Associate dean of spiritual formation earns doctoral degree

Barb Dewald, associate dean of spiritual formation at Northwestern College, has earned a doctorate from George Fox University after successfully defending her dissertation Nov. 1. She will graduate in December with a Doctor of Ministry degree in leadership and spiritual formation from the university’s school of theology, George Fox Evangelical Seminary.

Dewald’s dissertation is entitled “A Contemplative Vocational Discernment Model for Christian College Students.” It includes a practical tool to help students discover God’s calling for their lives, based on the premise that calling flows out of spiritual formation. The guidebook Dewald created for student use has a threefold approach for vocational discernment: practicing contemplative Christian disciplines that encourage one to listen to God; taking a solitude and reflection retreat in order to understand one’s life story; and participating in a spiritual discernment group with one’s peers.

A member of Northwestern’s campus ministry staff since 1995, Dewald has a master’s degree in counseling from the University of South Dakota and a Master of Divinity degree from Sioux Falls Seminary. She came to Northwestern from the University of Sioux Falls, where she was director of residence life and assistant campus pastor.