For Billie McConnell, Shan Martinez and Dr. Rebecca Hunter, working at ACU is like coming home. They are among twenty new faculty members hired by ACU this semester, ten of whom are alumni.
Suzanne Allmon, associate vice president for Human Resources, said the university is glad ACU alumni want to return to teach, but legacy is not enough to get them in the door. There are a number of qualities the university looks for in new faculty members.
“Most positions require a terminal degree,” Allmon said. “We look for demonstrated excellence of strong Christian character, as well as strong academic credentials.”
McConnell, assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education, decided to work at ACU because he knew the university put a major emphasis on technology that would allow him to teach “21st Century teachers.”
McConnell, who graduated from ACU in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, said he “he is happy to be coming home.”
Shan Martinez graduated from ACU in 1986 with a B.S. in education and now has children in the Abilene Christian Schools system. Martinez had been out of the work force for years when she decided to work in the Brown Library, in part to help pay for her children’s education. Martinez said she is excited to work at a library that has changed significantly since she attended school.
“There’s a huge difference,” said Martinez. “It’s really fun to see how the library can change and morph with new technology.”
Dr. Rebecca Hunter knew she wanted to teach at a school similar to her alma mater, ACU. Hunter, who received a B.S. in biology in 2001, received an email informing her of an open position and said, “It just felt right.”
Hunter said she is looking forward to being able to build relationships with students, an opportunity she would not get teaching at bigger schools.
“I’m looking forward to getting freshmen interested in different aspects of biology,” Hunter said.
For these three new faculty members, coming back to ACU was a homecoming, but even for Lubbock Christian University graduate Stephen Baldridge, getting to work in the newly established social work master’s program was too enticing to pass up.
Baldridge knew he wanted to work at a school similar to LCU, where he graduated in 2001. Baldridge said he loves being around students and hopes to “learn as much from them as they learn from me.”
Every new faculty member has different reasons for coming to ACU, ranging from the small campus size and level of personal attention to the opportunity to work in new and exciting fields. However, all the new faculty members have exhibited the character and academic integrity ACU students have come to expect.