April Napier, director of the office of multicultural affairs, has left ACU and Bart Herridge, dean of student engagement and retention, will be leaving ACU on Oct. 31.
Herridge has worked for the university since 1999 and his last day at the university will be Oct. 31. He has spent four years working in the Admissions Office, eight years in the Registrar’s Office and for almost seven years he has worked in the Student Life Office.
Herridge said his role in Student Life at ACU has been spearheading and reporting on retention efforts for the university as a whole, as well as overseeing offices focused on student engagement, such as student organizations, social clubs, student activities, student productions and Wildcat Week.
Herridge said that throughout his time at the university, the most rewarding part was helping students to finish their time at ACU successfully.
“It’s really been seeing students cross the graduation stage that probably wouldn’t have had it not been from some of the supports and some of the things that we do to help facilitate students being successful,” Herridge said. “That’s really been the focus for me is, ‘Alright, how do we help people be successful here?’”
Herridge said he plans to remain in Abilene for awhile.
“I’m kind of in a season of where I’m just going to do some looking around and try to decide, it’s been a long time being here obviously; I haven’t done anything else for a long time,” Herridge said. “Just a season of rest. I’m going to take a little bit of time and relax, then start looking for what I want to do next.”
Napier began working for the university in the fall of 2018. She worked as an adjunct social work professor teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, conducted cultural confidence training for faculty, assisted in training for the Student Life Office and led Clifton StrengthsFinder-Gallup training and small group exercises.
She is now working as the assistant director of multicultural affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. Napier said she is doing a lot of the same things at UTA, such as cultural training, introducing strengths training and executive coaching.
Napier said one of the things she valued while working at ACU was the Christian community.
“I really was in love, and still am in love, with the family aspect at ACU, just having very close relationships with everyone and all of us knowing each other,” Napier said. “That’s something that will never be replaceable. I think that I chose to transition out of ACU because, while there are so many efforts towards wanting to change, I think there is more of a culture of assimilation versus inclusion and that is something that is of very high value to me. And something that I pray that ACU works more towards moving forward. As well as professional wellness and making sure that everyone feels valued.”
She is working to obtain her doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California and plans to graduate May of 2020.