Dr. Jim Nichols

Professor and Department Chair

B.S. Abilene Christian College, 1966
M.S. University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, 1968
Ph.D. University of Missouri- Colombia, 1973

Phone: 325.674.2188
Email: nicholsj@acu.edu

Areas of scholarship or expertise: 

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Bioethics

Courses typically taught: 

  • General Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Animal Physiology
  • Biology for Non-Majors
  • Biomedical Ethics

Published works: 

Murphy, T.J., G.K. Pavlath, X. Wang, J. Nichols, V. Boss, K.L. Abbott, A.M. Robida, K. Xu, M.L. Ellington, and J.R. Loss, 2nd. "Retroviral vectors applied to gene regulation studies." Methods in Enzymology. 345 (2002): 539-51.

Originally from: Kansas City, Missouri

Work of literature, art or music you would recommend: 

  • Shostakovich’s "Fifth Symphony"
  • Brahms’s "Second Symphony"
  • C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity

Person who influenced your life:

  • Personally, my wife of now 41 years
  • Scientifically, my ninth grade science teacher who taught me how to do real experiments

Why you do what you do: I have the great privilege of getting to be a life scientist and investigate the Creation. Furthermore, I get to do this with interesting, curious, frustrating, comical, bright people we call Christian college students.

What you want to give your students: My first responsibility is to make sure everyone, including my students, is closer to God after they deal with me than they were before they deal with me. Students expect Christian excellence from me and I feel the pressure to try to give that to them. Being a biologist allows me a wonderfully interesting subject matter to consider.

What you expect from your students: I expect Christian excellence from my students. Each of them has unique gifts from God and I expect each to be working hard learning and using those gifts. I expect them to teach me just as they expect me to teach them. 

Why you are at ACU: I had a really good job at a state university and had good colleagues and students. The difference at ACU is that I still have good human relationships with colleagues and students, but now am also in a spiritual relationship with them. Although we are clearly different individuals, we have generally common life goals and that sets the stage for especially meaningful educational, personal and spiritual encounters that are not easily generated in a secular educational institution.

Outside interests: I have a wonderful family including a wife with more personal and spiritual gifts than can be counted. Our three grown children have their own Christian walks and our grandchildren are growing in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and humans. I have been riding a bicycle all my life and still ride to school virtually every day. I have also been a life-long runner and, though slower, still treasure that activity. Music adds lots of joy to my life.

Personal: Much of what I have said above is personal, obviously. I would make a brief comment to prospective students reading this. Schools like ACU are not like lots of other schools. ACU is not unique in its Christian approach, but it is one of a small number of schools trying to do something really quite difficult, I believe. That difficult thing is to offer you a strong academic experience (in Biology, in this case) and do so within a Christian context. To mix those two together is not an easy thing to do. It would be easier to be a secular school where no particular attention is paid to the spiritual world or how it can inform our lives or it would be easier to be a rinky-dink Bible school with mediocre academic standards. I am not willing to take either of those two approaches, nor is ACU, so we are faced with the challenge of trying to combine them together effectively. That is a challenge we in the biology department take very seriously.

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