Past Research Seminars

Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed

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Research Seminar 1

The inaugural seminar for Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed launched in October 2020 with a group of 10 scholars focusing on “Cultivating Engaged Learners Through First-Year Experiences.” The cohort reflected on the aims of Christian higher education, explored the outcomes related to the first-year experience and reviewed relevant literature on the topic. Members collaborated to surface potential research questions in light of the particular needs and opportunities at their respective institutions, and that research is underway during the 2021-2022 academic year.

The Cohort Experience

Cohort members, including provosts, deans, faculty, and student development officers from across the nation, have collaborated to examine best practices in the first-year experience and develop research projects to improve student outcomes at their respective institutions.

Cultivating Engaged Learners Through First-Year Experiences

With the guidance of research design experts from ACU, cohort members identified their research questions and methodologies and designed their research projects through two three-day workshops at Abilene Christian University in Spring 2021. Their first-year experience research topics include:

  • Seminars
  • Integrating first-generation students
  • Increasing engagement of traditionally underserved students
  • Spiritual formation
  • Creating campus cultures for student success and flourishing
  • Retention
  • Peer mentors
  • Developing and fostering relationships between faculty and students

These High-Impact Scholars are now spending the 2021-2022 academic year engaging in research at their home institutions. Cohort members will participate in virtual check-ins throughout the year and will then present their research alongside other presenters at the Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference hosted at ACU in Abilene, Texas, Sept. 25-27, 2022.



High-Impact Scholars

  • Steve Conn – Dean of Students, LeTourneau University
  • Jeff Doyle – Associate Director of Planning and Assessment, Baylor University
  • Marcia Everett – Director, The College Experience, Malone University
  • Allen Jones – Associate Professor of Bible, Corban University
  • Andrew Lehr – Dean of Student Academic Support, University of Saint Francis
  • Scott Moats – Provost, Crown College
  • Brenda Morton – Professor of Education, George Fox University
  • Megan Reister – Associate Professor of Special Education and Early Childhood, Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Chris Riley – Assistant Professor of Political Science/Associate Provost, Abilene Christian University
  • Sarah Todd – Director of Career Development, Eastern University