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 members completed their research projects during the 2021-2022 academic year. Their findings will be presented at the 2022 Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed national conference.
Research Seminar 1
Research Seminar 2
The second research cohort of High-Impact Scholars for Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed launched in October 2022 with a group of 12 scholars focusing on “Expanding Minds and Hearts Through Global Learning and Study Abroad.” The cohort reflects on the aims of Christian higher education while exploring the outcomes related to Global Learning and Study. Research participants collaborate to surface potential research questions considering the particular needs and opportunities at their respective institutions, and members will complete their research projects in the Fall of 2024. Their findings will be presented at the 2024 Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed national conference.
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.
2020-2022 Research Cohort: Cultivating….Experience
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 included:
- Integrating first-generation students
- Increasing engagement of traditionally underserved students
- Spiritual formation
- Creating campus cultures for student success and flourishing
- Peer mentors
- Developing and fostering relationships between faculty and students
These High-Impact Scholars spent the 2021-2022 academic year engaged in research at their home institutions. Cohort members participated in virtual check-ins throughout the year and presented their research at the Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference hosted at ACU in Abilene, Texas, Sept. 25-27, 2022.
2022-2024 Research Cohort: Expanding Minds and Hearts Through Global Learning and Study Abroad.
In collaboration with 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 2023. Their global learning and study abroad research topics are currently being researched and will be presented at the Fall 2024 conference.
These High-Impact Scholars will spend the 2023-2024 academic year engaging in research at their home institutions. Cohort members participate in virtual check-ins throughout the year and will present their research alongside other presenters at the Best Practices in Christian Higher Ed conference hosted at ACU in Abilene, Texas, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2024.
Research cohort 2020-2022
- Steve Conn – Dean of Students, LeTourneau 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
Research cohort 2022-2024
- Stephen Baldridge – Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
- Mark Barneche – Executive Director for International Education and Study Abroad, Pepperdine University
- Tiffany Boury – Office of Global Academic Partnerships, Franciscan University of Steubenville
- Jennifer Butcher – Director of DEI, Abilene Christian University
- Jenny Carter – Chair, Center for Teaching and Learning, Southeastern University
- Roy Y. Chan – Assistant Professor of Education, Lee University
- Maria Hodapp – Director of Off-Campus Programs, Trinity Christian College
- John Osborne – Director of International Programs, Oklahoma Christian University
- Audra Pleasant – Executive Director of International Programs, Harding University
- Cynthia Powell – Executive Director of the Center for Pre-Health Professions, Abilene Christian University
- Michelle Reina – AVP of International Affairs, Concordia University Wisconsin Ann Arbor
- Cynthia Slagter – Director of Off-Campus Programs, Calvin University
- Bo White – Director of Study Abroad, Baylor University
- Rebecca Zanolini – Florence Site Director, Lipscomb University