April 28, 2020 – Email to Abilene faculty and staff about work teams 

Dear Abilene Faculty and Staff, 

Thank you for the tremendous work you’ve done to create valuable academic, spiritual and social experiences for ACU students this semester! I’m so proud of the way ACU has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our students, parents and alumni continue to express gratitude for the intentionality with which the faculty and staff have quickly shifted to an online modality for all of our interactions.

While the future of the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders remain unknown, the senior leaders and I have turned our attention to preparing for the fall semester. Our plan is that we return to campus and face-to-face instruction in August. But we must be wise and create plans for a potentially disrupted semester so we are prepared to fulfill ACU’s mission regardless of modality in case that becomes necessary. 

To that end, I have appointed three work teams - Fall Contingency, Mission & Implementation, and Campus Health & Safety. The first two will be led by Dr. Laura Carroll, executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning. The Campus Health and Safety Planning team will be led by Kris Sutton, director of Institutional Compliance and Risk Management.

Collectively, these teams will help us chart a course for this fall on the Abilene campus. Teams will include faculty and staff with some assigned to serve as resources. We are including team members from ACU Dallas to ensure we benefit from the institutional expertise we have built there over the last five years.

The Fall Contingency and Mission & Implementation teams will begin work this week. This work will include the creation of a Fall 2020 contingency plan for online delivery and a financial plan to ensure effective and stable delivery of these courses and programs. Subsequently, the Adams Center, dean’s offices and departments will work to implement the templates, and design and build the courses for possible online delivery in the fall.

Fall Contingency - This team will propose a variety of academic contingency plans for Fall 2020.

  • Dr. Cole Bennett, professor, Department of Language and Literature
  • Dr. Greg Brooks, assistant professor, Department of Marriage & Family Studies
  • Rebekah Mullins, instructor, School of Nursing
  • Dr. Kyle Tippens, assistant professor, Department of Accounting & Finance 

Staff Resources

  • Dr. Eric Gumm, registrar
  • Nuria Hall, director of advising, enrollment & student engagement 

Mission & Implementation - This team will create a set of characteristics that define and differentiate an online course at ACU; establish measures of quality; create ACU-specific course templates and create financial models based on the contingency plans for Fall 2020.

  • Dr. Cliff Barbarick, associate professor, Department of Bible, Missions & Ministry; director of faculty development, Adams Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Lory Chrane, instructor, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Ben Ries, associate dean of vocational formation, College of Graduate & Professional Studies
  • Trey Shirley, instructor, Department of Art & Design

Staff Resources

  • Lori Herrick, associate vice president for finance
  • Dr. Sarah Lee, assistant dean for undergraduate programs, College of Graduate & Professional Studies
  • Lori Anne Shaw, executive director, Duncum Center
  • Evan Steele, strategic analyst

Campus Health & Safety - This team will help us steward the resources and assemble the operational expertise to make it possible for us to reopen our campus safely this fall. This will include any health and safety protocols, and any operational adjustments, that may be necessary.

  • Samantha Adkins, incoming chair, Staff Senate
  • Jon Bruner, executive director, Information Technology
  • Dr. Bill Carroll, incoming chair, Faculty Senate; associate professor, Language and Literature
  • Jimmy Ellison, chief, ACU Police Department•Cindy Gravitt, practice manager, Medical Clinic
  • Wendy Jones, chief human resources officer•Shannon Kaczmarek, director, Residence Life and Student Advocacy Services
  • Dan Sherman, incoming president, Student Government Association
  • Dr. Jessica Smith, assistant provost for curriculum and assessment
  • Kris Sutton, director, Institutional Compliance and Risk Management
  • Lauren Wasson, president, Student Government Association 

I appreciate the willingness of these faculty, staff and students to serve the ACU community in this capacity, and I am grateful to all of you for the way you have responded to the disruption of this semester. You continue to impress me with your creativity and passion for serving our students! 

God has blessed us in so many ways, and one of those is through the people we get to walk this journey with every day.

In Him,

Phil