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Evangel University Announces New Community Relief and Development Degree Programs

Evangel University and Convoy of Hope are partnering to offer two new bachelor's degree programs this fall.

Evangel University is planning to offer two new bachelor’s degree programs in Community Relief and Development. One program is designed for traditional undergraduate students and the other will be offered fully online and targeted to adult learners. Both programs will launch in the fall 2021 semester.

The two new degree programs are an extension of EU’s long-standing relationship with local humanitarian organization Convoy of Hope. In 2018, the Springfield, Missouri-based university and Convoy partnered together to launch EU’s Center for Compassion, dedicated to cultivating the theology and practice of compassion in the world.

“Our mission to prepare students to impact society has been greatly strengthened via this new collaboration with Convoy of Hope to create a Community Relief and Development degree program.” said George O. Wood, EU interim president.

“This strategic partnership will have a tremendous impact on many of our students as they prepare to serve communities throughout the United States and world,” Wood said.

The Center for Compassion integrates the values of holistic compassion-based care via three key avenues: academic exploration, service learning, and volunteerism.

“This degree program, tailored to both traditional undergraduate and adult students, brings together a focus on stimulating academic study and hands-on opportunities to engage in service projects and dedicated volunteer commitments,” said Michael McCorcle, EU provost and executive vice president. “Seated and online options increase accessibility for students to participate.”

The degree programs are designed to equip students with the skills necessary to deliver and lead compassion-based care that elevates and empowers the lives of those in need or impacted by disaster around the world.

"We are excited about our relationship with the Center for Compassion,” said Kregg Hood, Convoy of Hope senior vice president and chief operations officer. “It brings together the best of what Evangel does with the best of what Convoy does."

A focus on practical application is a hallmark of the program. Students will learn to be effective in a variety of domestic and international settings, including non-profit leadership, volunteerism, disaster response, holistic self-care, community development, public policy, partnership cultivation, ministry, and advocacy.

The Center for Compassion will house the new degree programs. Steven McMichael, the center’s newly named director, will oversee the programs and administration of the center.

“I am so excited to join the ongoing work of the Center for Compassion. This new major combines Evangel's seasoned tradition of making disciples and Convoy of Hope's innovative strategies for making a difference." McMichael said.

McMichael succeeds Donna Washburn, the center’s founding director, who moved on from Evangel at the end of 2020.

As an ordained minister and registered nurse, McMichael brings a wealth of experience in international community relief and development work to his new role at EU. He served for 18 years as a missionary in Africa, coordinating extensive outreaches to migrants and refugees.

"Compassion ministry is for everyone, across every discipline.” McMichael said. “The Center for Compassion seeks to develop hearts and add skill to willing hands."

McMichael will work closely with the center’s newly named associate director, Melissa Pulis. Pulis has worked with the Center for Compassion since its inception in 2018, first serving as program and logistics coordinator. She has over 25 years of experience in local church ministry.

Applications for the new degree programs are currently being accepted for the fall 2021 semester. Interested individuals may apply online at evangel.edu/apply.

To learn more about the Community Relief and Development degree programs, visit evangel.edu/community. To learn more about the Center for Compassion, visit evangel.edu/compassion.

Erin Hedlun

Erin Hedlun is senior director of Marketing and Communications at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.