Racial discrimination or discrimination of any kind casts a negative light upon the freedoms and opportunities that our nation has endeavored to achieve. More importantly, discrimination pulls us away from the value God has bestowed on each and every individual — and upon our call to community within His kingdom. With open hearts and open minds, we will work together to make a difference in the lives of all ACU Dallas faculty, staff and students.

Racial discrimination or discrimination of any kind casts a negative light upon the freedoms and opportunities that our nation has endeavored to achieve. More importantly, discrimination pulls us away from the value God has bestowed on each and every individual — and upon our call to community within His kingdom. With open hearts and open minds, we will work together to make a difference in the lives of all ACU Dallas faculty, staff and students.

Main Content

Our Commitment

ACU Dallas is committed to greater racial understanding, equity and inclusion among marginalized groups. ACU Dallas aims to:

  • acknowledge and validate the experience of our minority colleagues and students, to listen to their voice and story and to grow in our solidarity for a more just world;
  • increase understanding among our staff, faculty and adjunct faculty by reading authors and experts who are minorities, to receive what they have to teach us;
  • include learning outcomes related to white privilege, racism and diversity in our curriculum;
  • require diversity training and implement learning communities for robust conversation — beginning with our campus administration and including our faculty and staff;
  • greater intentionality and purpose in hiring diverse faculty.

“Our aim has been to establish structures, practices, and culture for long-term systemic change in our organization. Racial equity and justice will be a life-long pursuit together.” – Dr. Stephen Johnson, Chief Administrative Officer, ACU Online

Meet our Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Dr. Jennifer ButcherDr. Jennifer T. Butcher is the associate vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging at Abilene Christian University for the Dallas campus. Among her duties in this role, Jennifer will cultivate a supportive and inclusive work environment for all employees, create and drive forward strategies and practices that ensure commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for employees and students, and promote opportunities for ongoing employee growth and professional development. 

Additionally, Jennifer is a professor in the School of Organizational Leadership at ACU Dallas, where she teaches courses in the online Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership Program and serves on dissertation committees. She also participates in various university committees including the ACU Diversity Council, ACU Dallas Faculty Council and the Online First Year Experience Project. 

A member of numerous professional organizations, Jennifer is a current member on the Texas Association of School Administrators Higher Education Committee. She was named Advocate of the Year by the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration (TCPEA) in 2018. In 2020, TCPEA recognized her as Educator of the Year. And again, she was recognized as 2021 President of TCPEA and as dissertation chair for Darlene Breaux, the 2021 TCPEA Dissertation of the Year recipient.

Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in diversity in the educational context. She has presented at various international, national, regional, and state conferences. Her research and writing includes numerous publications on diversity in the educational setting, including Black Female Leaders in Academia: Eliminating the Glass Ceiling with Efficacy, Exuberance and Excellence; Addressing Issues of Systemic Racism During Turbulent Times; and Overcoming Challenges and Creating Opportunity For African American Male Students, which was featured in IGI Global’s July 2020 comprehensive digital brochure on social movements, equality, misinformation and civic engagement.

DEI Journal

About this Journal

Tapestry: Journal of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Education is dedicated to publishing empirical research, literature reviews, and evaluations of practices and policies that support efforts of PK-12 and postsecondary education. Scholars and practitioners from related disciplines are welcome to submit to this peer-reviewed journal. We acknowledge the support of ACU’s online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership faculty and the ACU Library. This peer-reviewed journal serves as a forum for researchers and practitioners to sustain a critical engagement with issues in education in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Aims & Scope

The aim of this journal is to create a community focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging evidenced by curated and original research publications.

DEI Groups

Diversity Action Council

The Diversity Action Council (DAC) sheds light on the areas in which racial inequality exists within ACU Dallas, brings forth ideas on improvements and develops recommendations that aid ACU in our work to serve the best interests of our diverse employee base.

The DAC, along with the support of the director of diversity, equity & inclusion, identifies goals and objectives as it pertains to greater diversity and inclusion on the ACU Dallas campus. This group also ensures that stated goals and objectives are implemented, measured and communicated to Minority Employee Resource Group (MERG) and the ACU Dallas community.

The DAC developed a five-year strategic plan focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion for all students, faculty and staff on the ACU Dallas campus. The plan aligns with the mission, promise and core values of the university. 


The mission of the Diversity Action Council (DAC) is to serve as the engine for systemic and sustained DEI-related change at ACU Dallas. The DAC consists of 10 members representing the various divisions (Enrollment, Operations and Academics) as well as the student body of ACU Dallas.

  • Dr. Garry Bailey, MACMR Professor
  • Dr. Jennifer Butcher, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging & Professor, School of Educational Leadership
  • Dr. Brian Cole, Ed.D. Professor
  • Annie Deas, Student Success Advisor
  • LaShae Grottis, Ed.D. Student
  • Krystal Jackson, Student Success Manager
  • Chris Mayweather, Undergraduate Admissions Manager
  • Lori Anne Shaw, Associate Vice President, Learning Design & Operations
  • Stacie Shelby, Director of Inbound Marketing
  • Jaclyn Young, Student Success Advisor
Diverse Student Alliance

Diverse Student Alliance

The Diverse Student Alliance (DSA) provides a safe space for students of color to share experiences, support one another, make personal connections and have a collective voice to address needs and concerns. The DSA also fosters a space for students to laugh, play and become more comfortable engaging in an online learning environment.

For more information about DSA, send an email to dsa@acu.edu.

Minority Employee Resource Group

The Minority Employee Resource Group (MERG) is a safe haven for ACU Dallas employees who identify as a minority or person of color to connect with and support one another as well as bring forward ideas about how to partner with ACU in its ongoing effort to improve racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

Under its leadership team, the group has spearheaded the Black History Month celebration for the Dallas campus, launched DEI-related programming through MERG Monthly Discussions, developed in-house training initiative MERG UP and formed the MERG DEI Leadership Academy. MERG continues to explore ways to positively impact ACU internally and the broader community externally.

For more about MERG, send an email to merg@groupmail.acu.edu.

DEI Book Study

Faithful Antiracism Book Study
Fall 2022

It’s time to move past talk. It’s no longer news to most of us that our society has a deep-seated racism problem. Christians of all ethnic and economic backgrounds are tired of seeing the ugly legacy of racism play out before their eyes and feeling ill-equipped to respond. They watch as friends and family members leave the visible church over this issue, or fall prey to a gospel of White nationalism that is an affront to the cross of Christ.

Racism presents itself as an undefeatable foe—a sustained scourge on the reputation of the church. In Faithful Antiracism, Christina Barland Edmondson and Chad Brennan take confidence from the truth that Christ has overcome the world, including racism, and offer clear analysis and interventions to challenge and resist its pernicious power. Drawing on brand-new research from the landmark Race, Religion, and Justice Project led by Michael Emerson and others, this book represents the most comprehensive study on Christians and race since Emerson’s own book Divided by Faith (2001). It invites readers to put this data to immediate practical use, applying it to their own specific context.

Compelled by our grievous social moment and by the timeless truth of Scripture, Faithful Antiracism will equip readers to move past talk and enter the fight against racism in both practical and hopeful ways.

This year, ACU faculty and staff are invited to read this powerful book and engage in small group book studies. Participants will make their way through this study being led by a facilitator. Small groups are encouraged to have open and honest discussions with their fellow group members.

DEI Summit

The DEI Summit was created to build ACU Dallas’ capacity for advancing its goals and priorities regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. It seeks to accomplish this by supporting the professional development of employees, including executive-level staff. The annual DEI Summit serves as a means for engaging the ACU Dallas faculty, staff and leadership in mandatory DEI-related training.

2023 DEI Summit: June 15, 2023

Presenter: Dr. Jimmy McCarty

There will be a number of sessions as part of DEI Summit designed around different areas of focus and for differing levels of leadership. We are planning one session designed for all ACU Dallas employees with the expectation that all are to attend.

Dr. Jimmy McCarty is director of the Tom Porter Religion and Conflict Transformation Program and assistant clinical professor of Religion and Conflict Transformation for Boston University School of Theology. Dr. McCarty received his Ph.D. from Emory University, and his current research is at the intersections of Christian ethics and racial justice, restorative justice, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and transformative justice.

2023 DEI Summit Schedule

9:00 am – 10:30 am — Session One: ELT
Topic: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not Firefighting: Preparing for and Responding to Campus Crises

10:30 am – 10:40 am — BREAK 

10:45 am – 12:15 pm — Session Two: Minority Employee Resource Group (MERG) & Diversity Action Council (DAC)
Topic: Organizational Change through a Reparative Lens: Grassroots Lessons for Institutional Transformation

12:15 pm – 1:10 pm — LUNCH

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm — Session Three: Senior Leadership Team-Dallas (SLT-D)
Topic:  Supervision and the Work of Belonging: Practical Tools for Managers and Supervisors

2:30 pm –  2:55 pm — BREAK

3:00 pm – 4:15 pm — Session Four: All ACU Dallas employees
Keynote Lecture: From Pentecost to the Beloved Community: The Christian Moral Imagination of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging


2022 DEI Summit: July 28, 2022

Presenter: Dr. Lorin Carter, Esq., M.S., E.I.

Dr. Lorin CarterThe 2022 DEI Summit was held virtually on July 28. The presenter for this year’s summit was Dr. Lorin R. Carter, founder and CEO of C-Suite Consulting. Lorin facilitated the following three sessions: Sharing the Weight of the Work, Moving from Intention to Implementation, and Let’s Talk: Understanding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Dr. Lorin R. Carter is passionate about facilitating healthy, vibrant communities and equipping people with tools needed to be independent determinants of their destiny. With almost two decades of education and experience spanning civil engineering, law, higher education, public policy and urban planning, Dr. Carter is the founder & CEO of C-Suite Consulting, where she works to foster equity through community-focused solutions, strategy development, research, and capacity building to make urban spaces equitable places to live, work and play.

Dr. Carter and the C-Suite Consulting Team continue their work in creating new opportunities to discuss current inequities, ways equitable development can positively leverage investment and pathways to a more equitable and just future.

2021 DEI Summit: July 15, 2021

Presenter: Dr. Jerry Taylor

The first of its kind for the ACU Dallas campus, the 2021 DEI Summit was held in-person on July 15, 2021, bringing together the ACU Dallas Executive Leadership Team, MERG and DAC members in an all-day training session facilitated by Dr. Jerry Taylor.

Dr. Jerry Taylor is founder of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action and is also an associate professor of Bible, missions and ministry at ACU. Dr. Taylor travels extensively, speaking on college campuses, conferences, and retreats. He is the author of Courageous Compassion. He has begun many initiatives such as the New Wineskins Retreat, the National Freedom in Christ Conference, the Young Scholars Retreat, the Racial Unity Leadership Summit (RULS) and RULS Spiritual Retreat.