Ninety-three days following his appointment as Trinity International University’s next president, Dr. David S. Dockery marked his first official day on the job gathering together and breaking bread with the Trinity community, addressing them about how he intends to lead the University into the future.
Dockery’s humor and conversational style—along with the hopeful anticipation of faculty and staff—resulted in a deeply engaged and enthusiastic reception. Leading up to his first day, Dockery sought to become familiarized with Trinity by evaluating its current circumstances and strategic mission, as well as by visiting the Deerfield campus several times and Trinity Law School in California (he plans to visit Trinity’s Florida and South Chicago campuses in the near future). Equipped with this knowledge, which he mentioned will continue to grow with each passing day, Dockery now looks forward to laying out his vision that will seek to provide tangible long-term improvements and sustainability, always with an eye on Trinity’s mission.
“I did not come here merely to keep Trinity alive,” Dockery said. “I am here to advance the mission of Trinity International University.”
Dockery is the former president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, where his eighteen-year tenure saw dramatic growth across the board. While Trinity currently faces challenges in the area of growth, Dockery promised that the strategies implemented at Trinity will be unique to its context—not mere repeats of what worked at his former institution.
Overall, Dockery’s vision for Trinity includes establishing a clarity of identity for the University, enhancing its resources, effective messaging and communication both to its internal and external constituents, increased enrollment and retention, and an active commitment to the University’s core values and mission.
“I want us, with God’s help, to build a high-quality, Christ-honoring university,” said Dockery. “I want us to think about the ‘uni’ of ‘university’ in terms of mission, strategy, resources, and internal function, creating synergies and coherent structures as we are able to do around a shared mission.”
Dockery’s first major assignment as president will be to address the Board of Regents during their meetings on June 5–6, where he will provide an outline of his vision for his role as the president, the role of the Board, and the overall vision of the University moving forward. The goal for this discussion will be for the Board to affirm and bless Dockery’s vision for Trinity so that they can begin developing a strategic plan, “one that we trust will have some connection and continuity with the plan that was presented in 2012.”
“Though it will be a rather different plan,” said Dockery, “one that I expect to be bold and far-reaching, one that only the Lord can help us accomplish.”
The room was abuzz following Dockery’s address, as many faculty and staff members have eagerly anticipated the new president’s arrival and were pleased to hear of the new direction for Trinity. Among those who were grateful for Dockery’s address was Co-Provost and Dean of Trinity College and Trinity Graduate School Dr. Jeanette Hsieh, who said she felt encouraged by the University’s future envisioned by Dockery.
“I think he hit it right on the button,” Hsieh said in regards to Dockery’s assessment of Trinity’s current circumstances and needs for both the short- and long-term. “I’m very, very encouraged.”
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