

Traveling through the banks of the Paraguay River to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Barry Carney’s pursuit of a doctoral degree wasn’t spent in cozy libraries with access to high-speed internet. Sometimes completely isolated in the mountains of Bolivia, Barry would often use cellphone data to complete his doctoral course work.

Working as the district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene in Paraguay, Carney spent most of his time traveling between Paraguay and Bolivia, staying at hostels in remote areas working on church development, compassionate ministry and outreach, all while completing his Trevecca doctoral program online.

Carney started looking at doctoral programs while living and working in Paraguay. A busy work schedule and traveling in remote areas with spotty internet connection required a mobile and flexible program. Trevecca’s online doctoral program (Ed.D.) in leadership and professional practice offered Carney exactly what he needed.

“The program was the perfect fit for my life with traveling to different countries,” Carney said. “I loved the time frame, accessibility and the structure of the program.”

Discovering a calling

Carney attended MidAmerica Nazarene University, where he received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. Initially, he thought his calling was to become a medical doctor.

It was a year-long trip to the Dominican Republic with his wife and parents, volunteering as missionaries, that made it clear that his calling was to serve in full-time missions.

Since that trip to the Dominican Republic, Barry has served with the Church of the Nazarene in Argentina building churches, clinics and community development. He served on the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, with the Nazarene border initiative and spent three years in Hot Springs, Ark., where he was ordained as a minister.

Through his travels and mission work, Carney developed a passion for cross-cultural leadership, which nurtured a desire to earn a doctorate with a leadership focus. Trevecca’s online Ed.D in leadership and professional practice aligned perfectly.

“I realized through traveling and seeing different cultures that an individual’s understanding and expectations of a leader is unique across the globe,” Carney said.

Trevecca’s program allowed Carney to further explore and study that observation through his research for his dissertation, Carney said.

Taking a practical approach

Trevecca’s Ed.D program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals who want to become better equipped to lead in the communities where they serve. The program is led by highly experienced faculty that take a research-based, theory-into-practice approach toward the curriculum, covering topics from leadership, research and professional practice.

Offered 100 percent online or face-to-face, the program consists of 57 credit hours and is about 27 months in length.

As part of the coursework, students learn how to create effective organizations, plan for strategic improvements and develop tools to nurture teamwork and foster collaboration among those they lead.

“The program taught me structure and how to help an organization accomplish goals,” Carney said. “It’s a practical degree with applicable components that you can apply to your daily life and see results in real-time.”

Citing the academic rigor of the program, Carney emphasized the importance of a strong support system, which he says he found in his family, cohort and professors at Trevecca.

As Carney prepares to graduate on Saturday, he’s grateful for the knowledge he gained from the program. Carney is excited to apply what he’s learned to his new role: lead pastor at Glendale Nazarene Church in Glendale, Ariz.

“The program helped me develop discipline, strengthen teamwork skills and learn the importance of a strong support system,” Carney said, skills that he says will be helpful as he leads the congregation.

Learn more about Trevecca’s Ed.D. program.

By Blake Stewart
Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695