Shaping the Next Generation: DBU's Center for Mentoring Continues to Grow and Impact the Lives of Students

older lady mentoring two female college students

According to Jon Pendergrass, recently named Director of the Center for Mentoring, mentoring is at the heart of the DBU experience.

"Dallas Baptist University expects mentoring relationships to strengthen student learning and further the mission to produce servant leaders who will impact local, national, and global communities for God's glory," explained Pendergrass.

Mentoring at DBU

Mentoring has always been a part of DBU's culture, but as a part of the University's strategic plan for the upcoming school year and its Quality Enhancement Program, the Center's initiative is to increase faculty and student engagement in mentoring opportunities beyond the classroom. Mentoring has been proven to enhance student learning and aligns closely with the University's mission to produce servant leaders. While most current collegiate mentoring programs focus on one area of student development, DBU is holistic in its approach so that students are challenged to grow spiritually as well as professionally and intellectually.

The Center for Mentoring is located in the Dr. William B. Dean Learning Center on the University campus. The Council for Mentoring, comprised of representatives from a variety of curricular and co-curricular departments, serves alongside Jon Pendergrass and the Center to encourage and promote mentoring efforts across campus. Desi Henk, Assistant Vice President of Career and Professional Development, also provides strategic administrative leadership. He served as a founding member of the QEP committee, the curriculum writing subcommittee, and is a current member of the Council for Mentoring.

Jon Pendergrass's Story

Pendergrass is a graduate of Texas Tech University and recently earned his MBA in marketing from DBU. Following a brief career with Boeing Aerospace, and while mentoring high school students at his local church, Pendergrass answered God's call to leave the corporate world to start an organization providing churches in Dallas-Fort Worth and College Station with local missions training and resources to serve their communities. He has also served as the vice president of a young adult ministry that has impacted thousands of young leaders from over 540 different churches across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Pendergrass returned to DBU in February 2017 to serve as the Director of Strategic Partnerships before accepting the invitation in August to step into this new role.

Bringing together leaders and students to walk together with Christ beyond the classroom to deepen their commitment to His world-redeeming mission.

Under his leadership and as the new academic year begins, the program has doubled to 270 students being mentored by 107 leaders. "DBU has an incredible opportunity to serve the students God has called to this University," he said. "Excellent communication is key to the success of this new program, and I believe every student can understand the importance of being mentored and the value they will receive from their participation. It is my hope that students who successfully complete our program will develop a strong desire to mentor others."

The Gospel Model

Following the Gospel model of Jesus Christ, who developed and prepared His disciples through day-to-day relationship, DBU's Center for Mentoring brings together leaders and students to walk together with Christ beyond the classroom to deepen their commitment to His world-redeeming mission. "Now that DBU's Christ-centered framework and mentoring program have been fully implemented," shared Pendergrass, "our QEP is strengthened by the participation of faculty and staff. Investing quality time in this great endeavor can bring life-impacting change in students' growth."

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.