Alumnus and former Sony Music executive to lead Trevecca’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies

Longtime educator, innovator and music industry executive Dr. Dean Diehl will serve as the new academic dean of Trevecca Nazarene University’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, Trevecca officials announced today. 

Diehl, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the University in 1987, currently serves as the director of Trevecca’s music business program. Diehl is the creator and inaugural program director of the University’s entrepreneurship program. 

A 2019 graduate of Trevecca’s doctoral program in leadership and professional practice, Diehl focused his research on the disruptive innovation theory. He has served as a member of the Trevecca faculty since 2008. 

A music industry executive who is known for his creativity and innovative approach, Diehl currently serves in a part-time capacity as the senior vice president of strategy and new business at Provident Label Group, a division of Sony Music focusing primarily on Christian music. 

Diehl believes his background in both higher education and executive leadership uniquely prepares him for his new role at Trevecca. 

“The opportunity to be a part of Trevecca’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies could not come at a better time for me,” Diehl said. “I believe higher education is headed toward a period of disruption, and, if my time in the music industry has taught me anything, it is that times of disruption can create unprecedented opportunities for those willing to innovate and get out in front of the disruption. Trevecca’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies is perfectly positioned, due to the great work of my predecessors and the SGCS team, to do just that.”

Diehl comes to the helm of Trevecca’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at a time of unprecedented growth. The school, which houses graduate, degree-completion and online degree programs, accounts for much of the University’s recent growth. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently named Trevecca among the top 20 fastest-growing private doctoral-level universities in its 2019-2020 Almanac, with the University ranking 11th out of 116 institutions.

Trevecca officials are excited about the academic know-how and strategic leadership Diehl will bring to the role. 

“Dr. Diehl’s expertise is a beautiful blend of mission, academics, and strategy,” said Dr. Tom Middendorf, university provost and senior vice president. “He sees the life-shaping value of Christian education and is excited about building on the already strong foundation in our School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. We look forward to maintaining an innovative edge with a standard of academic excellence at Trevecca.” 

Trevecca was one of the first institutions of higher education in Middle Tennessee to offer online education. Today, more than 1,500 students are completing their degrees online at Trevecca, more than at any other college or university in Nashville. These students are completing degrees at every level, from associate to doctoral. 

While Diehl is excited about the University’s historical success in online education, he is already looking toward the future of the educational model, which he sees as an area of “unprecedented opportunity” that explores innovative approaches while maintaining the highest academic standards.  

“It is time for a second wave of innovation in online education,” Diehl said, “one that explores and fully embraces the capabilities of the platform. We need to hold to the academic standards that have made Trevecca so successful while simultaneously rethinking how those standards can be met through increasingly innovative technology.”

Diehl holds a bachelor’s degree from Trevecca in music education as well as a Master of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University and a doctorate in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca. A gifted educator, Diehl was named the recipient of Trevecca’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Award, an honor that acknowledges faculty excellence in the classroom. 

Diehl and his wife, Judy, live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, and are the parents of four daughters. 

About Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian university in the heart of Nashville focused on preparing students for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1901, Trevecca is committed to holistic education, encouraging students to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

This commitment extends from Trevecca’s historic main campus just one mile from thriving downtown Nashville to two other locations across Tennessee, and online classes offered worldwide. With students from 47 states and 25 countries, Trevecca offers 20 associate degrees, 73 undergraduate majors, 16 master’s programs and three doctoral programs as well as specialist and certificate programs.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Trevecca as a national university in the annual “2020 Best Colleges,” making the University the only Nazarene institution to receive the national ranking. The Carnegie Foundation has classified Trevecca as a doctoral university, ranking it among the top seven percent of schools nationwide.

The campus is certified as both an arboretum and the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA, one of just nine universities and colleges in the state to receive the recognition. A member of NCAA Division II, Trevecca boasts 15 men’s and women’s teams who compete in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference as well as 12 intramural teams.

Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695