Main Content

Faculty Spotlight: Jackie Halstead

Known for her soft-spoken demeanor and love for people and their spiritual well-being, Dr. Jackie Halstead works diligently to provide assistance and training for families and members of the clergy who are interested in pursuing a greater understanding of what it means to be spiritually transformed. As a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor within ACU Online’s Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program, Dr. Halstead plays a pivotal role in the lives of her students. Through her constant acts of service including guiding students toward completing their licensing exam to reinforcing the importance of diversity in the classroom, Dr. Halstead is a prime example of what it means to serve, walk, and lead humbly alongside the Lord and His will for her life. Serving in various capacities within ACU Online, Dr. Halstead is eager to see where else her career will take her and how far she can go. 

Young, Free, and Driven

Raised in Montana near the border of Canada, Dr. Halstead was your average ‘P.K.’ or preacher’s kid. Going to church every Sunday and learning what it meant for pastors to care for their congregational members, Dr. Halstead’s spiritual foundation was firmly established at a young age. Realizing how much she enjoyed working with people in her church and building relationships across generational differences, Dr. Halstead decided to go on her own path and soon, after graduating high school, earned her associate’s degree in business administration at York College where she met her soon-to-be husband, Randy. Realizing their unique knack for connectivity and compassion, Dr. Halstead and her husband decided to get married before moving to Oklahoma City, where they could both study psychology at Oklahoma Christian University. 

“Randy and I were young,” Dr. Halstead said. “And that’s really what allowed us to move around like we wanted to. It was a blessing to have someone who supported my goals, and I, his.” 

After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Halstead decided to keep going and enrolled into the  Master of  Marriage and Family Therapy program at the residential campus of Abilene Christian University. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Dr. Halstead and her family moved to Iowa so she could earn her Ph.D. degree at Iowa State. And while she underwent extensive training and years of college coursework, Dr. Halstead knew she was going to use it for something down the line. She was merely awaiting the call. 

Making A Name For Herself

Throughout her years as a professional therapist, Dr. Halstead served in several positions and capacities before ending up as a full-time professor at ACU Online. From becoming a department chair in ACU’s residential Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program to leading the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy to serving as the Director for the Institute for Christian Spirituality and adjunct professor at Lipscomb University, Dr. Halstead was on the move to make a name for herself. Whether she was teaching students or leading faculty members toward more adaptive learning techniques for their students, Dr. Halstead was doing what she loved and wanted to find more ways to assist students and community members alike. 

After the hustle and bustle of changing positions over the span of nearly 20 years, Dr. Halstead decided to embark on a new journey. One where she could contribute to non-academics in a way that could serve communities beyond her reach. Teaming up with other counselors around the country, Dr. Halstead founded the Selah Center for Spiritual Formation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting an understanding and experience of God as love as well as guide others to join into God’s plan via holistic courses for church leaders—both clergy and laity. 

“This project became something we had thought about for some time,” Dr. Halstead remarked. “And, honestly, we’re just in awe of how much God has provided for it.” 

Looking Ahead 

Through Selah, Dr. Halstead has been able to provide members of the clergy and community with comprehensive courses specifically geared toward spiritual formation, relationship enhancement, body wellness and spirituality, and emotional/psychological education – all from an online space. Hosting various in-person retreats and seminars, Dr. Halstead gets excited to see church leaders taking their roles as spiritual leaders as seriously as she does. 

“I take education quite seriously,” Dr. Halstead commented. “Whether it be my students at ACU Online or the community members taking courses via Selah, my goal has always been to show others how much we still have to learn when it comes to communicating effectively and showing mercy in today’s age.” 

Now, managing both her professorship and Selah, Dr. Halstead has chosen not to just stop there. Working with groups like the Diversity Action Council within ACU Online and serving as the assistant director for the online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program, Dr. Halstead is still on a mission to provide the best quality care and education for those interested in therapy, counseling, and leadership within their communities. Whether she’s teaching courses related to theory or introducing new concepts found in academic literature related to incorporating spirituality and race into counseling practices, Dr. Halstead is both fearless and reverent of the challenges that could face her later on. But, for now, Dr. Halstead remains steadfast in the calling that the Lord has placed in her heart; and that’s something she will continue with long after. 

Are you interested in taking classes from professors like Dr. Halstead? Learn more about our program today! Or, call our admissions team at 855-219-7300 to begin your journey at ACU Online.

SHARE: [Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]