Faculty members Dena Counts and Nick Tatum both received their doctorate degrees in the first week in September.
Dena Counts, an instructor in the Communication and Sociology department, received her ED.D. in organizational leadership from ACU Dallas. While working full time and writing her dissertation over organizational change and its association with interpersonal conflict and counterproductive work behaviors, Counts said that balancing everything was a struggle.
“I was very blessed that as a part of working here at ACU I had to opportunity to get the degree online through ACU Dallas,” Counts said. “They’re program is doing a class every 7-8 weeks then working on a dissertation while working full time was a challenge but the Lord took care of me.”
Counts, as well as being a faculty member here attended ACU for her undergraduate degree. After moving around, Counts, her husband and her family eventually found their way back to Abilene.
“My husband was in youth ministry for 18 years so we lived in San Antonio and then we were in Southbend, Indiana,” Count said. “I was teaching at a college in Southbend about 11 years ago and we were looking at moving back to Texas. I’d never thought of teaching at ACU but after interviewing at a couple places this seemed the best fit.”
Nick Tatum, an instructor in the Communications department who is also in charge of Student Productions, attended ACU for his undergraduate degree and masters but received his PhD in Instructional Communication from the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information. Tatum, similarly stated that working full time while earning his degree was a challenge.
“I was a full time student and a full faculty member while being in charge of Sing Song Freshman Follies and the a cappella groups,” Tatum said. “I’m glad that I was able to do all of that at the same time but I am also glad I never have to do that again because it was stressful, but I am glad for all of the opportunities it gave me.”
As for both Tatum and Counts, both plan to spend some time throughout their futures at ACU.
Counts, having moved back to Abilene with her family, said she doesn’t feel like she’ll move again.
“We love living in Abilene and I love working at ACU,” Counts said.
Similarly, Tatum said he is enjoying his time teaching at ACU in the Communication department.
“I am very happy and excited about being here at ACU,” Tatum said. “I don’t know what the future looks like but I can’t wait to keep teaching in Communications department and continue to be in charge of student productions at the same time.”