Research Seminar Series

Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed

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About the Seminar

Abilene Christian University is in partnership with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities hosting a research seminar series investigating the benefits of high-impact practices in Christian higher education. Each cohort of High-Impact Scholars meets for two intensive workshops to focus on a specific practice (e.g., first-year experience, service learning, study abroad, etc.) and examines 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.

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 the scholarship of Christian higher education.

Findings and institutional practices are showcased at the biennial Best Practices in Christian Higher Education national conference hosted by ACU. This is done through conference presentations highlighting their research. Additionally, scholars have the opportunity to submit their work for consideration in a special conference-themed issue of the Christian Higher Education Journal.

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

2024-2026 Research Seminar


Cohort members will investigate best practices and engage in research related to undergraduate research and creative projects in the context of Christian higher education.

Call for Proposals: Research Seminar CFPs will open on March 1, 2024.

Dr. Holowiecki studying zebrafish with a student researcher.

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 2024-2026 cohort will review the landscape of undergraduate research and creative projects’ in higher education, formulate key questions, considered participants’ institutional contexts, and begin 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 2026 and will submit their work to be considered for inclusion in an edited volume of the Journal for Christian Higher Education.

Topics for 2024-2026 Research Seminar

Cohort members will research various topics related to undergraduate research and creative projects, such as:

  • New models for mentoring in humanities and social sciences
  • Increasing participation in research
  • Models for student presentation and publication
  • Ensuring representation from diverse, first gen, low SES, and international students
  • Impact of mentoring on undergraduate research and participation
  • 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.

Biennial Conference

Abilene Christian University will host the biennial Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference on our campus in Abilene, Texas. The upcoming conference will take place September 29 – October 1, 2024. Faculty and staff from Christian colleges and universities across the nation are invited to join us for this collaborative gathering. Findings from the 2022-2024 research seminar cohort will be 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.