ACU Gains Milholland as Assistant Provost

for immediate release May 8, 1998

Dr. Tom Milholland, associate dean of Abilene Christian University's College of Biblical Studies, has been named the university's assistant provost for institutional effectiveness and director of institutional research and assessment, effective June 1.

Milholland has served as associate dean of the College of Biblical Studies since January 1996 focusing on academic and curriculum development. He will continue to serve concurrently with his new role until Jan. 1, 1999.

"Dr. Milholland has proven himself as an effective administrator at ACU and in his discipline and is well respected by staff and faculty members," said Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU provost. "Tom is a person of Christian character and integrity, who possesses the organizational and interpersonal skills to effectively work with diverse departments throught the university."

Previously, Milholland was chairman of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy and clinical director of the Marriage and Family Institute. During that time, he successfully led the department to national accreditation. Before coming to ACU in 1979, he served as director of counseling at Christian Homes of Abilene and as pulpit minister of several churches of Christ in Texas and Michigan, including Minter Lane in Abilene.

In 1991, Milholland was appointed to the newly created Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists and serves as chairman. He is a clinical member and approved supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He is a former editor of Contact, a publication of the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and he has written several books on relationships. A frequent public speaker at conferences, Milholland has continued to teach two courses per semester as associate dean.

VanRheenen said Milholland's appointment is part of ACU's efforts to "more systematically answer such questions as: How effective are we in accomplishing our mission and in meeting our institutional goals? What kind of impact does the educational experience (inside and outside of the classroom) have on student learning and character development?"

"ACU is committed to continuously improving the quality of what we do in all areas of the university whether academics, campus life, financial services, maintenance, food service, etc. Thus, we believe we should assess on a regular basis our performance and use the findings to make improvements in short, to get better and better," he said.

Institutional research provides ACU and external agencies (federal government, accrediting bodies, periodicals and magazines, etc.) with data regarding the characteristics of ACU students, faculty, staff; the nature of the work done by faculty and staff; the expenditure of revenues by the university; the retention and graduation rates of students; the number of majors in disciplines; and more, VanRheenen said.

"Institutional assessment provides us with data regarding the perceived quality and performance (outcomes) of ACU and helps us determine how 'effective' we are," he said.

Lisa McCarty, institutional researcher, will become Milholland's assistant director of institutional research and assessment. Continuing as the university's chief institutional researcher, McCarty's role has been expanded to include day-to-day coordination and management of the various areas of OIRA.

The team in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment also includes Dr. Dwain Hart who heads the Visiting Committee Program; Dr. Tim Coburn, who heads data analysis as university statistian; Dr. Joe Cardot, who assists with assessment projects; Debbie Watts, who heads the Student Information System that provides crucial reports used in research and assessment; and Dr. Tom Winter, who heads Academic Program Reviews as associate provost.

If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Malissa Endsley, director of media relations, at or call 915-674-2692.

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Last update: May 12, 1998