David Mee is no stranger to the world of higher education. For the past 30 years, he’s worked in admissions and enrollment.
Working in enrollment, Mee has connected with thousands of students over the course of his professional career. He’s witnessed students go from beginners to confident experts in their field. He’s seen his students find their place and excel beyond what they ever thought they could.
And in 2017, he was inspired to do the same.
Last fall, Mee completed his dissertation for Trevecca’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program in leadership and professional practice. Later this week, his name will scroll across the screen at Trevecca’s Conferral Ceremony to accept his diploma before he moves on to his next adventure as the vice president for enrollment management at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina.
Mee, who has spent the last decade as the associate provost and dean of enrollment at Belmont University, will begin his work at Campbell on July 1.
“Before coming to Belmont, I was working in higher education consulting, and around 2007, I had the opportunity to work with Trevecca as a client. I had known of the institution for years, and all my degrees are from Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions, but working with Dr. Boone and the Trevecca administration gave me the opportunity to get to know Trevecca quite well,” he said. “Then years later, I started working at Belmont and after a while, I felt a calling to have this capstone experience in my professional life and education.”
Like many students, Mee began his college search by trying to find a program that aligned with his values and goals. He said he didn't have to look very far to find the perfect fit.
“I really felt that the program was well-suited to studying education and to giving me the opportunity to focus on dissertation research in an area that was of interest to me specifically,” he said. “I just love the study of leadership, continuous improvement personally and professionally. I’ve looked at every opportunity to be a part of a university’s growth and staying focused on what makes that particular institution unique.”
Mee’s dissertation focused on the influence of undergraduate faculty on recruitment activities and freshman enrollment. He said through his doctoral work, he was able to wrestle with the idea of leadership and how it applied to his own work.
“It gave me an opportunity to really take to heart the key leadership principles of how we help organizations maximize their potential, from staying true to their mission and empowering individuals to do the work while supporting them along the way and valuing every individual’s contribution. In a simple sense, what’s part of the program at Trevecca is very applicable to real-world opportunities and challenges,” he said.
Dr. Ryan Longnecker, who serves as the program director for Trevecca’s online Ed.D. program, said that is the precise hope of the program’s leadership. Trevecca’s Ed.D. program was designed with the understanding that many of its students will come to the table with different life and professional experiences, Longnecker says. That’s why the program’s curriculum provides space for doctoral candidates to collectively learn from each other’s experiences as well as provides tools and strategies that can be applied to the work they are actively doing.
“David was the kind of student every professor hopes for. In every role, he was the most prepared person in the room,” Longnecker said. “He came to everything, every assignment, every dissertation meeting, he had everything planned out but he brought with him a sense of flexibility which is really important to the leadership roles we’re seeing our graduates move into.”
At Trevecca, the beauty of the doctoral program lies in its unique ability to bridge gaps in learning and provide spaces for deeper thought.
“At Trevecca, we understand the higher education piece, but we also understand the importance of empowering our students to go out and create change,” Longnecker said. “We all know the phrase ‘make a difference,’ and this program is just that. It’s the doctorate for the people that want to make—not write or hypothesize about—lasting, positive differences in their communities.”
Longnecker said a true doctor of a field of study is created when a wealth of experience is combined with academic theory and application—and that is exactly what Dr. David Mee embodies, Longnecker says.
For Mee, the chance to continue building on what he has learned through his professional experience and his education at another university isn’t something he takes for granted.
“I didn’t grow up thinking my career would focus on higher education and admissions—I don’t think any kid grows up like that—but I do think we are all uniquely blessed by the Lord with particular gifts and potential, and Trevecca really encourages students to not just earn a degree but begin to think about ways they will leverage what they’ve learned toward further maximizing their gifts and abilities.,” Mee said. “It’s not a transaction; it’s an investment, and Trevecca deeply understands that.”
Mee says the joy of his work in higher education is helping prospective students discover the path—and the university—that is right for them. He’s excited about the opportunity to continue that work at Campbell.
“There is a place that will be the best environment for every student, and to be able to help a student find that environment—that is such a unique opportunity to experience the American higher education system,” he said. “ I enjoy it as much today as I did 30 years ago.”
Learn more about Trevecca’s Doctor of Education in leadership and professional practice.