Dr. Scott Self has been a part of the Wildcat family since 1987, when he was a student on campus in Abilene, TX. Now, as the assistant provost for Academic Initiatives and Innovations and program director for the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies at ACU Online, Dr. Self is helping students on their educational journeys so that they may flourish in and out of the classroom. Check out how he’s paving the way for students to discover their professional passions and what he sees for the future of higher education in the virtual space.
Influenced to Educate
Disability advocacy has played a huge role throughout Dr. Self’s time as a student and a professional. In high school, Scott worked as a swimming instructor where he volunteered to teach children with various disabilities how to swim. This experience led to him receiving additional training in adaptive swimming instruction, and it produced a lifelong desire to serve others through his vocation. That formative time in his life influenced his decision to earn his bachelor’s degree in communication disorders—a program which equips students to work with a variety of people who experience communication difficulties and disabilities—at ACU, where he graduated in 1991. Dr. Self went on to get his master’s degree in speech pathology at the University of Texas at Dallas and his Ph.D. in higher education research at Texas Tech University.
Dr. Self served in ministry for 12 years before joining ACU Online’s faculty in 2007 as the disabilities compliance officer and online instructor. He now serves as the assistant provost for Academic Initiatives and Innovations, as well as the program director for the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies. In these roles, he enjoys strengthening the courses ACU provides to help students excel in their academic endeavors.
Paving a Way to Success
As program director, Scott helps students identify how to take the hours they have accumulated as a college student and find a path to a degree. This interdisciplinary program opens up an array of avenues for students to find structure within a specialization, while making the most of their interests, experiences, and education they’ve already acquired. “Integrated studies allows students to explore their possibilities and think creatively about what they want for their futures,” Dr. Self explained. “That’s where things are really growing for ACU Online.”
In addition, Dr. Self helps the university determine how to improve the courses they currently provide as assistant provost for Academic Initiatives and Innovations. He considers how ACU compares to other universities and researches different markets and employment options to see how new courses might fit within the university’s catalog and benefit students.
Growth and Goals
Dr. Self believes the future is bright for ACU Online. “We are growing really quickly and right on track to reach the goals we set out for ourselves,” he remarked. “With ACU Online, we’re able to scale our offerings and meet students where they are.”
Scott is most proud of the school’s ability to engage students who work full-time jobs while taking classes and sees room for the university to advance aid to this population. His favorite part of the job is developing intentional relationships with students. “When I get to meet with students, I’m reminded of why I do what I do,” Scott commented. “I love to reflect on what we’re doing as a university in reference to what students want to achieve and how we can create a pathway for them from freshmen to graduates defending their dissertation.”
As ACU continues to grow, one thing that remains certain is the university’s commitment to integrating faith and education. While ACU’s Christian roots have been a constant from the time he was on campus to now, the ways in which they have maintained that commitment continues to evolve. “The students are bringing a much richer sense of what spirituality is,” said Dr. Self. “I’m so appreciative of the worldviews our student body is bringing to us and the many lenses they have on spirituality.”
For Dr. Self, the same thing he enjoyed about being a student on campus to a faculty member: the relationships between faculty and students. He tells his students, “once you have me for class, you have me forever.” That is a promise he received during his time at ACU, and it’s a promise he makes in his classroom today. His primary focus as an educator is to encourage students and see them excel and engage with their curriculum beyond graduation and the classroom. “I enjoy seeing students connect what they are studying to their communities, families and personal needs,” he reflected. “Contributing to the world’s greater need and glorifying God while doing it makes it more than just a career; it’s a totally different way of existing.”
Are you passionate about finding a career path that goes beyond earning a paycheck, or want to learn how to use your interests to advance God’s Kingdom? Visit acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300.