Veteran SNU Professor Accepts Chaplaincy Assignment
When the Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) department at Southern Nazarene University began the search for a Chaplain to their adult students, they looked no further than the campus building next door. Dr. Doug Samples, a veteran professor in the School of Theology and Ministry, with over twenty years of service to SNU, as well as twenty plus years in pastoral ministry, began an added assignment on July 1, 2018. His mission is to offer spiritual care to SNU’s 1,100 plus adult learners - in much the same way that Dr. Blair Spindle, SNU’s Campus Pastor, offers spiritual guidance and support to our traditional students.
Uniquely, adult students are never in the same place at the same time, except in small groups, so it became immediately clear to Dr. Samples that he would need to create methods to bridge this gap. In order to introduce himself, and begin to build relationships with these students, Samples is attending many of the sixty to seventy “Organizational Night” meetings that are held throughout the year as each Group begins their academic program. He is also making himself available to students as they arrive on campus for evening classes which are spread from Monday through Thursday each week. Future plans are for production of a video introduction for use with programs that are completely online, and an online portal for students to confidentially submit prayer requests and receive a personal response.
Partnering with the Alumni Relations office, Samples is finding reasons to relate to students as they experience life events, such as presenting a gift with the ‘future Alumni’ logo to a parent of a new baby. Showing personal interest and care for these students who have minimal contact with campus life – but who are genuinely proud to be part of the SNU family - is the primary mission of the Chaplain to Professional and Graduate Students, according to Samples. He feels, as well, that his connecting to students will have a positive influence on the efforts of the PGS staff to recruit for significant growth in the future.
When asked about his acceptance of the assignment, Samples said, “Although I am glad to still be serving half-time in the School of Theology and Ministry, teaching and directing the intern program, I am excited for the possibilities that this new position opens up for me.” He added, “There are limitless opportunities to offer grace and peace to our PGS learners, many of whom are spiritually homeless – what a divine privilege!”
To learn more about completing your undergraduate degree, earning a degree online, or exploring options for a graduate degree – visit snu.edu/snuforadults