What is your educational background?

I received my:

  • Bachelor’s degree from ACU in 1976 (first graduating class of ACU, formerly ACC).
  • MBA from Mary-Hardin Baylor in 1992
  • Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2001


Phil Vardiman

Dr. Phil Vardiman

What is your work background?

My work background includes Management and Leadership experiences in “Manufacturing Operations” and “Human Resources”. Companies I worked for include; General Tire & Rubber Co., Avery Dennison, and Cardinal Health. I taught one year in Lubbock ISD – way back in the 70’s. Prior to coming to ACU, I also taught at Texas State University in their graduate HR program.

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach management class (primarily MGMT 330) and I also teach HR classes (MGMT 447 & MGMT 337). Occasionally I teach in the graduate OD program.

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

This year I am the Faculty Senate Chair which means I get the opportunity to participate on many committees.   Some of these include; the Provost’s Cabinet, Faculty Senate, Benefits Committee, Pricing Team, and Debt Reduction Team.

Being the Faculty Senate Chair is a great opportunity to provide service for the university and also work closely with many people across campus.

phil and crew

Phil with colleagues Orneita Burton and Ian Shepherd

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I was blessed to have excellent teachers in my past that inspired me to love learning and helping others succeed. I have always wanted to teach and being in the business field provided me an excellent opportunity to expand my learning and also the foundation for advancing my education to reach my goal of teaching.

What’s the best part of working with students?

My biggest enjoyment in my job is mentoring and getting to know my students. I love to see them succeed and do great things. I strongly believe that every student can (and should) succeed. I’m amazed at the many things our students accomplish.

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

I did change careers and with that there was a financial impact, but I believe that the most important part of a person’s career is not how much money they make – it is much more about the positive difference they can make in the relationships and lives of those around them. I also feel that I have gained much more as a college professor than I ever gave up.

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I have been blessed to experience the “Grandparenting” stage of life and it is wonderful. I have 5 grandchildren and they are so much fun.

Phil with two of his five grandchildren

Phil with two of his five grandchildren

I also have to mention Golf – I do enjoy the outdoors and a good round of golf. I also started taking piano lessons at the good age of 55. It has been fun and very challenging. (Playing the Piano: http://www.reporternews.com/news/abilene-music-teachers-hold-recital)

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

Besides the many moments when your students encourage and touch your life in a significant way I would say there have been several funny/interesting moments.

One that I remember well was the time I gave a test and offered the students the opportunity to take the exam in a very different way. I told them they had the option to take the exam and purposefully try and miss every answer and I would give them a “100” on the exam – of course they had to miss every answer – if they even got one right – then they would only get the score of those they got right. You must know there were several True/False and Multiple Choice questions on the exam. There was also some short answer. The outcome of this crazy moment turned out to be a funny memory (at least now it is funny). I was also able to get two published articles from this event.

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

It has to be my Ph.D. later in life and the challenge of completing this goal while still working and raising a family. My wife deserves most of the credit!

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

In 2014 I became an Elder at the Hillcrest church of Christ. I have learned the importance of “service” and “encouragement” at a whole different level. I also currently serve on the Big Country Society for Human Resources executive board (BCSHRM).

Who is your role model, and why?

This is a difficult question and there are several who come to mind.

    • Billie Gill (a Christian lady who encouraged me to stay true to the Word of God and be a strong family man – in many ways she was a mother to me)
    • Claude Burns (an Elder and Christian man who gave me such good advice and the opportunity to grow as a young family man)
    • Bill O’banion (my father-in-law, who gave me a very positive and strong Christian example. Bill is also a father example to me in so many ways)
    • Jerry Drennan (a college professor who inspired me to teach by his example)
    • And the most important role model is my wife, Jackie. She is such a good Christian example in so many ways and it has been wonderful to see her influence in our children and the encouragement she continually gives me.
Phil and Jackie Vardiman

Phil and Jackie Vardiman

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

As noted above, Jerry Drennan. He was always encouraging and also pushed me to do my best. I enjoyed his classes and teaching style. I remember wanting to teach just like he did.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

This is always an interesting question and my first thought would be to “fly”. Hard to beat this one. If I had a second choice, it would be to speak and read every language (this would be amazing and provide an outstanding learning opportunity).

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I found my twin sister when I was 50 years old.

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

I love what I do! It is such a wonderful career and the blessings never cease. My first career enjoyment is mentoring students and my second is teaching.

Phil with some of his students

Phil with some of his students