Research Seminar Series

Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed

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About the Seminar

Abilene Christian University is partnering with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities to host a research seminar series investigating the benefits of high-impact practices in Christian higher education. Each cohort of High-Impact Scholars will meet for two intensive workshops to focus on a specific practice (e.g., first-year experience, service learning, study abroad, etc.) and examine the impact and implementation in Christian higher education. After the three-day workshops, participants will engage in research at their respective institutions the following year.

Findings and institutional practices will be showcased at a national conference hosted by ACU, and scholars will have the opportunity to submit their work to be considered for inclusion in an edited volume.

High-Impact Scholars will have the unique opportunity to learn from ACU’s national leadership in high-impact practices and collaborate with faculty and staff from various institutions across the nation to produce work that will be a significant contribution to scholarship of Christian higher education.

These cohorts of Christian faculty and staff investigating creative and innovative evidence-based practices will enhance the learning experiences of students across the nation.

2022-2024 Research Seminar

“Expanding Minds and Hearts Through Global Learning and Study Abroad”

Cohort members will investigate best practices and engage in research related to global learning and study abroad in the context of Christian higher education.

What to Expect

  • Participants (High Impact Scholars) and institutions will collaborate to address common issues as well as focus on contexts specific to their home campuses.
  • The first workshop for the 2022 cohort reviewed the landscape of global learning in higher education, formulated key questions, considered participants’ institutional contexts, and began to develop research questions and methodologies.
  • The second workshop will focus on research design and connecting each project to larger themes in Christian higher education.
  • In addition to workshops, scholars will meet for two online check-ins during the second year of the seminar.
  • High-Impact Scholars will present their findings at the Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference held in Abilene in Fall 2024 and will submit their work to be considered for inclusion in an edited volume.
  • ACU will cover the costs of lodging, meals, and materials for participants during both workshops. Participants will be responsible for their own travel arrangements and other expenses.

Topics for 2022-2024 Research Seminar

Cohort members will research various topics related to global learning and study abroad, such as:

  • Effective study abroad models
  • The value of long-term and short-term study abroad programs
  • Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Global learning as diversity training
  • Global learning as spiritual formation
  • Assessing intercultural competency
  • Impact on retention

More than one person per institution may apply if the representatives are interested in different research areas. Upon acceptance into the program, each participant will be named a High-Impact Scholar.

Cyrus Eaton speaking at Opening Assembly

Biennial Conference

Abilene Christian University will host the biennial Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference on our campus in Abilene, Texas. The inaugural conference took place September 25-27, 2022. Faculty and staff from Christian colleges and universities across the nation were invited to join us for this collaborative gathering. Findings from the first research seminar cohort were presented, as well as presentations from an open call. 

The conference website provides more information about this exciting opportunity and details on how to submit proposals and register for the upcoming conference.