ACU hired 22 new faculty members between the main and Dallas campuses, and eight faculty members received tenure last year.
The university has grown from one doctoral program, doctorate of ministry on the main campus, to three after the graduate program expansion at ACU Dallas, which now includes a doctorate of education and a doctorate of nursing practice. Provost Dr. Robert Rhodes said the expansion of the graduate programs is a key reason for the new hires.
“One of the most important things I do is hire really good faculty, I don’t think there is anything I do in a year that is as important as hiring our next cohort of faculty members,” Rhodes said. “I am proud of the individuals we are adding to ACU’s faculty this year. Having strong faculty across each of our programs is extremely important.”
According to Stephen Johnson, vice president and chief administrative officer of ACU Dallas, the decision of who to hire was monumental to make sure candidates fit what the university was looking for.
“It is important to find faculty who have the appropriate expertise and credentials and that are really excellent scholars and teachers, who have experience in teaching in the online modality and who have a deep commitment to our mission,” Johnson said.
Johnson estimated that by fall of 2019 there will approximately 1500 students enrolled in programs at the Dallas campus, which is a growth of over 300 additional students from the current year.
ACU is currently only allowed to have three doctoral programs under its current classification, however, according to Dr. Rhodes, the school will ask for a higher classification to introduce more programs in order to continue growth.
With the new faculty at ACU Dallas came the newly developing dance program on campus to bring in a dance expert. Dr. Rhodes said the expansion of dance is one that will hopefully be very popular.
When a faculty member is given tenure, they are given a permanent position on campus. Tenured faculty go through a six-year evaluation process before being evaluated for tenure to move from an assistant professor to an associate by their department, college, the university promotion and tenure committee, and lastly by Rhodes.
“To me it’s really enjoyable to see good faculty spend five or six years here at ACU, develop a strong portfolio, and then be successful in that process,” Rhodes said. “What I pledge to them is that this is a place where they will receive support to be the very best faculty member they can be and that will continuously create an environment where they want to be for their career.”
The tenured faculty members are:
Dr. Andrew Huddleston
Dr. David Kneip
Jim Litton, J.D.
Dr. Doug Mendenhall
Dr. Carson Reed
Dr. Nil Santana
Dr. Kyle Tippens
The newly hired faculty members are:
Lily Balogh, Artist in Residence, Theatre
Catherine Baumgardener, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Robert “Bob” Delony, Instructor of Political Science and Criminal Justice
Dr. Jim Drachenberg, Associate Professor of Engineering and Physics
Dr. Joseph Halbert, Assistant Professor of Conflict Management and Resolution
Jake Harbour, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Melinda Isbell, Assistant Professor, Brown Library
Dr. Kendra Jernigan, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Jacob Lollar, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Studies of Ancient Religious Texts
Kelly Mann, Instructor of Art and Design
Kervin Scott Marshall, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Physics
Dr. Adam McGee, Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Daniel Morrison, Assistant Professor of Communication and Sociology
Dr. Michelle Peek, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Sheila Ritchie, Instructor of Communication and Sociology
Dr. Malcolm Scott, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Ellen Shutt, Instructor of Communication Science and Disorders
Hayley Stewart, Clinical Instructor of Language and Literature
Lillie Thomas, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Adam Ybarra, Instructor of Athletic Training
Dr. Katherine Yeager, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership