- Our Mission
- What Makes ACU Special?
- University Traditions
- Exceptional Educational Experience
- Excellent Student Support
- Global Learning
- The Learning Covenant
- Academic Accreditation
- Legal Notices
acu.edu • 325-674-2000
ACU Box 29000, Abilene, Texas 79699-9000
Our mission: To educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.
Our promise: ACU is a vibrant, innovative, Christ-centered community that engages students in authentic spiritual and intellectual growth, equipping them to make a real difference in the world.
Abilene Christian University is the premier university for the education of Christ-centered, global leaders, offering an exceptional education to about 4,600 students annually from 47 states, territories, and 43 nations. This private, comprehensive university, founded in 1906 in Abilene, Texas, offers 71 baccalaureate majors in more than 125 areas of study, 25 master's degree programs in one doctoral program. Abilene is a friendly city of 117,000 people, located about 150 miles west of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. As an educational center for a large region, Abilene provides cultural, entertainment and support programs and services normally associated with much larger cities.
Established by members of the Churches of Christ, ACU maintains a strong relationship with these independently-governed congregations around the world. Since its founding, the university has welcomed all students of character and ability who value the university’s Christian environment. All ACU faculty and staff are Christians, and they help students understand how their Christian beliefs connect with their fields of study.
Academic excellence is important at ACU, and students are challenged to learn in the classroom and through their campus experiences. In addition to outstanding undergraduate programs, ACU’s Graduate School enrolls about 800 students. All students are encouraged to share their time and talents as Christian leaders and volunteers through various service-learning opportunities on the campus, in the community and in other countries. Graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs because they gain knowledge and experience in their majors, and they learn to apply Christian values to their everyday decisions.
ACU is a unique community of learners, dedicated to scholarship and committed to Christ. In every major, students gain a broad perspective on the world through the liberal arts core curriculum. The university also provides professional and pre-professional studies programs that have produced outstanding graduates in such fields as medicine, law, journalism, ministry, business, physics, nursing, graphic design, psychology and education. One of our primary goals is to foster a lifelong love of learning in our graduates.
ACU’s application of mobile technology to learning has been acclaimed by industry and higher education experts around the world as an example of forward-thinking institutions and organizations. Abilene Christian is one of only nine U.S. universities to be named an Apple Distinguished Program, and was the first to provide an Apple iPhone or iPod touch to all incoming freshmen. Three of the past four years, U.S. News & World Report ranked ACU the No. 1 "Up and Coming" university in the West Region. Forbes ranks ACU in the top 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.
Because of ACU’s strong sense of mission and outstanding academic programs, we attract high-quality faculty members from around the world. They believe their Christian commitment requires them to excel in their fields of study and to focus on teaching and mentoring students. Experienced and talented professors teach freshmen and conduct research and hands-on learning projects with undergraduate students. Some of the best minds in the world choose to teach at ACU because they believe this university provides them the best opportunity to mold the next generation of leaders in various professions.
The staff and administrators also are Christians, and they focus on supporting the academic mission of the university. The university’s Board of Trustees and administrators believe strongly in comprehensive strategic planning and institutional research to ensure that ACU achieves its mission and its 21st Century Vision goals. We are one team with one goal – to prepare our graduates to make a difference in the world as Christian scholars and professionals.
Traditions at this 106-year-old university are strong. The school colors are purple and white, and many people wear purple on Friday's to indicate their support for the Wildcats. Only UCLA, Stanford and USC have won more NCAA national team championships than ACU. Students compete on 16 intercollegiate men’s and women’s teams.
Many academic programs also have winning traditions. For example, the student newspaper, The Optimist, has won All-American honors annually since 1975, and ACU debate teams have defeated teams from major national universities many times through the years.
Other traditions include Opening Session and the Parade of Flags, candlelight devotionals, the a cappella singing of "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," the Big Purple Band, Welcome Week for freshmen, and involvement in men's and women's social clubs. Students earn the right to order ACU's single class ring, which graduates wear as a symbol of achievement and honor.
Chapel engages students, staff and faculty in Christian community through worship and celebration. Though Chapel varies from day-to-day, the purpose remains the same: to worship God and to celebrate our lives in Jesus. Chapel occurs in Moody Coliseum as a combined community and also in smaller groups across campus. Chapel is required of all undergraduate students under the age of 25 as part of their ACU educational experience.
As one of the nation’s largest universities with a serious Christian focus, ACU draws students from around the world. The university attracts a diverse, interesting student body – individuals who are well-prepared academically, strong in character and highly motivated. Students are encouraged to gain real-world experience in addition to their courses, and they earn internship positions with a variety of prestigious companies and organizations. The university offers a year-round education program. In addition to fall and spring semesters, some courses are offered in an intensive short-course format with assignments required before and after the class meetings.
ACU student teams and academic programs have won national honors and grants in writing, debate, print and broadcast journalism, integrated marketing communication, accounting, business marketing, communication, computer science, psychology, physics and more. Their research projects win awards and are published in professional journals. Graduates are accepted into medical and dental schools at a rate almost twice the national average. The university’s Honors College challenges the brightest undergraduate students and gives them excellent preparation for the demands of graduate research.
The university offers programs and services that give undergraduate and graduate students the technology, information and academic support they need to live up to their highest potential.
To ensure the quality of our students’ education, we provide enhanced library resources, fast Internet access in the residence halls, 24-hour computer labs, personal tutoring, quality research labs and much more. First-year students are given extra attention as they decide what to major in and what direction to take their lives. An advisor will help each student choose classes and determine how to be successful in many other areas of campus life.
International students, non-traditional students, transfers and graduate students also receive special attention from various offices on campus. We value each individual who attends ACU, and we want to ensure each person’s success.
Around 25% of students who graduate from ACU have participated in Study Abroad programs in Oxford, England; Leipzig, Germany; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Short-term, faculty-led programs and others also regularly take students to locations in China, Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Honduras, and Mexico. Several hundred students travel each year to various states on Spring Break campaigns, which are weeklong experiences involving service projects for churches and communities. Students can grow spiritually through daily Chapel, student-led devotionals, prayer groups, membership in local congregations and more.
The university’s Admissions staff and faculty endeavor to attract well-prepared students from various cultures, geographic locations, economic levels and age groups because we believe students learn best when they interact with interesting people who bring different perspectives to their classroom and campus experiences. Through research and campus work experiences and about 100 campus organizations, students can explore their interests and enhance their leadership skills while preparing for meaningful lives and careers.
At ACU, we have higher expectations. We believe that spiritual commitment demands the highest standards of academic and personal excellence.
Faculty and Staff
To enable students to benefit most from their ACU education, faculty and staff must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by other Christians.
As ACU faculty and staff members, we accept the challenge:
- to stretch the minds of students as we teach, lead and serve them effectively as Christian scholars and professionals, calling students and colleagues to a rigorous life of learning;
- to boldly integrate faith, learning and living and to serve with honor and integrity as we help students connect their maturing beliefs and their actions;
- to demonstrate intellectual, Christian and social leadership that can be imitated as we support and participate in Chapel and various campus, community and church activities;
- to create an environment where students, faculty and staff respect each other and enjoy the blessings of diversity; and
- to develop a personal relationship with Christ, to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our students as ourselves.
To benefit most from an ACU education, students must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by other Christians.
As an ACU student, I accept the challenge:
- to stretch my mind in and beyond the classroom by reading, questioning, exploring and committing myself to a rigorous life of learning;
- to take responsibility for my academic decisions and life direction as I learn to make good personal choices with the support of Christian mentors, advisors and friends;
- to actively participate in Chapel and various campus, community and church activities that push me to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially;
- to respect myself and others in my speech and actions, enjoying the blessings of diversity; and
- to love and honor God and Christ, to study the Bible and to seriously pursue opportunities to grow as a Christian servant-leader.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students who complete their undergraduate education at ACU should have demonstrated:
- Strong analytical, communication, quantitative, and information skills - achieved and demonstrated through learning in a range of fields, settings, and media, and through advanced studies in one or more areas of concentration;
- Deep understanding of and hands-on experience with the inquiry practices of disciplines that explore the natural, socio-cultural, aesthetic, and religious (or theological or spiritual) realms - achieved and demonstrated through studies that build conceptual knowledge by engaging learners in concepts and modes of inquiry that are basic to the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, and Christian faith (or theology);
- Intercultural knowledge, integrative thinking, and collaborative problem solving skills - achieved and demonstrated in a variety of collaborative contexts (classroom, community-based, international, and online) that prepare students both for democratic citizenship and for work;
- A proactive sense of responsibility for individual, civic, and social choices-achieved and demonstrated through forms of learning that connect knowledge, skills, values, and public action, and through reflection on students’ own roles and responsibilities in social and civic contexts;
- Habits of mind that foster integrative thinking and the ability to transfer skills and knowledge from one setting to another - achieved and demonstrated through advanced research and/or creative projects in which students take the primary responsibility for framing questions, carrying out analysis, and producing work of substantial complexity and quality.
Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.
Many programs have received additional accreditation from the following associations:
• Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
• The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC)
• American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)
• Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
• Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE)
• Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
• Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
• Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly FIDER)
• Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
• National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
In addition, some ACU Programs hold approval by state and national associations:
• American Chemical Society (ACS)
• Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas
• National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
• National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
Annual FERPA Notice to Students
Annually, Abilene Christian University informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA). This act, with which the institution intends to comply fully, was designated to protect the privacy of education records and afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- Inspection and Review. Students have the right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean of their college, chair of their academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the university official to whom the request was submitted does not maintain the records, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- Request Amendment. Students have the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s rights under FERPA. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision in writing and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- Consent to Disclosure. Students have the right to provide consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA permits the university to disclose such information without the student’s consent. Exceptions that permit (but do not require) disclosure without consent include:
- To school officials with a legitimate education interest. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has asked or contracted to provide institutional services and functions (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, contractor, consultant, or volunteer); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The student shall receive notification of the disclosure unless the student initiated the disclosure. Such a disclosure must relate to the student’s enrollment and transfer, but may include updating and correcting information after the transfer or enrollment is complete.
- To school officials or lending institutions, in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary determining eligibility, amount, conditions for the aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of the aid.
- To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions.
- To accrediting organizations.
- To parents of dependent students if the student is a verified dependent for tax purposes under Internal Revenue Code 1986, Section 152.
- To parents of students under the age of 21 who have violated university policies related to alcohol or controlled substances.
- To provide the final results of disciplinary proceedings against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime (18 U.S.C. § 16) or non-forcible sex offense, if the university finds that the student committed a violation of the university’s rules or policies. The university may also disclose information to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense regardless of whether the violation was proven under the university’s rules or policies.
- To persons whose knowledge is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals. This requires the university to determine that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of a student or other individuals.
- To comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
- Information the university has designated as “Directory Information,” unless a hold has been placed upon release of the information by the student. The following information is considered to be directory information and may be disclosed by the university for any purpose, at its discretion: Name, classification, major field of study, permanent address, email address, local residence, telephone number, previous institutions attended, dates of attendance, full-time or part-time status, awards, honors (including Dean’s Honor Roll), degree(s) conferred (including dates), church affiliation, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height, weight of athletes), photograph, date and place of birth.
- Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of “Directory Information.” To withhold disclosures, written notification must be received in the Student Life office within 12 calendar days from the first day of registration for a long term and within four days for a summer term. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Student Life office. Abilene Christian University assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.
- File a Complaint. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Students with questions about FERPA should contact the Registrar’s Office.
Abilene Christian University complies with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws and does not engage in prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, including qualified disabled veterans and qualified veterans of the Vietnam Era, or genetic information in employment and all school-administered programs and activities. ACU is affiliated with the fellowship of the Church of Christ. The university is governed by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are members of the Church of Christ, and is operated within the Christian-oriented aims, ideals and religious tenets of the Church of Christ. As a religiously affiliated institution of higher education, ACU is exempt from compliance with some provisions of certain civil rights laws.
The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination:
Director of Human Resources (Title IX Coordinator)
Hardin Administration Building, Rm 213D
ACU Box 29106
Abilene, TX 79699-9106
Director of University Access Programs (Section 504 Coordinator)
University Access Programs
Hardin Administration Building, Rm 314
Hardin Administration Building, Rm 111
ACU Box 29125
Abilene, TX 79699-9125
Abilene Christian University proactively promotes legal and policy compliance by encouraging all members of the ACU community to report any financial improprieties, illegal practices or policy violations committed by university employees or agents and to protect from retaliation those who make such good-faith reports. This policy applies to members of the board of trustees, officers, faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers. Members of the ACU community have the responsibility to report suspected violations either anonymously at www.acu.edu/anonymous or 325-674-2594, or to the appropriate university representative as outlined in the complete ACU Whistleblower Policy (http://www.acu.edu/campusoffices/legal/policies/Whistleblower_Policy.html).
For more information about Legal Notices, contact:
Slade Sullivan, General Counsel • ACU Box 29125
325-674-2485 • email@example.com
Vision in Action
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