Meet Dr. Dana Wicker, Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling Program

professor dana wicker standing outside on the DBU campus in Dallas

"The Lord has given me a heart for those who are hurting and a desire to encourage them, but I also recognize true transformational change can only occur when God transforms people." Dr. Dana Wicker is the Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program at DBU and has been a member of the DBU Family since joining as a full-time professor in 2011.

Dr. Wicker was born to Jim and Shirley Abernathy in St. Louis, Missouri. She was raised in a Christian home and regularly attended church with her two younger siblings, Jim and Lea. When Dana was seven, she trusted in Christ and accepted Him as her Savior. She served her church in youth groups and summer camps throughout her childhood. During the summer after sixth grade, Dana felt God calling her to pursue a career in full-time Christian ministry, particularly in the medical mission field.

Dana decided to leave Missouri and attend Baylor University, where she pursued their pre-med program. Initially, she planned to complete her undergraduate at Baylor and then return to Missouri for medical school, but the Lord had other plans. During the summer after her freshman year, Dana served as a summer youth minister at a church in Centerville, Missouri, and had the opportunity to work with three children who had significant emotional problems. "God used this experience to clarify my calling to work with those going through emotional difficulties and/or traumatic experiences." After that summer, Dana returned to Baylor and continued her college career as a psychology major. However, Dana's life in Texas did not end with her graduation from Baylor. She met her husband, Dr. Jim Wicker, as a student, and they have been happily married since 1978.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Dana began pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of North Texas after Dr. Wynona Elder, a friend of Dana's and a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, encouraged her to continue her education. She completed her psychology internship at the Dallas Child Guidance Clinic and obtained hands-on experience counseling children and families. After completing her Ph.D., Dana spent four years caring for her children at home. Throughout this season, Dr. Wicker served in the youth and women's ministries at First Baptist Church in Frisco. In the spring of 1998, Dana felt the Lord calling her to return to her counseling career.

When searching for her next career step, Dr. Wicker attended the American Association of Christian Counselors Conference in Dallas and ran into Dr. Wynona Elder "coincidentally." As Dr. Wicker says, "There are no accidents in God's plans!" This divine reunion allowed the two of them to catch up. A few months after the conference, Dr. Elder called Dr. Wicker and shared that she was retiring from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She asked if she could recommend Dr. Wicker for a position in their counseling department. Dr. Wicker realized this was where God was calling her next, so she began teaching at SWBTS in the fall of 1998 and stayed there for 13 years.

Dr. Wicker joined the DBU Family as a full-time professor in 2011 after Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary decided to take its counseling program in a different direction. She felt the Lord calling her to DBU, but she was unsure why until 2016, when Dr. Cook asked her to pray about starting a Christian Counseling program. "Dr. Cook saw a need to equip those going into ministry to counsel. As I prayed, the Lord revealed that this was why I was called to DBU." DBU's MACC program launched in the fall of 2017 through the Lord's intervention and working through Dr. Wicker. Dr. Wicker's favorite part about her role at DBU is teaching and interacting with the students, and she especially loves alumni sharing how their time at DBU helped them minister to others.

Dr. Wicker and her husband, Dr. Jim Wicker, have three adult children and one daughter-in-law. Dr. Jim Wicker serves as a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. They attend First Baptist Church of Dallas, and she serves as a church greeter, decision counselor, and teacher at Disciple University. Once a week, she also serves at the Impact Counseling and Guidance Center out of Lake Church in Arlington.

"God's plans are greater than our plans. I am excited to see what God has planned. I am amazed at the people He has brought to the MACC program and how I have gotten to be a small part in their training for Kingdom work."

About Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University is a comprehensive Christ-centered university dedicated to producing servant leaders through the integration of faith and learning. With an enrollment of over 4,200 students, DBU's main campus is located in the foothills of southwest Dallas. DBU offers 77 undergraduate programs and 39 graduate degree programs in various fields, online college degree programs, and two doctoral programs. Get more information about Dallas Baptist University ( by browsing our website, emailing, or by calling (214) 333-5172.

Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.