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SAGU Celebrates First Doctor of Ministry Degree

Teresa Blakney is the first person to earn a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) in Waxahachie, Texas, has announced its first recipient of the Doctor of Ministry degree. The degree plan was initially launched in the fall of 2014.

Teresa Blakney, M. Div., will be the institution’s very first to walk the stage this May and receive a diploma for the new Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Creative Communication.

“This whole process has been very humbling,” Blakney said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s actually finished. It feels very good but also very humbling.”

The D. Min. is a 30-hour degree that is offered in a cohort model in which students move through the prescriptive program with their peers. Dr. Marvin G. Gilbert serves as SAGU’s D. Min. program director and has guided Blakney through the process of receiving her doctoral degree.

“Teresa Blakney is one of the most focused and determined student researchers I have ever taught,” Gilbert said. “She has completed her research project exactly as planned more than two years ago.”

Blakney began the program during the first semester of the program’s launch with approximately 15 individuals in her cohort.

“I remember when I looked around that room and saw everyone in my cohort, I felt so insignificant,” she recalled. “I thought all of these people will do it and I don’t know if I can. I was insecure, but now I know we all felt that way!”

For the past four and a half years, Blakney has persevered through the doctoral program while still serving full time as an instructor within the SAGU Bible and Church Ministries Department.

“With every course I took, I could take the information I was learning and immediately apply it. That was so practical and so useful,” she said. “Everything that I have done so far, I’ve been able to use it in my class teaching.”

Blakney’s doctoral project consisted of research over incoming students’ biblical knowledge and how that affects their behavior and overall worldview.

“I had begun to notice that students didn’t know the Bible,” Blakney said. “I did a project with the freshmen and gave them surveys to test their Bible knowledge and Christian worldview. The results of the surveys, as well as results from two focus groups, provided a picture of where the first-time freshmen stood.”

Blakney highly recommends SAGU’s doctoral program, but also says that it will require hard work and a bit of sacrifice.

“You think long and hard before you go into any doctoral work because it requires more than just school,” she says. “If you don’t decide that you’re going to give up something, you won’t finish it. You’re going to have to sacrifice something to have time to do the project. And once you realize that, SAGU is a good place to do it.”