Following a Residence Life study in 2017 and mounting deferred maintenance, Abilene Christian University identified multiple challenges in meeting the mission of Residence Life resulting in falling behind in meeting the expectations of their students. ACU hired Mackey Mitchell to help them define their vision for the Residence Life Experience at Abilene Christian University, the execution of which will take multiple years and include renovations, building additions, and new residence halls resulting in over 2000 reimagined beds for ACU. As a result of the study and the comprehensive focus on student life, the University engaged MMA to build upon ideas generated during the housing study and rethink the current in-process Campus Master Plan, which will provide a clear road map of improvements for the next 15-20 years.
Utilizing our Firestarting process to engage campus stakeholders including current students, faculty, and staff to alumni, donors, and community leaders, we identified an overwhelming desire to build deeper relationships on campus and the need for social spaces to facilitate those connections. Additionally, through benchmarking peer institutions across the country each employing a different approach to residence life, ACU was able to explore different Residential Life philosophies and connect with their professional peers to exchange their lessons learned including how to tackle and operational issues.
Foundational to ACU’s mission is intentional faith development and assisting their students in building their personal faith narrative. The new residential experience positions all residential buildings along a winding pedestrian path or “river” that connects each residential community’s social spaces and encourages community building among the halls. The central path will provide opportunities for reflection, devotion, and engagement. To further encourage deeper connections with faculty, a central classroom and apartments in each building provide flexibility to house a Faculty in Residence as they transition to LLC’s thus creating a more robust, meaningful and intentional experience.
We hired MMA to redesign our residential communities and the process and design went so well we then asked MMA to help us with our campus master planning. We are thrilled with the partnership and the ways our collaboration with MMA is transforming our campus!
- Kevin Campbell
Senior Vice President for Operations
Programming Specialist / Interior Architect
Residential Life Planner